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Thursday, December 25, 2008

CYCLO CROSS NATIONALS IN BEND-2009 AND 2010

Well it has happened. Cyclo cross nationals is returning to Central Oregon. Returning? you say.  Yes they were in Sunriver in 1976. That was before I was a crosser though. 
What does that mean to me. Well next year I will be in the 60-64 category (though I will only be 58 years old go figure). It has to do with racing age. Technically the cross nationals are for the 2010 and 2011 season. European countries have their nationals  in January, we have ours in December. Worlds are in late January or early February. Anyway I will a first year 60-64 year old. This will be my best chance to do well (Podium I hope). I have been close before, three top 10 finishes in 6 tries. I am training hard now, even though it is 12 months away. I am trying to keep my weight down during the holidays, I am doing indoor cycling intervals twice a week, and, thanks to Rebound I am lifting weights twice a week. 
I am nervous and excited. I and many others will be in front of a home crowd. There will be many cheering for me (I hope). That will make me dig, and will also make me want to do well. It will be a challenge I will look forward to. Thanks for reading.
Don 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

CROSS NATIONALS IN BEND,MAYBE

Yesterday I went to a reception for Tom Vinson, representative of USA Cycling. He is in town to check out our bid for 2009 and 2010 Cyclo-Cross National Championships. I was there as a guest. I guess I have been in Bend so long and have raced bikes so long and love cycl0-cross so much I was invited. Tom was was a no show. Not his fault though. He got stuck in Spokane because of the snow. We got to be on a video telling him why Bend is so cool and the best place for Nationals. I hope he watches the video. I rode my cross bike downtown, it was pretty cold with about 2 inches of packed snow on the roads, I was the only one who rode a bike. I wasn't really trying to make a statement, Kathy had the car. It was fun though. I love riding in the snow, the cold snow, the dry snow. It is fun in the night because the snow reflects the light and everything seems so bright.
They told Doug LaPlaca they would know soon about Nationals. I have already started to train. I will be in the 60-64 category next year, and I will want to do well in front of the home crowd. I am getting excited just thinking about it. See you on the snow, either skiing or riding.
Don

Sunday, December 14, 2008

HOW THINGS CHANGE



Here are some photos from this week. I couldn't help but add the one without my head. That was me trying to take my own photo with timer.  Then Brennan showed up so he and I both have photos. Brennan is this cool kid that shops at Sunnyside.

He likes bikes as much as anyone and the one he is on he just got a month or so ago. It is fun to to see happy customers. 
That really isn't the point to this blog though. The photos were taken on Dec. 11th at the helipad at the top of Phil's Trail. I have never been to the Helipad in Dec, probably not many times in November. It was a great day though. The trails were in perfect condition. I knew the weather was changing so up I went. On the way down I did the whoops trail. I love the berms but am afraid of the jumps. I don't really do air. 
A friend of mine, Gary Graves fell while getting a little air on KGB yesterday and broke his neck. He is going to be OK, I hear, but it is a scary thing to get hurt and have a friend get hurt.
That being said on my way home after not getting air on the whoops I went by the double of death. This is a jump next to Skyliners Road on the way home from Phil's. It must be 12 inches high. I have been avoiding it for years and finally decided I could clear it. I did. Jacob, from the store, cleared it last week. For us it was big. When I was describing it to Jim he referred to it as "that little double". Little for him double of death for us.
Take care out there on the trails. We may have some time off with this snow, so go try some skiing. That is what snow is for. That is what the last photo is, my backyard, 7 degrees F and snowing.
Don







Monday, December 8, 2008

Don's Adventure

I am not sure what was harder, riding the "tree" on the new Funner Trail near Bend or downloading the Video. I had been to the tree twice by myself. I knew I could ride it (it really is not that hard). But I was not ready. I then went with some friends and decided this was the day. John took a video and here it is. I feel pretty stoked about riding it. There are some harder routes on the tree but I took the easy one. We are going to use this in Picketts Charge next year. Don't worry there is an alternative route, but it is longer and not "funner". Thanks for watching.
Don
PS Thanks to John Riley for the video and Mike Schindler for helping me download it.

video 

GRAND PRIX CROSS IN PORTLAND, END OF SEASON




The season is over for me, Nationals is too far away, and it is time to take it easy. Yes I work hard and train hard for cross. You will never hear me at the start line making excuses. When I start a race I want to do well and I am well prepared.  I have developed a training program (with a huge help from Justin Wadsworth) that allows me to stay in shape 12 months a year, have huge amounts of fun riding my mountain bike and doing well in cross. But now it is time to rest a little, enjoy the holidays, and do some skiing.
The Grand Prix races in Portland were the best this year. The coursed fine tuned, not too wet but lots of mud. The last few times I have been out riding my bike I have run into Ryan Trebon. Probably the strongest cross racer in the USA. The first day he attacked a few times, let Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers attack him, but I think he was waiting for the last lap to put in one of his super speed attacks for the win. Instead he slipped and Tim Johnson just exploded to get out of reach. The second day he was having none of it. He went to the front and kept on the pressure until all of his rivals faded of the back. He just kept on charging. Impressive. It is great fun to cheer on someone you know,  and the more I know Ryan the more I appreciate him. I was in the pit for another pro. Chris Sheppard. The first day he needed nothing, the second he crashed on the first lap and we had his bike ready. I got it fixed but he didn't need it again. Nothing like being a help. Chris is a semi retired Canadian bike racer. He was suspended a few years after some EPO problems. Now he lives in Bend, is at COCC becoming a massage therapist. He can still race his bike though. 
My races went pretty good. I ended up second both days (the same as last year). Ron Strasser beat me both days. He owns me on those courses. The second day I gave it my all. I led for most of the first two laps. Then we hit this deep mud and my legs were done. I had to do everything I could to hold on to second. In fact I didn't know I was second until I got home.  I was thinking we would be done when I went through the finish line after 4 laps, and Splinter even said over the loud speaker that my race was over. But everyone around me kept on going (he didn't say anything to them) so I did the 5th painful lap. Eric from Seattle came around me at the finish and I was sure I was third. They gave me a third place plywood even. 
This is a philosophical dilemma. Am I just as happy with a second after the fact as I would have been if I had known at the time. I think so. The plywoods were the same size after all, different colors and numbers though. I think doing that fifth lap though was the most painful. 
The photos are of me in the mud, Renee Scott going great in the women's B race, the start of the Pro Men and my plywoods. I now have four plywoods. Thanks for reading. 
Don



