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September 14, 2009

Bike Commute Challenge – Midway Update

bikelog

Today marks the halfway mark of the September Bike Commute Challenge, so time for some updates to how our office challenge is going. We will not break any world records with a small office of 5 people, and 2 of whom live out of town (Silverton and Tualatin,) and 2 of the 3 doing the challenge don’t work in the office every day of the week. Also, the three of us riding all live fairly close to work, 5-8 miles round trip. That being said, we are still doing a great job of knocking down some commutes. Here are some numbers for you since the start of the challenge….

3 out of 5 office folks riding as many days as they can.
18 team commutes so far the first 14 days of the challenge.
128 miles logged commuting so far.
75 – 100% commuting ratio for each participant.
3 flat tires last week alone commuting!
5000+ calories burned.
100 lbs CO2 saved.
3-4 bikes in the office on any given day!

I’m sure there are tons of other numbers we could squeeze out of the statistics so far, but the great thing is that we’ve got people riding to work, feeling good, and having fun! I think I figured out my flat issue last week. I had one legitimate flat from road hazards, and then discovered that the spare tubes I was sold in Arizona on my cross country trip, were the wrong size for my Bike Friday funky tire size. Just barely, but enough to cause two bursts after only a day or so of riding. I found the right tube size, and now have my spares a-plenty!

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September 3, 2009

The Dangers Of Commuting By Bike

bee

I know, you were expecting to come in and see me all road rashed up, weren’t you. Sorry to disappoint! I got back to the office after lunch, felt like something was in my helmet (actually felt that way for about a mile or so) and ran my hand through my hair to have this little fella fall out! I’m really surprised he didn’t sting my head or my hand.

On a more positive note, two co-workers joined the team and had their first commutes of the month today. Great job Deanna and John!

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September 2, 2009

Day 1 – Bike Commute Challenge and Some Tips

Conrad's front wheel...flat on his first day of commuting.

Conrad's front wheel...flat on his first day of commuting.

I won’t update every day this month about the Bike Commute Challenge, but wanted to post about the happenings of the first day, and encourage as many folks to get out and ride this month, but also to help others ride where you can. My commute is not that long, just about 5 miles round trip, but I tend to talk myself out of riding because of other meetings, or gear that I need or like to take with me. I figuring out ways to make all that happen this month on my bike…perhaps even beyond the month. At any rate, the first day of the challenge left me with three things I thought would be worth noting in helping others to ride to work.

1. Let The Information Flow! – A friend of mine was considering riding a bike to work, but had no idea what he needed. “I guess I need a commuter bike, tell me about what I need.” Turns out, he had a perfectly good commuter bike already – my old Trek Navigator, (my full review here) which has a rear rack and everything. Only problem is that his wife has decided she loves riding it, and so it’s not available for his everyday use. After a lengthy email about good options for a commuter, and how I would ditch the shock for a rigid fork anyway, he ended up at the local shop, picking up another Navigator, in a different color.

Although he chose a bike that wasn’t on my top list for a commuter bike, I was happy to go round and round with the information on what could or would make a good commuter bike. I started out by telling him that he already had a great commuter bike in the Trek, BUT if he was going to look at a new bike (and who doesn’t love looking at new bikes!) I could give him some options. Turns out, that while I prefer the efficiency of a rigid fork for commuting, his back prefers the softer ride of the shock. Makes sense to me. At any rate, share as much info as you have with other people interested in riding!

2. Be Prepared to Help Out! – I typically take just enough to save my butt on the road because I hate carrying around a ton of stuff. A tube, a patch, some air of some sort, my cell phone. I’m good to go. I was just headed out the door to a 9 am meeting when my buddy Conrad called and said he had a flat tire on his bike, on his first day of the Challenge. Conrad lives further away from work than I do, and has hills and busy bridge to get across, so I’m stoked that he’s giving bike commuting a shot. I tried to remember what he was riding and thought he was on a mountain bike, so I grabbed a spare tube from my supply rack, some additional air, and tire tools, and threw them in my bag for the ride in. Turns out that he was on 26″ wheels, but using more of a road tire than the ginormous tube I had, but my office was just a block from the coffee shop where we met. I had a patch kit in my office, so we walked back there, found the hole in the tube, patched it up, and sent him on his way.

Later that day Conrad posted this picture with the caption, "Off to lunch at Ventis." Warms my heart.

Later that day Conrad posted this picture with the caption, "Off to lunch at Ventis." Warms my heart.

I also sent him out the door with some CO2 and an inflator just in case the patch didn’t hold. Although I can’t carry a tube for every occasion, it made me think I should try to carry some extras, especially during this month when there could be more folks needing a hand.

