Monday, January 28, 2008


Carl Decker and I. What do we have in common? Mountain Biking, learning how to drive (faster) from Carl's Dad Mike, speaking Spanish, living in Bend a long time, seeing each other in far off places (Scotland, Durango, Providence RI, on some obscure trail far from town, and starting mountain biking the same year. Some people think I invented the Sport. They haven't been around that long I guess. I think of myself as a newcomer. Tom Pickett, he did nationals the first year they had them, Gary Bonacker. We have a photo of Gary on top of Bachelor Butte (the old name) circa 1976 with his bike.
I started with Carl. Cascade Cruise put on by the old gang at Century Cycle (John Byfield still live in town),was our first race. I am guessing it was 1984 or so. I really don't remember. Carl and I have been doing it every since. 1990 first UCI worlds, yep Carl and I were there. 2007 Worlds again we were there. He was racing, I was spectating. Lots more in between. Carl thinks he has done 500 races in his career. Not all cycling. He was a very good runner during his high school and university days. I have done maybe 275 or so in the same period. He is a pro I am a nut, and just can't stop. I love the photo of Carl getting his first road bike. It was Christmas and he was happy. He still loves it, I think. You can ask him when he and Adam Craig come to Sunnyside on Feb 16Th to talk about racing and whatever other questions we and you ask them. I have some stories to tell but most of them are not that exciting. Are we best friends? No. We have endured and shared in a sport that I am still in love with. I am proud to know Carl, and I am proud to have helped him. He has had way more help from people other than me. I know that. But I was the first bike store for Carl and when he needs a hand we are still there. But mainly we joke and laugh and know that we didn't start mountain biking, but we helped and we share the love of a wonderful sport. You will like what Carl will have to say so please come and see him and Adam next week.
The three photos are Carl at Single Speed Worlds in Aviemore Scotland (he was 2ND), Carl at the Ranier Cross Crusade race (2ND again) and Carl getting his first road bike. I think he was 11. You can ask him that also. There is an interview with Carl in this month's Velonews. The printed interview is longer than the one that was online last week.
If you are a die hard cyclist it is time you got out and learned to ski. The snow is going to be around for a few weeks. Meisner is going again, so don't moan, just go and ski.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I like to ride to work. In the warm, in the cold in the dry, the wet, the snowy even the icy. For me it is fun, I have never ridden to work to save our dear planet. It would be nice if it did but I don't believe it would. I have saved about 186 gallons of fuel and around $500 commuting on my bike since 1980 (the year I started at Sunnyside). That comes to $18 a year. No I don't commute to save money either. Only one reason; fun. We only have one car in our family so it is better for Kathy that I ride to work, but that is not the reason. Life is quite short, we all must make the best of it. I like to drive my car, it is small, fast and it loves the snow. I love to ride my bike. So I ride. I try to do all the things I like best. Ride, ski, read take naps spend lots of time with Kathy and my friends. Not necessarily in that order but riding a bike is up there.
Today it was 2F when I left home. I had on two pairs of pants, three jackets, two pairs of gloves, two hats .... I was warm, the snow was awesome. It was cold and sticky. Great for riding and it sounds cool on a bike. Three of us rode to work today. All of us like to ride in the snow. We like to skid, we like see if we can pedal hard enough to make the rear wheel slip. Jon sometimes rides a fixie. Today he had a mountain bike.
When I was taking a Spanish class at COCC a few years ago I always rode. When I got to class I would be asked are you cold, "No I am not cold I am hot." Riding a bike is work up hill, being cold is not the problem normally.
I love my bike still, and that is why I ride to work. I hope you do the same. Not necessarily ride but do what you love. Life is short, have some fun.
There is a video below that was supposed to be a photo. I left it as is because it is kind of old fashioned looking.
Sunnyside Sports
Where we sell fun.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Sorry I do not have a photo, I was too cold and tired. Anyway yesterday Ben, James and I decided to do a semi long (3 hour) mountain bike ride. It was about 30 and it hadn't snowed in a while. It seemed like a good idea, I don't like skiing on big holidays and this was in the desert. Not many people out there. Jake, from the store, told me that Horse Ridge was pretty good.
On the way it started to snow, about when I was passing the Pilot Butte movie theaters, and I was wondering why I couldn't be normal and just go to a movie. But on I went to meet my friends for the ride.
It started out great, 2 to 3 inches of soft powder snow over what seemed like dirt. Every once in a while one of us would slide a bit, but it is winter and we expected that. We started out on the west side of Horse Ridge and then crossed over, through Golden Basin, to the east side. The down was fun, saw a big guy in a big truck. He was thinking we were crazy. He may have been correct. The first sign of something not right happened as Ben was just riding along when his whole bike just started to slide. Down he went and slid for 20 feet. Solid ice under the snow. We kept going and it seemed fine. We had to climb back up to horse ridge and I noticed there were spots of treacherous ice under the snow. But uphill that is not a problem. We hiked up to the top and the dirt was actually powdery. We were looking forward to the single track after two hours on dirt desert road.
Well on top it was more snow and more ice. It was impossible to see the ice. Sometimes when you turned the bike went straight. At least we were riding almost level.
Now most of you know I am 57, I have got a lot more conservative in my riding and I have a no fall policy. Ben and James are young bucks. They race in the pro level of mountain bikes. They are used to riding with Adam Craig and Chris Sheppard not with me.