Monday, December 1, 2008

AWESOME NEW TRAILS AND OLD TRAILS

If you are a skier you know there is not much snow, and it is already December. I own a ski store, and I am a nordic ski coach. Don't think for a minute that I don't want snow. However I am not in charge of weather. I am in charge of Don's mountain biking. This week I had the pleasure of having my friends from Wisconsin visiting. I wrote about some of our trips last week. I just wanted to update a little. I had to work for a couple of days so they went out on their own and rode the Whoops trail. Pretty famous trail now a days. They thought it was pretty fun. Well lots of fun, but they wanted one more epic. Something to really remember Oregon by. They were here for a nordic ski holiday so I really wanted them to remember this as the best mountain bike holiday they have had. I called the Umpqua National Forest and, yes, the North Umpqua was open. 
I have a rule, when I take a friend from out of town on a trail I have to have ridden it first. I want to show them a great trail not have some kind of an adventure. We did the Deer Leap section. This is just below Tokatee Lake. What can I say. It was 30F when we left the car. It was 65 at, what I call, Deer Leap. The trail was perfect. If you have ever had first time visitors you might notice they are always surprised by Bend. It isn't green here it is green/grey. It is a desert. The trails are dusty, and loose. They learn to like it or even love it like I do. However you will do them a favor and take them to the west side. Most people choose the McKenzie River Trail, I choose the Umpqua. I don't like shuttling, and the Umpqua has lots of different segments to choose from. 
They thought they went to mountain bike heaven. The trees are huge, the canyons deep, the river well it looks like a river. It was another epic ride.l
In my last blog I mentioned the new trails at Wanoga. If you go there you should have a map. I suggest riding to the top of Storm King on the South side of Century Drive.  Then I like to ride up about 2 miles on Funner. You can go all the way to Wanoga if you like. To get the map go to this site http://www.cotamtb.com/files/WanogaTrails%2010-7-08(1).pdf . This should help. I will post a video of me riding across the tree soon. 
Enjoy.
Don

Thursday, November 27, 2008

THANKSGIVING, FRIENDS AND NO SNOW
















We live in a great place, Bend. If you haven't been here you should, though I would imagine most of you live here or have visited here. 
The thing is - I am one of the owners of Sunnyside Sports. We sell bicycles and cross country skis. If there is no snow we sell no skis. Pretty simple. With the economy the way it is that poses a problem. So what do I do, nothing except continue to live my life and do the things I like. There is on thing I can't do and that is control the weather.
My friends John and Margaret are here from Madison, Wisconsin. I know them because John works for Trek bicycles. They decided to come out for a cross country ski holiday. They sent there bikes just in case. In case is what we have not snow and the best mountain bike trail conditions of the year. We rode all the way up Mrazeck to farewell Bend, down to Tumulo Falls and that back to town. It even got dark (but I had my trusty Frog lights on). There was up to three inches of snow but it was 99.9% rideable. Going down Farewell to Tumalo Falls was awesome. From the Sunshine to the fog (we were having an inversion). We dressed warm, had lots of food and just decided an epic is what was in store for us.
On a Thanksgiving when we have so much to be thankful for, (new president, good health, wonderful sweetheart, great friends) I am once again going to be thankful for something not as important. My Trek Fuel EX 9.0. This bike rocks. I have already written about my bike so I am going to thank the person in charge- John Riley (one of my riding partners). I said he works for Trek, he is the Product Manager for Trek Mountain bikes. He is in charge of the team that put this bike together. I few years ago (right after the first Lance years) Trek decided to really the best mountain bikes. They put a lot of effort into it and it has paid off big time. So thank you John. Also I need to thank both John and Margaret for joining me on another epic bike ride. I have never ridden so high or so long Thanksgiving week. No snow = great mountain biking.
Get out there.
Don
PS I had to add my usual photo of my pies. I make them, Kathy decorated them. This years theme is love, hope and peace. The pie on the left has an olive branch and a dove, the pie on the right has figures that represents family, friends, love and music. I think it is important in this day and age to never forget that those are the true things that bind us together.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FAMILY OR WORK ?


These are photos of our annual Fall ride and photo shoot. It was 15 degrees F. Kathy wanted to know why we didn't own a car dealership. Vehicles with heaters.
No, we love cycling, warm or cold.
Eric, one of our main mechanics, told me the other day that Sunnyside Sports (check out our new website) is the only place that the owners thought it was important for the workers to have fun at work. I don't like the idea of owners and workers. I like the idea of co-workers. In fact we are trying to become a worker owned business.
That is a long process but it is coming along.
We went out on Sunday and rode for almost two hours. We had fun and we had our photos taken. We were not workers, we were friends, we are friends.
Is everyday perfect at Sunnyside, no. We work and we work hard and that is stressful. We are friends first, at least that is how I feel. I wish we could do more rides together, it would be fun to take a week off and just do mountain biking. That won't happen so we try to ride together when we can, ski together, go to cross races together, work together.
This is part of my family. I hope it shows in the photos, in our faces, and the way we are at the store. I feel blessed.
Don

Monday, November 17, 2008

BAD RACE GOOD DAY

















I like to think of myself as consistent in my racing. I finished anywhere from 3rd to 8th up to yesterday. Yesterday I was 18th. I had my best start and my worst finish. I crashed very hard with 1/2 lap to go. Broke my helmet and my neck doesn't want to move to today. Me and one of the faster juniors hit each other. He was trying to pass me on a corner. He wanted to win. I was trying to catch a couple of more guys in my group who were just ahead. I wasn't thinking about what was behind me. We hit, he apologized, we both got up. I must of been down longer than I thought as 10 in my group passed me. It would be easy to blame the jr  ( I don't know his name). I call it bike racing. We are all tired and trying to finish and making split second decisions all the time.  If I wanted to be safe I would have stayed at home and watched TV. If I would have been having my normal race the Jr would not have caught me anyway. If I would have ridden the mud hole the first lap (like I am doing in the photo after my crash, note the grass in my helmet) and not just the last three he would not have caught me. Blame is a silly thing in a bike race. Crashes happen, people get hurt. I am hurt. I hope to be back for the GP races. More mud more jrs.
Did that ruin my day. NO. First of all because of my consistency I ended up 5th in the series without my double points (the last race is double points). I am proud of that. It was close but I held on. Two, almost everyone else on the team had their best race of the year. You can see the smiles of the women (Sorry, but Julie is missing). Serena won the women's B race (the series also), and Renee was 4th and 4th in the series. I am not sure why they are smiling though because they will have to move to "A"s next year. Karen was 4th in the 35+ group, though rumor has it she is eligible for a different age bracket. Serena caught Karen  (they start 30 seconds apart) and then Karen stayed with Serena the rest of the race. They both thought it was cool to have a friend so close by. Julie, not pictured, won the 45+ women's. The other photo is Karen riding the mud hole. Not many women were able to pull that off. 
The rest of the team did awesome. We had two men's "A"s in the top 10 (Ben and Damian) and Mike was 11th in the 35+ A race, Matt Fox ended up 4th in the "B" race. 
So I am sore but happy. Time to clean my bikes, do my laundry and go to Sunnyside and talk about it one more time. 
Thanks for reading
Don

