Monday, June 21, 2010


Yesterday was the second to last race in the Oregon XC series. It is called the Test of Endurance and many riders use it to get ready for Bike BC ( a mountain bike stage race in BC Canada), The Cream Puff (a 100 mile Mountain Bike race in Oakridge) or the High Cascades 100 (another 100 miler in Bend). I used it to help my team win the Team Competition in Oregon XC Series, and to solidify my lead in the Individual 55+ competition in the Oregon XC series. I raced this race last year and had taken it off my calendar for this year. I changed my mind when I realized our team could really solidify our lead and that my competition in the individual was so close that whoever won Pickett's (next week) would win the series. If I would have a good race at TOE I could clinch the series overall and if I had a bad race it would still come down to Pickett's.
Anyway I was there, after driving with two pros Chris Sheppard and Ben Thompson. They had made fun of all my stuff and then kept asking me for things out of my bag. Old wise timer I am.
OK the race. In two races this year I blew, I got passed close to the end and could do nothing. I decided this was not going to happen again. My time last year was around 6 hours and I figured it would be about the same this year (though I hoped for better). I used my Heart Rate Monitor and figured I could go for 6 hours at a heart rate of 160 + or - a few beats. I started off the first climb and was in first thinking sweet Mark is behind and David (who won the Mudslinger which used the same course) was no where to be seen. Whoops, there goes David and there is no way I can keep that pace. David has a very unusual stance on the bike. His saddle is way forward, maybe three inches forward of normal. He is very strong but on single track he can't really handle the bike because he is so far forward. The first single track we take I see him on the ground, OK back to first. Then we start the long climb and I go back to my pace again. I am feeling good at this point and confident. Then here comes Mark. He goes by but is not really going any harder than I am so I get on his wheel (first lead change). His chain falls off while he shifts and I go back out front (second lead change). Down some muddy single track up a steep climb and then the first Aid Station and 25% done. I don't stop and I don't see Mark, we learn at this time that David is out with a mechanical from his crash so it is me and Mark. After some more technical muddy trail we get back on some gravel road getting ready for the second climb. Here comes Mark again, I manage to stay on his wheel (third lead change). At the top of the climb he has another chain problem and I try to push the pace down the hill (forth lead change). He tricks me and passes me on the descent (fifth lead change). Fine, back on his wheel for some drafting and a quick pass before the funnest section of trail on the course, The Panama Canal (sixth lead change). We are now at the second aid station and 50% done. I stop to drink a coke and there goes Mark (seventh lead change). This time he gets quite a lead. I am patient though and keep my heart rate stead at 160. We get to the first muddy single track (did I mention it misted and rained most of the day) and I am not feeling that good. I figure this is it but as I go around a corner I see Mark pushing his bike up a muddy climb. I dig deep and pedal up the same climb and catch up. No passing no lead change but back together. We are now 4 hours into this race and we still can't get rid of each other. He pushes it on the climb and gets to the single track first. I can see him as we descend through the trees and we are together as we hit the road and climb to the third aid station. This time I can tell something is wrong. He is grimacing and make some awful sounds. His leg is cramping. I go by (eighth lead change) and this time I am thinking I can win this thing if I don't blow. I stop at the aid station this time to get my last coke and Mark some how has overcome his cramp and goes by (ninth lead change). I get going as soon as I can and do my best to catch him. There is quite a bit of single track here and I don't seem but I keep pushing. Around a tight bend and there he his walking with a bad limp and again these noises from his mouth don't sound good. Back in front (tenth lead change), and this time I push a little harder. Up the second climb, through the Panama canal and then the two miles to the finish. I am wasted as I cross the line. Not only was that physically tough, but mentally tough also. Passing and getting passed and trying to go harder without blowing trying to ride smooth etc. When I have done 100 mile races I don't really race. I just go out and try to finish. This was a race from the get go. Never a let up until I finished. I won, Mark ended up third about 8 minutes back. His cramp got the best of him to my advantage. This clinches my series victory even if I don't race Pickett's. The team picked up some valuable points as Jodi, Austin, Serena had their usual high places and Mark (another Mark our teammate) came through with a 12th place.
This is a tough sport. It is not just about being strong, it is about going downhill, saving energy and being mentally tough. I have never had a race where I was switching leads for 5 hours. Mark made me earn this victory and he made it extra sweet by testing me and not giving up. For me a rival is the one who makes a victory possible. A rival is not someone you want to taunt but someone you want to thank. I would not be racing if there was no one to race against. I also have to thank Steve Lacey who was only 5 minutes behind me. He passed Mark and that is why I have clinched the series. 6 hours, only 8 minutes between the top three, that is a tight competition. Today I have taken a long nap, washed my bike and hung out. Sorry for the long blog but the words just came out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I don't have any photos of today, I was too busy enjoying the 80 degrees without a cloud. I just had to get out and get hot and sweaty on my mountain bike. For some that sounds pretty miserable but for me it is the best. I went out by myself, my own time, my own pace my own music just me I like that also.
I also like company, one is not better than the other they are both fun and enjoyable. The last couple of days Mike and I were in Ashland getting ready for the Ashland Super D, this is a 12 mile mountain bike race that looses 5000 feet. It is like doing a long descent on a cross country race. This one is pretty special for me because it is located where I won my first mountain bike race-Ashland. I have been racing in Ashland since 1981 (road bikes) and have been coming to Ashland since 1969 (Shakespeare Festival). It is the only place I would move to from Bend in the US.
