Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I've been ine Mallorca the last 10 days riding my bike with 6 friends from Bend. While we were over there we ran into 5 more so the group of 7 turned into a group of 12. The other 5 are from around the world, Baltimore, Switzerland, and England. This was quite run both for riding and for the hours of cafe time we have.
There is a reason why I meet and know so many people in Mallorca his name is Kevin.
I met Kevin 12 years ago in Sunnyside Sports, he was on a bike tour from San Diego to Portland, and he needed some new bike shorts. Long story short he ended up staying at our house for a week, we visited him and his parents in Scotland and a long friendship was started.
One year he invited me to come to Mallorca to ride with his Scottish cycling club. Not only did I meet many new friends from Scotland and England but a new tradition was born.
I have been to Mallorca 8 times now, I usually bring some American friends and we all meet in Spain.
This year both groups were small, the economy, life changes injuries took its toll. I was ready to have no Scots for the first time. Neal and Mark, two brothers from England would be our Euro contingent.
Then I got a text from Kevin, he was going to come over and spend a few days visiting us. Kev has had a bit of a tough year, car accident, a freak fall where he broke his jaw and he had to drink out of a straw for a few weeks, and then another back surgery to repair a ruptured disc. No riding for Kev, but he wanted to hang out and visit his American friends. So we were able to have a few beers together, some cafe con leche, and a meal at our favorite restaurant.
It was good to catch up, and it was great to see Kevin. I feel very lucky to have friends like him.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photo to go with last blog

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Saturday, March 20, 2010


When I go to Europe I use the word Euro to describe how things are different than at home. I like most of the Euro things, but not all. 
I would say the best euro thing is that people are more laid back. The cars just don't get so up tight with all the bikes. We have been riding on roads half as wide as Skyliners road with twice as many bikes and somehow everyone gets along. They would think skyliner road was one of their widest roads.
Sunbathing is another euro laid back attitude, especially in southern europe. Topless for women is optional. No controversy, it just happens.
I love living at home and I am looking forward to getting home this week, but I also like to see the world and enjoy how things are done in other places.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010


Happy, that is the best adjective for this bike trip, it is even what my hat says. Lots of kilometers, lots of cafe time, lots of visiting, very relaxing. Yesterday we went out to a town called Randa. It sits below a cima (mountain top ), that has a monastery on it. From the top you can see almost the whole island. All of the small brown villages that seem to pop upon every 5 to 10 kilometers, with green fields in between. The government of Mallorca has put a lot of effort into constructing and connecting bike routes. These routes are still open to cars but mainly they are used by cyclists. They can do that here because cars really do share the roads.
You may notice most of my photos are at cafes. We always like to stop somewhere along the route for coffee and sometimes lunch, that is when the camera comes out. I got the happy cap from a friend in Scotland, it really says it all. The group I am with, Barb, Lew, Barbara, Dave, Ben and Serena are all enjoying this as much as me,maybe more. A couple of days ago we met up with a couple of Brit friends (Mark and Neal) and yesterday Mark's girlfriend Carolyn showed up with a coworker, Jenny. I just heard from my friend Kevin that after reading my blog about Sa Calobra that he his coming over for a few days. Like I said HAPPY.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today we did the long ride. That means around 90 miles, 7000 feet (2300 meters ) of climbing, 3 good climbs, many more small ones. Wow there were a lot of cyclists today, it was like a few years ago, was it two hundred or even five?  I really don't know we were seeing them all day all the time. Our group divided up, it is best on a ride of this difficulty. Barb, Barbara, Lew and Dave left at 8. Ben, Serena and I left at 9. We joined up with a couple of friends from England, Mark and Neal. Mark's girlfriend used to live in Bend so I have seen him in the store a couple of times, Neal (Mark's brother) was in Mallorca with me last year. Small world. They are a lot stronger than us but they toed us around and kept us company. It is always fun to be international . It was a great day, not hot, but sunny so we were able to ride in shorts and bare arms. First time this year.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sa Calobra

The weather changed today so we decided on Sa Calobra. If you go into Sunnyside there is a poster of this road above the coffee machine. I have ridden many famous climbs in both Europe and in North America, but this is my favorite. The descent is more than just endless switch backs, like some Euro roads, and the climb is variable, some 11% and some 5%. It takes about 40 minutes going pretty hard, and it is set in a gorgeous setting, mountains, a beautiful cove at the bottom, and more cyclists than cars. This year we lucked out and there were no tourist buses. It was a little chilly but not enough to dampen our spirits. Four if us had not been before and all agreed Sa Calobra is the best. We hope to do it again, maybe at night even. Here is a photo of a 6 really happy riders.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Lluc climb that everyone loves.

