Thursday, October 23, 2008

Moving Day

This little corner of the web has been fun for me, and some good blogmemories have been made, but I'm (mostly) packing things up and heading to a new location.

Although I may ocassionally find myself posting a muse from time to time, any real bike-related posts will now be at the bike-specific site. This site was a great journal during my weightloss progress, and I may still drop some of those thoughts here along the way, but please visit PacificPedalling to follow any of my bike thoughts.

Also, I'd love to take the opportunity to invite you to visit some of our network of bloggin' buddies as well. In no particular order, some that may be of interest to you: - Conrad shares some great mortgage industry info in this crazy economic time. - The team shares great tips for the 'green enthusiast.' - All about making life simpler, better, easier. - Deanna and friends share about re-using items in a new way. - Ryan Thorson helps outline a gameplan for tackling life head on every day. - Mark has a unique perspective on the market in volatile times! - this one has been dry, but look for posts to start piling up again. - Everything about those Macs we love so much!

We also have some new blogs that will be launching soon, but I'll probably wait to post them here until that time. Please come visit over at!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Riding

Today was chilly. 34 degrees when I got up, and not quite to 40 by the time I was heading out with the kids. I love it. Anyone who's known me for any amount of time knows that this is my favorite time of year. When the air turns crisp in the morning, but we still get some nice afternoons, I'm right in my comfort zone. I'm thankful the Big Cyclist in the sky gave Oregon 4 true seasons to enjoy, but I always look forward to seasons of October through December. (Don't even get me started on Christmas yet...)

Although the official cycling season is over (I once again missed the Harvest Century, the last 'official ride,' because it's held on a Sunday,) Willamette Valley autumns are mild enough to allow for plenty of good riding days, as indicated in the photos here from my last ride. Still plenty of beautiful colors, fresh cool air, and general all around goodness to be taken in. The biggest difference is in gearing up properly, both with proper attire and gear on the bike. I'm now finding that I need a light jacket on most rides, and leg warmers to keep my old knees from cold pain. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm also gearing up with proper lighting for early morning and evening rides, and fenders for rain..which I already have on a couple of bikes.

Although I'm not quite up for it this year, I plan to cut another 20 lbs, get a proper bike and possibly give Cyclocross a try next fall. In a nutshell, Cyclocross is like a muddy, wacky, obstacle course/bike race on road bikes modified to be ridding in dirt, mud, gravel, up stairs, over barriers, through barns, etc. For some reason I think this kind of racing may be a little safer than going all out on roads, and it lets you enjoy the season for longer than just when the leaves start to turn. Here's a recap video of the recent race just down the road in Rickreall:

And if nothing else, through the month of October, you can still cruise down to the Saturday Market here in Salem, fill up your basket with locally grown produce, baked goods, and other finds, and enjoy the ride with friends and family.

Buy local! Ride safe!

Friday, October 3, 2008

As If I Needed More Proof That People Aren't Paying Attention

Here, take this awareness test below. It's simple...count the number of passes the team in white makes. So you don't give the answer away (unless you want to cheat) don't read any further until you've played the video and taken the test.

How'd you do?

Earlier this summer, when we had crummy weather in June, I had commuted to work in the morning and it was a decent day. By end of the day, the rain had moved in and I was riding home in the rain. While riding along on the side of the road, and about to pass the driveway of a business here in town, I saw a truck about to pull out, and had this strange feeling he wasn't going to see me. As I got nearer to the entrance, he was looking the other way, and sure enough, just as I was crossing in front of his grill, he did a quick glance back to where I HAD been, and put the pedal down once he had seen no cars coming. I couldn't look behind me to measure exactly, but I'm sure he missed my back tire by a foot at most. Moonwalking Bear.

