Sunday, November 21, 2010


First of all for those of you who wanted to know about Ashtabula it is located in the heart of where our Steel Industry is and was and it is where some steel cranksets were made in the 60s and 70s and maybe later. They were heavy and strong.
After my long drive and racing last week I was quite tired. That was part of the plan really. Training is a fine line between getting faster and getting tired. The idea is you get tired and then you recover and are stronger than before. Last week I was tired . I was supposed to be tired. This week I was supposed to be stronger than ever. I rested Monday and Tuesday, did a short workout on Wednesday and then rested some more. Saturday morning I could tell I was not the same as last week. Mentally I was ready and my legs had that spring in them. After the drive over to Salem and doing my warm up lap I wasn't so sure. The course seemed extra slippery and riding up the hill I was a little flat. I got down to the business of a real warm up on my trainer. Legs were fine, no pain they just wanted to go. I lined up thinking about a cool line I was going to use at the start. We started in the mud and most people were going wide on the first turn, I decided to cut the corner short. Start on the right and then cut straight across to the stake. It worked perfectly and I had the hole shot. I hit the pavement to mud a little to fast but held on and kept my position up the climb. Ron went around at the beginning of the second climb but I was ready. When the dirt climb turned to pavement Ron let up and I attacked. A little gap. I didn't manage to really drop Ron until the third lap when I really gaped him. My legs worked like they were supposed to, getting orders from the brain and then obeying.
State Cyclo cross champion for the second time in my life, the first was in 1998. So 12 years ago. In those years I have maybe 10 podiums so I am consistent but wins are special.
Last year when I was injured (ruptured disc) I had hoped to recover by the State Championship race. I didn't recover so this race is a year late and very rewarding. Nationals are coming up and I am feeling ready for the challenge. Not much philosophy in this blog, but I must thank Ron Strasser for making me honest on Saturday. He attacked me and kept coming back to me when I bobbled or made a mistake. Winning is only as good as your competition. The photo is of me and Ron on top of the steeper first climb. As you can see he was not giving this to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I spent a wonderful day and 1/2 with Bob, Marianne and my mom and then it was back to the west coast. Not to bore everyone with airport stories I will just say my flight from DC to Portland was delayed but Joe was still there to pick me up around 11 pm. I guess that is why friends are called friends.
I left for my drive at a cross crusade race and that is how I finished it. After spending the night at Joe and Deborah's cute flat in NW Portland we all drove out to Estacada for the last Cross Crusade Race of the year. While I was warming up my legs could feel the block of intervals, 45 hours of driving and a cross country flight. No excuses though. I got the hole shot, Ron made a tricky move in a bottleneck by getting of his bike and running. I was left 10 seconds behind and that is how it stayed. I can't complain though. I rode hard and didn't really make any mistakes. My bike, that Mike had gotten ready performed perfectly, my clothing that Kathy had washed and Serena had brought over were all there and I was headed home.
A two and a half hour drive is much easier than a 45 hour drive. Kathy had a big smile on her face and she had to show me her latest gardening exploits, even though it was dark. The kitties wanted to be fed and didn't really care that I was home though Ariel did come over later and give me rub.
Thanks to everyone who made my trip a little easier and it is really nice to be home. I have included a couple of really super photos my friend (I like that term), Jeff took at the last two races.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I made it to Massachusetts yesterday around 7pm. That made for a couple of hours of night driving, but I finally pulled into my brothers driveway. It was a welcome sight to say the least. I have been here many times and it was not only good to be done with the drive but to be somewhere that was familiar. It is very peaceful and quiet here in Western Mass. More so than in Bend actually. He lives in the middle of what seems to be an endless Forest of mixed conifers and deciduous trees.
After a meal of mom's meatloaf and Bob's wild blueberry pie it was a welcome sleep in a familiar place.
I try to keep negative thoughts out of my blog. It is not that I don't have them I just don't choose to share those thoughts here. That being said I am not going to say much about the drive from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. There was lots of traffic, and it was stressful for me. It was good to get past Buffalo New York and into more of a large forest. There was still plenty of traffic but it was more mellow. I haven't crossed the country since I did so with my Dad in the mid 60s. I wonder now how my dad managed all those years. He was a good driver and maybe it was peaceful for him. Not for me. Though this was an adventure I will be glad to be home for a long stay.
I have included some photos. Some are state signs, one is a photo of a Mayflower Truck, on of the companies my Dad worked for, the sign of Ashtabula is for you to figure out. If you do leave a comment.
It is over to Boston tomorrow and a flight to Portland. The last cross crusade on Sunday and the short 3 hour drive home.
Sorry to all of those on my way that I didn't visit. I really didn't think I was doing the Northern route until after I started. Thanks to all of those others who helped my make this possible.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


