I recently returned from Oregon to visit family, and I had the pleasure of meeting lots of enthusiastic riders in the Portland area. I’d like to give a quick shout out to those of you and your teammates and friends who’ve jumped aboard… I look forward to keeping up with you on the site!
Here’s a quick excerpt that captures some of our trip:
Cycling is part religion in Portland, Oregon. I’ve never once considered living in a big city, but if some unimaginable force were to drop me into a metropolis forever, I’d choose Portland. If you’ve never been there, but you equate the value of each individual day to how much time you spend on your bike, you’ll immediately feel at home in the aptly-named City of Roses.
My brother and sister live in Portland; both ride bikes. One is a mad commuter who refuses to use anything but flat pedals (not even toe-clips), the other is a huge fan of dirt and refuses to give up her bomber (but heavier) touring bike, no matter how smooth the road. It’s also ironic that she once lived on one of the only dirt roads within city limits.
Despite our constant controversies over what and how to ride, it’s always a pleasure to bike with them and they’ve taken me to some cool spots over the years. They know I love to climb, so Larch Mountain is always a favorite. And when we can’t escape the city, they send me into the West Hills to get my kicks. I love the combination of the views of Mt. Hood and the enormous city below from these vantage points.
During this trip, my sister, my boyfriend Matt, and I headed to the Trout Lake region in Washington for the Oregon State Road Championships (Oregon championships held in Washington? hmmm, what’s the catch?). Washington or not, the state title was definitely alluring to many and captured a strong group of riders. This is where I came to appreciate the Sorella Forte Women’s Team. They had a large number of participants who controlled much of the race, including Anne Linton and Sarah Tisdale, who are new members to Strava (welcome!). Apparently their Portland Club is HUGE and is made up solely of women. Very cool! After the race, I also caught up with Steve Schwaeber, a Veloce rider out of Portland. Steve and his teammates will also be test driving Strava. I have to say thanks again to Steve for giving me some recovery food, since I was locked out of our car after the race (a result of poor communication between my sister and I… ahhhh, family relations). Matt and Sue had returned late from a ride that took them through the ranches and forests at the base of Mt. Adams. They came back with stories about great climbs, mountain views, loose cattle, cheese pizza, and fist-sized gravel. If nothing else, it proved there is plenty of challenging and scenic riding to be had a short drive from Portland’s city limits.
In my past two visits, I’ve also made sure to head over to the Portland International Raceway (not so “international,” but there are lots of cool flags to help gauge the wind) on Monday nights to race the track series. It’s always a thrill to bike race when you don’t know any of your other competitors. Plus, the track here has an amazing turnout and is super safe and friendly. That night, my sister also raced with the Novice women and Matt jumped into his first race ever (on a rental bike no less — see Waterfront Bikes for some great rental options). No primes that night but Strava was able to donate 2 Garmin units with Strava memberships to the organizers at Team Oregon. They’ll be this month’s 1st place prizes for the men and women (a nice incentive to go fast!).
In speaking with Team Oregon at registration, I met Emiliano (try not to butcher the name) and his girlfriend, Lana (Team… hmmm, can’t quite remember, but she has a very sharp looking pink kit). I’ve come to learn that both Emiliano and Lana, in addition to having exotic names, are very dedicated athletes and they’ve already shared some great ideas regarding Strava.
Later that week and after feeling relatively good at the track, I was still debating racing with the Men’s 3 at the Twilight Crit in downtown Portland. Finally, I decided against it (thanks to Matt who all too often helps me with my indecisive “Libra-ness”) and was quite thankful for that once I saw the course in person. It was a recipe for disaster, tight and numerous corners with precariously located manholes, ready to eat you, yikes! I was much happier remaining upright with the sole responsibility of balancing my beer.
The pièce de résistance for the trip had to be watching and waiting for my sister’s bike team to get to the finish of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. This well-known and epic event changes course every year, and this year it caught everyone a bit off guard. 123 miles including some dirt and mega-sized gravel was not a good mixture with the surprising 90+ temperatures. While eavesdropping among the teams who had succeeded in finishing (less than half), similar themes emerged, as the words “flat, puncture, heatstroke, dehydration, cramping, delirious” and other four letter counterparts were all too common. Poor Sue, I thought to myself, “will she/they make it?” Finally at around 7:30 they rounded the corner into the Chris King parking lot, looking many shades darker than when they began. Their stylish kits were now a dull and monotone dirt brown. “What took you so long!” I began to joke. Little did I know there had been a significant handicap to overcome. Suzanne had broken her pedal in the first 20 miles of the race and her front derailleur busted shortly after. Turns out she rode the whole thing with one pedal and no big ring. Way to go sis, STUBBORN and tough as nails! I couldn’t be more proud.
Signing out with a big welcome to the new Portland riders, including my sister, Sue from Velodirt. I hope to see many of you during my next visit. Enjoy Strava and keep us updated on your amazing cross season!
Here are some helpful links for any riders who are considering a trip to Oregon in the future:
- www.waterfrontbikes.com for rentals.
- http://velodirt.com for more info on riding the dirt.
- http://obra.org for racing info and events.
- http://oregon.cyclingaction.com/ for Oregon cycling highlights and news.
- http://www.racemondaynight.com/blog/ a Monday night series at the Portland International Raceway.
- http://www.hopworksbeer.com/ for the best combo of bikes and beers.
- http://gritandglimmer.com/2010-rapha-gentlemans-race-report-in-full/ a very entertaining summary of the Rapha race.
- http://www.soapboxracer.com/index.htm for just plain fun… on wheels.