Monday, July 24, 2006

Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series - Race #2

Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series - Race #2
Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series - Race #2
Had a bad start. Picked the wrong gear and slipped a pedal which had me mid-pack before the first turn. I was able to make up about 10 spots before the single track. This time they added alot of single-track which I liked. Unfortunately about 1/2 through the race I did an endo over the log after having cleared it on the 4 previous laps no problem. So lose about 4-5 spots getting up and putting my chain back on the front ring. I was pretty gassed after that and could hear the announcer saying something about the race leader. I looked back and could see him only a few turns behind me so I was about to get lapped. It was the last lap so I rode abit harder so he couldn't. Not sure if that guy is always that fast or what. Results - 17th out of 47. Stayed awhile to watch the Pro / Elite field. These guys are fast. One guy Shannon Skerritt, seemed to run away with it. I hear he's the guy that does the Cyclocross training classes. Anyway. We'll see how I do tonight after having the race down in Oakridge.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hawthorne Boulevard

   Hawthorne Boulevard    
Music and Dancing on Hawthorne
I guess Hawthorne Street is this well known area in Portland for being well... very Portland. Hippies. Gay / Lesbians. Local shops. There was supposed to be this event called 2nd Thursday going on last week. We went but even the businesses had no idea what the hell we were talking about. Had a couple beers at the Bridgeport Ale House. Good wheat summer special beer. Heidi invited Craig along. Nice guy. He's on crutches, well not the hospital kind, those kind that people use for when they are permanently disabled. Which he is. Something with his hip. Anyway I had fun teasing her later that she invited someone along to a Boulevard / sidewalk with tons of walking and the guy can't really go but more than 2 blocks... /sigh. He knows alot about the area. I guess Hawthorne was originally a pretty seedy area and then lesbian couples moved into the area and since then it's been an all hippie, free thinking zone. Craig wasn't up for the walking so Heidi and I walked for abit then decided to head over to this Italian Jazz joint, of which the name escapes me, for some meatballs and pasta. The best meatballs in Portland I guess. They weren't bad. The jazz was downstairs but we didn't go because we were belly up to the bar and Justin and his girlfriend met up with us. I switched to some Hoegaarden and then finished Heidi's wine for her. I guess I had some higher expectations for this street. Going to have to check it out again some other time.

Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series - Race #1

Here's a couple shots I snagged from the Portland MTB Short Track Series site.

ooo the "singletrack"
   Some air?    
my lame attempt to catch air

Book Review: Autobiography: The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World, 1929 - Major Taylor

1st book in as far back as I can remember that I didn't finish. It wasn't that the reading was difficult or that the subject wasn't interesting it was that there were 400+ pages of really small font in a hardcover and he was going into amazing detail of every race. And he raced all over the world from like the late 1890s to the 1920s. While I thought the first 100 pages were great and he's a really impressive man I felt like it was taking a long time to read and I was neglecting the National Geographics' and other books piling up. Also I think the pressure from the library to return the book in 3 weeks was a little much. Yep. I couldn't find the book in print. Had to go to the library.

"It is my thought that clean living and a strict observance of the golden rule of true sportsmanship are foundation stones without which a championship structure cannot be built."
Marshall Taylor in The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Random Stuff

  • Heidi is donating blood today. I think this is the second time since we've been together (7 months now /raise_eyebrows). Pretty impressive. I don't think most people have given blood since High School where it was a good excuse to get out of class and show off with your smiley face sticker or cause a big drama scene and act all light-headed.
  • Results got posted from the race monday night. Looks like I took 13th out of 48 riders. A co-worker just told me that the rider that took 3rd in the Men's Pro, Molly Cameron, is now a girl. Well a guy that has gone through a transformation to be a girl and is being forced to ride amongst the men. Interesting.
  • Anybody watch any soccer over the weekend? Ok I'm not a huge fan but I jumped on the bandwagon. Saturday I watched Germany win the 3rd place match and then on Sunday Heidi and I headed downtown to watch the World Cup Final between Italy and France.
    Portland Pioneer Place - World Cup Soccer 2006    
    Check out the crowd at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland
    Portland Pioneer Place - World Cup Soccer 2006    
    Showing the match on the big screen provided by Comcast
    And what about the headbutt administered by Zidane? Check it out!
    Zidane headbutt

