oregon adventures

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Monster Cookie Ride

Had planned to do the Monster Cookie ride with friends on Sunday, but they bailed Saturday when it was cold and pouring down rain so I did it solo. Sunday though was bright and sunny, but cold, my Jeep said 47 degrees when I parked at the State capital in Salem. As you can see by the sparse crowd in the picture, I was at the tail end of the start time. Rode through back streets to get out of Salem and then through farmland with a pretty good headwind, but for reasons I can't remember now, I wanted to do the whole ride in my big chain ring, so I did. There were only a few small steep hills and I stood for them, it was like spinning class at the gym. After 15 miles they had a food stop with 7 huge boxes of different kinds of cookies. The volunteers said, "eat, we have too many cookies", so of course I obliged. At this stop I saw Kirk R a powerhouse in the Oregon triathlon scene, he said he's doing a half-ironman in California next week. On to Champoeg park at the 30 mile mark for more boxes of cookies and there I saw Frank S from the base, we'd ridden several rides together last year. He was riding with his sister who was doing her first group ride. He invited me along, but said they were going slow, so I went on alone. On the way back I should have had a tail wind but the wind was sideways, but it was a beautiful day out with over a thousand fellow riders on the road, so it didn't matter. So I rode along waving to the girls, mooing at the cows, and giving a thumbs down to the Mannix for governor signs. There's a mooing contest in Southern Oregon in August so I have to practice. At mile 55, my body let me know this was the first long ride of the year, but I wasn't alone because I started passing tons of slow riding people with their heads down. When I got back to the capital I found out why it's called the Monster Cookie- at the finish line they had 7 boxes of the same cookies, but maybe triple the size of the other ones. I only ate one of those. I remembered a really good cafe in downtown Salem and found it, but it was closed. Saw another cafe sign, closed- a Saigon restaurant sign, closed. Then I saw a Big Town Hero, open- it's a chain, but good enough. Stats for the ride- 61.3 miles at a 15.7 MPH average and an unknown amount of cookie consumption.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Good Sheppard Ride

Yesterday my friends Steve and Lynn wanted to go riding at 6PM. It was another beautiful sunny 70 day and the reports say our 2 week drought will end this weekend, so have to take advantage while we can. Steve and Lynn rode their tandem and I was able to stay with them on the flats and downhill, we cruised at 22 when traffic allowed and made it out past Gresham to Good Sheppard Church and then turned around and headed back for 14.2 miles at a 15.9 average. It was getting dark when we got back, so I didn't take a picture. Afterwards Lynn made sauteed shrimp on rice and a feta cheese salad and toll house cookies- as she says "we ride to eat!" One of their neighbors called over and told me they saw me on TV (my commercial). Lynn's father said he saw me on channel 12 during American Idol. When I went swimming Tuesday at Mt Hood community college, a couple of people I always talk to said they saw my commercial.
Read a post the other day on Green Pea's site that really got to me. She talked about raising her kids on her own after her husband died. She had no choice really, but I took the kids after my divorce and made the conscious decision to raise them on my own- was that the right choice? Did I deprive them of the social structure of a stepfamily? Now it's been six years since my last date and I'm clueless how to start again. Anyway, it worked out the kids are wonderful, healthy, and doing ok and I'm on TV, doing triathlons, healthy, with a house and secure job and friends who do stuff with me- the blessings are numerous!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

OHSU Acting Job

Had an acting gig at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) today. It's a program called standardized patient training where actors act as patients to give the medical students practice with patients. Today I had diabetes and answer history questions and let the students do an eye and reflex exam. Today were first year students, so they are good, but not completely sure of themselves like the third or fourth year students. Afterwards I drove down the hill into the rush hour traffic, so I went to the other side of the river from downtown and parked at the science museum and ran along the Eastbank Esplanade path. It's a jogging, bike path from the museum to the steel bridge which has a path over it to connect with the downtown river front path. I did 4 miles round trip which took me over the bridge and about a quarter mile on the downtown side. It was a partly cloudy 60 degree day with tons of bike commuters and runners on the path. I felt good and was going really good, turned around when my GPS said 2 miles and my watch said 15:42- a 7 something pace!!! So I tried to keep it up even though it was tiring. The last 1/4 mile beside the museum were excruciating, but I knew if it was hard I must be going fast and sure enough my watch said 31:10 at the end for a 7:47 pace the fastest 4 mile run of my life! After that I drove a back street out of the area and found a section with all sorts of restaurants- I picked Thai take out. Then I saw a Moroccan, Egyptian, Mediterranean, and a vegetarian restaurant. A part of Portland I hadn't noticed before. Had a nice picture of the campus, but I tried three times to upload it and it got stuck each time.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Clackamas Mall Bike Ride