Monday, November 10, 2008

MORE CROSS TALK



More cross talk. At Sunnyside we call it Cross Monday. Jim, Damian, Mike and I go over what happened the day before. This is after we have talked it over on Sunday at the race and in the car on the way home. Afterwards   I get to go over it with Kathy at home (though she pretty much makes me keep it short. Then I have to go over it one more time on my Blog. I like to get my money's worth after 40 minutes of racing. 
That is the first thing. We have only raced 40 minutes the last two races. I would like that extra lap. I know it seems strange to want to suffer more, but I have good endurance and just a little longer would help me some. Maybe I could have made up those 10 or so seconds to third. Probably not though. I seem to be 5th this year. I was 4th once and 7th and 8th. 5th is not bad, in fact it is satisfying. We have a lot of 50+ this year who are strong, tenacious, and skilled. Yesterday it seemed about half of them wore Guinness green. Dave Luoma was ahead. I caught him, (great I said to myself, Dave is flying this year and being ahead of him rocks.) Of course he passes me right back. I pass again (see what I mean about going over it). Then here comes Dan. I battled him last week. His chain comes off.  Relax no, third and forth are 8 seconds ahead. I attack. Then Steve goes by. I go by Steve, Steve goes by me. What is happening. Green, green green. Steve clips his spike on the barricade. Of I go. Now or never. I stay ahead, but I feel bad. Steve Lacey has had some tough luck this year. Last year his heart would accelerate above normal, so he went in and had some surgery to fix that. Then some kid on a bmx bike ran into him while he was commuting to work. He is just getting in shape now. I like to finish ahead but not from someone having a silly fall. 
That is the thing you see. We race and we are ruthless, but we are all friends. After the race Steve Yenne came up (he won our race) to me and said "There is my good friend, how did your race go?" That is how we are all. We want to do well, we want all of us to do well. This year Brad has decided the startline mayhem was getting too much. Who really want to stand on the start line for 1/2 hour. He now does call ups for every category. I get to start in the front row. I am proud of that. I look back and see over 40 riders (over 50) every race, and I get to be in the front row. That is cool.
You may have noticed the photos don't have much to do with this blog. But they do. The one is of the drum corps. Brad gets out the drum corps for the important races, nationals, GP races, and Single Speed Cross Worlds. When they drum, the Adrenalin goes up,  I was ready to start another race when they showed up. 
The other photo is Mike. Mike had a pretty good race. Not his best but he did score a few points. You can see he is on his bike going over the monolith (this is what I call the concrete thing in the middle of the course). He was hopping the monolith. I don't think more than 10 in the category A race could do that. We had two on our team doing it. Mike Schindler (photo) and Mike Martin. Mike would gain 20 feet each time. I would say Jason Stager (who also hopped up) was able to finish second because he could do that. 
The last photo is Damian. Lets just say I like seeing our jersey in the A field. We had two yesterday (Ben and Damian). We have had up to 4 this year. We are a small team who loves cross. Having "A"s on the team is a big bonus.
There it is going over the race once again. 
Don

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

FEELINGS ABOUT ELECTION

I try not to make this blog something it is not, like a political forum for example. I am not going to talk about politics per say. This is about a boy growing up in the 50's and 60's and being part of what happened yesterday. 
My Dad was from Kentucky, he left just before WW II and moved to Montana. He spent a summer there and then joined the Army. He ended up fighting his way across Europe, being in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge. He survived. He told me a few days before he died that in the darkest moments of the War he told himself he would go home, get married and have three boys (I have two brothers). He told me he would raise these boys to be free of prejudice, though my mom may have had more to do with this than him, he did all of that.
After the War he became a long distance truck driver. He moved house hold goods. I was able to travel with him during the summers. It seemed that when it was my turn we headed south, "The Deep South". Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, Texas. These are the places I saw in the early to mid 60's. 
I was living in California at the time. My schools were all brand new and 99% white. The neighborhoods were new. Most of us had Dad's who were veterans. California had the best home loans for vets. I think my parents payed $79 down and $79 a month. 
Even though we lived in a world of white we learned in school and at home that everyone was the same, and never to judge or treat someone different just because of the color of their skin.
In the deep South it wasn't like that. They had white only signs everywhere. I was outraged. I was 13 and I was telling my Dad that we shouldn't eat, or buy anything at places like that. He pointed out to me that it was like that everywhere. He was right, but I was still outraged. I felt betrayed by my country. I had learned in school that were all created equal. I learned that we fought a civil war to end slavery. Yet in the 60's the South was a affront to everything I had learned and believed in. 
I was in Yosemite National Park the day Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was camping with my little brother, Dave. The news spread through the campground mouth to mouth. I am not sure how long it took me to get over that. How could I be living in this country where something like that could happen. 
I love the United States. I love the things we do here, what we stand for, and what we can become. After yesterday I am proud of the United States also. I am proud to be an American.  We have a lot to be thankful for. We have come a long way from those summer days I spent in the south. I am no longer outraged, I am just proud. 
Thanks for listening. 
Don Leet

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PDX CROSS WEEKLY SLIDE SHOW

Instead of a photo I am giving you a link some very special photos of Portland Cyclo cross. Pdxcross  is a web page dedicated to Portland Cross. It is the essence of what Brad Ross has created. Bicycle racing that is both challenging and fun. Racing that has moments of pain and joy. Please click on this link and you will see what I mean. This is not the usual site that has photos of each racer from each category. I look at those also and it is great to be able to see yourself and your friends every weekend racing. This is different. It is art. Barton Park is where we had our last race at. Really we barely in a park at all. We race in a  gravel pit. If you look at the pdxcross, though, the gravel pit becomes a playground for cyclists. Enough said now just click on pdxcross and see for yourself.
I saw another great thing on Sunday. There was boy, around 3 years old, who just learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. His Dad was out racing and he was doing what the big kids were doing, going through mud puddles, making tight corners etc. It isn't clear to me if he was trying to be like us (the big kids) or we are trying to be like him. Probably the latter.
Now to something serious. It is election day today. This is not a political announcement just a sigh of relief that the election will be over.   I will have a bigger and happier sigh if the election goes my way. That hasn't happened very often in my life. 
See you on the trails or at the races.
Don Leet

Saturday, November 1, 2008

CYCLO-CROSS TEAM SPORT ?

Most bike racers are on a team of some sort, we are on the Sunnyside Team. The main thing about the Sunnyside Team is to stay on the Sunnyside, just like the song. We have some roadies, quite a few mountain bikers and a lot of Cross racers. This is a photo of some of the team. You can see that they are all smiling. They are a few minutes from race and they know they will be having some serious fun. Serious because they will all be going all out. Some to win, some to place and others just to race well. Most of them were cheering me on just an hour before this photo was taken. It is pretty cool to be racing around and having lots and lots of people yelling "GO DON!" I always do my share in yelling for the other groups. In fact every Monday I wake up thinking I have a cold. My throat is always sore from yelling and not the cold, thankfully. I love having a lot of women on our team. I also like having men and anyone else. We have a few new teamies this year, and a couple that are out for the year. Matt Fox just moved from Portland to teach at Bend High School. He actually bought a house in Bend last month. The reason he is on our team is when he lived in Portland he kept noticing the Sunnyside Team. Not only did we race but we actually acted like a team. Cheered for each other, hung out together, warmed up together etc. We try to park close, put up a communal tent, we even have heaters to stay warm. We share trainers, food and even equipment. Last week at the Astoria race a bunch of us rented a house together. It cost me $25 for a night. How good is that. I got to talk to Serena and her boyfriend Ben. It was cool to get to know my new teammates. This is what being on a team means to me. It is more important than results, equipment or anything. It is about a shared passion, helping out, being part of something bigger. Our store supports our teammates so they can race well. I yell and cheer so they know someone out there cares. They yell for me.
If you are not on a team find one, but find a fun one. One where they put friendship first, one where they ride together, one where they go to the Cross Crusade the funnest bike racing in the world.
Thanks to Wade for supplying me with this great photo. See you on the trail or at the races.

