Archive for October, 2009

MOOTS PSYCHLO-X — Titanium Cyclocross at its Finest

Saturday, October 17th, 2009
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Cyclocross at the Alpenrose Dairy sure looks fun

I’ve been going to watch cyclocross at the Alpenrose Dairy on Wednesday evenings. It sure does look fun. It also looks tough. On Cycle Oregon, I occasionally see people my size and shape. I didn’t see a single one racing cyclocross. I’m sure one of the reasons for this is the way these guys jump back onto their bikes after running over the obstacles. Being light seems like a good idea.

My plan is to continue riding, working out and eating right throughout the winter and then spend the spring and summer training for Cycle Oregon 2010. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be ready to attack the 2010 cyclocross season with vigor. Even then, I’m already sure my chances of winning such a race — even at the beginner levels — are only slightly better than my chances of winning a stage in the Tour. However, it is possible to be competitive in the “awesomest bike ever” category from day one. Here’s where I know I can win (or at least place).

MOOTS PSYCHLO-X — Titanium Cyclocross Bike Porn at Its Finest

My quest to find the sweetest cyclocross bike ever ended before it even officially started. While visiting my pals at Cyclepath the other day, a beautiful titanium MOOTS caught my gaze. I’ve already concluded that a titanium cyclocross bike is the best (and really only) choice for me. This was among the sexiest Ti bikes I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen some beauties). It was bike-lust at its most extreme. When I got home I fired up the MOOTS Website and drooled a bit more. Then I checked out the MOOTS Rider’s Forum. These guys are fanatics. They make Harley fan’s seem passive in their devotion. So, that’s it. Let the yearning begin.

"Some day it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine"

"Some day it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine"

2009 Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show — Bike Porn Central!

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

The Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association’s Handmade Bicycle Show is coming. Do you like really sick bikes lovingly crafted by artisans from all across the country? Then you’re sure to love this event. As if that’s not enough, there is also beer.

bike_show_poster

This year’s event happens Halloween weekend and will be held in the Staver Locomotive building. For more information, check out the OBCA Website.

Cross Training With Shannon

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Shannon’s indoor cycling/cross training program has begun. It rocks. Read more about the experiences of yours truly on her blog.

Adding strength training to indoor cycling makes for one hell of a challenge

Adding strength training to indoor cycling makes for one hell of a challenge

Bicycling Magazine Gets It

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
A story about a man and his love affair with folding bikes. A Bicycling Magazine must-read

A story about a man and his love affair with folding bikes. A Bicycling Magazine must-read

I really like Bicycling Magazine. No doubt, this is due to the fact that I like bicycling. In most issues, I find several articles that capture my interest or provide valuable information. Two articles from recent issues really stand out. The first is the one about folding bicycles. The truth is that I don’t give a rat’s ass about folding bicycles. I understand the value, but there is an asthetic issue I just can’t get past. Like motorcycles, I see bikes as functional works of art. Folding bikes — and DEFINATELY recumbants — are so hideous to behold I have a hard time accepting either. I realize this thinking is shallow and short-sighted. Such is life. Regardless, I really enjoyed the story about a (neurotic and somewhat disturbed) man and his love affair with folding bikes simply because it was so well-written.

Another article that I really enjoyed comes from the current issue. It is simply a list of 108 cycling rights of passages. The thing I liked about that piece is that I was able to identify with a surprisingly large number of them. This is not always the case with stuff I read in Bicycling, as much — but not all — of the content is written for the ”elite cyclist.” Alas, that is something I’m not. I’m also not the kind of person that lives to exercise. My passion for cycling comes from the fact that I know I must exercise and cycling has proven to be the most palatable.

Regardless, I recommend Bicycling for ANYONE who is passionate about cycling, wherever they may be on the borad spectrum of riders. At a time when much of the publishing industry is taking a beating, this magazine appears to be in better shape than ever.

Bicycling deserves additional praise for all the content they put on the Website (www.bycicling.com) as well as their Facebook page and even on Twitter (though most of the content is redundant).

Cycle Oregon 2009 — The Best Got Better

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
I think we climbed up all that

The reward -- nearing the top of the BIG climb

Cycle Oregon is a 7-day organized and fully-supported cycling event that allows participants to explore the most beautiful parts of Oregon by bicycle. The organization markets the adventure as “The Best Bike Ride in America,” which would be a bit over the top were it not almost certainly true. The Cycle Oregon Website explains why: 

Cycle Oregon delivers the best combination of scenery, challenge, amenities, camaraderie and philanthropy of any ride out there. A fun-loving mix of back-road riding and two-wheeled tent revival, our event moves from town to town with 2,000 or more riders enjoying generous hospitality and providing direct financial benefits to our host towns as well as cycling-related causes throughout Oregon. And it’s a new route, and a new experience, every year!