Last night, after a nice date night ride downtown to the Beanery, we were headed home through some residential neighborhoods, and had mentioned already that even though we have the right of way when there's no stop sign for us, people who DO have a stop sign, don't always pay attention, or care. Sure enough, as we cruising by a church in N. Salem, headed back to Keizer a lady in a late model mustang pulled up to her stop sign, just as we were approaching the intersection. We slowed down to make sure she saw us....she looked the other way, then looked RIGHT AT I was just about to say 'ok, push through,' when she looked the other way one more time, and then gunned it through the intersection. Once again, Moonwalking Bear(s).

I'm sure in both these instances, the drivers were so focussed on seeing if any CARS were coming, that they just didn't pay attention to other vehicles, and/or pedestrians. Had we rode according to the rules of the road last night, even after slowing down, one or both of us would be mushed up a bit. As it was, I nearly went down because I hadn't unclipped until she sped on through. I'm guessing this was probably what happened in a previous post of mine where a Salem cyclist was hit right behind my office. The report said the driver had run the stop sign, and the cyclist collided with her car. She likely slowed down, looked down the one way, saw no cars, and picked up the pace again through the sign. Another Moonwalking Bear...this one who got carted off in an ambulance.

Now I will flip the coin for a minute and point out that there are plenty of my biking comrades out there who are NOT obeying the rules of the road. Yesterday, not only did I see a gal on a bike, sans helmet (not a law, by the way...just saying) run a red on Liberty to turn onto State in front of me, and continued to sneak through lights for the next block or two, but I also saw a late evening group ride that blitzed through reds downtown. Doesn't do us any good when we ask for drivers to be on the lookout for cyclists, if we're not going to abide by the rules as well.

Not enough people will read this blog for it to make a difference, but to the handful of friends who do read, please remember there's a chubby mexican out on his bike from time to time, and even though you might be in a hurry, I just ask that you keep and eye out for the Moonwalking Bear. Even at slow speeds, and even with my impressive body mass ration, I'm no match up against a rolling ton of metal. (Man those guys were great in the 70's - Rolling Ton of Metal - but I digress....)

Hasta! (cue Billy Jean....for the Moonwalking Bear.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Riding Pretty!

Not me, but that lady that lives with me, and puts up with my nonsense. After a great day at the Saturday Market last weekend, I snapped this picture:

Recently, posted a link to Riding Pretty, and I couldn't help but send in this picture, since it fit the focus of their whole site - looking pretty on a bike. Again I'd I get so lucky? (PS - the link above takes you to the post with the photo above)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Age Old Question: White After Labor Day?

I've lived by two fashion mottos in my life: 1) according to GQ, you CAN wear blue and black together, as long as you mean to, and 2) no white after Labor Day. Ok, I really haven't followed the white thing....and the blue and black thing I just found to help cover some fashion faux pas I apparently made.

However, this year, I'm breaking the white after Labor Day rule. My summer project has been to build up a complete road bike from frame up. I didn't want to mess with my main Torelli, but did want to learn a little bit more about how to build and maintain a fully geared road bike. I started out building up a couple single speeds, but those are relatively easy to keep from messing up. Building something with gears, derailleurs and just more stuff in general, seemed a little daunting, but I wanted to tackle it. I can now say that I've completed my summer project.That's my new Cinelli Spirit, put together by...well, me! The white tubing is Columbus Spirit tubing, and the black stays, seat tube, and fork are carbon fiber...which has been scary for a big guy like me. I've seen some ugly pictures on the interweb of the results of CF catostrophic failures. I picked up the frame on a screaming good ebay deal for a fraction of it's retail cost. The Campy Mirage group (cranks, derailleur, brakes, levers, chain) seat, bars, wheels and tires came off a used Bianchi Eros I bought. I had to purchase a new bottom bracket, integrated headset, front derailleur clamp, seat clamp, seat post...and for good measure I bought a new Campy cable/housing kit. Before doing all the work, I started with just this:

My first time working with CF, but I am proud to say I cut the steering tube by myself, although I was a tad nervous. I just went out and got a 32T blade for my hacksaw, used masking tape for a guide and to help with splintering, gently held it in my bench vise wrapped in an old tube, and rotated the tube after cutting down a bit on each side. Then took an emory cloth and polished it down. It wasn't too much more work than cutting a steel tube, just a little more tedious.

