Friday, November 30, 2007


This is a difficult subject to write about, I race for lots of reasons, many of which I can't explain. I do not race to win, though I start every race with that intention. I am proud of my successes but they are for me, not for my team or my family or my friends. I like to share to race stories with my friends and family but I do not like to talk about my results. I have a bicycle shrine in my garage. It started as kind of a joke, but has morphed into something that is important to me. There is a photo of my friend Kent Mills, who taught me about true friendship and who passed away last year, there is a shrine to Luis Ocana, the Spanish Tour winner who committed suicide in 1994, and there are most of my medals that I have managed to collect in the last 30 years. Damian saw my medals the other day and mentioned that he hadn't won any, I reminded him that indeed he had. I keep my medals for a reason. It is because of all the 1000+ cyclocross racers that come out every week, most who have not won any medals ever. Those of us that win owe it those who haven't to honor what we have won. If Steve Lacey hadn't been 4th my 3rd would have been empty. It is those you beat who we owe our victories to. If you finish third and tell everyone how bad a race you had you are dishonoring all those who did not win a medal and gave it their all.
I train very hard for cross. Every year when I start the first cross race I have no idea how I will do. There are usually four or five new 50+ guys who are very strong. This year at Alpenrose I was 6th in the first race and I felt like I had gone well, and was very happy with that result. I knew then that I had my work cut out for me to even think of finishing in the top 5 for the series. The next race I was 5th, then my form seem to improve and I was 3rd and then 2nd. I had a couple of off weeks and managed to hang on to 3rd the State Championships giving me a 3rd for the series. I am not the strongest guy out there, Dave Zimbelman (who did not race this year is far stronger), Dean Lucas (who got injured in the 2nd race end was out for the season) is a former National Champion. I have never beat Steve Yenne when he was fit. I was still proud of my third because in racing it is not who is not there that counts but who is there. I know next year the challenge to finish on the podium will be even greater, I don't wish injuries to anyone. I would rather have finished 4th than have Dean break is hip. But those of us who are racing have to remember that to finish on the podium or to win is what our goal is, but it is only worth something if your opponents are there to give battle. It is to all of them I dedicate my victories and successes. Not to lord over them but to give genuine thanks.
Sunnyside Sports

Monday, November 26, 2007


I think everyone has hidden talents. I am a bike mechanic who also is the owner of a bike store. Those talents are not hidden. In fact I am not sure they are talents, after 30 years of working and owning a bike store we are forced to learn things all the time. Mine has been trial and error. Racing a bike is not a hidden talent for me either, I write about it every week, I have World Championship medals on display at the Sunnyside and we tell race stories at work everyday.

One of my hidden talents is making pies. I love to make a pie, and yes it is from scratch. Pie crusts are the key to any good pie. Many people think pie crusts are hard so they just don't bother with a good pie. For me pie crusts are easy. It comes from a couple of things. When I was 14 I spent the summer at my Grandparents in Northern Montana. They owned two diners. These were the real thing made out of stainless steel and vinyl. No booths just bar stool type chairs at a curved counter. My Grandfather made pies every night. They also bought pies at the local bakery so they would have enough for the day. He could not make enough pies for the demand. Of course the locals always would ask for his pies or would come in early enough to make sure they would get a piece. Watching him make pies made me realize how easy it was.

Later in life Kathy and I started to watch Masterpiece Theater on Public Television. One of the first shows was about a large household in London the head cook (Mrs Bridges) was always making some kind of pastry. If an actress can make pie dough why not me. I had a few disasters, I seem to remember one pie crust getting thrown against a wall. Now a days it is just routine. If you want a lesson let me know. The trick is cold butter, good flour, not being afraid to use enough water and a Cuisinart. These are my last two pies. Kathy does the fancy decoration, one of my hidden talents is not artistry.


Saturday, November 24, 2007


How many of you look at World Cup Cyclocross results. In the last race there were 47 starters in the Pro men's race. It is a big deal in a World Cup race to have a good start position. The same goes for the local races, but with one big difference, we have twice as many starters in some of our races. In my race, the famous 50 to death category we had 40 starters at the State Championships. The beginners had over 60. So the beginners have a harder start than a World Cup Race. I am not complaining about the groups, Cross Crusade spends a lot of time trying to equalize the group size, and at the same time not turning anyone down. This is what makes the Cross Crusade special. I am just saying that our races have bigger fields than the pros and it is important to give ourselves kudos for dealing with such big fields. My race had more starters than the A race. Most of the categories the racers are lining up 30 minutes before their start. There is a reason for that, with 100 starters if you don't start in the front you don't win. It is part of the deal. I hear some complain about the early line ups, but that is the most important thing, after training, it is even more important than warming up.
I have to say how polite everyone is in the 50 + category. We do not have call ups, but the front row is always available to fastest guys, without complaint in my experience. Just another aspect of cross.
Sunnyside Sports

Friday, November 23, 2007


If you read the next blog you will see that Susan has written in Sunnyside Sports a bunch of times. The reason is she is trying to get Sunnyside to a get a better Google rating. So the question is my blog an ad or a blog. Well the truth is it is both. Sunnyside Sports is my family, my life, just about everything me. That doesn't take away anything from Kathy my kitties or my home life. Coming into our store is like my blog for a lot of you. It is a place to spend money like any other store but on the other hand it is a place to visit with friends, talk about bikes and skis and tell war stories. So the truth is I will not try to sell anything on my blog but I might show some links to our store. Like Sunnyside it will be a place to tell stories and talk about life.

