Sunday, June 28, 2009


It is now summer in Bend. This is a time when I don't have to look at weather forecast to know it will be warm and sunny. For me it is a comfortable time of year. Work is busy, but on my days off I like a long hard bike ride in the sun. Sweat, drinking lots of water, getting tired taking a nap. Simple things, really but that is what I like.
Today Jim and I went up to Round Mountain and Lookout Mountain. This is a 30 mile ride with 4 hours of riding time. There is 7 miles of uphill pavement and then 100% single track to the car. There are meadows and flowing trail, there are the Switchbacks of Death, there is 6 inch wide single track on a hillside (you hope the tyre you choose hooks on), another long climb when it seems time for more downhill. The flowers, well this is a desert flower oasis. I have to call Kathy when I am on top to tell her which flowers are in bloom. The last part is a 7 mile downhill. It starts off wicked. There is one place where the trails veers to the right and you have to look down and concentrate on the trail so you don't make the mistake of flying off the edge. As you get down the trail it gets easier with some high speed corners, side hills etc. Finally the last little section of sweet single track and back to the car. If you have done this ride with me in the past part of you was with me today. I think of all the times I have done this ride every time I do it. The time of the big crash (me), the time of the snow, the time of the torrential downpour, the time of running out of water, the time of the lost camera, the time of the found camera. That was maybe half the times I have done this ride. I rate my summer on how many times I do the Round/Lookout combo. One is good, two is very good and three rocks. I have only done it three times once. That will be my goal this year.
Come in and ask me if you want to do this ride.
Take care,
PS I also hike up this same mountain with Kathy, it is also on the top of my lists of favorite hikes.

Monday, June 22, 2009


This was a real test of a race. I have done a 12 hour races solo and a 100 mile race solo, but I think this was harder. In a 100 mile race you don't go at race pace, it is more of a long bike ride than a race. At the end you are either ahead or behind. In a 50 mile race you go race pace at the beginning and then try to repeat it the second half. I decided not to use mud tyres (a mistake), I decided against my contacts (my glasses fog up when it is wet), but that worked ok though.
In Bend we have miles of single track that is fun and challenging to ride (that is because of COTA). In Corvallis they do not have that so the promoter of TOE (Mike Ripley of Mudslinger Events) builds a few more miles of trail every year. There are some sweet sections of single track that we rode yesterday but there were also some impossible (for me anyway) parts. When I find myself hoping for the gravel road sections I think this is not the kind of single track I like. This is not a complaint, more of a statement. I am 58 years old and am trying to make decisions in my life that make every moment worthwhile. It is not enough to go out an win a race (I did that yesterday), it also has to be lots of awesome single track. If not I would go out and road race. I don't do this for the pain as much for the smile the comes on my face after experiencing a fun course.
Enough wining. Mike does as good a job possible and everything else about yesterdays TOE was perfect.
We had mud, but not too much. The climb up to the first aid station was a steep climb in this very slippery mud. I made it both times (the second time I had to give it everything I had). I walked on the all the most difficult descents, as I still have a zero crash tolerance in my life.
COKE. Was is the thing about Coca Cola? I don't drink soft drinks often. If you watch the Tour you will see on a long stage the riders being given cans of Coke towards the end of a stage, no matter who their drink sponsor is. I have known of the Coke affect since I did the STP (200 mile ride) 20 years ago. Drink a Coke with one hour to go and you feel fresh again. I had one yesterday with half a lap to go. I felt like a new man. There has to be more in there than caffeine and fructose.
It was a good day in general, I may have broken 6 hours, I could have gone faster but I was trying to keep it so I did not go under. Now I have to decide if I am going to race the High Cascades 100. I know it will have the kind of single track I like.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Sunday is the 6th annual Test of Endurance. It is a 50 mile mountain bike in Coast Range just west of Corvallis. I have not done this race before so it will be mostly new. It is ironic that in my last few years as I have gotten tired of riding road bike centuries and have gravitated to cyclo cross racing (these races last around 45 minutes) that I am doing a race that will take me around 5 hours. I didn't really train for this event other than ride less this week. I am not sure what to expect either. It may rain and be muddy or it might be a beautiful Willamette Valley early summer day. I have done long races in the past so I am not too worried about pacing or finishing, I guess my main goal is to have fun though. I will treat this as a long hard mountain bike ride. I think there are over 200 registered so I will have plenty of company. Lets just hope for some awesome single track and good weather.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Here are today's flowers from my 5+ hour ride. I am getting ready to do a 50 mile race next weekend (The Test of Endurance). That is not the point of this blog though, it is the flowers. Here they are. Kathy tells me they are buckwheat, lupine, penstemon, flax, bitterbrush, and wild strawberry. Of course the photo of Phil, James and Ben is just extra. I just happened to see them on the trail. It is nice to run into friends along the way.
PS I did not list the flowers in order that is your job.