Big props also to Tori at Gracie's Wrench. They have bike classes and also do consulting for businesses in all things that have to do with cycling. I took what was essentially a Derailleur 101 and 102 class while wrapping up this bike. I felt like I *could* have knocked it out on my own, but having a pro help point out all the little gotchas allowed me to feel like it actually got done the right way. If you're in need of bike classes, I can recommend them wholeheartedly. As a bonus, GW is located in the shop at Vanilla Cycles, so I got to see some of their gorgeous frames up close as well! I'd be tempted to order one...but the current wait time is 5 YEARS to get one built....yes, I said YEEEEEAAAAAARRRRSSSSSSS........

In the midst of the Torelli 20th madness that happened, this little guy sat waiting, and so I finally got to take it out for a ride on Tuesday, and I was pleasantly surprised. The CF stuff almost feels a little *plasticlike* compared to my all steel bikes, but after a few miles I got used to it. The bike is light, and like the Torelli, climbs pretty well. I threw on some cheap pedals and cages, so I'm looking forward to trying it with some actual clipless pedals and cleats for comparison.

It's both a scary and exciting feeling to wind up a bike to normal speed, clicking through the gears, working the brakes, cutting into corners, and knowing that you put together every part on the bike to make it work that way. Very fulfilling, and a proud moment in my short cycling career so far - riding the bike I put together in my garage. Will it be one of my lifelong bikes that I keep forever....not sure. It could actually be for sale sooner than later, but it'll be fun riding it in the meantime, and looking forward to the next project.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dang. What A Day.

I should have known the day would be wacky when we walked out to the car to head to school and found 4 of Keizer's Finest patrol cars screeching to a halt to snag a bad-guy-on-foot down at the end of our street. Course, nothing says "I'm Local" like standing there in my jammies, coffee cup in hand, baseball cap covering my Bob Wiley hair, watching the action.

After getting back from playing Mr. Mom Taxi Driver (two movies that should never really be referenced together) I put on our new Share The Road plates that have needed to find their way onto the Honda. Since the Mrs was headed out of town, and I'm pretty sure the temp plate expired, I figured it was a good day to get it done. I'm pretty pumped to see the little cyclist fella on the car, and it's especially ironic since our eldest is learning to drive on this car...but won't set any part of her body remotely near a bike. One bad experience on a dusty trail in LaGrande, and that was the end of the interest in bikes. Sigh.

After lunch I spent some time at South Salem Cycleworks checking into the stuff I'd need for the overhaul of the 20th Anniversary Torelli I've been pouring over in the previous couple posts. After settling on a direction, I headed back to the office, with a quick drive through pit-stop for an iced skinny latte to help get through the afternoon. So far, so good.

Shortly after getting back, we heard the sound of police sirens, and before long we had a whole gang of our office team on the sidewalk that borders our office property looking at this scene:

For those of you familiar with Salem, that's Commercial Street in the background, heading into downtown, just before Applebees. That Neon is parked on Tryon, a little side street that runs alongside our parking lot. Note the smashed windshield, dent in the drivers side fender, and missing hubcap on the front wheel. According to the StatesmanJoural, that's what happened with the driver ran the stop sign at the cross street, and the cyclist you see laying on the ground in the photo ran into her while riding down Commercial. And since the question will come up, no, he wasn't wearing a helmet.

We didn't see the accident, just the aftermath. The cyclist was coherent, and obviously in a lot of pain from his loud groans and screams. I'm happy to read that he appears to be ok, aside from a possible broken leg. His bike was rested up against the stop sign, and the rear wheel was toasted, but hopefully that will all be covered under insurance.