3. If You Can, Loan Out a Bike! – Nearly everyone I know that really gets into cycling, has more than one bike hanging in the garage. I’ve actually been thinking about clearing house a little, but am kind of glad that I haven’t quite yet because as it turns out, I think they’ll come in handy this month. In fact, one of my buddies at work said “I’d ride, but my brother took back the bike I was using. If you had one to loan me, I’d do the challenge.” DONE!

So today I’ll be dusting off the old Redline 925, and making sure it’s in tip top shape so he can ride to work this month! Do what you can to provide information, help out where you can, and even loan someone a bike if it will help them get out and ride! See you on the road!

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August 25, 2009

LifeSource Natural Foods State Fair Race Parking Info

fairmap

I know you’re waiting for a race report, but Jeff over at BuyLocalCycling.com posted some information about parking for the 4th and final race of the series, and I’m still keeping an eye out for results. When I get them, I’ll post the report. Suffice for now to say that Monday was a crazy day personally leading into the race, and I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it in one piece by the time of the race, but it turned out great, and felt really good to ride!

If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the 4th and final race in the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Salem Short Track Series at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Here’s what you need to know if you’re coming as a racer or spectator:

“Ideally, racers should attempt to park in the lot South of the Monster Truck area outlined below.  If this parking lot is full try the lot to the West of the Monster Truck area or to the South of Sunnyview Rd.  Please check in at the gate/tent outlined in the picture below.  You’ll receive a free one day pass to the Oregon State Fair at this time.  Sorry, spectators will need to purchase a ticket for themselves.”

So, if you’re coming to race, you don’t have any a fair entrance fee, but if you’re coming to watch, you need to be prepared to pay for fair entrance which according to the State Fair website is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for kids, and free for kids $5 and under. You can shave a couple bucks off if you pay in advance too.

I heard that this sports arena drew hundreds of people last year, so there could be a decent crowd. Also remember that race times are slightly different for this last event, and 10 minutes longer for each category. From the Buy Local site:

Race # 4 Start Times & Race Durations
5:30pm – Course open for pre-riding
6:00pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:15pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 30′
6:50pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 40′
7:40pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 50’

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August 19, 2009

Race Report: LifeSource Natural Foods Salem Short Track – Race 2

Racers negotiate the quick double up and over in the 2nd Race of the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Salem Short Track Series at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

Racers negotiate the quick double up and over in the 2nd Race of the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Salem Short Track Series at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

Monday night was the 2nd race in the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Salem Short Track Series, or as I like to call it, the longest named race around! And this week it was even hotter than last week…I think we were in the low 90’s by the time the first race began. The high temps keep hammering racers with a dry, dusty, hot course to race on. We also changed up the course from last week to accommodate all the groups using the grounds the day we’ll be racing during the fair, and the reports were the course was much faster than last week. Photos from the 2nd race are up on Flickr. Matt’s photos are on Flickr too. And Matt made a cool video as well, which is on Vimeo.

Ok, PacificPedaling.com team props out of the way here right off the bat. I was waiting on official OBRA results, but wanted to get the post race up, so I’ll go from the email. James Cloyd, not only took 1st in Cat 2 (again) but then turned around and raced in Cat 1, back to back! Ellen Miller also raced back to back, first as the fastest singlespeed lady around, and then taking 2nd in Cat 1 Women. Martha Paulus put in a solid 4th in Cat 2 Women, and Tyler Jackson knocked out a nice mid 5th spot. So proud of the team! Once they are posted, you can see all the results at the OBRA site.

Im thinking about putting a Great James Race Face photo up each week. Heres one to kick it off...

I'm thinking about putting a "Great James Race Face" photo up each week. Here's one to kick it off...

Now, this was also my very first race of any kind on a bike, and the good news is…I’m still alive! I hadn’t planned on doing any racing until cross season, but couldn’t find any more reasons NOT to, so with borrowed bike in hand, I took my turn around with the Cat 3 men. How was it? Really hard. Brutal. Besides being still way overweight, and not in any kind of race condition at all, it was also stinking hot. But the good news is, I didn’t go down, and I finished in one piece! I started off in the back of the group, figuring it was the safest place for the first time out, and pretty much stayed there. I tried to catch up after a couple laps, but never really made up much ground. Apparently, someone felt bad for me and decided to have a mechanical or just pull out because I wasn’t listed as dead last…just one shy of it though.  I may not ever be a fast racer, but I think I’ll find plenty of enjoyment in the times I get out to do it.