Team Vibrant Table in the house

Team Vibrant Table in the house

From a rider’s standpoint, it is a simple event. Wake up, eat, break camp, ride, eat, ride, set up camp, shower, eat, sleep. For an extra $350 you can even have a tent set up and broken down for you, simplifying things even further. Those with extra time and energy can drink in the beer garden or dance to the bands that play in camp every night. While you do have to sleep in a tent, it is a bit of a stretch to call it camping. Frankly, the whole thing is pretty cushy (except for the riding part). Did I mention a team of massage therapists is available every night in camp? Oh how I miss thee, Tye, my sweet, sweet man-handler.

Cycle Oregon staff always there for the riders -- even if all they need is a little water and encouragement

Cycle Oregon staff always there for the riders -- even if all they need is a shot of whiskey from the magic canteen and some encouragement

Virtually every rider need on and off the road is anticipated and met by the Cycle Oregon staff and its army of volunteers. The whole event runs like a well-oiled machine. Considering the substantial logistics involved, that is nothing short of incredible. What’s more, it seems that the Cycle Oregon team is constantly looking for ways to make the experience better.

This year there were two particularly noteworthy changes. First, the recycling program was upgraded to include composting, which means that all food scraps, disposable tableware and other biodegradable waste is sent to a commercial composting facility. By now, it is all well on its way to being converted to rich, dark soil.

They also upped the ante in terms of food. This is huge. Until this year, the food was something many of us more discriminating eaters could barely choke down. This year, it surpassed adequate and could reasonably be classified as pretty darn good. When you spend as many hours each day in the saddle as I do (this year up to 8 or 9 hours), good chow is pretty important.

Gettin' loved up by the locals

Gettin' some lovin' at Heaven on Earth

One of the nicest parts about Cycle Oregon is the warm reception we receive in the communities we pass through as well as those that host us each evening. The number of volunteers that show up from each town to lend a hand — including many who need to be there long before dawn to help with breakfast — is always impressive.

More impressive is how great all the local kids turn out to be. Players from the local sports teams are always on hand to help schlep riders’ gear between the 18-wheelers and camp sites. If you think that kids today are ill-mannered, lack respect for their elders or whatever, perhaps it is time to get out of the city and check out rural Oregon. Norman Rockwell himself would be charmed.

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Look, it is an elite cyclist

I thought last year’s route around the Wallawa Mountains was going to be a tough act to follow (and it was). However, this year’s route planners rose to the challenge and succeeded admirably. Once again, the scenery was breathtaking. It is hard to capture its beauty with a camera and even tougher to do so with words, so I won’t even bother making the attempt. There is a good — and growing — collection of photos on flickr (all C.O. riders are encouraged to add their photos to the Cycle Oregon group pool).

Heaven on Earth is aptly named

Heaven on Earth is aptly named

The locals who earned the most notoriety on this particular trip were the owners and crew of Heaven on Earth restaurant and bakery in Azalea, Oregon (just off I-5). They hosted a rest stop for us that was unlike any other, treating riders to freshly baked cinnamon rolls, apple crisp, blueberry cobbler and coffee. It was awesome. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so either. We stopped in on our way home to provision for the long drive. The owner said more than 700 other riders did the same thing.

I can't do that! Oh, wait, we just did.

No way I could do that ride! Oh, wait, I just did.

This year’s route was significantly harder than any other I’ve done (2004 and 2008). I recall standing in line behind a guy wearing a T-shirt that read “437 miles, 28,202 feet of elevation gain” and thinking what a bitch that ride must have been. It took me a minute to realize he was wearing a Cycle Oregon 2009 T-shirt.

I’m living proof of that – with proper training – people of all ages, shapes and sizes can complete the ride. However, it does appear that the rail-thin fitness freaks enjoyed themselves the most – particularly this year. Was I a little jealous? Of course, but when the great famine comes, we’ll see who gets the last laugh.

Some are happiest when the ride is over and it is time to relax

Some are happiest when the riding is over and it is time to relax

 More consecutive days in the saddle, more climbing and more miles took their toll and I’d be lying if I said I loved every minute of it. In fact, there were many hours where words like suffering and punishment seemed more fitting than anything else. But all that made the sense of accomplishment when crossing the finish line that much sweeter. Sweet enough that I already know I’ll be doing it again next year. In fact, I’ve already started training.