Today we went into the mountains for the first time. We start out with some back roads. These roads are incredibly narrow, when I first started coming here many of the roads we use now were not paved, they started paving them to give all of the cyclists their own roads. They are still open to cars but they are mainly used by the 50,000 cyclists that are here during the peak season.
After a leisurely cafe con leche we then start the climb. This is a mini version of a big euro climb, lots of switchbacks, averaging around 5%. The climb is about 8 kilometers. Long enough to get tired, not long enough to be exhausted. On top we had our first real sun and there was snow on the side of the road from the snow storm a few days back.
There are four people (Ben,Serena,Barbara and Dave) who have not been here before, it is fun to see it all again in their eyes. Then it was back down to Pollensa for our outdoor lunch, that would not have happened without the propane patio heater. Good food, good friends, good roads.

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Friday, March 12, 2010


I know this place, I know the smells, the views, the roads, the food, the sounds. It is hard to explain how I know the sounds,the language, the laughs, bicycle wheels going round, I just know this place.
It is comfortable for me to come here, it takes some time to get used to talking, reading the signs etc, but it happens, and then I realize I know this place.
However it is different this year, more stores and restaurants are closed, two of the hotels I have stayed in are not open yet. It is cold this year,snow on the beach two days ago. Not as many cyclists this year, none that I know as of yet. My bike was left in Newark (it should be here this evening ), so I had a day to hang out. I watched Eurosports and saw Andy Newell win a bronze medal in a World Cup sprint classic race, live. I watched a mixed biathalon world cup relay, I watched the Paris -Nice live, great suicide break a way at the end and the rider won by a few feet over the following pack. Walked to town and bought a couple of Spanish language books by two of my favorite authors. Neither of those books are available in the US yet.
I didn't ride but had a full day. Like I said I know this place and it is good to be back.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010


I am sitting in the Barcelona air port thinking what a waste it is to be so close to my favorite city yet so far. I have really only been here once, but I feel like I have visited many times. I have read numerous books about Barcelona, and it just feels like a place I know. When they had the Olympics here in 1992 Spain used Barcelona as it's statement to the world that Spain had entered the modern world and left the Franco years behind.
This is a city for the young, though we felt young when we were here. This is a city of the night, though it shines in the day. It is a showplace for modern thought and free thinking, but its most famous building is a Catholic Cathedral that was started in 1881 and is not yet finished. The best restaurants in the world are here and it is the city in Spain that has really adapted Picasso as their own. It has its own language, Catalan, and has voted for autonomy, but has rejected violence as a means to achieve it. I could go on and on but you just need to come for yourself. One of my favorite things here is the model city they built for the worlds fair here in the early 20th century. The fake Spain they built is about the same age as the town I live in, Bend.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010


Yesterday was a long day full of wonderful experiences. Due to my reoccurring bicycle disease, Jim, Ben and I decided an almost 4 hour drive to Echo would be be worth it to do a 2 hour mountain bike race. That means 8 hours in a car and 2 hours on the bike. Now where is Echo anyway. It is out in North Eastern Oregon, not really close to any mountains, nor trees nor anything that one would think would make good mountain biking, but then we would be wrong. The guys out there have become friends with a farmer who has allowed them to use the land he can't farm to put in some trails. These trails go up and down these these gullies that are not suitable for wheat or vineyards and are perfect for mountain bike trails. The great trails in addition to 65 degrees and sun made for a perfect day. Now when you include the Sunnyside Team all having a great time along with all of the other friends in the Mountain bike world (That is means all of the people who mountain bike race in Oregon) it is like a big party. When the last finisher crossed the line to a standing ovation you know this is a great sport.
Now my back report. Last fall I ruptured a disc. I was off the bike for 2 full months, and though I did manage to race at cross nationals I really didn't do any real cycling until January. This was my first real test. I was over 20 minutes faster than last year, my back was a little sore but not unusually so, and I managed to pull off a win. Last October, when I was having a difficult time climbing stairs, I wasn't sure if I would be able to do mountain bike again. I am still not out of woods and maybe I never will be. I will rest my body more than I used to, but believe me this was sweet.
Now on to Vienna. We had to rush home as Ben needed to get back to his family and I needed to go and hear the Vienna's Boys choir (Thanks to Sanna Phinney). What a joy that was. It is hard to believe that boys that young could sing so well. This is not like your usual children's choir, this is like seeing and hearing seasoned professionals sing but they are 10 years old. It was interesting to note the multi ethnic look of the choir. These were not all tow headed boys that filled the Boys choir in years past but children with roots from all over the world. This also showed in the music that they sang. Of course many songs from Austria ( how could you not from the land of Mozart and Straus), but also music from Native Americans, India, Pakistan, Korea to just mention a few. I do have one question for my readers, what is deal with sailer suits for children and Austria? The Vienna's Boy Choir all wear them and so did the children in the sound of music. Austria doesn't even have a port. You never hear of the might of Austrian Navy sailing the 7 seas. Just curious. I may have been tired when I finally got to bed last night but it was all worth it. Next week we are off to Mallorca for 10 days. I will keep you all posted.