FROM FRINGE TO FRUITFUL-Local Race Series Makes Charity A Priority

Festive Ladies of Alley Cross Two

Festive Ladies of Alley Cross Two

We are not strangers to dressing silly and racing cyclocross bikes around these parts. But this year gave me (and teammate Remy) an opportunity to try a new type of cyclocross race and donate to charity all in the same day. ALLEY CROSS is a three race series that was created by local racer Daniel Carter in 2012 and has garnered enormous support from local sponsors this year.

Remy, Julie, Stephanie, Jericho & Mielle

Remy, Julie, Stephanie, Jericho & Mielle

Daniel and Justin post race

Daniel and Justin post race

Unlike most cyclocross races that take place at a known venue, Alley Cross combines the unsanctioned street racing found in Alley Cat races with laps on a mystery cyclocross course set up in various Portland parks. I was so inspired by the community giving aspect of Alley Cross  that I decided to check in with Daniel on how the Alley Cross series came to be. 

Go Pro video of  the Alley Cross 2  race by Paul Laak

http://vimeo.com/82521259

After breaking his ankle at the Kruger’s Crossing race Nov. 2012, Daniel missed the final cross races of the season but wasn’t ready for the season to be over. A lover of both Alley Cat races and cyclocross, he and his friend, Beer Mongers teammate Justin Bruaner, saw an opportunity to take advantage of the amazing local parks they used for training and transform them into a very temporary race course.

Daniel-left, Justin-center front-Volunteers Photo

Daniel-left, Justin-center front-Volunteers Photo

But there is so much more to it than that. When asked what the motivation behind starting this series was, Daniel said,  For me personally, I need to attach more meaning to the things I do than merely self improvement”.

As a Juvenile Custody Services Specialist at the Multnomah County Juvenile Detention Center in Portland, Daniel works with youth that are sometimes homeless and often from low-income, undereducated minority families struggling to get by. I see these issues every day, but many people are more or less oblivious, so this (Alley Cross) is a fun way to help this population and raise awareness.”

Of the six charities the Alley Cross series has donated to, only two were coordinated with before hand, including Outside In, the series finale’ charity on January 11th, 2014.  Daniel admits that he usually just shows up on the doorstep of the charity with food or clothing in hand, but future races will include much more of the charity’s involvement ahead of time. In a few years, the Alley Cross crew hopes to expand and be part of a bona fide Non-profit Organization.

Podium-Kristi 2nd, Mielle 1st, Heather 3rd

Podium-Kristi 2nd, Mielle 1st, Heather 3rd

For the race participants, there is a very long and impressive list of prizes donated by local companies and bike industry shops including Sellwood Cycle Repair, Bob’s Red Mill, Retroshift and Fort George Brewery.  

Piles of Donations

Piles of Donations

Peter Koonce/Team S&M picks his prize

Peter Koonce/Team S&M picks his prize

Race 1 –Cross Dress, asked for warm kids clothing(donated to Janus Youth Access Center and New Avenues for Youth in Portland) and offered amazing prizes for top 3 men, women and kids. A DFL award also given for the very last man, woman and child to cross the finish line. Everyone was encouraged to ‘cross dress’ but the ladies were the only ones daring enough to dabble in dude dress this year. I went as Erik Tonkin, owner of Sellwood Cycle Repair. But funny enough, Chris Brannen(Alley Cross Crew & Team S&M member) and I wore the same outfit.

Mielle giving dudes beard envy

Mielle giving dudes beard envy

Race started  and finished at Normandale Park on 52nd and NE Halsey. We were told moments before the start that our cross course was set up at Rose City Park on 62nd and Thompson. Get from park to park any route you want, then 4 laps on the cross course and race back to the start. 

Mielle on the Rose City Park stairs

Mielle on the Rose City Park stairs

Race 2-Alley Cross 2 asked for canned food items that would be donated to St Vincent DePaul.  Race started at Overlook Park across from Kaiser Permanente in North Portland and there were two mystery locations. We had to find a dog park on Willamette Blvd., hike-a-bike to the bottom of a steep, muddy trail to get a plastic egg containing the address of the cross course. We ended up racing through the streets back to North 7th and Fremont for a course set up in Irving Park, then back to Overlook for the finish. This was way more road racing than the first race. 

