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Oregon 24 Pt II - Dashing Through the Snow

Before you start feeling sorry for me for huddling in a tent in the snow, I should point out that Carolyn and I have spent quite a few years camping and decided that we will never again go down on our knees to get in a tent. So when I say I was in a tent, it was a 6 person Big Agnes with a wool kilim on the floor, two cots, a camp chair, mood lighting, and expedition grade sleeping bags. It was tall enough to do jumping jacks in. So "huddling" meant I was sitting in a chair reading and I had to turn the heat down at one point.



Still, at 3am I turned the heat back up and there was ice on the tent walls. It was cold out there! I got up at daylight, suited up and went outside. I turned over the car and it told me it was 15 degrees out. Nice.

Despite the amenities, doing anything in that cold takes more time. I made coffee, ate breakfast, got my kit on, scrapped the rime ice off my bike and barely made it to the 9:15 race meeting. The sun was out and any pretense t…

The Oregon 24 - Pt I

It’s been a while since I’ve done a race report. It’s been a while since I’ve done a race. Carolyn and I were in Hawaii during the busiest part of the racing season. I can't say I felt bad about that. Last weekend was the Oregon 24 and I did line up for it and I did get some laps in but I’m not sure this will qualify as a race report because I’m not sure the Oregon 24 qualified as a race this year; at least not for me. It was certainly something. It may be the most memorable “race-like thing” I’ll ever do. Simply showing up for the race was more memorable than quite a few races I've finished.
The whole thing started evolving to what I showed up for a few months earlier when so much of the state caught on fire that they had to move the race up another month to let the smoke clear. I wasn’t wild about the change. Mike used to do the race in July. Saying July is my month of “peak fitness” might be a bit of an exaggeration, it is at least the month of my peak “least out of shape”…

A Strange Sort of Good Day

Let me tell you about Monday.

It started with that total solar eclipse. You saw it or you know someone who saw it. We filled the house with a remarkable collection of friends and family who came from all over to see it. My mother flew in from NY, My sister-in-law Janet flew in from NY. Liz came out from Portland. My old assistant Nancy from my theatre days took the train up from LA. We haven't gotten together in over 10 years. She brought two friends Christa and John who we've never met but they settled right in to the goat rodeo of food wine and conversation that is our home even when it's just Carolyn and me.

Oregon outdid itself. The clouds went away, the traffic jams (mostly) didn't materialize. We parked on the steps of the front porch and watched it grow dark.

And the eclipse? It was more amazing than every art rock album cover from the 1970's. It was the sun. It did that. Right there in the sky it went dark and the corona was shining and we stood in our fiel…

Hawaii Part III - Being There

Magic.
Before I flog that metaphor to death, I should say that Hawaii wasn't paradise. It's a conflicted place filled with a wide array of people who have some ownership of the place but can't entirely agree on what it should become. But it wrapped us in its arms and welcomed us and there was something.

What was that magic?

Was it any different than what others feel when they come here? Maybe it was as simple as experiencing something new in a place we've never been. We've never thought of ourselves as typical tourists, I suppose nobody does. People come here with nothing but a plane ticket or reservations to to the finest resort the world has seen. Does that change anything? Just because you arrive on a cruise ship or spend your evenings at a five star resort doesn't mean your experience of a place is any better or any worse than ours. When Carolyn and I traveled together in the past, we tried to avoid the "tourist experience" unless that was the onl…

Hawaii Part II - Getting There

As we waited to board our flight at PDX I took stock of our fellow passengers, most of whom were in search of something similar to Carolyn and me. The couple that stood out the most had matching t-shirts. One said "Beauty" on the front and "20" on the back. the other said "Beast" on the front and "12" on the back. It must have been their 5th anniversary and they were wearing the shirts to celebrate which was sweet. The problem was they kept standing wrong so the backs said "1220" and the fronts said "Beast/Beauty". I wanted to get them to switch positions but Carolyn kept stopping me. I'm just glad they didn't sit in front of us because you just know they were going to sit wrong too and my vacation would have been ruined.

If you've never been to Hawaii before, the differences from traveling to any other state will be apparent even before you land. The first thing you'll notice is you're on a plane for 6 ho…

Hawaii Part I

This is a year of great portent for Carolyn and me. All kinds of things lined up. It's our 30th anniversary! Actually, it's the 30th anniversary of our first date which turned into a sleepover which turned into nightly sleepovers which turned into moving in together which turned into buying a house together which turned into buying another house together and breaking out in cats, which is pretty much where we are now. Exactly in the middle of those 30 years we got married. It was sometime in July, we have it written down somewhere. That's not to say we take the marriage lightly. It means a great deal to us, though for some reason, we aren't getting the spouse's discount on rental cars that I thought came with the package. Anyway, 15 years of being bound in matrimony this year too. It's also Carolyn's 65th birthday, which is maybe the biggest deal. Oh, and there's a solar eclipse in August. If you're big on numerology and signs from the Heavens, this…

After this Winter - Some thoughts on losing my way

Last weekend I dug my bibs out of the closet, suited up and did the Mudslinger mountain bike race again. Some confusion after the race got me thinking about paths, wayfinding, and getting lost. It also got me thinking about politics.

This was the 30th annual Mudslinger which means we share an anniversary! A couple actually. Carolyn and I have been together 30 years and I started racing mountain bikes 30 years ago. My race prep this year consisted mainly of gassing up the car the day before driving down to the race. I think I've ridden outside four times since Christmas. Still, I wasn't going to miss this one. I did the second Mudslinger in 1988 and quite a few after that until I stopped racing in 1996. I've done it at least six more times since I started racing again in 2008.

I finished pretty far back in the field but ahead of a few dozen racers. I wasn't the only one having trouble getting the base miles in. More importantly, I had fun. It was a beautiful sunn…

The Women's March on Portland

As an act of solidarity with my wife who marched in Washington on Saturday, I drove up to Portland to participate in the Women's March on Portland. In all honesty I would have rather stayed home, cleaned house and watched cartoons but that just didn't seem to capture the spirit of these revolutionary times. The cats were getting on my nerves anyway.

There were closer marches; Salem might have been a better choice. Portland didn't need me to bolster their numbers but knew a lot of people going to there and hoped to connect with my friend Katie. Even if we missed, I was bound to run into someone I knew and I wanted to be around people as we start these very strange times.

So off I went. I parked on the East side, grabbed a sandwich at Bunk on the way and as the rain began to pour down,  I joined the line of marchers walking over the Morrison Bridge to the start of the March.

I learned some unexpected things.



The first thing I learned is why people don't walk over the Mo…