After a fall of surgery recovery, an early spring of the “bad ass cold” we were finally ready for our first camping trip of the year. It happened to be on our 42 anniversary, all the better. We have had the Pine Cone for a year and a half now and every time we have gone out it has gotten better. The thing a out having a tear drop is to have everything ready at a moments notice and we have achieved that. Stove, water, utensils and bed all ready to go. A quick stop at the store, hook it up to Oliver and off we were. It is less than an hour to our destination, the Crooked River Canyon below Bowman Dam. We left after work, got to our campground with lots of light left. Set up camp made dinner, read our books then off to bed in our cosy teardrop.
We had done a reconnaissance of the campgrounds last fall so we knew where to go, but this was our first trip with Oliver, our new Mini ( maxi) Cooper. Though he is smaller than the Green Lady, he sits higher and has more low end torque. This means he pulls the Pine Cone better, and with better gas mileage. I was hoping for this and was well chuffed to find it true.
We had perfect weather, our hike to Chimney Rock was perfect. Lots of wild flowers, and only one other human. I hope we have many more of these this year.
http://arabellasgarden.blogspot.com/ if you go to Kathy’s blog you can see photos and read her story.
Every year there is a cycle for the return to mountain biking. It starts in January for me. This year it was special because I was off the bike for three months. It goes like this. January comes, after our heavy winter first snows, and I start asking about the conditions at Horse Ridge. This is one of my favorite places to ride. Lots of steep technical climbs, flowing single track and a couple of very difficult rock gardens. The best is Sand Canyon. Five minute of super fun fast downhill. My favorite dive minutes of trail around. This year Horse Ridge started off slow. Lots of snow, mud etc, but it ended in a bang. Some of the best Horse Ridge conditions ever. I should say it has ended for me as I am now riding our West SideTrails. No more driving for awhile. After Horse Ridge I go to Horse Butte. Not as fun for me but I can do some longer rides there and it is different. Then comes Maston and Cline Butte. Maston by itself is not my favorite, but if I add in Cline Butte it is a great ride. They also added some really fun new sections. Then come Smith Rocks and Gray Butte. It stays muddier there longer than e other areas.
Finally, about now, the Phil’s Trail area and Shevlin Park area opens up. This year it surprised me. My first ride was over three hours, just going up to the snow (about 4800 ft right now) going to the next trail and doing the same. These trails are like old friends to me. I haven’t seen them for a few months, but they are still familiar and friendly. As the weeks go on it will be fun to see how far we can get on each ride. The weather won’t cooperate. We will have days and even weeks of cold weather and snow. But they will open up until the next cycle starts. For me this is a funt time of year to be in Bend.
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For five years in early March I and my teammates have made the 4 hour trek to Echo in Eastern Oregon to race our mountain bikes. The first year I had no idea what to expect. It seems flat in the Columbia Gorge just west of Pendelton. But the mountain bike enthusiasts of The Hermiston area convinced a rancher that the gullies and ravines where he couldn’t grow his wheat would be a good area for some mountain bike trails. They were right and all of us who trooped over to Echo were surprised at how fun e trails are. This Echo has race has now become the biggest mountain biker axe in Oregon.
For me it was not only my first race of the year but my first race since my prostate surgery. I Amy not have all of the powere I had last fall but, as the Spanish riders love to say, I had good sensations in my legs. Six weeks of smart training paid off. There is still a ways to go but at least I am on my way.
I had a couple of thoughts after the race. I finished third, which was good, but I won’t say I wouldn’t have liked to do better. I guess that is what makes me a racer, wanting to do better. Us then it occurred to me nobody but me really cares how I do. That doesn’t mean I don’t have friends and family who appreciate what I do, but if I tell them third was awesome they will think third was awesome. If am happy how I do they are happy how I do. I think this is true of most master racers. Our fans and supporters need us to tell them how we did. In fact most of our supporters are content with any result we achieve. What they don’t like is if we are grumpy after a race.
I was very touched with all of my cycling friends who came up to to welcome me back to the races.it was nice to be back, to be competitive and to enjoy those great trails near Echo.
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I am sure I have said this before but I love living in Bend. There are lots of reasons, friends, culture, work the weather. I could name 100. I have to say I have been here for a while, I first came to Central Oregon in 1969 to work for the US Forest Service, Kathy and I moved to Bend in 1974. Almost 40 years here in Bend. The above photo show why I like it here the most. I love the Mountains. All of them. The Sierra Nevada, the Alps, the Andes, the Himalayas, the Pyrenees, you get the picture. We have the Cascades and I love being in them, hiking, skiing, riding, sitting. I also love the desert. I won’t name all of those but I feel free in the desert, and the High Desert is my favorite. Dry but not hot.
The photo was taken out by Horse Ridge. It is at a place not many people go so I am usually alone when I am there. I can see my beloved mountains, I can almost see Bend. Where else in January can one go for a three hour good mountain bike ride, or go skiing on fresh snow the same day.
I feel pretty blessed to live here.