We used to start in downtown Ashland and race up to Mt Ashland (12 miles and 5000 feet of gain) and then we would continue on some forest roads, 100 feet of single track a really hard climb and finish back in town. It is hard to believe we thought 39 and 1/2 miles of road and 1/2 mile of single track was fun, but we did.
This race is the opposite. 12 miles downhill, about 11 miles of single track, awesome fun single track. This race is cool because all forms of life show up. The Pro Mountain Bike Giant team (Adam, Carl and Kelli), pro downhillers (Mark Weir, Eric Carter (not to be confused with our Eric), Brian Lopes and me. What is a 60 year old (racing age) doing mixing it up with these guys. Well, I don't really know other than this is the antithesis of the Revenge of the Siskiyous, and it is fun to see some really fast riders. We were pre riding the course and Jody, who has not done this before, was a little dismayed when this group of guys came flying by at seemingly twice our speed. She was thinking she was over her head, but we told her that was the probable (and in fact the) winner of the pro men's race.
I had my new Trek Remedy 6 inch travel bike and I had a blast. I was 2 minutes faster than the last time I did this race and the course was about one minute longer. No crashes, no close calls just 46 minutes of fun. Next week we are headed over to Corvallis to the opposite and race the Test of Endurance. This is a 50 mile race that will test my endurance. I am doing this so our team can solidify its lead in the River City Mountain bike series. A lot of the same racers will be there, Adam, Carl, Lizzy, and some who didn't do the Super D. I like the mix of both types of racing. Super Ds are mellow for me. My goal is not to win but to have a safe ride that flows well, in a cross country race my goal is to win. I don't always but I put that pressure on myself.
So again I had a great day in the sun today, all by my self but the past two days were awesome, hanging with Jody and Herb (who was our shuttle driver), and of course Mike. I cant' wait until next year. Maybe my buddy Andy will come over again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Last week Kathy had her annual end of year piano recital for all of her students. I love going to these for a number of reasons. One is this is my sweetheart's work and I like to participate in what she does so well. I love hearing the students play as they put their heart and sole into the music. It is also wonderful to see the proud parents realize that beautiful music is coming from their children and not just loud noise. I have had more than one parent comment to me how they really enjoy seeing their children transform into musicians.
This year there was something else that struck me. At Sunnyside Sports we try very hard to be a family store, a friendly store and a competent store. It is important in the world of retail to be up in all of the latest ways to be in contact with the customers. We have a web page, I write this blog, we have facebook, four square, twitter, google etc. We know we have to greet each customer promptly, engage them so to speak.
I enjoy all of those challenges and I think we do pretty well at them. I do wish for simpler times though. A time when a customer walked in the door and didn't need such sophisticated help, when they knew we were going to give them the best help possible without us having to prove ourselves every time. I time when all this sophisticated electronic online marketing wasn't as important as a friendly face, even if it took over a minute for that face to appear.
Kathy's work is about music on a real instrument, no electronic keyboard, a real piano, with a hammer hitting some strings. An instrument that has been around for a few centuries. No sophistication here, the students come to our house, our living room. If Kathy isn't in the living room to greet them they sit down and start to practice. She can hug her students, laugh with them. The parents come in and can watch the lesson, the sisters and brothers also. This is an industry that has been around a long time and it really hasn't changed that much. No commuting to work, work is here. Simple, and pure is what I call it.
This is not about complaining about Sunnyside because I love my work and the people I work with, I like keeping up with the 21st century, I have a smart phone and all of that and of course I am sitting writing this blog. It is just a simple appreciation for a simpler time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Last week we decided it was time for the Umpqua River Trail. I like this trail more than the McKenzie River Trail because it has less slow rocky technical bits and more climbing with high speed descents. Jake and I assured Muffy she would enjoy it more because it wasn't really very hard other than the climbs etc.
It was a wet day but not unpleasant with a rain coat and proper hats and gloves. About an hour into the ride, after my favorite climb and descent there is a creek crossing, which I have ridden many a time. This time, though, my glasses were fogged so I decided to dismount and walk. I really didn't want to fall into the little creeklet and get more wet than I was. Well the dismount didn't go well. My foot slipped on slippery rock and I tumbled into the creek anyway. As I was laying there, my left leg throbbing, I knew something bad had happened. I managed to crawl out of the creek and make my way back to the trail just as Muffy and Jake were arriving. I looked at my leg and there was a huge gash just below the knee. This was bad and I was starting to feel shivery and light headed. Jake went and recovered my bike and I told Muffy I had a first kit in my pack. I laid down with my legs on Jake so I could get some blood back to my brain and fight of the effects of "shock". Muffy was busy applying a very tight bandage and making sure the wound was protected from the elements and had pressure so it would not bleed.
Friends, there when I needed them. I finally started to feel better and made some joke about swimming. They knew then I was OK and that is why there is a big smile on Jake's face in the photo. Relief. At first we were not sure if I would be able to get myself out of there, but the alternative of sitting for hours and then being carried out wasn't too appealing. The truth was the leg felt fine and I rode out. I suggested that the other two could go finish the ride and meet me at the car, but being good friends they stayed with me.
We stopped at Urgent care on the way home and Dr Ponte, another friend, was there to clean the wound and sew me up. It was reassuring to have a familiar face taking care of me. Then it was off to the Rays pharmacy to get my antibiotics. Again a friend, Rob, was there to fill my prescription.
My leg is better, though not 100%, and I am back on my bike and the thought of all these friends is still fresh in my mind.