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C.R.O.C. of Awesome

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Morry is a MAGNET!

There’s an annual three-day ride in Pendleton, Oregon that takes place on Memorial Day Weekend called the Century Ride of the Centuries and it is awesome. It is put on by a local bicycle club that either wishes to remain anonymous or forgets to promote itself on the sparse event website. No matter, whoever puts this ride on does one hell of a job.  As is the case with so many multi-day supported bike rides, the volunteers work tirelessly to pull it all together. These particular volunteers really get into the spirit of things. Each rest stop has a theme and many of the more prominent folks are in character. There was a Mexican stop, a Hawaiian stop and even a white trash wedding.

People 'round here take rodeo pretty serously

The riding itself is outstanding. Day one offers a variety of routes including what appears on paper to be a fairly easy century ride (around 3,500 feet of climbing in total). Don’t let the ride profile fool you. Severe headwinds can make it seem like there is plenty of climbing. However, the scenery — mostly rolling wheat fields — is spectacular. And, because you are in canyons much of the time, even the winds aren’t that bad for too terribly long.

Day 2 is an out-and-back route that goes up Emigrant Hill, the old highway just north of I-84. 15 miles of steady 5% followed by another 30+ miles to the Oregon Trail Interpretative Center. Those who tackle the entire course climb more than 6,500 feet. Quite a way to follow up a century.

This climb was a fine how do you do after day one

Day 3 is another out-and-back, the longest option being another 80+-mile route. I opted to hit the casino where all the rides start and finish for a little morning blackjack, but I’ve been told this day is the most scenic. The casino isn’t very scenic, but there was a lot less rain at the tables than there was on the course.

While the ride is fully-supported, the event is really geared for folks who plan on finishing what they start. The SAG vehicles consisted of cars with bike racks on them and there didn’t appear to be a whole lot of them. Riders will also want to pay close attention to their cue sheets as the course was marked with biodegradable arrows that tend to blow away in the wind and rain.

The food at the rest stops was more than adequate and featured a lot of home-baked goodies. Many of the stops also featured local baked potatoes. I’ve always heard that spuds make fine cycling fuel — and they absolutely do. The locals seemed very happy to see us. Even the (few) drivers on the road we encountered were friendly.

Had to circle the lot a few times to get to 100 -- but we did it

Pendleton itself is a great small town and there are a few really good places to eat. These include the Prodigal Son brew pub, the Main Street Diner and, if you are in the mood for something slightly upscale, Cimmiyotti’s.

If you want a more detailed report on the ride, check out this one from a fellow Portland blogger also named Dean who attended last year. His descriptions are swell and I’ve got a lot to do today.

For those interested in geology, this ride features a lot of geological stuff (I presume that’s were the ride gets its name). Since my knowledge of this subject is limited, that’s about all I can say about that. I’ll try to bone up a little more next year and, hopefully, will have something more intelligent to report.

We’ll be back to Pendleton this year with Cycle Oregon and it will be interesting to see how different the place looks in the fall. It will also be cool to see the town teeming with rodeo fans. I’m looking forward to it.

Hat Rock Century
Find more Bike Rides in Pendleton, Oregon

Fuel for Cyclists

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

View from the porch of the Horizon Guest House -- not a bad spot to blog

For the past 40 years, I’ve treated my mouth as a mobile garbage disposal, and I’ve got the body to prove it. That recently changed when I finally felt the difference between working out after a few days of eating crap vs. working out after a few days of eating healthy.

I think the reason I’ve never noticed this before because I’ve probably never eaten enough consecutive healthy meals in a row to make a difference. But it’s never too late to make a change — particularly when it is so helpful for cycling (more energy and less body weight are good things).

Now that I have had this experience, I’m finding that there actually are healthy meals that genuinely taste good. Here are a few of my discoveries.

1) Oatmeal — actually, this isn’t much of a discovery. This is one food I already knew was good fuel for cycling.

2) Perfect Foods Bars — The first time I tried a Perfect Foods Bar I actually had to call my food and fitness guru friend, Shannon, to help reassure me they were healthy — seriously, they taste that good. They make a much more pleasant alternative to Power Bars or even a good meal replacement.

3) Ken’s Race Day Waffles — I’ve yet to try these as we have no waffle iron, but, when it comes to cycling, my pal, Ken, knows his stuff. Politics is another matter, but that’s a different topic for a different blog. Recipe below.

4) Coconut WaterThis stuff is now packaged by a few different companies. Basically, it is the liquid found inside young, green coconuts. You find it at hippie health food stores. It is an awesome natural thirst-quencher and is LOADED with electrolytes. For some it is an acquired taste, but a taste worth acquiring. I crave it.

5) Rokit FuelRokit Fuel is a cereal designed for sports performance. And it does work as advertised. I have to be truthful — this stuff can sometimes be a little hard to choke down. It tastes a bit like bird seed (or at least what I imagine bird seed might taste like) and has a similar texture. I think this is because it pretty much is bird seed. Regardless, I will continue eating it because it works.

6) Horizon Guest House Wild Rice Cereal — The Horizon Guest House is an awesome place to stay on the island of Hawaii near Kona (home of the Iron Man Triathlon). I’m sitting on the back porch overlooking the ocean and the pool as I type this. It is a ridiculously pleasant place to blog. The owner serves what seems to be a healthy cereal made of complex carbs. It does have butter and sugar in it, which is probably why it tastes so good. Definitely nicer than Rokit Fuel. I look forward to making it at home and testing its effectiveness as a cycling fuel. The recipe is below.

Ken’s Race Day Waffles

1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup barley flour
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
4-tbsp flax seed meal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2-tbsp brown sugar
2 cups soy milk (or regular milk, or a cup of each)
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs separated

In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients except for the pecans. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks, milk, oil and vanilla until blended. Gradually mix in the flour mixture. Stir in the pecans. In a small bowl beat the egg whites to soft peaks (I do this by hand with a whisk but you can use a mixer). Fold the egg whites gently into the batter. Bake using your waffle irons directions. Serve with a sliced banana on top and warm maple syrup. Add bacon or eggs on the side if you’d like some protein. You can also simplify by not separating the eggs but the waffles won’t be as light.

Horizon Guest House Wild Rice Cereal

8 c water
1/2 c wild rice
1/2 c pearl barley
1/2 c steel-cut oats
1/2 c bulgar wheat
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chopped pitted dates
1/4 c dark brown sugar
3 tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter 2 1/2 qt ovenproof dish. In prepared dish, mix wild rice with remaining ingredients. Add water [I use boiling water to shorten the bake time]. Cover with foil and bake until grains are tender, water is absorbed and cereal is creamy [about 1 1/2 hours]. *About mid-way through, I usually take it out and add more water if needed & also stir. Store in refrigerator when cool and reheat servings as needed. May be frozen.