Remy at the Irving Park sand pit

Remy at the Irving Park sand pit

Wish List Items

Wish List Items

I asked Daniel how he determines if a race is successful. Every race is successful. Each event spreads the word to more bike shops, more racers, sponsors, volunteers and more bystanders just happening by. I guess the day nobody shows up to race is the day it’ll be unsuccessful.”

Race 3-Alley Cross 3 will take place at NOON on Saturday January 11th, 2014 at Creston Park in SE Portland and entry is 5 items off the Outside In wish listPost race party at Velo Cult 3-5pm. Check out the Alley Cross Three! Facebook page for info and photos from the events. 

Racers and Volunteers

Racers and Volunteers
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Sorting Supper-Oregon Food Bank 2013

Collected Donations

Collected Donations

270,000 people use food boxes from the Oregon Food Bank each month, with children making up 92,000 of that total.  Without community donations, our shelves would be EMPTY in three weeks,” explains our volunteer organizer Mike. And if you have never been inside the warehouse at the food bank, it is enormous.  Sky high racking systems run row after row along the football field long walls, housing thousands of pallets of food.  The current building was built in 2001, ironically enough, on an old farm.  As our crew entered the first sorting room for instructions, our gaze fell on the abundance of potato crammed farm sacks (donated by Noonan Farms in southern Oregon) that need to be bagged for individual families .  

Coordinator Mike and Noonan Farms Potatoes

Coordinator Mike and Noonan Farms Potatoes

The food bank requests their volunteers bring a few cans of food so I decided to put a call out for donations at work ahead of time, which resulted in 6 boxes of food collected (Thanks Kaiser Permanente Employees). The ladies pitched in with their own collections too. 

Busy Sorting Line

Busy Sorting Line

Team volunteers Remy and husband Andrew, Audrey, Katie and Margi joined me in the packing room.

I would like to add that Margi is 9 months pregnant  and we joked about her giving birth on the sorting room floor. 

We were given the task of sorting food into “food” and “non food” items, checking for severe dents (lipping) in cans/tops that could result in botulism, and sealing any opened boxes. All compromised items are disposed of in a large box next to the sorting station. 

Andrew taping up boxes

Andrew taping up boxes

 

Katie and Margi checking for dents

Katie and Margi checking for dents

Each food box feeds a family of four between 3-5 days. In Oregon alone, ONE IN FOUR people are living below the poverty level which is higher than our visit last year when it one in six.  

Mielle Breaking Down Boxes

Mielle Breaking Down Boxes

To make sure families get the help they need requires a lot of hands on deck.  150 thousand hours are donated by volunteers each year. Donating 2.5 hours  of your time doesn’t seem like much, but that effort pays it forward in ways that benefit the entire community. 

Audrey Hard at Work

Audrey Hard at Work

Audrey throwing out the damaged goods

Audrey throwing out the damaged goods

Les Femmes de S&M, along with the other groups, sorted and boxed 9082 pounds of food, creating 7568 meals for those in need. If you would like to get involved, see the link to the Oregon Food Bank below.  

http://www.oregonfoodbank.org/

http://www.noonanfarms.com/Katie, Margi, Mielle, Laurie, Audrey, Remy & Andrew

Katie, Margi, Mielle, Laurie, Audrey, Remy & Andrew

Team S&M + Panda- CRANKSGIVING 2013

 

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What IS Cranksgiving? A Panda, and pink tutu and a pimp hat = Cranksgiving! It is also a food drive wrapped in an Alley Cat style scavenger hunt on bicycles of all shapes and sizes. Plus costumes, because well, it’s Portland. What could be more Portland than that? Les Femmes de S&M teammates Jill and Beth F. joined me, along with Judd /Team S&M and Dave/Hammer Velo. We formed Team S&M + Panda.  The event started at Velo Cult bike shop (1949 NE 42nd), and was hosted by Laura Recker and Tom McTighe of PuddleCycle.com.

I SEE YOU!!! JUDD + GO PRO

I SEE YOU!!! JUDD + GO PRO

Here is the video Judd shot condensed into racing speed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te3B59VUz7I

THE MISSION: Sign your team waiver- get the manifest! Ride fast and collect all of the items and be back before the time cutoff. First one back wins a prize and most money spent wins a prize.  Since it’s a food drive, our stops consisted of various grocery stores around NE ,SE and NW Portland. 25 teams signed in with names like B-Line Crawlers and Tater Mashers

Pea Pod and Team Tater Masher

Pea Pod and Team Tater Masher

some in costume because a prize would be awarded to the best costumed team (TATER MASHERS won). RULES: You must keep all receipts as proof of purchase, and you have to get all of the items on the list.  Teams of 2-5 riders were required to have at least $10 per person to cover the shopping list.