Monday, October 27, 2008

RELEARNING HOW TO RACE

My first bike race was in 1966. I was on the cross-country running team at my high school and we decided it would be fun to do a bike race. I think there were 10 or 15 of us. I finished 3rd. I was ahead of lot of the faster runners. That was when I became a true cyclist. I have been doing this along time is the point. The last few years I have concentrated on cross. It is short, sweet, lots of competition and fun. When I got to the oldest age group (that was 45 +) I was one of the fastest racers in the group. Mark Schwyhart and I battled it for a few years. Then  came a few years when I raced by myself, behind the fastest and ahead of the slower (I guess that pretty well explains everyone). Last year, and even more this year it has been different. We still have a couple of really fast guys in the group, Steve Yenne and John Wilson, but then there are a group of 10 or so that stay together for a long time. This is what is different for me. Learning how to attack, surge pass and be ahead at the corners, take advantage of mistakes etc. At Rainier I learned the hard way. Two guys passed me at the finish line. I did not finish the job when I had the chance. That was a learning experience. This last weekend I just kept attacking. It took me all the way to finish line to know I had my place. I was 4th on Saturday and 5th on Sunday, both good races. I have some new confidence to go harder, attack when the others seem not ready. It will be a challenge at every race to be in the top 5, with the goal to do even better. We will see how it goes. It is more fun to race with stronger riders close. The best thing is we are all friends and like to see each other do well and improve. Three more cross crusades to go. How good is that.
Don

Thursday, October 23, 2008

THE SAME RACE?


 
 













Yes these photos are taken at the same race. On the left is Mike Schindler from our Sunnyside Team and on the right is the "kiddie race" Both in Rainier, both photos of kids going hard. That one kid is on a skuut type bike, it has no pedals. He is keeping up with the pedal bike no problem though. I am not sure if anyone keeps track who wins or not, from my perspective I don't think the concept of winning or loosing isn't really on the minds of these kids. They are just going hard, with a lot of adults running around and yelling. Kind of like the adult race really. In the mens "A"race there are maybe 5 guys who start who really have a chance at winning, the rest well they go hard for an hour in order to finish in the top 10, 20 maybe not last. They are all faster than me, but winning isn't really the reason they are there. They are there to do there best.
That brings me to me. I was 7th last week. Not a stellar race for me if you look at the placing. I have done better for sure. However it was a great race for me anyway. I had a slow start. No somebody did not crash me out, no my chain did not come off, no I did not get stuck in traffic. My legs said enough is enough and they went on strike. I must of been close to 15th or 20th when we left the pavement. After one lap I was ready to throw in the towel. I don't through in towels though. Third lap I was back in the top 10 4th lap I was 5th, 5th lap I was catching 4th, I was giving it everything I had,"Gie it lauldie", in Scots. I then got passed by two friends with 100 meters to go, back to 7th it was. I don't like getting passed at the finish, but still I managed to be competitive and almost get to my best finish of the year. Being in the 50+ category brings with it humility and understanding. I think we need to think more like the kids in the kiddie race. Go out there, go hard, have fun and let a bunch of adults run around and yell at us.  Maybe when I get older they will have a new category for us. We would start with the kids. Some of us would be on walkers or skuuts, some would have real bikes, a bunch of adults would still be yelling and we would be tired when we were done. No telling what the future will bring.
Don

Sunday, October 12, 2008

100 CROSS CRUSADE RACES




Today in Wilsonville I raced my 100th (aprox) Cross Crusade race. I am counting some races that were not technically part of the Cross Crusade series. These would be Nationals in Portland, and the GP races. For me they are all Cross Crusade races because of the feeling. It may have something to do with Brad Ross and crew. Something about bike racing being fun, and we are all friends out there. Today was not my best race. I had a slow start and immediately lost track of what place I was in. I was battling with Ron Strasser (the nicest man in bike racing), when he flatted. Now I had no idea what was going to motivate me. I was really tired of passing these strong Master B racers who couldn't go around corners. They are hard to pass, believe me. I buckled down and did my last two laps trying to pass as many as I could. I finished and I was asked How did you do Don?. I don't know, I said. I really had no idea what place I finished. Then someone said you must of been top 5 maybe 3rd or 4th. I thought cool. If I could have what I thought was a bad race and be in the top 5 I would be well chuffed (Scottish for pleased). 
I looked at my result but no not top 5 but 39th. Well that was a mistake for sure. I went and found the appropriate official (Candy Murray) who I have know since before time or at least since 1980. She says "Don the problem is there are TOO MANY RACERS". I am thinking whose fault is that. Well it is Candy's fault, and Mike's fault and all the members of OBRA's fault. It is Brad's fault it is my fault. What business do I have racing. Isn't 100 races enough. Maybe I could stay home and leave room for the younger riders. Here we were in some unfinished  housing development in Wilsonville, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and there are over 1000 of us riding around some gravel pits, crummy grass tracks,and bumpy dirt hills. The reason there are too many of us is because we all belong to this organization that thinks bike racing is fun. How cool is that , that there are too many of us. There were too many in my race. I had to start passing the slower group in front of me in 1/2 a lap. Should I complain, no I should rejoice. I do rejoice. The more I pass the more racers are having fun. 
Candy will fix my problem tomorrow. I do not worry. If it was a USA cycling race I doubt it would ever be fixed. Candy will spend the time tomorrow looking at the lap sheets see I went through 6 times and put my name in either 3rd or 4th. She won't be happy not having the results out at 6:30 on race day, but she will spend the time to get it right. I won't have to worry. Our officials take care of the riders. The ones that pay them. They are working for us to make sure we have a fair race, a safe race and a fun race. Because of that I will return next week and race # 101. Lets continue to have Too many racers. Maybe the results won't be perfect, maybe we won't have time to preride the course, but we will see more smiling faces, and as long as we all remember that this is for fun we will figure it out. See you next week.
Don
PS Candy got my results corrected at 9:15 pm on the day of the race. Awesome!