Sunnyside Sports Internet Pitch

Hi, Susan here. My Google search expert says that more links we have on-line to Sunnyside Sports, the higher the Google-search ranking will be. I'm all over that, so please excuse me while I link Don's blog to Sunnyside Sports. That's Sunnyside Sports in Bend Oregon. To Repeat: Sunnyside Sports is Don's bike store.

Special Offer: I will give a $10 gift card to Sunnyside Sports to any of you other bloggers out there who will show me a Sunnyside Sports link on your blog.

Yours in organic searching,

Susan B.,
Sunnyside Sports

Monday, November 19, 2007


As most of you know I love Cross. I think it is the little kid in me. The muddier it is the more fun it is. Yesterday was a miserable day except for us crossers. We got to the Hillsboro Stadium in Hillboro and it had been raining for days. They were just setting up the course. I don't think they knew what kind of bogs they were sending us through. I pre-rode the course and realized this was not for me. Lots of straight on pavement and gravel, no real cornering in the mud, one high speed dismount, at least two run ups. Everything I am don't like. I started pretty good 5Th or 6Th and waited for things to fall out. The first lap I rode everything but the two runs ups and the barriers. When Ron Passed me running somewhere in the middle of the race I realized that I had better get of the bike and run like hell. So I did the last two laps. It paid off and I was a very close third. Steve was a second behind but I had been closing in on Joe who was second. My change from hating the course to loving the mud was the small difference. The photo above taken by Chris doesn't do the mud justice. Yesterday, when I was in the midst of my final sprint (for me a sprint starts with at least one lap to go) I heard some new voices, Damian, James and Veronica. They rushed to get to see me race. The extra support they offered helped me keep the edge, and whoever yelled at me to sprint even harder at the end I owe my bronze medal to.
I also owe my medal to all the other the racers in the 50 to death category. It is more fun to race with competitors around for sure. I collect my OBRA medals because they are a tribute to my hard work and to all the other racers and their hard work.

This other photo is is of Chris Sheppard. He is sponsored by Santa Cruz (not a bike we sell) but he comes to us when he needs a hand. He appreciates us, in fact he put our name on his bikes. How cool is that? Barb built him some wheels the other day and he came in saying he didn't sleep at night thinking about his wheels. This guy is an old pro and he still gets excited about wheels. It makes it worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


It is Oregon style. I am not going to write anti USA Cycling, but just positive things about Oregon, OBRA and Cross Crusade.
This week we had our normal racing at Estacada Timber Park. I have been racing here for ever it seems. I have had my best and worst races there, this week was below average performance wise, way above in fun. Not just because it was Single Speed worlds. It is fun because all my cycling friends in Oregon show and we get to race, and visit. The weekend started out great in that Kathy and I went to the Opera (Cinderella) in Portland. It is a great Opera and was a great production. Had a good meal, a trip to Powells and a quiet hotel room. Got to the race at 7:30. Lots of time to warm up. I raced. Finished 7th. Not bad not great. After the race my friends start showing up. They don't like to leave a 4 am to see me race. Can't blame them. They all ask how I did. I help them get ready and then I yell myself hoarse. We had a bonus this week we had SSWC after the A race. Most of the fast guys raced the A race and then they put on some crazy outfits, and raced again. They were going against a few guys who saved themselves just for the SSWC.The start was great, they called everyone up, according to their tt time, and just when they were going to start they had everyone turn around so the slow guys started in the front row. Adam Craig, Ryan Trebon, Carl Decker and Barry Wicks formed a group way in front of everyone. They were taking advantage of the tequila shot short cut. I think Carl finally succumbed to the alcohol. At the finish I was at the bottom of the hill, Adam was out front but I heard from the people on top that they pushed each other and Barry ended up winner. All I could see was beer flying and the crowd going crazy. It was a great crowd. For those who read my blog you will know this was WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP #4 for the year. It wasn't planned. It was fun.
After the race I needed a ride home as Kathy, who has been watching me race for 30 years, went home early. For her seeing two WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP races in a year was enough. I don't blame her. Anyway Joanne and Karen offered to take the tent, and me home. I thought the fun was over and I would drive and they would sleep. But no, the fun, the laughter, the plane old being happy to be alive continued for three more hours. I am not sure what we laughed about, mostly ourselves, think. Cross is fun in Oregon. Next week I hope to go faster. maybe be ahead of a few more, but mainly I plan to have some fun. Why not.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