A note those friends of mine who read my blog and haven’t made it to Bend yet. Put it on your list and come and visit.
Thanks for reading
The Movie the Hobbit just came out and Kathy and I went to see it twice. Once at an IMAX theatre and once just in a normal movie theatre. We loved the movie, though the IMAX version was way too loud. I have read the Hobbit a few times and will admit it is not my favorite book. It pales to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it does have a special place in my life as it is the first book Kathy recommended to me, back in 1969. She said I had to read it first before I started Lord of the Rings. I was working for the US Forest Service at the time at a remote ranger station in Eastern Oregon (Rager Ranger Station, which just closed down). In a recent blog I explained how my mom made me to like to read, well Kathy introduced the books I now love to read, and The Hobbit was the first one. This doesn’t happen often but in my opinion the movie is better than the book. Peter Jackson has made the movie the way Tolkien would have written it if he had been writing for adults. He wrote the Hobbit more as a teen/youth book. We will probably go see it again.
I started riding my bike again. To work and on the trainer as there is still snow on the ground around here. I wouldn’t mind a week in the warm to get my legs used to riding, but I have been enjoying my skiing this year so I really can’t complain. It is due to warm up next week so maybe then. It is probably best not to do too much. I am missing going to Cyclo Cross National for the first time in a few years. It is a relief not to go really. January is a good time to stay at home, sit near the fire and get some skiing in. I hope all that do go do well and have a good time.
I don’t really like dwelling on my surgery this October but I had my first PSA blood test last week and, as hoped, I don’t have any PSA.
Time to do some vacuuming and some weights.
Sunnyside Sports is 40 years old this year and we are having our birthday party this coming Friday from 6 to later. I have been at Sunnyside for 32 years more than half of my life. It has been a great run. I am proud of the things we have done, and I love the sports we sell. I guess I may be the biggest Sunnyside customer. There are not many days when I am not out cycling or skiing. Sunnyside has been my work and my play for 32 years and I am thankful for that. I hope to have many more of these years. The photo of Jake above is what I think of when I think of work. Smiles, bikes, tools it is what we are about.
Thoughts about my Mom. First of all my Mom died last Saturday. Like all Moms she was a huge part of my life. We didn’t always see eye to eye but she always wanted the best for me, and taught me the values I have today. I think those are good values and for that I am ever grateful.
As I sit here I am trying to think of a monumental Mom moment but I can’t, all I think of are thousands of smaller mom moments. Me learning to read, and learning to love books. She wouldn’t accept me not loving books. She made me love books. At the time I wanted to be outdoors but first I had to love books. That seems like an impossible task, but finally she found the book for me Sherlock Holmes. I have been in love ever since.
Music. While other homes had the TV on we had classical music. All the time. I still love classical music and that was from my Mom. Hiking. Ever since I can remember we did family hikes. Not backpacking, but nice long weekend hikes.
I could go on but I have a lot to remember this week. I hope to see you at the party.
Mt Bachelor opened up today and I was one of the first people on the trails. I am not usually one of the early season skiers. This time of year I am usually into cyclocross so i wait to ski until December. But this year after my surgery I am off the bike so my form of exercise has been walking, walking, walking. Walking is ok especially if it is hiking. Hiking to me is the desert, the mountains the open skies etc. Kathy and do that all year round and I love those days. Walking is more neighborhood stuff. I live in a great part of town and I have had some great walks. In fact without the walks I would have been very unhappy. So I have to be thankful that I could walk. But I like a little more vigorous exercise. Skiing is that. From the photo you can see it was a beautiful day. It was a little soft for skating, classic would have been better. I skated though. That way I could use my upper body less and not strain my body. I skied around an hour and a half and it felt like three. That is good. I saw lots of friends, John here in the foreground, Jeffery skiing up the hill and if you squint there is Jan, Jeffery’s wife coming up easy (not so easy today) back.
It feels great to be tired from exercise for a change. I was actually pleased with my fitness and my form. I got some new boots from Rossignol this year and they really ski different. The heel is lower by 3 mm than most other skate boots. The skis feel faster. Sometimes new things make a difference and these seems to.
It has been a month since I had my prostate removed. A month of no work, lots of rest, lots of walking, and watching some pretty exciting baseball. The deer in the photo was from one of my many walks. It was not really bothered by my appearance, he just kept on eating away. The nice thing about walking is how much one can see as opposed to riding. I have covered my neighborhood pretty well. Not to get too political, a week before the election, but I have noticed the higher I go on the hill and the bigger the houses the more Romney lawn signs there are, however right up from our house is what I now call democratic court as it seems all those houses have Obama signs. It is good to see a mix up there.
I do get to go to work tomorrow. I am looking forward to that. I am still not supposed to lift as my lymph glands are still healing from the surgery, but it will be nice to be in the public again. I went down on Saturday to watch the cross races and visit. That was a blast. I didn’t really miss racing, but I do miss seeing my friends. My bike got to race as I sold it to one of my teammates Michael. I am going to get a disc Ibis next year.