Even better than experiencing my first race though, was the fact that my 12 year old son Aaron decided to get out and give it a go as well…and get this, he won his junior category! He came out with me at 3:30 to help set up the course, and after running around the BMX course with other kids there, he decided to try the short track race. Tyler let him borrow is 24″ cruiser, and he cranked away on the larger BMX with the 10-14 Junior class.

Aaron Lopez, about to negotiate a descent, and rockin the PacificPedaling.com team jersey. At least one Lopez can represent the team kit....

Aaron Lopez, about to negotiate a descent, and rockin' the PacificPedaling.com team jersey. At least one Lopez can represent the team kit....

Since Juniors and Cat 3 raced at the same time, my favorite moments of the race were catching up to Aaron and getting a chance to tell him he was doing a great job and to keep pedaling! At first he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to even complete a lap, but he actually completed just one lap shy of the old man! My buddy Nate snagged photos during the Cat 3 race and got this shot of us together:

Father and son, both racing together for the first time.

Father and son, both racing together for the first time.

Overall a great night, and a continuation of a great series down here in Salem. Even with the heat, there seemed to be more spectators out cheering on the racers. We had the music blasting (sorry about the offensive word in the track…I found it and have removed it! oops!) and the water guns spraying. Next week wraps up with races on Monday and Saturday, during the fair. Hope to see you all soon!

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August 17, 2009

LifeSource Natural Foods STXC Series – Race #2 Tonight!

Racers round the bend and head into a straightaway in last Monday night's race.

Racers round the bend and head into a straightaway in last Monday night's race.

The fun at the Oregon State Fairgrounds continues tonight with the 2nd race in the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Short Track series. Everyone from beginners to pro racers are welcome to attend, watch, or race – with categories for any skill level. Registration and course pre-ride begins at 5 pm, with the best entrance to the track on the Sunnyview side of the Fairgrounds.

Spectators can watch from the bleachers or grass, play in the sand volleyball area, or bring a skateboard and drop into the halfpipe. You can read our recap from last week here, and see a bunch of photos on Flickr here. Also be sure to see some other great photos and videos Matt took over at the Buy Local Cycling site.

Hope to see you tonight!

Categories:
Pro/Cat 1 Men & Women
Cat 2 Men & Women
Singlespeed
Cat 3 (Beginner) Men & Women
Junior Men (10-14, 15-18) & Women
Kiddie

2009 MTB Categories vs. 2008 MTB Categories:
Pro 2009 = Pro/Elite 2008
Cat 1 2009 = Expert 2008
Cat 2 2009 = Sport 2008
Cat 3 2009 = Beginner 2008

Race # 1-3 Start Times & Race Durations
5:00pm – Course open for pre-riding
5:45pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:00pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 20′
6:30pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 30′
7:05pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 40’

Race # 4 Start Times & Race Durations
5:30pm – Course open for pre-riding
6:00pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:15pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 30′
6:50pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 40′
7:40pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 50’

Course Description:
All races will be held on the BMX track and adjacent grassy field at the Oregon State Fairgrounds; Salem, OR.  The course will include a combination of grassy flats, twisty singletrack and bumpy dirt track (BMX course).

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August 11, 2009

Race Report: LifeSource Salem MTB Short Track Series!

Cat 3 riders waiting for the race to start.

Cat 3 riders waiting for the race to start.

UPDATED: My Flickr photos of entire event are now uploaded, click here. Also, my brother shot a ton of shots (mostly of the team) and those are available as well, click here.

The LifeSource Salem MTB Short Track series was HOT last night, and I’m not just talking about the temperature! Jeff McNamee and crew put on a great first night of the short track series right here in Salem. 68 riders turned out for the first event and rode across fields, dirt, over bmx rollers, table tops, around hairpin turns and even had some cross-like dismounts and run-ups. There was plent of heat as the Cat 3 race started in near-90 degree temps.

Martha Paulus

Martha Paulus

I shot tons of photos of the series, which I’ll post soon to our Flickr page, but this was the official first race with out team kits, so allow me to be the proud team poppa and post some shots of the Pacific Pedaling team members rolling in their kits throughout this post. Results are posted at the OBRA site, but I’ll take this opportunity to point out that Pacific Pedaling came home with 2 top place finishes for the night! Yeehaw!

