Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interesting Read...

I came across this article on Eco Velo today (thanks to Vince) and thought it was worth sharing.  
The Commuting Paradox

I've been pedaling a fair amount recently but do have to admit that with this heat and hip injury combined, I've been wussing out and driving a bit too.  Copper and I rode in yesterday in the insane heat and humidity and all I could think about was riding in the winter.  People say you can almost ride year round comfortably in Omaha and I'd have to agree...although most people are referring to the 4th "unrideable" season as winter and I'd beg to differ.  I think the summer is way less inspiring to ride during than the peaceful snowy winters. 

Here's a pic from me happily commuting in the snow to help cool you down. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hello Again!

I just logged in for the first time in waaaay too long and the first thing I saw was the pic of Natalie in winterish riding clothes!  For the love of Pete, I've been negligent once again.  Ah, summer at a bike shop.  Although, I must say this hasn't been a typical summer for me.  Usually (or at least for the last many years that I've worked in the bicycling industry) summers are non-stop time at the shop; no vacations or really much aside from hot, humid Omaha summers (with a few Grand Lake, CO summers thrown in too). This summer I've been crazy busy, but not only at the shop.  I've had the opportunity to get out of town a bit!  And of course, this means bike trips.

First of all, we (Greenstreet) closed down for 2 weeks during the College World Series to rent our space out to DeMarini who sells softball/baseball stuff and they were way more excited about being amidst the pandemonium of the Series than our lil ol bike shop. So, we packed up the entire shop, moved it into storage and took a vacation!  I helped supervise the Bike to the Ballpark initiative through Omaha Bikes and it was a huge success!  We parked over 700 bikes during the CWS and raised a bunch of money for our organization.  Thanks to each and everyone who made this idea a reality!  Here are a few photos of the crazy night that the sirens went off due to potential tornadoes and ridiculously high winds.

our racks got blown to smithereens!

Volunteers smiling because we're inside.  Thanks DeMarini!

Getting people back on their bikes, despite the downpour.
 So that was just part of it!  Then, after that I took a quick trip up to Grand County, Colorado to visit some friends and some singletrack.  It couldn't have been much nicer! 

Dave, Me, Barry, Mandi on the Grand Lake Lodge deck

view from the deck

and more views from the deck

Strawberry Hot Springs just outside of Steamboat, CO

the rushing water next to the hot springs

Mandi and Barry's back yard! Fun!!

Mandi on her bike


Guess why they call this trail Chainsaw...

Greenstreet in the mountains!

More Mandi in WP

Such fun flowy riding

almost back to the car. dang it.
Even though it was a quick weekend, it was so great catching up with Mandi, et al.  Thanks again for the hospitality! 

Then, I came back for the Omaha Bikes Handlebar Happy Hour at Jake's in Benson and I'm glad I did!  It was a really fun time with a great turnout.

Love this poster!  Thanks Jake's!!

the beginning of the evening

more omaha bikes folks

a lovely sight indeed!

That's pretty much all of what I have pictures of.  However, that's only because my camera died and I think that the battery got lost in the Greenstreet move...dang.  Certainly one of the most amazing parts of my summer ( riding the STP) remains undocumented, save a few crummy camera phone photos.  Dang again. Actually, I got these two from my time up North...

This was at an awesome Italian restaurant with the owner

My mom's bestest buddy from 7th grade and her husband at our Vader campsite
I rode from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon in 2 days.  Now, having never even completed a century in a day prior to this ride, I was a bit nervous about what I'd agreed to.  Thankfully it ended up being a total blast, and certainly a memorable weekend.  I absolutely love the Pacific Northwest and actually grew up visiting my grandmother who lived in Hoodsport, Washington. I remember always looking forward to the trip up North; collecting crabs and sea shells along the canal was one of my favorite things to do as a kid.  So the trip up that direction a week ago was exciting for all sorts of reasons. 

