Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Don and bunny hopping

Went out today with Serena on the National's course. I put the photo I promised last time-me smiling. So far so good.
I hope it snows. There is not enough technical stuff the way it is. I like more of a challenge. There are a couple of side hills that would be tough in the snow. That being said it is still a fun course with lots of curbs. I am sure they will do something to mitigate the curbs (I wished they wouldn't), but even if they do it will be faster to bunny hop. I have bunny hopped 16 inches, I can do 12 inches most of the time and I can bunny hop a curb at full speed all day long. Not many 60 year olds can, not many women can. It is fairly easy to learn, but like anything it takes practice. I practice every year and if there is an obstacle in the course I will practice that day to get my timing down.
If you are coming to Bend get your Bunny Hop in order. Take care.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


As most of you know I have been recovering from an extruded disc these past two months. It started with a very sore leg that I first noticed when I got off a long flight from France. I hope it ended on November 1st when I quit feeling any pain in my leg.
My recovery started with a visit to my friend Dr Steve Ireland. He did some quick tests, asked some questions and sent me over to the MRI room. Sure enough an extruded disc. I am thinking surgery, he says no. Go get a cortisone epidural shot right to the spot (L-4/5). So then it is to Dr James Nelson. He is another doctor I know as he was in my ski class a few years back. In we go to the procedure room and in goes the needle. WOW! That was very painful. I have to say that James was great. He talked me through the pain, and when it was done I felt a lot better. The pain was pretty much gone but my right leg felt as if the muscle had been removed, back to Steve. Dr Ireland explained to me a nerve will repair its self about 2mm per day. My nerve was from my back to my calf so that is about 200 mm. That would mean 100 days. Ok time to be patient. It is hard to be patient when all year one race was on the top of the list, US Nationals on Dec 10th at 2:15. But patient I was (mostly anyway). I have been on my trainer doing exactly the same workouts I would have doing out of doors. I started on my trainer before I went to any doctor and each time I did a workout I felt better. I could walk around for around 1/2 hour, instead of 2 minutes.
I put Nationals out of my mind and put my mind to healing. I asked Steve to prescribe both acupuncture and Physical Therapy. He told me I would heal anyway but if I wanted to try those he would accommodate me. Thank you Steve.
I then started three days of PT with Tim Evens at Rebound and two days of Acupuncture with Almine Barton every week. I asked Almine about healing and acupuncture. She told me that she had seen statistics that said it would help me heal 65% faster. That would be about right for me. I was thinking three months is how long it would take so this would mean it would take about 2 months.
I have done all the exercises Tim has given me. I have ridden out of doors three time since October 1st. I have had no pain for 24 days. I have decided to take some steps to see if I am ready to race. Steve nor Tim agree with me, but as I said in my last blog I have realized it is my decision.
Today was the first test. I ran over 2 barricades 5 times (10 total) and then I went and rode the Nationals course 5 times. Right now I feel great, tonight when I sleep will tell the tale. That is when I always feel the worst.
I know this is a gamble, but every time I go for a ride it is a gamble. I do jumps, ride some pretty crazy stuff for a 58 year old. I will be extra careful though. I do not like what I have gone through and I really can't afford to do all this therapy again. In my next blog if you see a photo of me riding with a big smile then you will know all has gone well.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


In the photo you can see Mike mounting another tufo cyclocross tubular.  Cross season is hot and heavy at Sunnyside right now. We have three weeks until Nationals. This year is different, most would be done with cross with the finish of the cross crusade but with Nationals it is a different story. We have a race Thanksgiving weekend, then The GP races in Portland the next weekend with Nationals in Bend the 10TH through the 13TH. Mike and I will be gluing many more tyres on in the next three weeks.
So what about me? I was hoping my doctor or my physical therapist would tell me I was 100% and give me the all clear. That is not going to happen. I am the one who will have to decide, I am the one who knows how I feel, the progress I have made and what it means to me.
Right now I feel 98%, I am not sure if I ever feel 100%.
Ok I have been on my trainer keeping in shape, but I haven't been in a race since the beginning of October
If I do race will I be disappointed if I don't go well, will my back withstand a race? Maybe my back is fine. Is sitting harder on me than riding?
I could keep asking all these questions but in the end I will not know, not even if I wait a year. I still have three weeks to decide, and only I can do that.
Thanks for reading, Don