We got to the junction and decided that down out of the ice through Sandy Canyon was our best bet.
So down we went. I was thinking it would get better real soon. No. It was like a sheet of ice under the snow. Those guys were ahead and I was thinking: They are probably eating this up and will have to wait for me. I was careful, I walked a few spots, once it was too late to get off the bike and there was no stopping I did my best Adam Craig imitation and managed not to fall.
When we regrouped at the bottom they felt the same as me. Some of the hairiest riding they had done. Totally unpredictable. Right after that I was following Ben when he hit another huge piece of ice. Down he went with me right behind. We were not going fast so no injuries.
On the way home I looked at the what movies were playing. Probably nothing as exciting as our ride.
Take care and stay off the ice.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Weight training. I thought I would never do this. I first did it in 7th grade. If you are in your 50s and grew up in a metro area you may remember how fast the schools filled up (even faster than Bend). The Jr High (Middle School) I went to had no cafeteria, no gym and lots of temporary classrooms. These were like mobile homes that stayed at the schools forever. Our weight training was done in a custodial closet. I was the weakest (I was also the smallest and youngest). I started school a year early. I thought back then it was because my mom thought I was smart, but I am not so sure it wasn't to get me out of the house a year sooner.
Anyway I hated it. I don't think I could lift the bar. I became a first a runner and then a cyclist. These sports didn't use weights. I was happy. Even in the 80's weights were not used universally for distance athletes. I was still happy. Then it happened. Sometime in the 90's one kept reading articles on how important weight training was. I ignored them all. Then I went to my friend Justin Wadsworth for some help on interval training. I had heard that Beckie (his Wife) was doing unheard of amounts of intervals and I wanted to know all about it. He said, look Don you have done me many favors so I will return one and be your coach. I thought cool. I was ready to start my intervals. He said don't worry you will do lots of intervals but lets start doing weights. Oh no I said and started to give my excuses. He wouldn't listen. So there I was in the Rebound Sports Lab showing off to everyone how weak I was. At least I could lift the bar (45 pounds). Then the bar with some weight, then 100 pounds. I asked Justin -How much will I be lifting? He said if you can squat 200 pounds you will doing fine. I could barely do 100.
I am consistent and disciplined, if not strong. So I started. Two times a week every week. Half hour of core then 4 sets of 4 max squats and some arm stuff. The photo is me warming up with 135 pounds. That now feels light. I can do my 4 sets of 4 with 225 pounds. What a difference.
The deal with endurance athletes is your body becomes only as strong as it needs to do the work. The more you ride the weaker you become. Not good. I feel different, (Kathy says I look different, I ride and ski different. This is not news to most of you it is just a confession of a dedicated non weightlifter who now actually likes it. It is fun and it is indoors.
I am now not the weakest and not lifting in a custodial closet helps.
Thanks for listening.
PS I went for a road ride east of town and the roads are very clear.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Skiing in town, what a good thing that is. No drive, no use of gas, seeing lots of friends. On Wednesday I went out skied with Jennifer for an hour, watched the MBSEF kids do intervals, asked Ben a coaching question and basically had fun. The snow was good ( I would have rated it a 6.5). I wish it would snow a little more in town so we could do this every year. This would really make Bend a world class ski town. Oh well that would be a lot of snow shoveling and not so many winter bike rides. I guess the best thing is to make do with what we have.
Yesterday, (photo on the right) I went out with some of the Sunnyside crew. Some had skated before and some had not. They all did great. In the old days at Sunnyside we all skied and rode bikes. Now it is different. It is not so easy to find people who have experience nordic skiing and cycling. It was fun to take out the crew and show them what all the fuss is about. We sell fun at Sunnyside and I would like everyone in the store to share that fun. If you don't ski when you live in Bend the winters can be very long.
Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Today I had the honor of coaching for Ben Husaby. I normally coach on Sundays with the Advanced Skate group for the MBSEF. Today Ben was at US Nationals so I substituted for him. There were 9 women, all of them ready to learn as much about skiing as I could show them. It is a big responsibility. I want everyone of them to be better skiers after we are done. I also want to do a good job for Ben. Most are my customers and I want them to know that I know a lot about skiing and that I care. They all care for sure. I have been coaching for about 15 years now and about 60% of the participants have been women. It has been a joy to coach so many women.* Some have been athletes from other fields, one told me she will never learn how to skate (she did), most have had a great time and most still are skating. When I started doing this I had no idea who would take the classes nor how well I would do. It has been a success on both ends.
The Jeanette that the poster is honoring (along with us in our tu tus) is Jeanette Sullivan. She is very sick now with Cancer. Last year she was in this class, this year she is fighting for her life. It is tougher than skating. I wish her hope and survival and most of all love and living. I have lost quite a few friends to Cancer now and each one hurts. I also have lots of friends who are survivors. Getting older is lot more than you getting old, it is also watching your friends get old and sometimes die. Coaching is a piece of cake compared to that.

*I have also the coached a lot of men (the other 40%). They are also a lot of fun, though quite different to coach. That is another blog.

Don Leet
Sunnyside Sports
Bends oldest bike and cross country store