Thursday, July 24, 2008


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.

Monday, July 21, 2008


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.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


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.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


 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.

Friday, July 4, 2008


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.