Monday, October 6, 2008

NO PHOTO

I lost my camera yesterday so I have no photo today. Kind of a bummer. I use the camera to come up with a subject to blog about. I guess I am doing that now, lack of camera is my subject. 
Yesterday was a classic cyclo-cross day. Rain, cool temps and lots of friends. There were over 1200 racers in Portland yesterday. Lots of Sunnyside kit around. 
We have a new member of our team. His name in Matt Fox. He moved over here this fall to teach computer technology courses at Bend High. His girlfriend, Ruth, moved over last year to teach at Pilot Butte Middle School. Both are thrilled to be living on the Sunnyside of the mountains. 
Matt joined our team from observation. He has been doing cyclo-cross for a few years now. He noticed this team from Bend, with bright yellow kit, that attended most of the cross races. That wasn't all he noticed though. Unlike some teams it looked to him that we were all friends. In fact we are . We try to car pool together, warm up together. We are team. I explained to Matt that these were not just friends of Sunnyside Sports. The team is run by team members, not by me or anyone else that works at Sunnyside Sports. 
It is great to have a new team member who appreciates what we are. 
We have another new team member also. Her name is Serena Bishop. Yesterday she was busy running the Portland Marathon. Her time was 3 hours and 15 minutes. Pretty impressive. 
Yesterday was also the return of our women. There were four out there racing and Serena came out to watch (after her Marathon). Two of our teammates are out for the season. Joanne is pregnant, and Veronica is recovering from ankle surgery. They will be back. 
I hope to find my camera, but if I don't I will have to get a new one. I like to have a photo to my mind working.
Don

Saturday, September 27, 2008

CROSS SEASON IS UPON US AGAIN


    













Well I guess cross season is really upon me and a few of my friends. This will be my 10th very active year in cross. In other words my 10th year of going to Portland every weekend in the fall. If you don't do cross (cyclo-cross) go out and at least watch one. Find one in a city or a high school with lots of grass and go on a crisp fall day. It doesn't have to be raining just a bit cool is best. I love the fall, and cross means fall to me. The hard part, though, is mountain bike riding is also fall. It is hard to do the 5 hour epic ride, two sets of intervals, weights and then do well at a race. I will figure it out though. 
This week I rode around Waldo Lake with Muffy and Phil. We started at Little Cultus, then to Lemish and Charleton Lakes and then the 20 miles around Waldo. It was a cool clear day with some smoke. I would say almost perfect. We ate huckleberries at every stop, notices some signs of bears, and just enjoyed a perfect fall day.
Last week Mike and I drove to Hood River for the second half of the Double Cross. One of the things about cross races is the name. We have Cross Crusade, Double Cross, Star Crossed, there are plenty more.  It was a great course Mike and I pulled of a couple of thirds, Damian was 4th in his race and Jim was 5th. Matt, one of our newer members was 6th in his race. I can't remember where David finished but he did two races.
You can see Mike in the photo above. In the other photo you can see my handlebars. I have this clear tape. I can put messages under the tape. The one I use now says Fast Fun Safe. 
I crashed hard last year at Barlow Park in Estacada. I had decided I was going to win that race on the first corner. NOT. Big crash. This is to remind me that I can go fast but I better be having fun and I had better not take chances. I had great fun last weekend and tomorrow we are going again. More Fun, Fast and safe also though. Enjoy the fall, go out and cross.
Don

Saturday, September 20, 2008

CYCLIST AND PAINTER

















I just had the privilege of having Peter Mclaren visit me. I met him last year near Aviemore in the Highlands of Scotland. This year he decided to leave the summer rains of Scotland and visit Oregon. He first went on Cycle Oregon. Like most people who have not visited Oregon Eastern Oregon was a surprise. Oregon is supposed to be in the wet Northwest. He loved the dryness and the high desert that we have.
After Cycle Oregon fellow Bendite Lore brought him to Sunnyside Sports so he could spend a few days with me and Kathy. 
It turns out Peter is a Painter. He makes his living as an Painter. He also loves bicycles and riding. I took him on the best local mountain bike rides. His face was one of joy. He couldn't believe we rode over 30 miles of single track in one ride. In Scotland single track is like gold. You ride 2 miles on Landrover track and then 500 yards of single track. Then 10 miles of gravel road and 1 mile of single track. The next day we went up North Fork and down Flagline. 20 miles of pristine single track. Even though he fell and hurt his shoulder he was in mountain bike heaven.
But like I said he is a painter. The one above is perfect as it combines his love of bikes and shows his artistry as a painter. It was great having long talks about art, painting, music etc. A perfect house guest really. 
Yesterday he took off on his mountain bike and new trailer to Oakridge. I sent him via Little Cultus Lake and Waldo Lake, I hope he gets a chance to ride around Waldo. 
It is very fun to take out of towners on our mountain bike trails. They know what we have even more than we do. It makes me love our trails even more. Sunnyside will be hosting a trail working party next week Tuesday the 23rd of Sept. Meet at the store at 8am and we will doing some brush clearing on the Tumalo Creek trail. Should last until one.
See you on the trail.
Don

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ONE YEAR OF BLOGS

No photo today, just some reminiscing. I was in Scotland one year ago watching some racing (World Mountain Bike Championships and Single Speed Worlds). Now I wonder where the year has gone. I was browsing my blogs and there were some joyful moments (cyclo cross racing, rides with my sweetheart, wildlife viewing, visits with many friends and just living). Then there were the some very sad moments. Remembering about my friend Kent and selling his old bikes, a couple of friends passing away ( Jeannette and Keith).
I guess that is the way life is supposed to go. Joy and Sorrow. They seem to go hand in hand. Unless you really love someone you won't feel the sorrow when they are gone. Sometimes it is just hard to deal with the pain. Then some joy comes and it makes it somewhat better again. 
I have heard from a lot of readers telling me they enjoy my blog. That pleases me. The fact that I can write something that gives pleasure is very ironic. I had to take "bonehead" english in University. The professor was not impressed with my ability to communicate with the pen.
It helps to have spell check, a program that is easy to correct and a couple of readers who edit most of what I write.
I wonder what the next year will bring. We have an election coming up, that could make me grumpy, the economy sucks but Sunnyside has withstood so far. I have trip planned to Mallorca with some friends, more ski coaching and just life coming up. Next year my racing age will be 60. That will be a milestone. 
Thanks for reading and I hope to have more interesting tidbids of life coming up. I could do without the deaths and the sorrow, but I guess that is part of what it is to love.
Take care and thanks again.
Don

Thursday, September 11, 2008

MILESTONES

Four years ago I decided to totally change the way I train for cyclo-cross. I went to Justin Wadsworth, who is now the World Cup coach for the US Nordic Ski Team, and said I want to train in a more modern way. At the time he was the head coach at  the Rebound Performance Lab. He started me on a more intense (lots of intervals) and a regime of strength workouts. I was not sure about the changes, nor was I positive I could actually do all the workouts.
I started  and pretty soon I was enjoying the weights and the intervals as part of my week. My recovery improved (with all the intervals), and I got a lot stronger. After one year I could do 190 pound squats, I could do 7 interval sessions in one week (and race). I was  improving. There were two things that bugged me though. I weighed in the high 160s to low 170s (about 10 pound too heavy) and I still could not do a pull up. I was using this machine at Rebound that is on a ramp so one could work up to regular pull ups. It seemed that after four years (I can now squat 225 pounds) I should be able to do real pull ups,  like I could in Jr High School. I think that was the last time my arm strength to body weight allowed me real pull ups. I became a bike rider after that and good bye to upper body strength.
As you can see in the photo I can do real ups now. I just started a couple of weeks ago. Pretty cool at 57 I can still make real improvements. I also weigh under 160 pounds for the first time since 1988. Wow that was 2o years ago. 
I know that is not like winning a gold medal, or setting some kind of personal best in a race, but for me it is just as good. Years ago I started to really be present in my life. Though I started weights and intervals as a means they quickly turned into their own reward. I like doing both. It is also really great when I can see real progress . I will now have to wait and see if both of these goals translate into being a better cyclo-cross rider. Though the truth is I am now lighter (that feels good) and I am enjoying doing real pull ups. Life is good.
Don