That's the second accident 'in the hood' in this past week. My personal feeling is that Salem is nowhere near a bike friendly town like Portland or other larger areas where more bikes are present, and I often feel like I am taking a little bit of my life into my hands when I ride around here in traffic. Seeing this one today reminded me that as a recreational cyclist who also spends a great deal of time behind the wheel of a car, that I need to be extra careful every time I head out on the road. Please do the same when you head out.....remember, I'm often out there on two wheels and no airbags to protect me!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Torellis and The Tree

I've now had the pleasure of taking each Torelli I've ridden out to The Tallest Black Cotton Wood in North America. (Sounds like a date after I read it back to myself.) Anyway, it's just out about 12 miles from our house and makes for a nice 22 mile loop to Willamette Mission Park and back. Here I am on my lunch ride yesterday with the 20th Anniversary Torelli, still in all it's funky frankenstein-ness, well, here's the bike anyway:

Working back in time one bike at a time, next is my current do everything Torelli shortly after getting it from the shop:

And the original ride that inspired it all, me on Nicks red Torelli, way back in the spring of '07.

It was just after that ride on the Red Gran Sasso that I called up the LBS that built it and said 'make me a twin of this bike,' and ended up with the blue Gran Sasso above. I love these steel bikes!

A couple notes about riding the frankensteined Torelli above. I hate to say it, but it really rode pretty nice. I hate to say it because I just can't get into those wheels, and for sure not on that frame. That frame really deserves some classic Campy. Not necessarily old, just classic...more like the polished group and wheels that are on the red bike above. That change will definitley happen.

I've often heard people say 'that bike climbs like a goat,' and have always thought 'yeah, whatever...YOU either climb like a goat, or you don't...not the bike.' However, yesterday I may have changed my mind. When climbing up Ravena, I was amazed how little effort I was putting into my pedaling. I haven't been riding for over a month (well, aside from my short commute to work) so it's not that I'm particularly strong right just felt like I was on a bike escalator. Pushing down one pedal, but getting two strokes worth out of each one. It was really weird. Good, but weird. I hope I can replicate that when I change out everything.

Still some good riding days left before the rain comes...and really, still good riding days in there too. Get out and enjoy the sun!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Italy, Meet Japan...Japan, Meet Italy

I know what you're're wondering if it's even still legal for me to be blogging, but yes, they let me out once in a while to spread good cheer to the boys and girls. Don't get all comfy though, it could be another solid month before I make a post...I don't want you getting all spoiled or anything.

So they're still sweeping up the confetti from the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, but here I am to help do my part in bringing about global unification by helping Italy and Japan live alongside each other in glorious harmony. For the time being, I'm riding an Italian thoroughbred frame with top of the line Japanese components on it. Toss in a couple of American branded carbon fiber parts as well and some interesting color choices, and well, frankly it's a complete cycling melting pot. You really should just take a look:

Now onto the details. What you see here is a 20th Anniversary Torelli frame and fork. I've been lusting after these babies since I knew they existed. There were only 100 made, and I wasn't into cycling when they were made, so I totally missed out. I've been left to wandering the Ebay and Craigslist postings for the elusive handful of 20ths that would have been made in my actual size. This week I struck gold when I won one on Ebay...and for a price I was really pleased to pay.

What's crazy -- beyond the 'every color of the rainbow' scheme you see above (please note the purple bottle cages, blue wheels, and red valvestem caps) -- is that someone dressed up the classic Italian frame with Japanese components. Now, don't get me wrong, the Shimano Dura-Ace components that are on it are well sought after, and well respected. In the world of cycling groupsets, you basically have Campagnolo and Shimano, with a little SRAM thrown in to keep it interesting. In the professional 35mm camera world (and now digital) you have you Nikon and Canon. In the political world you have Dems and get the idea.

So I feel a little dirty with these Japanese parts on the Torelli...I'm really a Campy guy down deep, so it's probably bad that I admit that in the past couple days, it hasnt' been all that bad. The shifting is a little funky, since the shifters are actually part of the brakes. On the Campy, the shifters are under the brakes and apart, on Shimano, it makes the brakes feel like they have some side play in them. But other than that, shifting has been fairly crisp and the ride has been smooth.