And I watched some baseball. I waited nearly 50 years for my team, the Giants, to win a World Series title in 2010, now only two years later they do it again. Too much of a good thing almost. It was nice to have nothing to do so I could watch the games with ease. Even Kathy got into it. The last game I had to be away so she watched the whole 10 inning by herself giving me updates with her texting.
I am not 100% yet. My plumbing is a bit leaky and I must be out of shape, but I am getting ready to be fit again, do some skiing, some riding and getting back to my normal life. But I have enjoyed my long walks, my time off the bike and the luxury of watching my team win the World Series, in such an exciting way.
See you at the store or out on the trails I hope.
So much to think about, with lots of time to do it. I am in what I call post surgery recovery. I have decided it is all about having goals, reaching those goals and then going to the next goal. It is not unlike everything else I do, learning the piano, racing my bike, owning a bike store. One difference is my post surgery goals are obtainable and very objective.
When I woke up from the surgery my first goal was to know how it went. It turned out it went well, I was able to find that out in less than an hour from waking up. The next goal was to get up and walk. That took a day, and that was hard. Getting out of bed, with all of those tubes attached, and having an open wound with 16 staples in my body was not easy. That is a photo of my staples above. The deal is walking wakes up the digestive system, as mine had gone to sleep. My intestines had been rearranged to get at my prostate and the stomach was under the influence of the anesthesia. Walking was my ticket to leaving hospital. Sweet, so I started to walk. Then I was politely asked by the doctor, the PA, the nurses have you passed gas yet. This was the sign. At the time I was on an IV and I was not allowed to drink or eat. As soon as I “passed gas” I could switch to a clear liquid diet. Sweet, this meant such delicacies as jello, and broth. The next goal was the final pathology report. This would tell me if my surgery was the end of my treatment or not. The pathology was great, they got all the cancer. So I walked, I passed some gas and home I went.
When I got home I was allowed to walk some but my next goal was to get those staples out of my body. As you can see they are now a souvenir. Next week it is getting this catheter out. One step at a time.
Just a short note post USADA Lance report. For me the accusations of Lance and company being bullies is not all that surprising, what does surprise me is how he shared his practices so openly with so many people. I guess with my feeling of how arrogant Lance is I should not have surprised. He figured he could stop anyone from talking because of his stature and his power.
The other point is we are all guilty of this abuse of rules. I happen to be a baseball fan, a Giants fan to be specific. When Barry Bonds played for the Giants he was amazing, but something was fishy and we all knew it but ignored it. He went from a pretty skinny outfielder to a big muscular man in a very short time. No one could do what he did just like nobody could do what Lance did. The world didn’t call him on it, the UCI didn’t, USADA didn’t, Phil and Paul didn’t. Just a few voices in the wilderness who were mainly ignored.
I hope we, the cycling community, can get over all of this. I think some forgiveness for those riders who crossed the line is in order, and even Lance deserves some forgiveness. In a sense he played by the rules of the time, only better than anyone else. This is not to say I forgive him but we played into his hands. He trained harder than any other rider, he got Trek and Nike to get him the very best product, he scouted and knew the routes better than anyone and he figured out the drug thing better also.
I guess the next step, again not unlike my post surgery, is to move forward and enjoy this wonderful sport of ours.
As some of you know I have been in hospital for a few days. I found out my prostate had some cancer and we decided to remove it. The surgery went well and so did the pathology afterwords.
However that is not what I want to write about. It is about the total loss of humility and ego while I was at hospital.
Having ones prostate out means surgery close to what is referred to in Monty Python as the naughty bits. Now most nurses are women, though one of mine was a man. I am a rather shy lad. I don’t like public nudity for me anyway. It is not that I am against it it is just a simple fact that I am quite shy. All that changed while I was in post surgery care. I needed their help and I really didn’t care who saw me or what they saw. It wasn’t just me being practical, I really didn’t care. What mattered was to get better and be able to go home, eat food again and not be woken up every few hours to see if you are still alive. So I a accepted my fate and loss of privacy without even a whimper.
A couple of other things about my stay. I was St Charles Medical Center in Bend, Or. The nurses and management are having a bit of disagreement about work, wages etc. From my point of view all I saw was the nurses. Dr. Neeb was wonderful. Very good bedside manner, and he did a great job getting my prostate out, but I was mostly asleep when he was at work, but it was the nurses who represent St Charles to the patients. We never see anyone else. I have to say every nurse I had was caring thoughtful, helpful. They have to ask embarrassing question like have you passed any gas yet etc. I most impressed with the nurses. I wonder if the management know that it is the nurses that the public deals with, they are the true ambassadors of the Hospital.
The photo shows what beautiful location we live in. My room was facing east and I got to see the sunrise every morning. I feel pretty blessed to have had the care I had, to have afforded the insurance I have and to have come out with a great outlook.
No bike riding for a couple of months, no work for a month, but ski season is coming and I can spend the extra time practicing the piano.
Thanks for reading.