TIME BONUS OFFERED: If anyone wanted a five-minute time bonus, you had to swap 1 member of your team with another team before the race started at 2 PM. Our team was too awesome to share.

JILL RIDES FAST IN A TUTU

JILL RIDES FAST IN A TUTU

Pre race beer for the Panda

Pre race beer for the Panda

The whole idea started back in New York in 1999 and this year over 25 cities participated. The charity of choice for the Portland version is Outside In, a youth oriented program and shelter for homeless and at-risk youth. They also help find transitional housing through Transition Projects.

With Judd’s Go Pro helmet camera running, we took off with the masses, first stop Fred Meyer just down the road. Dave, dressed in his Panda costume, took the first task. He went looking for quinoa with but overheard another team say they needed underwear from this location. Unable to find a price tag,  then stuck in the checkout line, we were almost the last team to leave stop 1.

Stop #1. Where's Dave?

Stop #1. Where’s Dave?

Beth took the lead as we left, barreling down backstreets until we got to Broadway and stop 2, Safeway on Weidler. I went in to get a can of cream of mushroom soup and cheated the long lines by paying at the deli. Straight shot down to the Broadway bridge, over the river into NW. Somewhere along the way Jill’s fluffy pink helmet cover took flight but we were not going back .

Beth and her SEXY hat

Where to next Beth?

Stop 3 –Food Front on NW Thurman. Cash hand off and Beth ran in to get beans. Short trip from Food Front to Western Bike Works on  NW 17th and Lovejoy where Judd collected our patch kit. At each stop we kept rubbing shoulders with other teams, not knowing how far ahead or behind we were.

Dave and Jill plotting our next move

Dave and Jill plotting our next move

Crossing back over the Broadway bridge, our gang raced to Stop 4- Peoples Co-Op on 21st off of SE Clinton. Judd ran into our teammate Christy, (out shopping with baby Mila Kate) who pointed him in the right direction for our bag of potatoes. Out front, I purchased a Street Roots newspaper for $1 (profits from paper sales provide homeless men and women with a regular income and housing assistance through Transition Projects). Telling the vendor we were doing a charity ride for Outside In gave him a big smile. “Their program helps me!”

We came upon another team heading to Safeway on 28th and Hawthorne. Feeling that surge of adrenaline (maybe it was just me), we sped past the single speeders and their cargo bike guy (carrying his 4 yr old daughter) on a small climb. 

Yeah, we beat these guys

Yeah, we beat these guys

They gave chase but we arrived at Safeway about the same time. Last stop was a short but treacherous sprint in traffic to New Seasons on 40th and Hawthorne Blvd where there are no bike lanes and a high chance of getting doored. Our singlespeeders were quicker at check-out once again!

JUDD AND MIELLE

JUDD AND MIELLE

I led the final chase to Velo Cult, back through the lovely neighborhoods of NE. Catching the singlespeed crew, I beat them back to the door of Velo Cult, slapping our manifest down with our envelope of receipts and the Street Roots newspaper to get our time logged.

Maria reads off the winners and totals

Maria reads off the winners and totals

A round of beers for the team and slices of pizza. Not the fastest team of the day, but our extra Street Roots $1.00 put us over the top for the most money spent, making Team S&M + Panda the winners! 98 riders participated, raising over $1500.00 in food donations for Outside InSpecial thanks to Sellwood Cycle Repair for your support!

Links to the organizations noted in this post are listed below

Big Hearts and Big Prizes
Big Hearts and Big Prizes

For more information about Outside In, Street Roots, Transition Projects or other events sponsored by puddlecycle.com, check out the links below.

http://www.outsidein.org/

http://www.tprojects.org/

http://streetroots.org/

http://puddlecycle.com/

I Can’t Drive 55- Test Of Endurance 7/6/13

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SWEEP – A rider that follows the back of a field of racers on the race course and helps any stranded riders to make sure all riders are accounted for (we also picked up spent gel packets found on the trail).

The Broom Wagon-Mielle & Remy

The Broom Wagon-Mielle & Remy

Sweeping a race sounds easy enough until you realize your slowest day is still faster than the slowest beginner.  But, it’s not all about ME.  I know, what racer ever says that at a race?  Keeping that thought in mind makes the task at hand much more enjoyable, reminding me and my teammate Remy, that we are here so other people can have a fun and safe day on the mountain bike. 