Ultimately, I'll end up with a compete Campy group on this, and rid the bike of the carbon components in favor of all polished alloy, for a more classic look. I mean really, take a look at these lugs and tell me they don't just cry out for some classic looking gear on the whole bike.

I love polished lugs, and these are really nice. Check back later...more photos as she gets upgraded.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Playing and Putting Like Tiger

Ok, not really like Tiger, but I had one shining moment in today's round at the OGA course. Here it is, in way more information than you're going to care about.

After crossing the crap and landing just over the green of the par 5 nemesis that is the 14th hole in 3 shots, I was poised for a pitch and putt for a par. I had strung 5 pars together at the end of the first nine and was looking to make up a little ground after a couple bogeys in the first part of the back nine. Wasn't meant to be however, as I flubbed a pitch a couple feet forward, then ran the next one past the hole and two putted back up the hill for a double bogey 7. Ugh.

Looking for a little redemption, I cranked on my drive at 15, where the fairway is pretty wide and allows a little grace. Not however, if you hit it into the trees right, which I hardly ever do, but DID do today. I heard the ball play pachinko down between a few trees and hoped I'd have a shot at least somewhere towards the green.

As we reached the ball, I saw my first glimmer of hope. There was a good view of the green between two trees, out about 20 yards from my ball. If I could keep it low and straight, I could get out and up somewhere near the green. I was only about 170 yards out, but didn't think I could hit an iron because of trajectory, so I pulled a 3 wood out to really keep it low, and did a half punch shot / cut shot right towards the green...and kind of closed my eyes. I ducked down between the two trees to look, and watched the ball hit the far left edge of the green, check up, and rest above the hole....75 feet away, but on the green. :)

I hate being above the hole on the 15th. It's usually a quick and nasty putt, and if the pin is anywhere near the shelf in the middle of the green, and you don't slam it into the cup, the ball is going to run away like yesterdays bacon. It doesn't look as ugly in the picture above as it truly is, but trust me, it's WAY better to be below the hole putting back up. Fortunately, I was out on the edge where the shelf isn't quite as steep, but it was still going to be a crazy putt.

I figured I needed almost all the room between the hole and fringe for the break...somewhere around 12 feet of it. I also needed to putt out to the right, just enough to get it to the edge of the shelf, and then let it dribble back down the break to the left and towards the hole. If I could get it anywhere within 5 feet I was going to be very happy. In case that description isn't clear, here's a diagram:

When I rolled it out right, I thought I might have tapped it too light to get it to the shelf, but it hit it just right, then turned back towards he hole and looked like it had enough to get me close. I started walking to the hole, and then stopped because it grabbed the line, kept rolling, and after a few more turnovers.....dropped.

Best. Putt. Of. My. Life.

Carded the bird, and went on to match my personal best of 84 for the round. If you can't play like Tiger all the time, it's at least good to have a putt like that at least once every decade or so.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Monster Cookie 2008

Yesterday, Nate and I got out and did the annual Monster Cookie Ride, sponsored by the Salem Bicycle Club -- a 62 mile metric century. The route travels from the state capitol in Salem, out to Champoeg State Park, and back.

We got there at just a little before 8am for Day Of Ride registration, and the line was already pretty long. But it was beautiful out and no one seemed to mind waiting just a bit. I heard they had received nearly 1000 pre-ride registrations, and I'm sure there were a few hundred more waiting in line before and after us since it was the first nice day in forever. Turns out they had a record 1600+ riders for the event.

Early on, we saw a gentleman down, and wondered if it might have been from the clogged traffic as the cones forced the group into a path over the train tracks. He had several people helping him, and was talking to someone on a cell phone, so we assumed he was doing ok. A couple of times it bunched up like that, but didn't seem too bad overall. (edit - turns out a poster on Bike Forums indicated this IS what happened, someone stopped short on him coming to that spot.) The rest stops were all great, plenty of cookies, fruit, drinks, coffee, bagels, and other assorted snacks. Here's a view of the lunch stop.