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series

   PIR motocross course    
Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Course
So last night I did my first race of the year. The Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series is held in the infield of the Portland International Raceway. I guess the Cyclocross Nationals in 2004 were held there. At the same time as the off road event there was some kind of roadie event going on the outer circle. They were doing crits or something on the racetrack itself. Needless to say there were alot of bikers. I'd say in the Sport wave I had maybe 40 riders. I lined up somewhere in the middle 2nd row. The course was basically a BMX style course with a short section singletrack in that they routed you off the course through some trees for a couple log jumps and in between tight trees. It was a 30 min race. I didn't pre-ride so I thought I would just sit back and check things out. At the gun I got excited and since some weren't taking off too fast in the loose dirt I found myself sitting top 5 or 10 into the first few hills/jumps/whatever. Then into the single track this dude crashed causing me to do some rubbin' against some trees to get by. The first lap was about 4 minutes and I was pretty tired. So I sat back a little and got into my XC pace. Well I started getting caught. And getting tired. I think I was passed by maybe 10 or so in the next 25 minutes. I could make up ground in the single track but in the sections where you had to gas it, I had no gas to give. Even though I ride 20 miles a day I've been eating well and have a few pounds I could lose. I guess all that beer drinking doesn't help either. Results aren't posted yet and I'm not sure where I finished but it was fun to get out during the week and get a little taste of the local racing scene. I signed up for the series so for the next 5 Monday nights I'll be there. Looking to check out more about the Pro/Elite race too.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Changed the blog format... never really liked the fixed width formatting. Especially if your have a large screen. Why read the content in a narrow column? This isn't a newspaper. Not sure I love the color of orange so later I'll address that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 4th Weekend

Went whitewater rafting down the Clackamas River on Saturday. I've got a bunch of pictures to pickup yet. The air temp was great. The water... was freezing. Most of the rivers, well all of them really, are ice cold because it's basically snow melt. You're still able to go in just swimtrunks and a shirt during this time of year but in May they require a wetsuit. We rafted about 13 miles down the river. Class 3 rapids mainly. I guess in May there's a class 4. There we three rafts and 3 guides, one per raft. In each raft there were about 6 people. It was quite culturally diverse. In our raft we had Heidi and I at the front, right behind us were 2 lesbian women, and then our guide and then a female Japanese exchange student. Raft 2 had an Indian couple and a 2 guy/1 girl threesome with their guide. The last raft had the 6 college friends, including the ex-football player, all ex-frat/sorority members. I do think we had the best guide. At one point we stopped and most of us jumped off a 15-20 foot cliff into the water. That's where I noticed the water temperature... i think it was in the 40's somewhere and the guide was saying you'd have about 5 minutes without the life vest on before you would start having trouble. When I hit the water after the jump and submerged a few feet is when I noticed just how cold it was. I guess there won't be any floating drink fests on that river. We did have a load of fun. Surfing the raft on the rapids, trying to submerge the nose of the raft, having the girls ride the nose of the raft like a bull, and water fights with the other rafts. Plus the rapids themselves were great. We also stopped for lunch along the river where the guides had stowed a couple coolers. Great weather and a great time.

Took the day off Monday. Headed to the ocean which is only a 1 hour drive West. The temperature change is dramatic. From high 70's low 80's in Portland to high 50's low 60's along the coast. If you ever need to cool off this is where to go. It stays like that all year round. We stopped at a light house. Then headed south to Cape Lookout and did a 5 mile hike out onto a peninsula that sticks out into the ocean. We had actually stopped here back when I visited in December but didn't do the hike for lack of time. The views were almost undescribable. You could see for miles. The trail was right alongside the cliff with a long long drop (500ft+?) down into the water below. Huge douglas fir trees all twisted into weird shapes. The dense undergrowth matted with ferns and years of decomposing trees. Probably the best fertile ground. Well it is a rain forest after all.

Cape Lookout

I have some photo's as well to post later in the week.