Saturday, September 6, 2008

OLD FRIENDS AND FAR AWAY FRIENDS















This was last weekend on my favorite ride, Round Mountain-Lookout Mountain in the Ochoco Mountains east of Bend. My history with the Ochocos goes way back. In 1969 I came to Central Oregon for the first time to work for the Ochoco National Forest. I was stationed at Rager Ranger Station about 90 miles east of Prineville.  I have loved them ever since. 
Phil, who is on the left is "Phil" of Phil's trail fame. We have been riding together since before Phil's Trail. In fact I was one of the first to ride Phil's Trail with a small group of friends.  Of course back then in the mid 80s there were only a small group of mountain bikers. 
The first time I rode in the Ochocos was with another friend Walt and his nephew Jon. I had a bad crash on the way down and was not sure about going back. Phil convinced me and now it is my favorite ride. The top photo is the very top of Round Mountain. The trail gets steeper and steeper until only the young and very strong can ride that last bit. Martin, who is pushing his bike, was on a single speed. He did quite amazing, though I thought I heard him say something about maybe a geared bike wouldn't be so bad.
I met Martin in Spain. We spent two weeks riding road bikes together with some other Scot friends. I saw him again last year in Scotland when Kathy and I were over to visit and watch the Single Speed World Championships. Martin was one of the promoters. He was in Bend for a couple of days so why not show him the best ride we have. When he left he was thinking the next time over he might just spend it all in Bend. We have most everything a mountain biker could ask for. 
It is nice to have friends like Phil and Martin. Phil and I don't ride together as much as we used to, there are a lot more mountain bikers to ride with for one thing. Phil is my car mechanic though and we do keep in touch. It was great to get out with him again and I am sure that will lead to some riding this fall. I know he has to put a rear wheel bearing in my car. He was in the back seat and diagnosed it on the way home. I won't even have to describe the noise to him.
I am not sure when Martin and I will get together. He and Sue, his long time girl friend (Scots don't appear to get married any more), would like to come back and they know they are welcome to stay. We love Scotland so there is always a chance we will go and visit soon. Maybe one of my many Scot friends will get married, that would get us over. 
I do know I will keep in touch with both Phil and Martin and all the  many other  friends I have made through cycling. In fact another Scot, Peter, is coming next week. More showing of awesome trails. I can't wait.
Don

Sunday, August 24, 2008

OLDER AND WISER OR JUST CUTE OLD MAN?

Unless you have a few gray hairs and are approaching 60 quickly you may not know what it feels like not to  be young anymore. I am not sure if I know. I do all the same things today I did when I was 20. Hike, ride, read, work etc. I haven't changed what I do or even how much I do very much. I get up every morning ready to go. 
The surprise starts when I look in the mirror and wonder why my Dad is looking back at me. Where is my hair, why is it gray?
I was riding my mountain bike last year up one of the more technical trail in Bend, COD. I was making all the hard stuff and generally feeling quite studly. About then two young women come down the trail. I expect them to say - awesome riding dude. But no, they say " Sir, How far is it to the highway?" Sir? I look around to see if there are any sirs around. No they must  mean me. I think they thought I was the old mountain bike man of the forest. Hopefully they thought I was a cute old man. That is what it has come to. If I can be a cute old man that will work.
In the photo is my lunch date of last Tuesday,with  Sarah and Zoe. I spent two weeks with them working and riding on The Washington and Oregon Bike Rides. I have known Zoe almost her whole life (21 years) and I just met Sarah. The first 15 years of Zoe's life I would talk and she would reply with a laugh. It seemed to work. She always smiled when she saw me, I would say hi and she would laugh. A few years ago we actually started to have conversations with words on both sides. 
Hanging with the younger set is a great thing for me. I feel their innocence, their enthusiasm for life and just the fact they like to laugh and have fun. I think that is what is needed to stay sane in this world. I want to thank Zoe, her brother Tosch, Sarah, Brig, Merideth,  Damian. Jon, James, Ben, Andy, Ros, Kevin, Veronica, the two girls on the trail, Jake, Eric, Seth, and I am sure there are more for being my friend laughing at my antiquated jokes and basicly thinking that I am a cute old man and maybe sometimes that I am older and wiser. 
I still feel young inside, I don't feel old not even middle aged. My friends are a mix of all ages and both sexes. I am not cynical and I have lots of hope that we will get this world right for all of us. So here is the advice part. If you are young, befriend someone older. You will be amazed that they might not even know they are old. If you are, like me, a person with some gray hair, find some young people to hang with, learn how to text on your phone, figure out what they mean when they say "snap", get a blog going, go out to lunch and laugh about life. 
See you on the trails.
Don

Monday, August 18, 2008

JOY AND SORROW ON OBR

We just finished The Oregon Bike Ride for this year. Like The Washington ride we had a great time. Barb, Lew, Muffy and I were the Sunnyside Crew. What we do is keep the bikes working. This year we had around 280 bikes to keep going. We had derailleurs into the spokes, broken wheels (three) lots of bad shifting and of course the -my bike creaks under pressure-. We fixed them all (45 on one of the nights). We work as a team and we have a joyful time. We hang out with our many OBR friends, the young crowd (baggage boys and girls) and we make new friends. Herbert with the best butt eye (see last post), his wife Marta came by every day to make us laugh. That is why I like OBR it is the laughing. 
This OBR wasn't all laughter though. We had three crashes that involved ambulances. All three riders will be OK, but it is never fun to see your friends on the ground with faces full of pain. We had two mothers (both over 80) fall at home. Katie flew home to take care of her mom. She then came back to finish the ride. My Mom fell and broke her wrist. I didn't go home. Kathy was here to take care of her, but I had to think hard of what is important. 
The saddest thing though was when the word went out that a cyclist was killed in Bend. No one knew anything but when we heard it was a man around 50 named Keith Moon I was devastated. The photo is of an Angel Bike that was put up on the corner where the accident occurred. There is a brotherhood of all cyclists. We know the danger of cars but we choose to ride because of the joy. When the joy turns to tragedy it hits hard. 
Keith was a student of mine (I taught him and his wife Jenny how to skate ski), he was a customer of mine (lots of bikes and skis through the years), I was a customer of his (the counters in Sunnyside are all from Moon woodworking). I went to many concerts where Keith was the trombone player, Kathy sang with Jenny in the Cascade Choral. There are not words that I have to explain the pain. To share with Keith's family that they are not alone in their sorrow. What is it like not to have a father around, a husband a lover. 
I can only wish them our best. I and Sunnyside have lost a great friend. Good bye Keith.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Joan