The most impressive thing for me was that Nate decided to go last minute with me. He doesn't own a road bike and has never even been on one before. He rides some mountain bike, and used to do some adventure racing, but said "I'd go if you had a bike for me." The only other bike I had that would fit him, was my Redline 925 -- the previously mentioned single speed. He hopped on it Saturday night around 11 pm, took it up the street and back, and said, "Ok, I'm in." Ha! And so he rode yesterday, with ONE gear, 62 miles, never having been on a road bike before. Here's a shot of him rolling along with one gear.

I'm sure they were out there, but we kept looking and didn't see any other single speeds, or "fixies" (one gear, no freewheel - when the rear wheel is turning, backwards or forwards, so are the cranks....crazy on fast downhills!), until we bumped into Michael Wolfe from South Salem Cycleworks on his fixie. He had threatened earlier in the week to do it, and turns out he did. Here's him and Nate cruising at the same stretch, just one gear each - Michael in black, Nate in blue.

I felt bad on hills -- Nate had no option but to crank hard to get up the hill. I tried to shift as quietly as I could...with a tinge of guilt for having the ability to just spin it up. Fortunately there weren't too many on this ride, but even just the few smaller ones are plenty tricky on the single speed. (Especially for a guy on his first road ride.)
We made it back to the capitol 5 hrs and 22 minutes after taking off - 4 hours and 1 minute of rolling time, and the rest was rest stops, and a stop when we saw my family on the roadside cheering us on near the end. I was really pleased with keeping a 15 mph average, especially with Nate on one gear the whole way. Here are a few folks catching some much needed rest at the end.

We bumped into Michael again at the end, so we all put on some cheese for the camera before heading home.
And of course, the reason for the name of the event:

All in all a good day, and a great ride! (you'd really think my cheeks would stop looking so hammy by now with all this biking!)


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Take Your Kids To Work Day

I rarely post pictures or names of my family members on my blog, for security and privacy reasons -- to many sickos and stalkers out there...(don't even get me started on what kids are putting on MySpace and Facebook these days)....BUT, how can you not put up a picture from Take Your Kids To Work Day when you happen upon such a proud moment as this???

Some fathers long for the day their kids throw that first touchdown in a high school game, or drop a 5 point buck from 50 yards out, but a tear comes to my eye seeing them all building web pages -- all on Macs. Sigh.

How can you not love Take Your Kids To Work Day?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Flower Delivery Service

I commuted 3 of 5 days last week to work on the 925 (mentioned in the post below) and aside from getting caught in the rain/hail for part of the ride home, and a near miss with the Day and Night Heating guy that wasn't looking as I drove past the parking lot he was pulling out of, I was really glad to be riding to work.

As I was leaving on Friday, the lovely lady I live with said "oh, you're riding in today? I was going to have you take some flowers to the office." Since Mike at Cycleworks has said on more than one occasion that you CAN take anything with you on the bike, I decided to live out his mantra and offered to take them anyway.

At least if the web gig doesn't work out, I could pimp myself out as a bicycle flower delivery guy. Maybe I could step it up at Valentines day and offer a singing flower delivery guy special!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just Give Me The High Gear!

In a classic guilty pleasure movie of mine, Days Of Thunder, Cole Trickle (a.k.a Tom Cruise) has to pull of a minor miracle and use just the one gear he has left to finish and win a NASCAR event. He screams to his pit to get him out in front of the pace car since he's going to have to ramp up that high gear to any decent kind of speed, or he's out. Let me just say Tommy, I feel your pain, I feel your pain.

For the past week, I've been tooling around with just 'the high gear,' or at least, one of them, on a Redline 925 that I picked up last week. If you've been paying attention, you know that I ride a sweet little frame from Italy that goes by the name of Torelli, and she's set up with more gears than I will likely ever use in a years time....all mine for the taking.