Tyler Jackson

Tyler Jackson

James took first spot in Cat 2 Men and Ellen took first in Cat 1 Women. It’s worth noting here too that both Pat and Ellen rode two categories back to back – Single Speed, followed up by their Cat 1 races. That’s 30 and 40 minutes of racing with just a 5 minute break in between. Just long enough to hit the restroom and change a race number.

stcx5_out

Ellen Miller

And everyone rode great last night. Tyler was up in the front of the Cat 3 Men for most of the race…next week I’ll be relying on him to show me where to go, and how to get there. Martha rocked it in the Cat 2 Women. And as mentioned, Pat not only raced two races back to back, but pulled off and fixed his bike in the middle of the second race.

James Cloyd

James Cloyd

In addition to the amazing efforts of the entire team, I’m also proud of the fact that Pacific Pedaling team members volunteered as much as possible before, during and after the race to help the event go smoothly. We really want to help do what we can for cycling in Salem…the rest of this series should be great!

Pat Kudszus

Pat Kudszus

Matt Haughey also shot a bunch of great photos of the night (including Ellen pointing to her jersey as she crossed the finish line hill) and this video, which has Pat rolling at the beginning.

LifeSource Salem Short Track Series Race 1 from Matt Haughey on Vimeo.

Ok, enough of my rambling on about the team like they are all my children! Great first night of the series, and great first team race for Pacific Pedaling!

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August 10, 2009

LifeSource Salem Mountain Bike Short Track Series Starts Tonight!

LifeSource MTB Short Track Series, Salem, OR from nwduffer on Vimeo.

My buddy Brock and I hopped on down to the State Fairgrounds to meet up with Jeff McNamee, Matt Haughey, Kenji Sugahara. The three of them, along with Pacific Pedaling team member, Pat Kudszus spent the evening pre-riding the course, and determining the final layout.

Having never been to a short track event, we took a few moments to ask Jeff and Kenji about the upcoming race series. Jeff helped lead the way on the Willamette Valley Cyclocross series last fall in the area, and it’s great to see another event added this year. Even if you are a beginner and have never raced before, this would be a great event to make your first!

Come down to the State Fairgrounds tonight and support local cycling and racing events! For more information about the series, be sure to visit their site.

Categories:
Pro/Cat 1 Men & Women
Cat 2 Men & Women
Singlespeed
Cat 3 (Beginner) Men & Women
Junior Men (10-14, 15-18) & Women
Kiddie

2009 MTB Categories vs. 2008 MTB Categories:
Pro 2009 = Pro/Elite 2008
Cat 1 2009 = Expert 2008
Cat 2 2009 = Sport 2008
Cat 3 2009 = Beginner 2008

Race # 1-3 Start Times & Race Durations
5:00pm – Course open for pre-riding
5:45pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:00pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 20′
6:30pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 30′
7:05pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 40’

Race # 4 Start Times & Race Durations
5:30pm – Course open for pre-riding
6:00pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:15pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 30′
6:50pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 40′
7:40pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 50’

Course Description:
All races will be held on the BMX track and adjacent grassy field at the Oregon State Fairgrounds; Salem, OR.  The course will include a combination of grassy flats, twisty singletrack and bumpy dirt track (BMX course).

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June 2, 2009

Post Weekend – The Saturday Market Ride

Making our own valet parking at The Saturday Market.

As is often the case when the weather turns nice, the fam and I took a little bicycle jaunt down to the Saturday Market. We’re an ecumenical little bunch, accepting a complete mix of any and all kinds of bikes. This week I rode my cross bike, pulling my youngest son in the Burley trailer. My wife was on her cheapo single speed cruiser, and my son was on his BMX bike. I was a little tired from doing an early morning 30 mile ride with Darrell, but we always cruise at a slow and friendly pace, for an enjoyable ride for all.

I had misunderstood that the volunteer-run valet parking was already happening at the market, and spent a few minutes walking around the stage area looking for the kind people that would take our bikes. After a brief moment of searching, we found our old standby tree, right next to the PortaPotties, and chained them all up. We’ve never had an issue with people messing with our bikes so far, but the valet service will still be nice….once it starts on June 6!

On another note, Saturday was THE day to be at the market. Check out the photo below to see just some of the people we bumped into while there. We finally had to say, ‘lets get a group picture,’ to capture the day:

Just some of the folks we bumped into at The Saturday Market.

Just some of the folks we bumped into at The Saturday Market.

Immediately after showing up we bumped into Matt and his family, who were hanging with Jeff and his family, then bumped into Rich and Corrie, then Charles and Kristi, Nate, Deanna, Chelsea, Emily and Delilah, Ryan and Kealy, Conrad, Kari, Mila and Nolan, and then bumped into another group of friends after that.

We were only there for about an hour, but the place was packed, with both vendors and patrons. We’ll miss getting to visit when we’re gone on our trip, but look forward to seeing what other markets are across the country!

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