Thursday, July 29, 2010


Summer is the season where events mark the beginning the middle and the end. For a school boy those dates are fairly obvious, end of school, 4th of July and beginning of school. I never liked school as a boy, it wasn't until university that I looked forward to fall. As a boy summer was full of adventure, lazy days in the sun playing baseball and riding my bicycle. When I became a young man and went off to university summer was three months of hard work, fighting forest fires and being away from friends and sweethearts (well really only one sweetheart).
At the age of 59 summer still has the same importance it did as when I was a boy of 15. It is a time to enjoy the sun, get outdoors, ride a bike hike in the mountains eat raspberries out of the garden, and even if one isn't supposed to get some sun. As an adult though summer doesn't have the feeling of doom when it is over. I also love the fall, and to this day when I start seeing back to school sales I am so pleased that isn't me. Fall has a better taste when school isn't involved.
It would come as no surprise that summer's defining moments are cycling events. The end of the Giro in May is the start of my summer. The Tour de France in July is my high summer, and The Oregon Bicycle Ride, though in August, signals the end of real summer is coming. It seems when I leave for OBR the temperatures are hot and the days are still long, and when I get back the days seem so short and the temperatures have receded from the 90s into the lower 80s. I know then that cyclo cross is coming soon and busy days in the store are pretty much over.
Of course even those things change. In the 80s Sunnyside's busy days started at the Pole Pedal Paddle and ended with July, now the busy days start in March and don't really end until the middle of September. That is not only to do with the population of Bend but also with our habits. Cycling has become a 12 month activity, not a 3 month one.
In my photos this blog I have include a few that mean something to me. One is a photo of Tumalo Mountain with moon at about 6am from halfway up Farewell Bend trail. Riding a bike in the wee hours of morning is the best, especially with a friend who happens to be as insane as I. The next photo is Serena (that same friend) racing in the Cascade Cycling Classic. She did quite well by the way. The next photo is a pro racer drafting his team car up the Shevlin Park hill. This is called cheating by the way, even in the Tour it would be called cheating. The last photo is of course of our adversaries in the Tour this year, Alberto and Andy. They put on quite a show and I thank them for that.
I hope your summer is as meaningful as mine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Going back 5 years in the Tour de France things were different and they were the same. I was lucky enough to be at that tour. The reason I was there is a bit of a story ( a friend bought a trip, couldn't go and gave the trip to me). I loved watching the tour and I would tell everyone who loves bike racing to go to the Tour at least once. Watching the Tour live is an experience that I will never regret. Traveling in France in the summer is difficult though.
Lets get on with my story. Five years ago my group choose Revel as the stage to watch the finish. This is the same town that the tour is finishing today. Revel is another beautiful town in southern France. There was a break that day with Paolo Salvodeli. He was on the Discovery team, a teammate of Lance Armstrong. The finish in Revel is tricky because there is a short climb with a technical downhill. I predicted Paulo would win and win he did. Paulo, who is retired now was known as il falco (the falcon) because of his descending abilities. He was also a decent sprinter. He won the day. He later went on to win the GIRO for a second time. If you look at the photos you will see on the big screen television a photo of Perrick Pedrigo. He was in the main field that day trying to pull in the chase, today he is currently in the break still racing with one career TDF win. You will also see in the photo Thor Hushovd putting on the Green Jersey. He is currently the holder of that jersey. Will he keep that jersey today, tough to tell. I think Alessandro Petacchi will beat Thor in the sprint but I can't say by how many places. So that could be the same as 5 years ago. Lance is back in the race, though not in the yellow. I got to ride the course 5 years ago and do the final climb. Like any climb it depends on fast you go whether it is hard or not. This one is not that tough unless someone fast is up front trying to put the pressure on.
Watching today is special because I have been to Revel, the next 5 days will also be special for the same reason. I hope to go back to watch the tour someday. It won't be with a big tour group just some friends will do. I will remember not to go to too many finishes. As you can see by the third photo it is too crowded to really see anything, when we go to the mountains we will go to the second to last summit, and find a cafe with a TV to watch the rest of the race, and though Paris was an experience, it is just too crowded to really enjoy the race.
5 years seems a long time but it really isn't as many of the same players are still here.
As I write this the breakaway is almost caught and there is 10 miles to go. Who will win, who will have green, who will be ready for the Pyrenees? Soon we will know.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I think it is quite PC to say we race to challenge ourselves, to do it for fun, to participate etc. I would say most of us race for results. Results are what differentiates a race from a hard ride. I would also say the better the results the better one feels about the race. When I hear someone tell me they are racing for fun, I wonder what they mean. Are they saying they are not competitive, do they mean they don't really care how they finish, or is just a way of saying I don't know how I will do so if I do poorly I won't feel so bad. There are some races I do just to measure myself with others. This would be some of the 100 mile races I have done and the Super Ds I do. I know I am not going to win these but I am interested in how close I am to my competitors and I like when my name is higher on the list than lower. Some races I think I can win, or at least be competitive. In these races I have to tell you it is way more fun to win than anything. I am not suggesting that those who use the term "just for fun" not compete, but I will tell you winning is the most fun. In other words I also race "just for fun", most of us do.
This year I had a couple of milestones. One is I won the 55+ Oregon Mountain Bike Series for the second time. It was not easy. Mark Miller, who came in second, beat me three times, I beat him three times. It came down to me outlasting him in the TOE, check out my last blog for that race. I was confident going into Pickett's I could win, but with half a lap to go he went by. So my decision to race TOE was key to my overall win. A more important milestone was the team victory. This was way more important to me than my individual victory. I am into the team feeling. Everyone who raced helped the team get this prize. Again it was not easy. The lead changed hands through out the season with Team Dirt from Corvallis. It also really came down to TOE. Five of us put in our best races of the year and that gave us a cushion going into Pickett's. Sunnyside Sports had never sponsored a number 1 team in Oregon, and we have been sponsoring teams since 1980. Mountain bike racing is bigger than ever in Oregon and we were the best. We are not a big team, and we do not recruit ringers. We are a group of friends that love cycling period. We just happened to be the right age, the right category and many of us traveled to a lot of races to make this a team effort. Some of us are really Track Racers but came out and scored important points. Some of us are new to the sport but gave it our best and scored points, some of us have been doing this since the beginning of mountain biking and love it so much that we can't quit and we scored valuable points.
I am so proud to be part of this group of fun loving athletes and cycling enthusiasts.
This award would have meant nothing without Team Dirt. Team Dirt gave it there all, making us realize this was no give a way. If we scored 9 points they would score 10, We had a slim 2 point lead with two races to go. If we hadn't all had great races at TOE Team Dirt would have taken over the lead for Pickett's. Thanks to Mike Ripley and Team Dirt for making this year very memorable.
Remember, on our team we all race for fun. Winning this year made it more fun. And the other 29 years when we did not win, well they were also fun but those years helped make this year pretty special.
In the photos you see we had four series winners, Don, Serena, Austin and his super Mom Jodi. This blog only has room for 5 photos but I must mention Jim was third in his group. And of course there is the Team getting it's prize. Sweet.