Had the day off and my friend Lynn called and wanted to go bike riding. So Lynn, myself, and her neighbor Adam went from her house in Gresham down the Springwater bike path to the I-205 bike path and took that to the Clackamas mall and back. Adam is nursing a torn ACL and Lynn has only ridden a couple of times this year, so this was a touring, social ride instead of training with an average of 12 MPH for the 20.4 miles. That's the slowest average since I've been keeping records, but it was a beautiful blue sky day with a temp in the mid 70's and we slowed for all the people walking and said hi. When I ride with Lynn's husband Steve, we cruise at 20 MPH or so, so this was a different kind of ride, plus when we were done, Lynn made a chicken salad for our lunch. Riding with a woman is great! I brought my camera, but left it in the car thinking I would get a group shot afterwards, but when she mentioned making food, I forgot about the camera. Then tonight- yoga class. It is starting to pay off, my back which has always hurt is limber and painfree (knock on wood).

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Marine Drive Bike Path Run

Happy Earth Day! It was only a training run, but no adventures this weekend because I'll be working. I was supposed to work 12 hours Friday, but at 8 hours the word came down- go home. So I went home got my daughter and dog and went to the Marine Drive bike path along the Columbia river beside the airport. My daughter and the dog went walking while I ran 4 miles. Started out with the wind and soared along for two miles at a 8:01 pace and then turned around and the wind made a difference because I did the last 2 miles at a 8:40 pace for a 8:20 pace for the whole run- very fast for me, I think I'm getting better. Afterwards, I wanted to take a picture of my daughter on the path, but she didn't want me to, so I had her take a picture of me. On a nice day you can see Mt Hood (climbed in 2001) from that point and on a really nice day at one point on the path you can see the tip of Mt. Jefferson (haven't climbed yet) which is 150+ miles away. As my daughter and I were walking out to take the picture three pretty women were walking in and I got three enthusiastic hi's from them- which is unusual for me. As they walked away I heard one talking about television- coincidence? The orange shirt I wore was the same as in the commercial I did that is showing at least three times a day on the channel 8 news (local NBC station). At work on Friday we were in the break room eating lunch watching the news and there I was on the TV- that was cool, the guys got to see. Everywhere I go on base people say "saw you on TV". So far the ego hasn't gotten too big.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

PIR Bike Race

Every Tuesday night here in Portland they have a bike race around the indy car speedway. This Tuesday it was 65 degrees and perfect blue sky and I knew I had to work 12-hour shifts from Wednesday through Sunday, so I went and raced. I am officially a bike racer now! Category 4 and 5 are combined for 6 laps around which equals 12 miles and I stayed with the group the whole way. Started with almost 50 people and since I can't ride inches away from someone- I always drive with 1 or 2 car lengths- I ended up at the back of the group. That's fine except you get whipsawed. By that I mean the group slows and bunches and then speeds up and you have to pedal like crazy to stay on. At one of the very sharp corners (2 straightaways and 2 S curves) I was able to coast in the group slipstream and do yoga breathing to relax- I look down and I'm going 22.5 MPH and that was resting speed! Stayed with the group until the last curve of lap 6 and some guy cut in front of me and slowed down. I could have come out of my lean and gone around, but I was on the inside off the turn and let it go. After the curve the mad dash for the finish line down a straightaway started and I couldn't catch the group, but I passed about 4 or 5 stragglers and finished about 30 yards behind the group with an average of 24.8 MPH. When I can do that kind of speed in a triathlon without 40+ people acting as a slipstream, that will be good. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera- sorry.
Then last night (Wednesday), my cousin called and she was visiting Portland so we went to a fantastic dinner at a really nice Italian restaurant- that was nice.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Michigan and Family

