Sunday, July 26, 2009


This is a photo of me and my nephew Georgi. I really don't know him well, though I would like to know him more. He was born in Bulgaria and my brother adopted him and his sister Stoyanka in 2001. They lived in Alaska then, though I did get to meet him at my Dad's memorial service in Glacier Park. He was 9 and was just learning English. My brother and his family then moved to Moscow, Russia. The time I have been with Georgi have been when they come to Bend to visit my mom and us. One time there was a family reunion and with all the relatives it was difficult to spend lots of time with Georgi. Two years ago it was different though. Georgi was 14 and was thinking riding a bike would be fun. I got one of our rentals and we did some really fun rides. I was impressed that a 14 year old could go so fast, long and he has natural skills.
This year they are only here for a few days but Georgi got a new bike so we have been able to test it out. We went out to the lair the first day. Georgi has no fear so he was getting some serious air. His landings were a little dusty, though always with a smile. Today we decided to do the whoops. This is a trail that has become famous in Bend. Lots of big table tops, doubles and banked corners. In the photos you can see us resting after the hour and a half ride to the top. His new bike is the blue one. I warned him not to hit the bumps too fast. Down we went. More big smiles. It is great to share with family my biggest passion-mountain biking. He is headed back to Houston, where he lives, but maybe next summer or sometime we can get in some more rides in.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have been watching the Tour avidly this year, though not more than the last three years. Lance's presence does not affect my interest in the Tour. I enjoy his presence but not all the politics that go with it. I would like most of these guys to talk with their legs not with their mouths. Kloden is a good example of that. He races, he goes hard, he may finish on the podium he doesn't complain.
A few days ago there was a lot of talk how George Hincapie was robbed of the yellow jersey, how he deserved the yellow, etc.... I like George, one of the highlights in my life was being in France watching the Tour while George won a huge mountain stage in 2005.
He did not deserve the jersey this year, because he simply didn't have the best time. The Tour is not Christmas it is a race. The reason Yellow is special is because it is hard to achieve. The real sad fact of that day was his own team was responsible for him not being in the jersey. They also lost the Green jersey in the same bonehead, greedy move. George was in a breakaway about 5 minutes ahead of the main field. He needed about 5 minutes to take the yellow. When the main pack came in the Colombia High Road boys went to the front to lead out Mark Cavendish. They weren't going all out but they were going fast enough to get to the front. In the confusion of the semi fast lead out Cavendish swerved to the side blocking Thor Hushovd. In my mind they were the cause of the 5 seconds George needed and because they were not committed and their lead out was not to plan, Mark swerved and was relegated to last place. They lost both the yellow and the green because they wanted both. They could have sent Mark to follow the wheel of Thor and not lead at all to make sure George had the time he needed. Mark could have then either won the field sprint or at least finished high up to get some points. He would then be still leading the points competition. That is not all. Columbia High Road doesn't want to be responsible for their own actions it appears. Mark Cavendish tells Thor, a previous winner of the Green Jersey in 2005, that this year the Jersey is tainted. The next day Thor, a really amazing bike rider, broke away from the field in one of the hardest mountain days of the Tour and won the two intermediate sprints. This gives him an almost insurmountable lead over Cavendish. I never have heard any quotes from Thor, his legs let the world know who deserves what and why.
I was delighted to see Contador win the time trial today also. No one could say he what he should or shouldn't have done today.
I like to watch the tour and see who is doing well and who does amazing things, I don't go into the tour hoping for a single person to win and then feel bad when they don't. I love the race, the glory, pain, everything. I am also delighted to see Lance in third and that he has been a good teammate whilst on the bike. Being a good teammate is what this year called for and he has done that well. I am not sure he likes that role though. Christian Van de Velde switched roles from leader to helper in just a second. He loves both roles. He is a complete person. Now we get to see what happens on the Ventoux.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It seems like I blink and another week has gone by. I like to write a blog at least once a week and this time of year it is a little harder. I love to watch the Tour and that takes time, but well worth it to me. This morning I was watching the Tour at 3:30 am. Sounds crazy, I know, but I wasn't the only one. Kathy and my brother, Bob who is visiting, also got up. I like to watch every minute I can.
This weekend I did my dream race. A few weeks ago I wrote about Lookout Mountain, well this weekend I got to race my favorite trail. It went quite well for me. I didn't have anyone else in my age group but I managed to stay with most of the younger riders and I had a great time. This is a photo of me racing. My brother took it as I crested the top of the 8 mile climb. It was pretty much all downhill from that point on. I passed about 5 on the downhill so my skills are still there. Not many showed up though. Too bad really. There seems to be a lack of mountain bike racing interest in the summer. Portland people really don't like to travel. I can't really blame them but the truth is we call in Mountain biking for a reason and that reason is the mountains we have. Any racer who missed this race missed an opportunity to really get a feel of what this sport started as. Maybe next year. More family is coming this week including my nephew who is getting a new bike. I am looking forward to going out with him on it. The last time he was here we did a couple of great rides, but this time he will have his own bike so that will be cool.
Another big stage tomorrow in the Tour. Lance has been great so far. I don't think he is going to win nor do I care. I do hope he gets to really help Contador. That would be cool. We will see.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I got to be the hero today instead of the embarrassed victim. My friends Barb and Lew (with their friend Ali) went to Lookout Mountain to see the wild flowers and go for a hike. After locking the car they were talking about Adam, Barb and Lew's son and how he got all his ID stolen out of his car when he left it at a trail head. Ali decided that it would be a good idea to take her wallet with her so when Lew got the key out of his pocket he realized, with an expletive, that it was the pickup truck key and not the Outback key. Not good when you are 2 hours from home. But the cell phone worked and why not call Don (me) he loves Lookout Mountain. Well I had just finished my Monday chores so why not. I actually base my mountain bike season on how many times I get to ride Lookout Mountain, one is minimum, two is good, three is excellent. This year I have ridden it twice now.
So I got to be the knight in Lycra. It was a good change. We also got a free dinner (thanks to meals on wheels Barb) out of it. What a great day.


