Shannon’s indoor cycling/cross training program has begun. It rocks. Read more about the experiences of yours truly on her blog.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Hell yes! My friend Shannon — of Shannon Corey Fitness — is finally bring back her own ass-kicking version of spinning classes back to Lake Oswego. These classes are 90 minutes long and include strength-training and core exercises.
The best part of Shannon’s class is that she is one of the few Portland-area spinning instructors who is not afraid to play great music. In fact, she has agreed to let me assist her in developing the play lists.
There will be an eclectic mixture of classic rock, hard rock, punk, techno, trance, angry gangsta rap and hip hop with a smattering of psychedelic jam music, lounge music, bluegrass, and gospel thrown into the mix just to keep it interesting.
There will not be any of the generic milquetoast bullshit that most spin instructors play at the big, corporate-run gyms. No pop, no 80′s hits, no George Michael. And there will absolutely, positively, under no circumstances be any Five for Fighting.
It is so good, that I probably won’t complain about the 5:30 am start time. For more detail, check out Shannon’s Website.
Classes start in October. They are limited to 10 people so sign up early. Maintain that fitness you’ve worked all summer to build! This just goes to show the persuasive power of PDX Cycling Online.
This ride is NOT the one in the Rubber to the Road book. It is similar. It starts and ends in Lake Oswego for one simple reason — that’s where I happen to live. It is a good ride with a fair bit of climbing. The most important thing to know about this ride is that, if the bridge at Oregon City is closed, this ride won’t work.
This is another great mid-season ride when you are looking to add in more climbing. The first big climb is Chehalem Mtn. itself. It is steady but not steep. The drop down the backside is nice, but don’t overshoot Bell Rd. The climb up Bell Rd. is also steady but not steep. There is a short climb on Leander Rd. that IS steep. It seems fitting that there is a cemetery right at the top. The good news is that, when you finish that bit, you are done climbing.
This particular route is a variation of what is found in Rubber to the Road. This version uses SW Chapman instead of Kruger Rd. to descend back down to 99. I prefer this because Chapman is like a straight roller coaster. The other difference is the return back to the start at Tualatin Community Park. The route in the book uses Tonquin Rd. This is fine, but adds a few miles to the ride through an area that isn’t particularly scenic. I prefer to just motor back on Tualatin/Sherwood Rd. It is busy, but there is a bike lane and you can just get ‘er done.
The ride from Troutdale past Crown Point to (or past) Multnomah falls is a classic. It is a great ride to do when you are ready to introduce climbing into your training regimen. Climbs are steady and fairly pleasant so they are good morale boosters. The descent after Crown Point makes it seem like the climb back up is going to be really tough. For some reason, this just isn’t the case.Obviously, the scenery can be outstanding. There are two things that can take away from this ride. The first is tourist traffic on this fairly narrow road. The second is the residents of Corbett, some of whom find it amusing to scatter tacks or broken glass on the road. Neither of these things should keep you from doing the ride, but go prepared. Start at Lewis & Clark Park in Troutdale. You can turn around at Crown Point, at the bottom of the big hill past Crown Point, at Multnomah Falls, or 10 miles past the falls where the road just ends.
This is a great ride for any time. You get some changes in elevation, but it is pretty flat overall. You can climb up to the monastery in Mt. Angel. That is a bit of a climb, but no big deal. In the spring, this ride is particularly pretty as you go past some flower farms.
Be aware — drivers in this area seem somewhat hostile toward bikers. I don’t really know why as the roads are wide and straight. The only place worse than I can think of is Corbett.