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Friday, November 13, 2009

New fancy phone

I have a new fancy phone, it is Motorola Cliq. This is not a blog about how cool this phone is, it is a blog about the new world we live in. I like to write timely blogs about current events. I am not really into Twitter, nor Facebook. I like to talk (Write in this case too much). I am at work and I have enclosed a photo of Seth, he doesn't really like to have his photo taken, but he managed a smile anyway. I think that is because he likes work. Somehow we manage to have a good time here.
When I was younger we thought it was crazy that Dick Tracy could talk on his watch. Now everyone not only talks but has GPS, camera and I don't even know what else. We have been trying to keep Sunnyside Sport on the cutting edge of keeping our friends informed. It has to do with being real as opposed to Marketing. We do things and I want you to know about it.
There are a couple of examples of what I mean in the National Cyclocross Guide.
One there is a photo of a racer in one of the ads for another bike store, his bike was here at Sunnyside getting worked on.
Another instance of real in the same guide is something I am proud of. There is an article about the Local Racer Spotlight. The local racer was me. There are a lot of locals in town racing their bikes and to pick me I feel is an honor. It is also real. No amount of marketing will buy what that article gives us.
So that is what I am trying to do with my new phone. More blogs and more current information on what we are up to is what my plan is. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mitchell Stevens

I remember the first day Joanne came in to Sunnyside *. She was new to town and was looking for some shoes. She was a bike racer and she was on a Portland team. Mitchell was a baby. She road raced and soon after the first visit joined the Sunnyside Team. Karen and I talked her into coming to a cross race, she was reluctant but because we were her friends she said yes. Was it love at first sight - NOT. She really didn't like cross. That being said Joanne is one tough woman and after a season or two of love/hate, and the realization that she did not do well in the heat (summer road racing), and the persistent pestering of Karen and I (we love cross) Joanne came around. So then we would go to cross races and sometimes Mitchell would show up. It was up to the team to keep an eye on him while his Mom road around in circles in the mud. He would yell and cheer for us all. I used to love him (a 5 year old) shouting out my name.
Last year he decided it would be fun to do some time trialing on the road, and then this fall why not cross.
I have been to only a couple of races this year, none of the ones that Mitchell has gone to. That is what I have missed most about this season, not seeing this young man do what we love to do- cross. When I found out Mitchell won the state championships I can't deny there were tears in my eyes. I was able to help him out once this year at a practice session. I was crippled at the time, but to see the concentration on his face when he was doing what I asked of him was amazing. I hope to help him out more, and to watch many more races. These photos of him are perfect. The pain on his face as he reaches for the win last Saturday and the joy on his face as he gets to stand on the podium, proudly wearing his Sunnyside Jersey. We are his team and have been since the beginning. I am so proud to be his teammate.
*Sunnyside Sports is just Sunnyside to us that hang out there.

Friday, November 6, 2009


As most of you know I have an extruded disc on my L-4. This means I have a lot of pain and weakness in my right leg. Not good for a cross racer. The deal is I don't want to be an ex cross racer I want to race again. I have been going to Rebound Physical Therapy Westside. They have a lot going on there, all of it good as far as I can tell. I have been going there to lift weights etc for about 5 years. There are always friends there and it has always been fun to go there. One of the reasons it has been fun is I have not been injured.
Now that I am injured I thought it might be less fun, but it isn't. Now I am doing these seemingly easy exercises that turn out to be quite hard. Every time I show up Matt Lieto is also there, he doesn't have a traumatic injury like me, he has a nagging injury left over from a bad bike crash. What we both have found out is our injuries come from our bodies not using all of our muscles. It is kind of funny to see two accomplished athletes straining to get our hips to move. There is as much laughter as there is groaning. Tim Evens has been our PT. I first met Tim when he was just out of high school. This was in 1998 and he was a student at COCC. He, like a lot of us, was just getting into cyclo cross. I actually taught him how to mount and dismount. Now 11 years later he is helping me. I love stuff like that. He is really awesome at PT and I can really feel a difference after two weeks.
I have also been getting some acupuncture treatments at Rebound. Almine Barton is the Acupuncturist that works there. She used to work at the Nike Athlete in Portland. She used to work on Nike Sponsored Athletes now she is working on me. Matt is also one of her patients. I get about 30 needles in me each treatment. The needles do not hurt, though I have noticed it is better to lie still once they are placed. Each time I get treated I feel just that much better. I am hoping it will speed up my recovery.
On another note the race guide for Cyclo Cross Nationals is now online, there is a nice article about me in it. Check it out at Visit Bend . You have to scroll down a bit. I am hoping we will have snow like we did in the photo. Take care.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This past weekend I took a trip to Astoria with my team to see some cyclo cross racing. Halloween and cross are great combination. Mud, costumes and feeling of celebration is what prevails in this weekend of fun. From the photos you can see a race face on Gina, but then later we are on the beach dressed as Star Trek characters. Renee is wearing The Science Dress. I guess the characters that wore those dresses were science officers in the show. The cool thing about the fabric the costumes were made off is that it didn't breath and it wasn't waterproof. That must have taken some research. In the photo of me on my bike that was my first outdoor ride since I herniated my disc. I didn't seem to get anywhere though.
I had a great time hanging with the team and cheering them on. I got to watch my group race and cheer on my friends. I won't say I didn't miss being out there, but it was also fun not having any pressure and being able to help with the bikes etc. I have had my best races in Astoria and next year I will be back racing. In the meantime I will continue to ride my trainer and try to stay in shape. Live long and prosper.