What do bankers do on their days off, hang out at a money mint, count cash at home, loan money to their children. I think of myself as a bike mechanic (in England that is a Bicycle Repairman). I do more than that of course, I am not sure what, but being part of Sunnyside for the last 28 years I and we have had to learn a lot more than how to fix bikes.
But on our days off we still ride. Mike and I went and rode up the N. Fork and down flag line on Tuesday. We left at noon. The whole time it felt like the sun was going down. The temperatures ranged from under freezing to 70F. The trail was dusty to two feet of snow. The climb was firm the downhill was awesome. Maybe the last time I will get up that high this year. It was the best.
That morning we had an Atomic Ski clinic. Most of our clinics are done by the local reps. They do a great job, they know their product and we learn quite a bit. With Atomic though we get Justin Wadsworth. He was one of the best US skiers in the 90's.Now he is the US World Cup Coach. He is married to Beckie Scott, the best Canadian and North American skier ever. He knows Nordic skiing. We get him to give us our clinic. The bonus was we got his 7 week old baby Teo also.

Today the whole staff got up bright and early for a morning bike ride. This was in lieu of our monthly meeting. Like I said Is this good or what.

Monday, November 5, 2007


It is easy to write a blog when your race goes well and you are feeling good about the weekend. This last weekend it was not so good for me but others on the team had a great time. I will start out with the good. Living in Bend we have an opportunity to help out some pro riders. It is fun a challenge and a bit of a worry knowing what you do could have a bearing on how the athlete does. I had to fix some skis for Justin Wadsworth a while back and though I was sure I did a great job, somehow a pair of skis failing in a world cup race as opposed to a day skiing at Bachelor seemed more important (the skis did not fail). We are a big proponent of tubular tyres at Sunnyside Sports for Cyclocross. We have been gluing them on for a number of years. A few years back TUFU came out with some gluing tape. We used it, figured out how to use it. This was by trial and error (on our own equipment) and of course by talking to Vladimir the head of TUFO North America. Some of the pros in town come to us to have us glue tyres on. Now tubulars will roll. Anyone who has seen the video of Joseba Belocki crashing if front of Lance Armstrong will know that. But a well glued tubular will only fail in the most extreme conditions. Probably after a clincher will fail.

Carl Decker came to us last summer and asked us to glue his tyres on. I asked Mike if he would do it and he said fine. They are Shimano Carbon wheels and one has to sand the rims, put a thin layer of glue on, put on the gluing tape. Put a thin layer of glue on the tyre. Mount the tyre. Carl has been racing on these wheels all season. His teammate had a problem, and Carl came up to Mike and asked him if he sanded the rims first. Mike said yes and got a high five. That is the good. We Mechanics at Sunnyside take pride in our work. Chris Sheppard won yesterday with wheels that Barb built and I glued. I was proud.

The Bad. My race sucked. I took off fast and decided I could win this race in the first corner. I was the first person to take the inside line all day. A great line but not at the speed I was going. Down I went, cut up leg (THE UGLY) and a bent rear mech (what they call rear derailleur in Great Britain). I managed to get back to fourth but then I shifted the mech into the spokes. This was after chasing for almost two laps. I was done.

After watching all the other races I realized this was a course for patience. I had none. I paid the price. Oh well we have next week coming up.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I forgot you can come in see Aaron's jersey, plus lots of other historical paraphanalia in our store.

The next Boulder ?

People say Bend is the next Boulder. I have never lived in Boulder though I used to visit there in the early 80s. What Bend is a great place to live if you like the outdoors. I first came to Central Oregon in 1969 to work for the Forest Service. After a couple of summers we moved permanently in 1974. We wanted a place to nordic ski and Bend seemed like the best place. Even back then we had Olympic and Olympic hopefuls living in Bend. People like Jay Bowerman, Mike Devecka all those Meisner siblings etc. Soon after that we had the Dan Simoneaus, the Rich Gross's, all living in Bend. We are used to high level athletes living in Bend. It is a great place to live if you like the outdoors.
This fall we have a newcomer to Bend (well almost he lived here before he became a pro bike racer). Aaron Olson is his name. He is from Eugene and the last few years has been racing in Europe with Saunier Duval and T-Mobile. He was third this year in the Tour of Ireland and finished the Giro d Italia. He is also a super nice guy. The other day he came in the store and asked how my racing was going and then gave me a signed T-Mobile jersey. If that isn't good what is. The jersey is also cool. When you are a real pro the Jerseys have your name on them, the bag has your name on it. Even the size tag has Olson on it. OK I am a nerd, I love cycling, I love the stories. Bend is not the new Boulder it is a grown up Bend (maybe too grown up).
The next time I will talk about some more local pros.