Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Burns, Hopper claim Monday Night PIR opening round

Record rainfall washed over Portland International Raceway May 4 for the opening round of the River City Bicycles Monday Night Race Series. The rain dampened turnout but not the enthusiasm of the hearty souls who braved the torrent and kicked off the series' 13th season.

Most nights will include separate races for Novice Women, an Open Women's category for any age and ability, Novice Masters Men (30+) and two categories dividing Masters Men Cat. 1/2/3/4/5. But two groups sufficed Monday night. Novice Men and Novice Women raced together, and the Masters Men were paired with the Women, although groups were scored separately.

In the Open Women's race, Veloce/Felt's Beth Burns won the night with 15 points. Ironclad's Kira Crawford finished second with 12, and Hammer Velo's Lindsay Kandra was third with 10 points. Veloforma's Susan Peithman flatted out of the race (pictured above, photo courtesy of Russell Cree). The Masters 1/2/3 race saw David Hopper (NoMad Sports) finish first with 15 points. Karsten Hagen (ZteaM) was second with 12. Ironclad's Mark Crawford finished third with 10 points.

Hagen submitted this special report to the Cycling Action Storm Center:
Hagen News Service
May 4, 2009. No Po, Oregon

A small crowd gathered in a shivering huddle around the OBRA tent at PIR on Monday night. Many questioned their sanity, but all were united in a sort of perverse pride and sense of community. These people not only braved Oregon’s most miserable day of the year to race, they were actually having a good time doing it.

Races were shortened, fields were combined, jackets were wrung out, but the race went on. Such a good time in fact that, during the 5th lap of the combined men’s 123/34/ women123/migrating geese race, the entire field launched into a rapturous yell in the face of a crescendo of rain, wind and goose poop that would prove to be the worst conflagration of the elements Candi Murray had ever witnessed at a PIR.

The action began slowly in the combined race at 6:40. The rain and wind were initially so terrible that the combined group of cat 2, 3 and 4 men and women seemed unsure of their bearings, despite the fact that all were veterans of the worst weather Oregon can dish out. Despite this, the field found their bearings by the 2nd lap and the attacks began.

David Hopper was the night’s strongman, continually launching attacks, meeting and matching counterattacks and causing general havoc in the field. When Karsten Hagen was finally able to break free with 4.5 laps to go, he was not surprised to find Hopper charging up to him in a strong bridge effort.

"That Nomads dude came right up to me and pretty much hammered me into the ground when he caught me," said a shivering and goose-crap encrusted Hagen in a self-interview in his team car after the race. "My legs were totally shot from Estacada the day before and being over-trained in general, and this guy showed absolutely no mercy."

The pair managed to put quick distance on the field, setting a steady tempo despite weather that alternated between brilliant sunshine, tomb-like darkness and horizontal rain. The leading pair engaged in a bit of cat and mouse at the finish before Hopper crushed Hagen in a two-up sprint.

The field sprint was won by Mark Crawford in a jumble of yellow and black.
The River City Bicycles Monday Night Race Series continues through Aug. 31. Entry fee is $13 for women and master men, $5 for women under 18. Top racers win gift certificates from River City Bicycles each night and for the monthly series. Consistent riders in all categories for the season will have a chance to win a Showers Pass jacket.

The series will expand its efforts to reach out to new racers with clinics focused on the basics of how to get started racing. Kendra Wenzel of Wenzel Coaching and Russell Cree of Upper Echelon Fitness will oversee the clinics, which will run approximately 30 minutes before and after each race.

6:15pm Novice Masters Men (age 30+)
6:20pm Novice Women (any age)
6:35pm Open Women (Category 1/2/3/4)
6:43pm Masters Men 30+ (Category 1/2/3)
6:45pm Masters Men 30+ (Category 4/5)

May 4 Results
Novice Men
1. Fitzgerald, Jamie 15
2. Brian, Echerer 12
3. Christen, Rick 10
Novice Women
1. Hartgerink, Anne 15
2. Heathman, Lisa 12
3. Lane, Lori 10
Masters Men 4/5
1. Van Dusen, Ryan (Unattached) 15
2. Aldersebaes, Dave (Ironclad Performance Wear) 12
3. Emerson, Mike 10
Women 1/2/3/4
1. Burns, Beth (Veloce/Felt) 15
2. Crawford, Kira (Ironclad Performance Wear) 12
3. Kandra, Lindsay (Hammer Velo) 10
Masters Men 1/2/3
1. Hopper, David (NoMad Sports Club) 15
2. Hagen, Karsten (ZteaM) 12
3. Crawford, Mark (Ironclad Performance Wear) 10