Joan has been been with us for 8 years now and now she is moving to Portland. Family, and general life things are taking her away. She is in the photo standing next to Russ the third from the right. A lot of people might not know what Joan did at Sunnyside. Well I will try and tell you. She brought Sunnyside from the 20th century to the 21st. Her goal wasn't to make us the best bike store but the best store. She shared in my vision that Sunnyside should be the best place to work for the workers, but that all should work hard. She looked at the details. For her it was about saving pennies and giving the best service to our customers. She had a vision. It was clear and things had to be a certain way for her. I hope we have learned from her and we will continue to strive to be the best store. She will still be there in the background. Going to shows, helping us find the coolest new product etc. That will be nice but I will miss her. The part about Sunnyside I like is the team feeling we have, the personal relations we develop. With Joan in Portland that will be hard to continue. So I will miss her. I remember the first day she came into our store and I will remember her last day. Maybe she will come back sometime. That would be good.
Take care Joan and I hope we will see you again in Bend.
Don

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WASHINGTON BIKE RIDE BUTT EYE

















We got back from Washington Bike Ride last Friday. What a great ride. We started in North Spokane and went North all the way to Canada. The ride didn't go to Canada but a couple of riders ended up there accidentally. This is some of the best riding I have had in the Northwest. Beautiful scenery and not much traffic. 
But this article is about something else. A phenomena called butt eye. This is when bags form under your eyes. It always happens on the Washington and Oregon rides. We don't know why. Is from dehydration, sleeping outside, some mysterious bug bite. I don't get butt eye. Lucky I guess but as you can see from the photos both Muffy and Paul both ended up with a mild case. I have seen some cases where you can't really recognize the person infected. It seems to affect the older ( 50 or so ) person, and I would think more women then men. That is just a guess though.We are off to Oregon Bike Ride next week and we will do some more research.
Oh by the way, Paul was mechanic on WBR along with me. We normally go with three but ended up with only 2 this year. He was great. We had 40 bikes a night the first three days and we got them all done before dark. Muffy was our store manager. She was also great. It really helps to have such enthusiastic help. Thanks to both. 
Don 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON AND OREGON BICYCLE RIDES


Saturday I will be leaving to do my 20th (aprox) Oregon, Idaho or Washington Bike Ride. These rides are organized by Sandy Green and have been happening since 1987. It started out as OBR (Oregon Bike Ride), a few years ago she added Bike Idaho, and then last year she switched from Idaho to Washington. I think we did all the roads in Idaho. 
Anyway I have been helping for a long time now. 
Gary, Mike, Barb, Susan, Seth, Paul, Chuck, Kevin, Tosch, Sanna, Kathy and Muffy have also helped along the way. This ride is a week long celebration of cycling. Plenty of us have gone from being 30 something to almost 60. It is like a family of sorts. 
What we do is fix bikes. We have a Uhaul (Alaska this year) full of bicycle parts and accessories and we keep the riders going. We don't charge for labor, we get to work outdoors and we even get to ride some of the ride. Most of the time it is fun, lots of times it is hard work, and all of the times it is rewarding. We like to keep every one's bike on the road. 
It is easier now than it used to be. Back in the day we had only one mechanic, and the bikes were pretty sad. Most everyone now rides road bikes, usually in good condition so instead of building wheels, replacing worn out bike parts we do more usual repairs. Gear cables, tyres, tubes, the odd accident will give us a challenge (new fork or wheel), but usually the repairs are pretty normal. I like the normal. People have more fun on a good bike, and the word has spread so most of the group are riding some pretty nice bikes. 
In the photo Barb is at a rest stop getting ready to lube a chain or maybe adjust a derailleur. 
It is sunny and warm and as you can see in the background the rest of the group is milling around, eating some snack food and getting ready to ride the next segment. 
It is always hard for me to leave Bend this time of year because we are so busy at the store, but once I  get there I forget about time and the week becomes OBR time. Get up early, put away the tents, get some breakfast, fix the odd flat, load the truck, ride or drive to the rest area. Talk, hang out make friends, see old friends. If you haven't done OBR sign up next year. Do it early as it sells out in January or February. I will be back in a week and then it is off to the Oregon Bike Ride. I will try and write a blog if I can get on line. See you soon.
Don

Monday, July 21, 2008

NORTH FORK TRAIL (TUMALO CREEK)

I am sure if you live in  Bend you have been to Tumalo Falls. It is a jewel. Yesterday when I was there it looked liked half of Bend was there to see the falls. The parking lot was full, actually overflowing. Families were hiking up to the overlook to see the Falls from the top.
This place has a special memory for me. In the summer of 1979 I was working for the Forest Service. I was the Bend Fireman on the Fort Rock Ranger District. I got a call. There was a large black column of Smoke in the Bend Watershed. I quickly got in my truck and raced up to Skyliner Road to Tumalo Falls. On the way I could see the growing column, but when I got to the Falls it was no longer visible because of all the trees and the canyon walls. As I drove the last three miles of gravel road I was in a dense Douglas fir forest, the cliffs on the north side of the Canyon were covered in moss. It was like a westside oasis close to Bend.
There were three of us who arrived at the Tumalo Parking lot at the same time. There was already a crew of Smokejumpers on the fire about two miles up. We parked our trucks facing out, leaving the keys in them. We hiked up the Bridge Creek trail to see if we could stop this roaring fire. We got up maybe a mile when we realize the noise we were hearing was not the local freight train but the fire heading down hill towards us. We crossed over Bridge Creek and went sat right at the edge. This was our only safety zone. The fire roared by. We kept the fire from jumping across the creek to the west of us but it crossed below us and up the hill it went. We dug fireline on the western edge to keep it from reversing direction if the wind would change. Today if you hike up Bridge Creek you can see where the fire burned up the hill. 
After a long night,and lots of work we were relieved of our duty 28 hours after we got there. We hiked down Bridge Creek. It was burnt logs, stumps and black soil. This was different place. When we got to the Tumalo Creek parking lot there was an oasis of trees left. Another crew had arrived after us and stayed there, using our trucks (they all had water pumps) kept spraying the trees, the buildings etc while the fire destroyed everything around. On the drive out I was amazed at the difference. No longer a west side like forest. Just burned trees everywhere. This was one hot fire. 
Now when I go up to Tumalo Falls, either on the south side trail or the road it looks like Central Oregon. The cliffs are dry rock, the trees are pine, the vegetation is manzanita and deer brush. It is still beautiful, but I will always remember it the way it was. 
This blog morphed into something from what it started to be. The photo is of one of the many falls you will see on the North Fork of Tumalo Creek. Most people seem to stop at the top of Tumalo Falls. The next time keep going. You will be amazed. This is also what the whole canyon looked like before 1979. 
Thanks for sharing my memory.
Don