Unfortunately, I don't have any other pictures of the amazingly beautiful scenery that we cruised by in those two days but the memories will last in my head for a while.  We rode from our hotel in Seattle to Vader, WA the first day which was just about 135 miles.  Again, keeping in mind that I'd never rode a century, I was pretty concerned about this big number.  Thankfully it was amazingly doable!  It was the second day of just over 70 miles that caught up to me.  The ride was wonderfully supported by the Cascade Bicycling Club with food, water, and first aid stops every time you needed them and I was really impressed with the overall organization of the ride.  I could go on and on about each little detail of our trip, from the life changing iced latte I had in Seattle, to the crazy menu-free Italian restaurant, to the inbred campsite hosts in Vader, to the breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens along the winding hilly route.  Or maybe the taste of the Subway sandwich I had at about mile 65, or the bathroom stop at mile 80, or the margaritas at mile 102... and that's all still before Portland! Anyway, lots of memorable and funny stuff along the way.

The one part that I have to take an extra moment to relay more information about was our camping adventure in Vader.  Now, we chose to ride past Centralia, which is where most of the other 10,000 riders decided to camp for the first night to Vader, which may or may not have been our best idea.  The plan was to get the majority of miles out of the way the first day so that we could get into Portland at a decent hour on Sunday.  It almost worked.  We rolled into Vader (Ben ahead of me by a stretch) and looked for a campsite.  All of the legit camping spots were reserved from months prior but Ben found a family with a weird concession tent set up on the side of the road and decided to ask if we could camp on their land. They said sure and were very gracious hosts, despite the fact that it wasn't even THEIR LAND that they ok'd us to camp on!! We also got showers out of the deal (again, not their showers!) after they asked "Old Man Andy" who turned out to be an 88 year old grumpy hard of hearing guy.  Oh Vader, how many stories exist within your town limits!?

We pitched our tent (with the help of Nick, the youngest member of the Vader host family) and just then Dianne and Tony rolled up with their bikes on the top of their vehicle, ready to camp with us for the night and then ride into Portland with us the following day.  This awesome couple lives in Tacoma, Washington and Dianne has been my mom's best buddy since they were in 7th grade.  What a fun treat it was to get to catch up with them for the evening! We enjoyed a few beers that they brought, as well as several Coors Lights which kept coming from the Vader host family...beers, pillows, and too many offerings for help of one kind or another.  What an interesting crew they were!  And, while smoking a cigarette, the momma host explained that they set their little road-side attraction up each year for the STP and never have anyone take them up on camping! Crazy, eh?!  The family sits on the side of the route and sells bananas, water, coffee, sno-cones, and campsites in an attempt to raise enough money to get momma Vader a kidney transplant.  Yikes. Enjoy your cigarette lady.  They were an overly helpful lot, and I really do hope she raises enough cash from selling rotten bananas and dirty pillows to find a new kidney. 

The next day we woke up and groggily broke camp, readying our stiff bodies for the next 70 miles that awaited.  At this point I realized that maybe too many Coors Lights and Fat Tires were consumed the night matter, onward either way!  We started off at about 8:30a.m. I'd say and I felt like my tires were full of lead.  It's funny knowing that stopping is not really an option; you just keep moving the pedals and every minute you're that much closer to your goal.

After what seemed like forever, we arrived in Portland!  Hooray!!  I was nearly in tears from exhaustion and elation and stumbled over to the beer tent on numb toes begging to get out of their uncomfortable cages of cycling shoes.  I don't know the last time a Ranger IPA tasted that good.  After a few beers and a giant burrito we left the finish line festivities and checked into our hotel. Even though the water pressure and temps were hit and miss, it may have been one of the best showers I've had. Refreshing to say the least. Refreshing enough to fuel the rest of my evening which was full of Portland exploration thanks to our good buddy Hodad, who is a Portland resident that was in Omaha for the CWS with DeMarini.  He took us from bar, to donut shop, to bar, to sushi place, to brewery, to strip-aroke club and then back to our hotel.  What a crazy and fun night!! Thanks again for the hospitality and showing us around your fabulous city.  The time disappeared too quickly.

Whew!  What a long winded blog post.  Sorry all, just had a lot to get out there!   Hope you all are pedaling and staying hydrated; this head is intense!  More later...hope I find my camera battery charger!!!