When I was leaving Portland Damian told me maybe I would see that a vacation in the USA could be as good one in Europe. Though I love going to Europe I also love the country I live in. This four day drive close to our Northern Border has been quite interesting, and there are some places I would like to return to.
Here are a few thoughts that came to me as I sat in the car for almost 10 hours yesterday.
One, It is so nice to drive on highways not wrecked by studded tyres. Either lane is flat without the dreaded grooves that we have in Oregon. Studded tyres are not allowed in most states because they ruin the highways and make them more dangerous.
Two, The Montana of my memories (I was born there) is not the same as the Romantic Montana of today. Today Montana for many is the land of fly fishing, hunting, hiking and the Rockies.
The Montana of my youth is one of big vistas, rodeos, wheat fields, and oil rigs dotting the skyline. Though the fly fishing mecca exists, the Montana of my memories is still there. It is a lot like Oregon in fact. Most think of Oregon as a wet forested green part of the Northwest, but is eastsiders know it for something different. Montana is called Big Sky Country for a reason. That is my Montana.
Three, Why haven't they discovered coffee out here in the midwest.
Four Desolate North Dakota is a beautiful State. This is my first visit to ND. It was the only state I hadn't visited other than Hawaii. Now time for some motel intervals.

Monday, November 8, 2010


My mom is moving to be with my brother. This is a long and complicated story but I really thing she will be happier living there. My task at hand is to drive her new Toyota Corolla to her. Bend to Wendell Mass. 3000 miles and over 40 hours of driving. The last time I went across the USA was with my Dad in the 60s. He was a long haul truck driver and his sons went with him in the summer. This is kind of like reliving that. I am also trying to get in top shape for Cross Nationals and driving 10 hours a day is not how one does that. I decided on bringing my Ritchey Break-a-way Road bike and an indoor trainer and do a "block" of intervals this week. That would be 2 sets of 4X4 today (one in Cour d'Alene and one wherever I end up).
I am going to try and document the trip with some photos of interesting things in our country.
Yesterday I won a cross race in Portland so there is a photo of the seriously fun mud and me. Then there is the photo of the clouds to west (western wet Oregon) and the sun to east (eastern dry Oregon), and if you look close at the last photo you can see a replica of Stonehenge. This is the first of strange things you will find in America. I will try and get photos of any others I find.
The first day was OK. Instead of a three hour drive to Bend after racing it was a six hour drive to Idaho. Today will be through Montana, this is where I was born and it is always good to see home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Giants win the World Series

This blog is really about a boy who loved baseball and the Giants and not about the Giants who just won the World Series.
I am not sure about being a sports fan. I don't follow traditional sports anymore, but once I did. When I was a boy I played sandlot baseball with my friends, I went to a few Giant games at Candlestick Park and during the summer I would carry my transistor radio and listen to the games as broadcast by Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons. Willie Mays was my hero. He was always the best in my mind. In 1962, after a three game playoff with the hated Dodgers, the Giants made it to the World Series against the more hated Yankees. I was in Jr High at the time and we were listening to the game in our home room. It wasn't just me that thought this was a big deal. It was the 9th inning with two outs and two on, (Willie Mays and Matty Alou). I remember all of this as it was yesterday. Stretch (Willie McCovey) was at bat. He hit a screaming line drive that was caught by Bobby Richardson, the Yankee 2nd baseman. Richardson was playing out of position and should (are there shoulds in baseball) have never have made that catch. Series over, dreams for an 11 year old also over.
Now almost 50 years later the Giants have won. Time does heal.
There is no logic to this scenario, this is a different team, different owners and different time, but somehow it matters. I can't explain it I can just feel it. That 11 year old finally has his world series win and somehow the world is a better place.