Flew to Michigan last week for my grandfather's funeral. It was joyous and sad at the same time, if that makes sense. He was 93 when he died, so he had a good life. At the funeral I got to see cousins I hadn't seen since I was 12 or 13 or so and one of my favorite aunts whom I hadn't seen in 10 years. The funeral procession went past his old house and slowed as it passed. One of my cousin's girlfriends was making a journal of best memories and mine was when I was 15 and just learning to drive in Pittsburgh. We had a truck with manual shifting and I was having trouble starting up on hills without rolling back, so when I went to Michigan for the summer my grandfather took me out on the dirt roads around Fair lake and taught me how to work the clutch to hold on hills. The day after the funeral my brothers, sister, mom and myself got together at my sister's house (picture) for dinner and drinks. I had gone running earlier that day in 80 degree heat for 4 miles over gently rolling hills, so I ate a ton. Flew back Saturday and went to Easter service in Gresham where my friend's son played Jesus in an extremely moving and well sung program. Later I went to Easter dinner at their house where including my daughter and I there were 17 people.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Estacada Time Trial

On Sunday I decided to try the Estacada Time trial bike race a day after doing a triathlon. I had been considering doing a time trial stage race later this month where you do 3 time trials in 2 days and thought this would be good practice to see if I could do it. Drove out past the small town of Estacada to a park where there is a sign that says next gas and services 70 miles (The small ribbon of road at the bottom of the hill in the picture is where the race starts). Signed up and got a start time of 12:03, looked at my watch and it was 9:25. So I read the paper and did the crossword while watching real bike racer types pedal on their trainers. I watched one girl (looked at her every so often) and she rode her trainer at full speed for over 2 hours and then went and raced! It was partly sunny when I got there, but it sprinkled at 11:30 as I was getting ready, but only for about 10 minutes. The guy parked in front of me riding his trainer observed that every year in this race it rains around 12:00. At 12:02 I got to the line and clipped in and was held until the clock said exactly 12:03:00 and took off. The race starts out flat and then downhill for a small bit and then gradually uphill for the remaining 5 miles until the turnaround. I was doing good, and felt fine. My goal was 30 minutes or under for a 20MPH average, so I tried to keep it around there as much as possible until it started getting steeper and I tried to do 17-19 then. After the turnaround I knew it should be downhill except it started to rain big intermittent drops which was ok, but the wind was blowing the rain straight in my face. Oh well, it's Oregon and it stopped raining with 2 miles to go, so I tried to keep a 20-22 pace all the way back until the hill by the end. There I looked down and I was going 14- ahhh, kicked it up to 16 crested the hill and pushed the last hundred yards to the finish going 27. Looked at my watch shortly after I crossed the finish and it said 12:33 something. So I turned back to the scorers table and asked my time and they said 30 minutes on the dot! An average of 20 MPH- yeah! The results came out today and I was 4th of 8 in Category 5 and 108th out of 138 overall and that's after doing a triathlon the day before and one minute ten seconds faster than last year.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Beaver Freezer Triathlon