Sunday, July 13, 2008

CASCADE CYCLING CLASSIC AND THE TDF


I am a huge bike racing fan. I have been to six different World Cycling Championships, the Tour de France, The Coors Classic and of course numerous editions of the Cascade Cycling Classic. I love the fact that one of the oldest stage races in the United States is in our town. Sunnyside was an important part of the first Classics, we were the Title Sponsor for two years and I was the technical director for 9 years. When I retired from that job I had had enough. It was rewarding but it was time for a change. I am so thankful the MBSEF is in charge now. I hope it will continue for another 28 years.
I was at the finish of the Three Creeks stage this year(photo on right). I rode my bike from Bend up to finish (we actually went three miles past the finish). It was cool to see the Rock Racing guys and all their support, and Levi finishing strong. I was wondering if he would have won if the race had continued up the steeper slopes to the end of the pavement. 
I didn't go to the criterium. I hate seeing bike crashes. It makes me hurt all over. Every time I see the video of Joseba Beloki go down in front of Lance I get queasy all over. In fact I don't get to see a lot of the Cascade. We are so busy in the summer I seem to end up working. Some of it is for the Classic though. Not all pro bike racers have a mechanic. Yesterday I fixed a guy with a loose Campagnolo Crankset. Someone had forgot to use an important washer. I fixed a wheel for a woman. I had to make a spoke and a custom file a nipple to work on her, unknown to me, carbon wheels, and then I fixed a rear derailleur for a guy who was sure it was worn out. Not real hero work but they will race today better than yesterday. I feel good about that. I didn't charge them for any labor as for me it is my way of still being part of the race.
Though I don't watch a lot of the Cascade I watch every second of the Tour de France. I even have a Tour de France flag hanging in front of my house.  It is on before work and I can record it to watch later. If you are watching you will know that Christian Van de Velde is in third overall. He has already held the Pink in the Giro. I don't know if he will hold a podium or even a top ten. I am rooting for him like I have never rooted for anyone before. I had dinner with him a few years back, he is a CCC alumni, and his wife was my guide in Spain for  a week. 
I never thought I would get to watch the Tour when the CCC started. I didn't know we would have Internet, satellite tv and cable tv that picks up bike races. I didn't know about Lance and what he would do about the popularity of bike racing. I am happy though. 
Go Christian, and long live the CCC.
Don

Sunday, July 6, 2008

GREAT LOCAL RIDE AND MY RIDING FRIEND JIM

 Last week we went over to the Ochocos for one of my favorite rides. You may have read about it. Today Jim, Karen and I did a local ride. We started at Shevlin Park and went up the Mrazek Trail. Jim and I wanted to do an epic, Karen was more sane and turned around   after almost two hours. When Jim and I got to the Farewell Bend trail we headed down. Still awesome even after doing it a couple of days ago. This time though I had to stop. In this photo you can see Jim, and behind him is a spectacular display of flowers (just as good as the Ochocos), only without the drive. They are Indian Paint Brush and penstemon. With Broken Top in the background it just doesn't get any better. All this without a drive. 
Jim is back at Sunnyside Sports this summer. We have been very busy, busier than usual. This is a good thing. We had a couple of sicknesses though and we got behind. We asked Jim to come in and it has really been great for all of us at the store. When he worked before he was behind the computer, this time we have him doing a little of everything. Building bikes, helping customers, fixing bikes and whatever. Thanks Jim for fitting in and and making our life a little easier. If you are a customer and come in you can see Jim knows a bit about cycling. Ask him about the trails or what is his favorite bike. See you on the trails.
Don

Friday, July 4, 2008

PLANTS AND BIKES
















As most of you know I like riding my mountain bike, and I just got a new one. When I write this blog I don't get into product review very much. I like to write about my experiences more than stuff. I leave the stuff talk for the store, but this bike is different. If I wanted to write a very boring blog I could tell you about every bike I have owned. My first bike, a Western Flyer, my first 10 speed, a Peugeot UO-8, my first real mountain bike, Treks first prototype mountain bike. I could go on and on. I put on my first shock at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Durango in 1990. I finished 12th in the Downhill. I got my first full suspension bike a few years later. It was a Trek Y bike. My new bike is different. It is a Trek Fuel EX 9.0. It works the way a full suspension is supposed to work. I goes up better, it goes on the flat better and it goes downhill better. What more can I say. I decided I needed to learn how to go down the whoops trail doing what it was designed for, (air) as opposed to me being afraid of every bump. I took out the new Trek and realized that this bike was designed for riding. No, my air isn't big, but I can flow down the whoops now. I went down Farewell Bend a couple of days ago. It felt like a different trail. This bike has 5 inches of travel. I can clear stuff going uphill I have never cleared. Going downhill you don't even notice the hard bits. I think it is cool that bike companies are really figuring out how to make full sus bikes, and I am glad I have been around to see it.


The other photo is really amazing. When you are out in the woods and see white blossoms everywhere, those are ceanothus blooming. You might call it snow brush or deer brush. This is best I have ever seen it. This photo was taken on Marazak in the old burn. As far as I could see there was white. Get up there and check it out. The whole forest smells of these blossoms. I think it is because the snow was on the ground for so long these plants had water until quite late. It is spectacular.
See you in the woods.
Don

Saturday, June 21, 2008

OREGON AND THE REDWOODS WITH FRIENDS


My two friends, Andy and Ros just got on the shuttle back to Portland. I would have taken them but I need to mark the Pickett's Charge course today. They stayed in our house for over three weeks, it seemed like three days. We tried to pack in as much stuff as we could, even though Kathy and I both had to work. We went through the Columbia Gorge, hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls and then seeing the wildflowers just east of Hood River. We went on many bike rides, and checked out the shopping in Bend. We went to the Painted Hills and to Clarno Fossil Beds. I had never been to those places before, close, but I never stopped and looked. 
Last week we took an old fashioned vacation. We went to the Umpqua to hike, ride and camp. That was spectacular. Then it was off to Ashland to see some Shakespeare. Seeing Shakespeare in Oregon with two friends from England was eye opening. They loved it. They thought it was fresh and innovative. Both plays were comedies and we all laughed more than usual. Ros was a stage director in England and really was impressed at how well the plays were put on. 
After two days of a cottage in Ashland it was back to camping. We decided to show them the Redwoods. Kathy and I met in the Redwoods, and both Andy and Ros work for the Forestry Commission in Scotland. We thought some real trees would be fun. We camped at Jedediah Smith State and National Park.WE had bacon and pancakes for breakfast, roasted marshmallows over an open fire, went to the most amazing Redwood Grove I have seen. It is called the Stout Grove. Words do not come close to describing what this grove of trees is. 
On the way home we through in Crater Lake for desert. There is so much snow still that hiking and riding were out of the question. It was spectacular. 
It was fun to show them all these places we live so close to. I now have a new appreciation for what we have.
I miss my friends. They are going back across the sea to England. With the price of fuel so high I feel an uncertainty about travel in the future. When will I see my friends again? That is a sad thought. Maybe next year in Spain? I will make it happen if I can. 
In the mean while I will enjoy Bend to the utmost, I will look at everything like it is new and fresh.  Every time I ride my bike I will think that Andy is with me, enjoying this trail for the first time. I hope all of you do the same. We have this special place we call home. Enjoy it, cherish it, and go out and see it.
Don