Tuesday, February 15, 2011


If you read my blog you may get the idea that all I do is ride a bike. I ride in Spain, France, Scotland and of course the USA. I race, I ride for recreation, I work on bikes, I test ride bikes. I have won some races and done well in many others. So part of the answer is yes I love to ride and at 60 years I am not ready to quit.
However riding is not all I do. I happen to work for example. I am part owner of Sunnyside Sports. I really do work full time. I love working here and I am proud of what me and the rest of the Sunnyside Crew have accomplished here.
I read quite a bit. The unusual part of that is I read mainly in Spanish. I do this because it is an easy way for me to keep on my Spanish language skills. I always have a book I am reading, right now I am reading the complete Sherlock Holmes. Why in Spanish? No real reason other thanI found it and it is a fun read.
I am learning the piano. This is really what this blog is about. I took piano 30 years ago but I found that practicing with my teacher in the room was not satisfactory. It wasn't her fault it was mine. I wanted some privacy when I practiced. So I stopped. Kathy (my piano teacher who I happen to be married to) recently moved her piano studio to out of our house. As soon as she did that I started piano again. It has been very fun and lots of work. I practice very diligently, almost every day for at least 1/2 hour. The first few lessons consisted of very simple tunes (of course one can wonder why Ode to Joy is the most beautiful and the most simple of tunes).
Part of my lesson is playing duets with Kathy. I knew this was part of class as I have heard Kathy give hundreds of lessons. What I didn't know was how I would feel about it. Playing music with someone else is on top of my list of things I have done, and playing with Kathy was even more special. I can't really explain how I felt. I can tell you what happened though. We we playing the theme from Dvorcak's New World Symphony. I had practiced this peace very hard. When we were playing it sounded like real music to me and Kathy and I were the ones doing. That was the point I started to cry. I mean real crying not just choking up. This was the real thing.
Like I said I have medals at world championships, I have raced in front of the hometown crown and done well. I have never broken down from joy before though.
A special thanks to Kathy who helped me make this happen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Not every ride but on many mountain bike rides there is a sense of adventure. I like long mountain bike rides that take me far from home, deep into the woods, high in the mountain etc. Places that put you on your own. On a bike this is different than hiking because we have the added factor of falling and mechanical break downs. It is all part of the fun for me. Being prepared, having a well running bike, and having fun and pushing the limits without crossing into the danger zone. I have crossed the danger zone but it is not a place I want to be.
Yesterday Jody, Jacob and I decided it would be fun to ride the Alpine Trail in Oakridge. We have been having great cycling weather for the last three weeks and there were great reports of the trail conditions. I checked the weather and it said mostly sunny, but cooler and windy. That seemed fine. On the drive over we were seeing showers of snow and rain but there were some breaks in the clouds so it really wasn't too bad. We got to the trailhead in Westfir and decided it was a go.
We started of on some sweet singletrack along the North Fork of the Willamette River. It was in perfect condition. We then decided on the climbing on the 1912 road instead of the 1910 road. This meant for more singletrack along the river. It was sweet, but just when we saw the end of the trail coming there was a small sign warning us of unstable trail conditions ahead. Well what it was is the whole trail had washed out. There were two bike angels standing on the other side of the washout. We formed a human chain and ferried the bikes across the abyss and safely made it to the other side.
We then started the long climb to the top of the Alpine Trail. It actually was warm as the sun came out for moments. Of course when we got almost to the top it decided to snow. Not hard but it was snow and that meant cold.
We stopped on top, had a little food, put on what what dry clothing we had and, after checking the map, started our descent. The Alpine Trail actually starts with a climb. This was a blessing because it allowed us to warm up again.
The descent was epic and fun. The snow didn't affect the traction, and though the hands and feet were not warm they were not frozen either.
I probably wouldn't have started this ride if I would have known the weather conditions before hand. But all three of us arrived at the car with big grins on our faces, once again proving the added adventure added to the enjoyment more than detracted.
Here is a GPS Map of the course.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I have spent over 30 years in this wonderful bicycle business. I have always tried to the right thing, be a responsible business person and give back to the sport and activity I love. MIke said the other day that all my vacations include riding my bike. That is not 100% true but close to it. My life is surrounded by my love of all things bike.
In 2005 I was given a chance to watch the Tour de France. It was unexpected but it was an experience of a lifetime. I have my friend Kent Mills to thank for that. In fact I have so much to thank Kent for I wrote about him in a blog some years ago.
This time I am getting a new opportunity the Tour of Flanders. If you don't know about the Tour of Flanders let me explain. It takes place in early spring (April 3 this year) and it is the biggest race in cycling crazy Belgium. It is a one day "classic" race. That means lots of steep short hills, cobblestones, maybe some rain and wind. For the spectators it means beer and yelling.
I get to do both. Well kind of both. The day before the race there is an amateur version. There will be 20,000 cyclists trying to get up the Murs and cobblestones. Many of them expros and neopros. I will be with them. I would love to see if I could pedal up all the steep hills but my guess is it will be crowded. If you look at the photos you will that even the pros end up running.
Last year Fabian Cancellara won this race, and Belgium hero, Tom Boonen was second. Cancellara won in such a dominating fashion that he was accused of having an electric motor on his bike. This is not a joke. There is technology out there to give a rider 100 watts for about 20 minutes. The battery would be the size of a double A and the motor would be in the seat tube.
I doubt he had an electric motor but he did have extra help for sure. His legs are like an extra motor. This year I get to see in person if he can repeat or if Tom Boonen can hang on or some other "classic rider". I will have been on the course and will know a little how it feels.
The Tour of Flanders is my favorite race on the calendar. It has some crazy steep hills, it has cobblestones and it is in Belgium. What could be better. I will let everyone know how it goes. Thanks to Quality Bicycle Parts and Lazer Helmets for this chance of a lifetime.