Sunday, August 16, 2009

PIR racing begins winding down, last chance to catch rider clinics

August tips its hat to another season of Monday and Tuesday racing at PIR by offering a bonus week of racing for the women and masters. The five-Monday month means an extra week of racing for the Monday night series, which finishes Aug. 31. The Tuesday night series finishes six days earlier on Aug. 25.

The extra week makes three more opportunities for beginner and novice riders to take advantage of race clinics offered by OBRA Cat 1 racer and Upper Echelon Fitness coach Chris Swan.

Swan said the clinics have averaged about 10 riders a night and cover everything from basics like number-pinning to more advanced lessons on bumping, cornering skills and pack riding.

The Aug. 17 clinic will focus on pacelines and echelons. The hour-long pre-race clinic will cover tricks for saving energy, riding smoothly and safely maneuvering in the group, improving riders' ability to move in the peloton as well as improving the ability to work with other riders in race, training or on group rides.

Other clinics cover race tactics and how to execute tactics in a race.

"It mostly pertains to PIR, but I also try to broaden out to other races as much as possible," Swan said. "If riders have questions about specific races coming up, I'll give them a little insight into that race and also how PIR experience transfers to other races."

The weekly clinics also include in-race instruction from coaches on the course, tips and advice, as well as post-race analysis and conversation.

Swan said the clinics have drawn riders of all skill levels.

"We've had people who show up and it's their first race and they have no idea how to pin a number on or even what the categories are," he said. "We've even had a couple Cat 3s that have been racing for awhile that already have a private coach but they come here and check out the skills. It's always good to learn more about handling the bike."

Riders participating in the clinics also get one upgrade point for the class, or they may use the clinic to count as one race toward their upgrade to category 4 or 3. No prior clinic or race participation is needed to attend.

Clinics begin at 5:15 p.m. at the racetrack and cost $15. Sign up is at the Monday PIR registration table.