It is the first rest day at the tour, this comes at a good time for me. I like to watch all the stages from start to finish. This meant 5am on Friday, 4:30 on Saturday and 4:00 on Sunday. Now I do get up early but even that is early for me, so a sleep in was most welcoming this morning.
Phil and Paul like to say that the rest day for the riders is a mixed bag, that the riders don't always respond to a day of rest that well. I did notice that both Levi and Thor were quite enthused by the rest day, as Levi said, who wouldn't welcome some rest. I think training and exercise have changed very much in the last 30 years and some of the tradition that surrounds the Tour has become more folklore than fact. With massage, short easy rides and more knowledge about nutrition I would think the rest day is a very important part of the three week race. If some of the riders don't react well I would say it is because they are not taking advantage of the rest while the others are.
I know for me in the middle of summer it is easy to go out and ride every day, the days are long and the roads and trails are beckoning. Last week I had to work a little more than average as a couple of my co-workers were gone. More work less riding. When I managed to throw in an interval session I was amazed at how strong I felt. I think rest is a good thing even for those pros.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Many of you may remember Thomas from the 2004 Tour. He was in a breakaway in the first few days of the Tour that ended up 10 or so minutes in front of the peleton. He did not win the stage, or do anything that spectacular, he was the highest placed rider in the group and because of the time gap, he inherited the yellow jersey from a certain Lance Armstrong. US Postal did not want to defend the jersey through the flat windy early stages of the tour and let this group get ahead.
Most Americans do not understand the subtle nuances of European Stage racing. Many could not figure out who this young cyclist was and why was he in yellow. He doesn't have a smooth style, nor the strength to win a big tour. He is aggressive and gives his heart in every race I have seen him in. He is in lots of breakaways. After the 2004 Tour he was a big hero in France and I think they expected him to go on to bigger and better things. He is not that type of rider. He is a worker, a fighter and a chance taker. He has won around 20 races in his career. None of them big, not until yesterday. Yesterday he won a stage in the Tour, he won it the same way he got the yellow jersey all those years ago, by being aggressive and being in a breakaway from kilo 0. They were almost caught with 20 k to go, the lead was 38 seconds. He didn't give up. The next thing I knew he had over a minute with 10k to go. He was with a group of 6 and with 4 k to go he took off by himself. He won by 7 seconds with the main group charging in. His life has just changed by that 7 seconds.
When he crossed the line I had tears in my eyes. This guy has worked so hard for so many years and it has finally paid off. My hat is off to him. I am thinking that will be my favorite stage this year.
Check out this photo to see how happy Thomas Voeckler was.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Lair

The Lair is the fairly new skills area near the Phil's Trail Head. There are different types of jumps, drops skinnies, logs etc. You walk to the top and fly (literally down). I have tried this before but it was on the wrong bike. The bike I have now(Trek Fuel EX 9.9) is not really the "right" bike but it is better. I am scared of air, so this is a big challenge. As you can see from the photos there is also a social scene. It goes like this . Walk (or ride) up to the top, fly down trying to get more air and more speed than last time, talk about your exploits to your buddies, maybe watch in amazement to the brave guy flying off the ramp, over the 8 foot gap and making a perfect landing (That is the blur in the photo). Then up again and just try for that 2 foot of air. We were fortunate to be there with this young woman who was quite good on the intermediate line. She was working up her nerve to hit the big jump, just before we left she gave it a try and made it look easy. Fun stuff for sure. I am still scared of air but at least I am starting to know what it feels like, though it will take a new lifetime for me to hit that big one.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Astana has 4 riders in the top 10. None of them are time trial specialists, they are all stage race winners and podium finishers. Garmins leader is in 19th, Cervelo's leader in 21st, Rabobank's off the back. In the top 10 only Cadel Evans and 4 Astana boys are competitive, well maybe Roman Kreuzinger. So why pick a leader on the second day, all four of those riders deserve to be a leader. They would be the leader of almost any other team. Would you rather be Cadel in 5th with no teammates to help or Alberto with three guys right there. That should mean no pressure. Don't read too much into the press, as Paul Sherwen said -there are 3000 journalists covering the TDF and 1000 are making up their own story. Remember who is directing this team, Johann has won 8 TDFs, one Vuelta and I am thinking two Giros. Don't be too quick to judge. Now back to enjoying the race.