“Keep an eye on that Japanese guy”, says race organizer Mike Ripley. As Remy and I wait for the last straggling racers to start, we only know that ‘the Japanese guy’ rented a bike and rode from Corvallis to Philomath (19 miles) this morning. He doesn’t speak English very well and he was wearing tennis shoes and a fanny pack. Check in asked him which race he wanted to sign up for (25 mi, 50 mi, 62 mi ) and his answer in broken English was “which one is harder?” That answer earned him the 100k (62 mile) race. You never know, he could crush it.

Summertime and the weather is fine

Summertime and the weather is fine

Sun shining and temps in the 70’s, Remy and I chatted, doing our best to ride as slowly as possible on the climbs. Soon enough we found ourselves right behind a woman in pink.  Not wanting to ruin her experience, our pace slowed but short of stopping for 10 minutes at a time, we just kept catching her. So it went. Finally I struck up a conversation and said, “I hope we are not too distracting back here.” Luckily, she found our conversation entertaining.

With 4400 feet of climbing ahead of us, I had to know why our newbie (Jeannie)  decided to race today, posing the question as multiple choice.

“You decided to race today because A. Your husband thought you would enjoy it, B. You wanted a new challenge or C. You thought it would be fun.”  Jeannie answered with , “Or D. I had too much wine 2 months ago when he brought it up and I said yes.”  Her husband was racing the long course so she made the best of her drunken decision, vowing to never again agree to do such things when imbibing.

Jeannie making it happen

Jeannie making it happen

Other than playing tag with Jeannie, our day on the trail was pretty quiet with only a few of the longer route riders coming by after a couple hours.  Trail conditions were the best I’ve seen them in a couple of years so we took advantage of the fun downhill single-track and waited a good long while before descending behind our riders. The leisurely pace allowed for MANY pit stops and time for photos (Bulldog TANK greeted us at Aid Station 1).

TANK keeping watch on the Aid Station

TANK keeping watch on the Aid Station

At 7 miles to go, Remy found Sho (pronounced SHEW) sitting on the side of the trail but he refused any water or food she offered.  She returned to where I was taking a ‘natural break’ around the corner to tell me that he didn’t look too good and he didn’t have a water bottle. When we returned he was gone. My thoughts were, ‘Ripley is going to have to carry this guy out of here at some pointAt 5 miles to go, part way through the beginning of Collar Bone Alley trail, Sho is back on the side of the trail, rear wheel off like he had a flat.

“No pedal. Broke”, he says to me. I asked if he had a flat but handing me his wheel, it is not flat. “Did you crash?” I ask.  “No crash. No pedal, broke.” Hmmm. Looking over the bike, I moved the deraillieur hanger and noticed the chain had fallen to the inside. Yeah, no pedal if you dropped your chain.  We put his wheel back on and handed the bike back. Sho still refused to take food/water from us, but was in good spirits and smiling, even if his shin was bleeding and he looked exhausted. Remounting, he dangled one foot off a pedal and COASTED slowly downhill, too tired to do any pedaling.  I looked at Remy and we both had the same look- ‘This last 5 miles is going to take all day’.

The 50 milers and the 63 milers are coming by us now and we are going as slow as Sho. “GOOD JOB!” they yell as they fly by, not knowing we are sweeping. Eventually, the trail spit us out to the last check point sign, manned by a local firefighter.  “The aid station closed down an hour ago”, she says, ‘but I kept a bottle of water aside for this guy.”  Another rider had come through saying they gave this Japanese guy their water earlier. Glancing at my Cateye computer, it is 4:00 pm. We have been riding since 11 am and still have a couple miles to go.  Our firefighter is gently scolding  Sho, explaining that he needs to research an event like this before signing up. Not sure how much of what she said sunk in, but smiling, he responded with, “Uh, This…not for me”. We all had a chuckle about that.  I asked again if he had eaten. Pointing to his black leather fanny pack, he said, “Yes, chocolate”.  Makes perfect sense now.

½ mile to go and Sho had dismounted, walking his rented bike.  Remy asked if he was tired and he said his legs hurt. Yeah buddy, I bet they do.  I tried to explain that we are helpers. His response was priceless. “ Oh, so I am….last?” Yes. Yes you are. “So sorry, so sorry” he exclaims. We reassured him that LAST was OK but he felt so bad about it that he remounted, laying his arms across the bars as he pedaled and groaned up the last incline to the finish (5 ½ hours to complete 25 miles).