The 925 is different though, it's a single speed, and has just one gear. Remember when we were kids and had BMX bikes, or Stingrays with banana seats, or any other number of bikes that only had one gear? And we got along just fine, right? That's the deal with the single speed once again. One gear, just one thing to go round, and round, and round. Here's a shot of the one I picked up.

It's set up perfect for commuting with fenders for those rainy days, a little blinky light up front, and a brake. I know, you'd think a brake would go without saying, but if you flip the rear hub around on this guy, the bike becomes a fixed gear bike, or as the youngin's call them, a 'fixie.' Right now, when I stop pedaling ,the bike keeps moving, and I hear the gentle purr of the freewheel humming along. On a fixed gear, when back wheel moves, the pedals move...forward, or backwards. You go fast, they go fast. You go slow, they go slow. And get this, some yayhoos, er....courageous souls, even go without a brake, using just body parts to get the thing to stop. Basically, you have to slow into a stop, or skid it, if you're going fast. Look up 'fixie skid' on YouTube, and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, it's been fun to just hop on the ol' bike without worrying about special shoes to attach myself to the bike with, or the appropriate matching clothes to look like I belong on said bike. Instead, just hop on, throw on my laptop bag, and ride on into work. The whole bike cost me less than the wheels on my Torelli, so I don't get too concerned about riding it in the rain and ugly weather. Not to mention it's already been called 'hot' and 'sweet' by a few of the single speed / fixed gear riders on the forum I frequent.

Riding with just one gear, although fun, can also be a little brutal...especially for an old, chubby dad. Climbing Commercial street with what would normally be the gear I ride at 15-16 mph is MUCH more work than the granny gear. In fact, I thought about riding all the way out to Cycleworks, but turned about halfway up Commercial, and pulled into DayBreak Coffee for an iced coffee instead.

Now I just need to finish up the other single speed I was building out of the Karate Monkey so other Pez family members can ride along.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Evening Ride

Ok, so when says Sunset is at 7:40 pm - it means it, and not a minute later. And this time of year, it gets dark pretty quick after sunset.

The picture here at the top is from my ride tonight. It was an amazing sunset. In fact, it was so cool watching the sun bounce off the clouds that I kept riding figuring I'd squeeze in a few more miles before racing home in time to beat the dark. As luck would have it, I ended up riding home a little longer in the dark than I cared too...and as luck would have it, my little blinky red light had died, so I was really asking for trouble. Thankfully, none found me.

After the family hurked down some tacos at the little Taqueria above Reed Opera House, I was feeling the need to work off some extra calories, so I geared up and headed out around 6:40 pm. I figured I could just do the 12 mile Windsor Island Rd Loop, and be in way before sunset, but it was so pretty out tonight that I just kept going, and ended up getting in 19 miles instead. The temperature was dropping at a pretty good rate, and a little drizzle even managed to sneak out on me. Otherwise, nothing major to report, and nothing out of the ordinary, but I felt compelled to pull out the phone and snap some photos. I'll just post them below for the remainder of the post.

Hop fields in North Keizer on Wheatland Rd

Waconda Road heading to River Rd

Same shot through my Tifosi polarized riding glasses.

Sun setting quickly, time to get home!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Snow....Wait, This Is Spring Break?

Just a few days ago I was in the sunny warm embrace of a San Diego springtime. I mentioned to Nate that if we had more time I'd be hitting a local bike shop, renting a bike, and getting out along the 101 beachfront for a ride. Oh how the times have changed.

Today I decided to work off some of the In-N-Out flab I picked up on the aforementioned road trip, and set out for a 20 mile boogie to the Bankers Cup coffee shop in St. Paul. I spent part of the morning waiting for the kids to call from the border to let us know they'd made it safely back to American soil, and once they did, I figured I could get away from the phone long enough to squeeze in some exercise. Question was, would the weather hold up long enough for me to do so?