Yes it has been wet the last few days. If you read my last blog you will know I was caught in it. I  wasn't complaining about it though like a lot of Central Oregonians do, I was just telling about an adventure. I actually like the rain, the thunder and the lightning. The flowers like it even more. When I am out on my mountain bike it is amazing how many flowers are out there blooming. It is also amazing that I can never remember the names of them. Kathy has been teaching me the names of flowers for over 30 years and I still don't really get it. 
The ironic thing is I do know the name of the "flower" in the photo, it called Indian Paintbrush. She taught me that one first on one of our first dates. That was all the room my brain had for flower names I guess. Indian Paintbrush, however red and beautiful, is not a flower, the red you see are just the leaves turning red. The leaves are called bracts which are modified leaves. It is not that this is unusual, I am told there are other "flowers" like this, just don't ask me what they are. 
So if you ride with me and want to know the name of the flowers I can phone home and ask Kathy, unless it is an Indian Paintbrush, I have got those dialed.
 Today I am going out and I am going to try to get more photos of flowers. I will share them with you but you will have to identify them. 
No more complaining about the rain now, go out early and enjoy what the rain brings.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I went out yesterday for an unplanned ride up to the Mountains. It was around 60f in town, but I knew it might rain where I was going so I put goretex gloves, warm hat,arm and leg warmers, vest and rain cape in the pockets. I figured I would be fine. Well as headed west it seemed where I was going was clear (Jeffrey calls this a sucker hole). After about one hour of riding everything changed in a matter of minutes- it started to rain, thunder and lightning, and then the hail. Under thick but not tall tree in a canyon I went. I put on all my clothing and figured I would be OK. I figured wrong. It rained so hard the trail became a river ( 10 inches deep in places) and the temp dropped into the low 40's. I figured it was time to go. I went for about 15 minutes and thought if I can get hold of Kathy I could just drop down to the Skyliner Snow Park and she could save me (this would save my about an hour of riding downhill). The problem was cell phone service. I knew there was one place that usually had service. I got there and took out my phone (this was not easy with now frozen hands and all those layers on). I had one bar indicating marginal service. I phoned home-busy. I tried her cell phone, she was there. I barely could get out the words meet me at Skyliners. She said OK. So down I went on the roughest road in Central Oregon. My tire felt flat after hitting a few large rocks in the road. I couldn't really see as my glasses were fogged and wet. I just kept pedaling. I found the shortcut through the houses and on to Skyliner's road. Kathy was not quite there as it had only taken me 15 minutes to get there. I was shivering uncontrollably by this time. There came the distinctive headlights of our Audi though. I managed to get the bike on the roof, I grabbed the wool blanket in the back of the car and jumped in the now warm car. I could still barely talk and say thank you to my ever present rescuer. Back to home with the fire blazing and a hot cup of warm beverage. It took almost an hour to feel normal again. This morning my fingers are still kind of numb. The great outdoors can be a real adventure sometimes. 
PS Drookit is Scottish for soaking wet.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


My heyday of racing mountain bikes was in the late 80s. I started in 1983 but it wasn't until 1988 that I felt I hit my potential. It was the year I won a silver and a bronze medal at the NORBA World Mountain Bike Championships. Five years later my friend Tom Pickett died, and it was 6 years later that Pickett's Charge was started. I was retired from racing at that time. It think all the training was getting to me and work was hard. 
I tried to race as many Picketts as  I could though, and I was always in pretty good shape. I finished 2nd and 3rd quite a few times. I had good races and always knew I had given it my best. This year though I won. Tom liked to win so I can finally give him a win that he would have appreciated. A little late but sweet none the less. I did it on a course Jim Juenger and I  designed. It was 80 % single track. It had rocks and twists. This would have been a trail Tom would have loved. I am on a role this year and I have won 4 out of the 5 races I have entered. I don't like to brag but the thing is wins are hard to come by. They should be special and mine are. This one even more so because of Tom. He started me on this road (mountain bike trail) and for that I am thankful. We finished today on a road that we used to use as one of out main routes. When I was finishing I could see Tom ahead of me showing me how to get those mountain bikes to go around corners in loose dirt. It seemed like it was just yesterday.