Almost to the Finish

Almost to the Finish

We learned after the race that Sho had only been in the United States for 3 days and was looking for something fun to do on-line. He saw the post for Test of Endurance , rented a bike and found his way out to the race  from Corvallis. Local Team Dirt  racers made sure Sho got a ride home though. In an ironic turn, both Jeannie and Sho WON their Cat 3 races, their first race ever. Promoter Mike Ripley made a big deal about Sho’s podium, telling his story to the trail-worn racers. Standing on the top step, our champion was beaming, bowing to the cheering crowd.  If that isn’t what Test of Endurance is all about, I don’t know what is. 

"VERY TIRED" but very happy says SHO

“VERY TIRED” but very happy says SHO

5 Little Piggies- Racing and Eating For a Good Cause 2/9/13

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I got the invite. Would Les Femmes like to participate in a fund raiser race for Mat Barton? For those of you that don’t know, Mat is a fellow racer, paralyzed in an accident during a race last year (see Ride Big, Give Big post 7/5/2012) .

Welcome to the Cake Race!

Welcome to the Cake Race!

Of course we would like to participate in the 5 person team representing Team S&M, but the invite from the Grundel Bruisers team came with a catch: You must eat cake. And a lot of it. With a team of many gluten free ladies and a few also out of town, Mary and I stepped forward.

Patrick, Mielle, Mary, Dave and Lee

Patrick, Mielle, Mary, Dave and Lee

We were joined by  Team S&M guys Lee S. and Patrick Croasdaile. My friend Dave Condon from Trusty Switchblade volunteered to be our final guy. Les Femmes teammate Erin Playman ended up joining with Jens Voight Army at the last minute.

The rules of this race are simple. 5 stops, 5 cakes, 25 miles of racing. Puking will happen, it’s just a matter of when. $10 fee per person but all money would go to Mat’s recovery fund.

Bribes for a good cause

Bribes for a good cause

I had heard a rumor that “bribes” might be taken to get us out of eating cake so I went to work with my team to encourage fund raising efforts in the weeks leading up to the race.

Race day and we put our money together at our starting point, Crank bike shop (2725 Se Ash). Sellwood Cycle Repair donated $50 to cover our race fees(thanks Pace).  On top of that, Team S&M raised $350.00 for a grand total of $400. That is a lot of scratch to bribe with(all money used as bribes goes to Mat anyway). Our hosting team announces some other rules to the shop filled with racers. Your team has to consume 32 oz. of chocolate milk along with your cake and everyone has to consume a cake/milk before they leave for the next stop. You can also add a penalty to another team for $5.00 like adding another glass of chocolate milk. 12 teams selected their 1st decorated cake (I chose the boob cake because who doesn’t love boobs).

Everyone loves boobs

Everyone loves boobs

Judges were ready to make sure your cake/milk were finished and swallowed before being allowed to leave each stop.

GO! We ate the vanilla cake so fast we were the first ones out the door but had company from the two other teams.

1st cake was the sweetest

1st cake was the sweetest

2nd stop was, Western Bike Works (1015 NW 17th). We were riding the wrong way down Burnside doing some seriously sketchy riding to keep  to other teams from getting a gap on us. Weaving through downtown we arrive at the first stop. The guys grab a cake and other teams are hacking away at red and yellow cakes. I ran over to one of the judges and showed him $100. “Chip, would this buy us out of eating and drinking?”  “Yes, I think it would” he responded. And off we went. The pissed and confused looks on the other riders faces was priceless! They had no idea what just happened.

Trusty Switchblade on our tails

Trusty Switchblade on our tails

Mary led us out of downtown to the next stop which required a long steady climb up Terwilliger. Glad we only ate one cake so far. Weather goes from cold to cold and wet when the misty rain arrives as we ascend. We have to ride about 6 miles to stop #3, home to one of the Grundel Bruiser team members. Thank goodness we had a smart phone for directions because I wouldn’t have found this guys house. “How much to buy us out?” I ask. I shoot low with $40. Not enough. $60? We agree on $50 and we have to drink the chocolate milk. Done. We are in the lead. Heading back down the way we came we see two other teams on their way to the house so we know we have to push hard to the next stop. Once we descend Taylors Ferry to Macadam, the wet lets up.

Cake#1 DONE!

Cake#1 DONE!