Woke up this morning and the street was wet and it was raining, oh well. I've done 19 triathlons and 2 duathlons and only about 3 or 4 of them have had rain and only light sprinkles at that. The Beaver Freezer Triathlon is in Corvallis Oregon on the campus of Oregon State university, put on by the OSU sports club. It's the official start to the triathlon season here in Oregon. Anyway, driving down to Corvallis this morning, it was pouring- the kind of rain where you have to put the wipers on low instead of intermittent. Around Salem it lightened to intermittent wiper, Oregon drizzle. Then south of Salem towards Albany the rain stopped and a hole in the sky looked like it was over Corvallis. I think God likes triathletes! Checked in and set up my transition area and made it to the pool with about 30 minutes to spare. I started second in my lane- four people to a lane starting 5 seconds apart- and took off. Adrenaline kicked in and I went a little too fast because around lap 4 of 10 I was getting winded, so I slowed down slightly and got in a good rhythm and jumped out of the water with my watch saying 10 minutes 16 seconds- a new personal best! The volunteers timing us write your number down as you leave the pool area, so my official time shows 10 minutes 18 seconds. Jogged to the transition and it looked like it had sprinkled because the pavement was damp, but it wasn't raining now. Put on my bike stuff and took off trying to keep a 19 MPH or more pace. Did pretty well, there is a long gradual hill around mile three that slowed me a little and then some rollers around mile six to eight, but I was amazed at how quick the miles clicked by! Green Pea was talking about being in the zone- I think during parts of the bike ride and definitely during the run I was in that zone. I said thanks to the Corvallis police as I whizzed by them while they had traffic stopped for us. Saw one cow and mooed at it (I always moo at cows on bike rides), but not too much because I didn't want to waste energy. On the way back after mile 8 it is pretty much all slightly downhill, so I pushed it to 21 to 22 until back in the campus itself where there were pedestrians and brick walks, so I had to slow down to 17 to 18. Finished the bike (12 miles) in 37 minutes 49 seconds for a 19.0 MPH average and 6 seconds faster than last year. Changed into running shoes and knee braces and took off on the run. I started slowly then said to myself- go! So I started really running and tried to keep it as fast as I could while still being able to breath without laboring. At mile one (they had each running mile marked with little signs), I looked at my watch and it said 8:14 which is incredible for me! I got behind a youngish girl who was keeping a good pace and stayed with her until the third lap when she stepped it up and I was at my limit already. I crossed the line and my watch said 1 hour 20 minutes and some seconds which was two minutes or so faster than last year. The last lap on my watch said 25 minutes 30 seconds which is a personal best 5K run for me!! And that's after a swim and ride, I was very happy with that. That works out to an 8:14 per mile pace which is very fast for me. Not a drop of rain during the race and afterwards the sun came out and it was quite warm. My friend Kevin who does all the triathlons with me and a good part of training also has only beaten me once in 3 years, I'm 18-1 against him. So this year he joined the Headhunters triathlon team and trains with them and has really improved this year. He had gone to the race in the Headhunters van and I saw him at the end because he was in a different heat than me and he had forgotten to start his watch, so we didn't know his time. Well, here are the results from the OSU tri club and I'm 19-1 against him, beat him by 2 minutes. He improved by 9 minutes from last year. After the race I drink a bunch of electrolyte drinks and water and stretched and then found the free food table and had peanut butter and fruit and asked the cute collage girl volunteer where a good lunch place was and she suggest a Thai place on Monroe Street. I stayed for the raffle before awards and didn't win anything, so off to find the Thai place. Corvallis has presidential street names in what appears to be random order and then I figured it out- they're in order of when they were in office- so Monroe was an early president, so I went back to the other side of town and found it and up and down- no Thai place. I was very hungry and saw a Subway- good enough. After lunch I felt much better and saw Madison- I wonder if she meant that street? The drive back was cloudy, but nice until I got to the south end of Portland- and you guessed it- it was raining. So 3 personal bests for this race- swim time, run time, and percentile (I was 125th out of 318 overall which is 39%, my previous best was 41%). Al in all, very pleased with the whole experience.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thermal Flo Commercial

Got cast last week for a commercial and filmed today in the Irvington neighborhood. I was a porch dad, actually I was half of a couple on a porch being envious of the people across the street who have air conditioning. My "wife" was a nice woman who does local theatre and they sprayed us with water to look sweaty and we just pretended to be wilting in unbearable heat. Unfortunately it was only in the 50's, so we had to act. I heard someone saying the ad will run the last two weeks of April- so if you see a Thermal Flo ad with a guy sitting on a porch in an orange shirt- that's me. It was a small friendly set with less than 15 people and great food and lots of good snacks. The food is one of the best parts of filming. While waiting for my scene to start, I talked to the make-up/wardrobe lady and she turned out to be an amazing woman. I'd seen her on other shoots, but never had a chance to talk to her. She and her husband and kids ski, horseback ride, bike ride, kayak- nonstop adventuring! Unfortunately I don't have a picture to post because I forgot to bring my camera.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wheatland Ferry Ride

You know it's going to be a hard bike ride when the wind pushes your car door back into your leg as your trying to get out in the parking lot. Parked at Champoeg State Park (picture) to start the ride. Champoeg is one of the first settlements in Oregon and is the location for a meeting that resulted in the settlers voting to join the United States instead of England and try to become a state. There's a mural and information inside the visitor's center. Champoeg Park makes a great base for riding because there are lots of options over flat country roads. My friend Kevin and I started out into the wind- I hate wind- and crawled along at 13-17 MPH all the way to the Wheatland Ferry at about 18 miles. Rode the ferry and rode up the slight hill to Maud Williamson State Park to use the bathroom and that was 20 miles out, so we turned around ands rode the ferry back over the river (lower picture). The ride back to Champoeg was great, soared along at 21-23 MPH and towards the ends I picked a couple of trees and rode 30+ starting at one and held it that fast until the second tree. Good race practice, should be doing that all the time probably. After the ride, we got the bikes in the Jeep and it started to rain, so off to find some food. The small town of Butteville had a really nice cafe/coffee shop, but it was closed, which on a Saturday afternoon probably means it's out of business. Drove to the small town of Donald and they had one cafe and it was also closed. Kept going and ended up in the town of Aurora which is an antique shop haven. Found a little antique/cafe/coffee shop and got the last table open for a good sandwich and latte.