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Pain on the Plains, the fourth race of the West Texas Championship Series, was held at Palo Duro Canyon State Park on Sunday, October 2nd. Over 65 riders competed in the Chain Breaker Series, riding over logs, jumping obstacles, and even avoiding an occasional snake.
With the canyon providing the ultimate in trail elements, relief from the sun was provided by Local Outreach Coordinators, Fernando Martinez and Joyce Cunningham. In addition to relief, they also talked to riders and fans about bicycle safety, with Martinez noting that improvement in bicycle frame design and strength has increased the aggressiveness of mountain biking over the past 40 years. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported during the course of the day.
Joining the regular mountain bike group were several unique individuals — several students from Jeff Frazer’s government class at Caprock High School chose to participate in the event after being given an extra-credit option: write a ten-page research paper or participate and finish the race in some fashion.
Mr. Frazer said he has presented the challenge for the past six or seven years. It started when a student asked about receiving extra credit if he rode in the race. Mr. Frazer extended the challenge to all of his students. In the first year, 30 to 40 students entered and raced. In the years following, he has extended the same challenge, and each year students take that challenge.
“It is a great learning experience,” says Frazer. “It gives kids a chance to do something they might have never done otherwise. I have had kids ride in these races that do not do anything else at school. Every kid should get a chance to compete in something like this and be a part of a unique group. It forces the kids to finish what they start.”
Both Martinez and Cunningham credit Mr. Frazer’s dedication to teaching and his enthusiasm for cycling for making their job so rewarding.
Mr. Frazer professes, “These are wonderful teachable moments. The Old Tascosa Cycling Club has been so great to us. They have encouraged the Caprock High School students and me. They have all been true ambassadors for their hobby and sport!”