We headed over the Karen & Steve's beach house after the hike to drink beer. They had a bunch of friends over with tons of kids. I escaped to the beach to fly a kite. Haven't done that since I was a kid. Great place to fly a kite. Lots of unobstructed wind, flat sand. Pelicans and seagulls. Had a el cheapo $12 kit, the old diamond shaped kind but made of the same material as a tent. Got it at a kite store in Portland. I think next time I'll try a fancy one you can control. Other folks there had really cool ones.

Tuesday night we went over the Jen's brother-in-laws house for fireworks. I can hardly believe how many fireworks they and all the neighbors had. And this isn't localized. I guess all over Portland and Vancouver this is normal. Funny thing is it is illegal in Oregon. Yup. Just like back in the Midwest they drive across the border into Washington state to buy their fireworks. Reminds me of the Illinois residents driving up to Wisconsin to purchase their fireworks. Thing is, I think they are even more fanatical out here. It sounded like a scene out of Black Hawk Down. All over people shooting off fireworks, really nice ones too... and by all over I mean every other house along the street not just pockets within a neighborhood. Looking across the skyline on the drive home I thought it was professional stuff going off. What surprises me is this happening in a left coast, hippie, liberal town. I mean now there's all the spent cartridges and litter all over the place - not very green is it? Plus isn't this a town that would be against anything gun/war related? I think there's a little bit of the south in people here but I'll get into that another time. Later.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Forest Park Ride - Saturday June 24th, 2006

According to this website there's over 5,000 wooded acres. It's the largest forested natural area within city limits in the United States. You'd think there'd be some good mountain bike trails here right? Wrong.

Forest Park

This magazine called the Portland Monthly (does Milwaukee, WI have a monthly magazine dedicated to it?) was talking up the park and had 5 different rides posted in it. So I thought cool. I'll do the hardest one so I can really see what it's all about. I had my hopes up drooling over the possibility of single track.

It's probably a good for hiking or horse riding but for mtn biking don't waste your time. I think riding up and down the ski hills back in Wisco was more fun that this... All the good singletrack had No Bikes signs, which including a posting about a $500 fine.

No Bikes

So I basically kept to the only thing that I could ride. Firelanes as they are called. Basically double track but unlike the rolling fairly flat double track back in Wisco, these firelanes basically went straight up the mountain or straight down the mountain. Here I had a choice. Take the singletrack (what looked like singletrack anyway) to the left or continue to climb this hellish mountain up. I took the left for about 1000ft of what was basically and overgrown fireline - not single track.

Forest Park Firelane 10

There was some small section of singletrack at the bottom of one of the firelanes (Firelane #10) that was pretty good. It crossed a creek and I even had to walk a section because of all the rocks in the creek made it impassible.

Single track

Over the rocks and under the tree.

Forest Park

One final note. After flying down one of the firelanes feathering the disc brakes the whole way they started to make sounds I never heard before. So I of course asked myself, "I wonder how hot my discs are getting? Are they going to hold up?" So like an idiot, I touched them to see how hot they were. Nothing like burning your finger tips. Look, there's even the imprint of the brake rotor on my fingers.

Burnt fingers

Book Review: The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells

I had a hard time getting through this book. Probably because it was written in 1895, 111 years ago. We were walking through Powell's books the other day, which is a famous Portland locale, and I was in the moment because the place is so huge and had all these great books. The store was divided into sections, each of which easily could've been a free standing store on it's own. The store took up a whole city block with multiple stories. And they stock used books too which is pretty cool. Anyway, back to the book. I also think the author wasted too much time talking about street names and places in London which I had no idea where they were. He almost expected the reader to have lived in London, and I guess back then, prior to the great wars of the 1900's (WWI and WWII) before the US made its debut on the world scene, Britain was sort of the most powerful nation. Anyway - I didn't really get into the book that much. I made it through it just on principle I guess - I figured if I read this far I might as well finish the damn thing. It's interesting to note that both movies made from it veer from the storyline quite abit, including taking place here in the US. Even the famous Orsen Wells radio version that scared a bunch of people. 2 / 5 stars.