If you've been following the local forecast, we've had wild weather. Everything from sun breaks to rain, sleet, hail and snow. The sun was peeking through as I geared up, but I saw the clouds off in the distance, and hoped they wouldn't move in on me. And even if they did, I rode 70 miles in the rain last summer....right? I could handle a few in the rain if the good Lord decided to send some on down. And send some down, he did.

For about half the ride -- probably 10 miles in the middle portion -- it rained. And it hailed. And doggonnit, I think it was snowing too. It was colder than last years Livestrong in the rain, and the hail/sleet on the face didn't feel too great, but after those 10 miles or so, it cleared back up and I rode the last 5 miles into St. Paul on sunny, but wet pavement.

The Fam drove out and met me at the Bankers Cup. It's a quaint little espresso shop built in an old bank building.

There's a great fireplace (which I wish would have been fired up) and the coffee is from our own little Governor's Cup here in Salem. I got out there shortly after one, the family rolled in close to 1:30, and the shop closed at 2, so we had to grab a quick drink and go.

I changed into the dry street clothes they brought, tossed the Torreli in the back of the Blue Dream, and hitched a ride back on four wheels. We also hit the local feed store where they sell Ass Kickin' products, Cattlepults, and every kind of feed and fertilizer imagineable.

Although it was turned off, they also had a serious 50" flat panel hanging above the rustic wooden door....nice!

And so ends the crazy Spring Break week of 2008. The kids will be home tomorrow night and everyone is looking forward to having their children back in their homes. Looking forward to some sunny days ahead for better riding than rain, hail and snow!


PS - Keijiro - you would have hated it....even colder and wetter than last year! That Bay Area ride is sounding better by the minute!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Road Trip

Let me just say that after 1500 miles of a 2100 mile, 42 hour round trip drive. After enough Rockstars and Starbucks canned Double Shots to own stock in both companies, and after a 5 pm dinner stop at In-N-Out in San Diego already....a group of fellas from Oregon with an all night drive ahead of them should probably *not* take this on at 1 am.

But, it *was* the last In-N-Out that was going to be open before we left California. Who knew there was such a thing as 'Animal Style' burgers there?


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Saturday Ride In Between The Rain

When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads....

Or, the wait for a cloud break, throw on the gear and hit the road.

After a week off of riding, I was anxious to get back on the bike. With still very little free time, and coming off the flu/cold combo, it's been tough to get out and ride this week, but Saturday provided a quick opportunity.

The previous week was beautiful and I was able to do my 30 Mile Waconda loop. This week I started hitting rain at the 10 mile mark, and since I'm still hacking pretty good, at least a little each day, I turned and just made a 20 mile loop for the day. Every mile on the bike, outside of the garage, is a good one.

As you may have noticed, I replaced last years Livestrong ad with a mileage counter for the goal is to ride 2000 miles this year on my bike. I'm at 82 for the year. To hit 2000, I need to average about 45 miles a week, or at least 15 miles each time I ride, and do that 3 times a week. With the slow start to the season I'm off pace by about 450 miles, so I've got some making up to do. Thank goodness we just Sprung Forward with Daylight Savings Time -- hopefully I can take advantage of the longer day soon!

Another goal I'm contemplating is doing this years Monster Cookie Ride, which leaves Salem, heads north for 31 miles, then turns back around for a 62 mile metric century. The ride is a relatively flat ride, with only some rolling hills along the way. I have also heard many a comment about the cookies along the ride, specifically the macaroons, which I'm sure I'd be tempted to try. Of course, as a chubby guy who took up riding to lose weight, riding my bike and eating cookies isn't really the plan of the ages to accomplish that goal. Hopefully I would burn more calories for the day than I would consume in cookies!

I'm also still wondering about Cycle Oregon, but just not sure I can take the time for the whole week, and/or creatively take the whole family out with. If I come up with good solutions for either, I may be in!