Stop #4 is Sellwood Cycle Repair (7953 Se 13th). The shop guys came out to watch and take pictures. BUT, the other teams have caught wind of our little scheme and have called ahead. On top of our cake is a pile of stinky sauerkraut. YUCK!  The smell alone was enough to make anyone want to hurl.  We ate our second cake in a big hurry, kraut and all. But before we left, we asked how much to double penalize the two teams behind us. $20 bought double helpings of kraut to top the cakes. And they have chocolate milk to help wash it down. MMMMMMmmmm.  We know we have a gap.

Time Trialing to stop #5

Time Trialing to stop #5

Springwater trail will take us on a straight shot to north Portland, about a 7 mile trip from Sellwood to our final destination, PROST  pub (4237 N Missippi).  Dave commented that he had “snoshting” on his face. A combo of cold weather runny nose and sticky cake frosting mushed together. Patrick wanted to time trial this so he got in front and led us at 24 mph all the way on Springwater.

We arrived at Prost on the back patio with about a 40 min lead on the other teams. Yeay! But they were all so pissed that they ALL called ahead with donations to buy penalties for us.

Trying to finish the last cake

Trying to finish the last cake

Two cakes were waiting AND a boot of beer. That’s right, a giant boot of beer. And you can’t set it down or let it touch the table or you lose. I still had $180.00 to bargain with. So I bought us out of eating the 2nd cake and, paid for it to go to the team fighting for 2nd place. Money well spent. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.  We all hit cake number 3 for the day  but Patrick went off to puke in the garbage can in between the surrounding food carts. Mary and I kept at the cake and Lee and Dave worked on the beer. Dave disappeared a few times to purge ALL of his systems. I did my best to keep the cake down but the homemade vanilla cake was dry and frosting thick and so sweet. Rolling the cake around in my mouth making a slurry of red frosting and cake, it became very difficult to swallow.

Big Boot of Beer

Big Boot of Beer

A garbage can was placed next to us, just in case. Mary pitched in on the beer and slowly we churned away at the cake. Trusty Switchblade arrived to find 2 cakes waiting for them. They were not happy. “I already have puke on my shoes” remarks one of their teammates.  In the end, we were able to finish all of the beer, 32 oz. of chocolate milk, the last frosting hunks and crumbs in the box to win the day. Other teams were still arriving and fighting for the 2nd and 3rd place trophies.

Piggy trophy for the 5 little piggys

Piggy trophy for the 5 little piggies

A fitting award for the day is the golden piggy trophy, to be displayed at Sellwood Cycle Repair until 2014. Oh,  Lee and I did not puke, and Mary made it home but hurled once she got there. Three times.

There was another team, that shall remain nameless that opted to be a no show, rather than arrive at the race without the required two ladies. They had been warned in advance of penalties. The ‘no show’ penalties were delivered with a message.

Penalty for no show

Penalty for no show

Over $1400.00 was raised with money still coming in from teams that wanted to donate more.

As the winners, Team S&M will host the event next year and determine what the racers will eat and what the route is. The race in 2012 was pancakes and the 1st race was beer and pizza. Lee is known for providing the annual Sellwood Thanksgiving ride with amazing brisket. He would like to call it:

Team S&M-EAT OUR MEAT Race

Nothing decided yet. We have a whole year to dream up ways to make suffering look fun.

Special thanks to Grundel Bruisers for putting on a great race and to all of the stops on our route for supporting this great cause. Thank you to Dave’s wife Robin Straughan for some of the photos. 

You can help out Mat and his wife Jessica by donating at BartonPDX.com and follow his recovery journal at CaringBridge.org.

Feliz Navidad- Pay It Forward Ride for Doernbechers

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On a freezing cold night, we gathered in the dark.

The twinkling lights shown bright where we parked.

In the mall parking lot in SE  P-town, treasures were loaded

into packs on the ground.

We shouldered the bags, set Garmins on lock,

 mounted our steeds and rolled down the block.

12 stout riders with bikes all a glow,

decked in Christmas lights,

 and music to-go. 

This journey was much more than a bike trip with friends,

 for a family in need would be at the end. 

A month of planning and spreading the word,

Hammering the details, so their voices could be heard.
Sponsors, riders, coworkers too,
heeded the call,
and donations came through.
3rd year in a row for the Pay It Forward ride,
begun by Jeff Tedder
and his cycling tribe.
Through OHSU, a connection was made,
to help sick children and families
have a happy holiday.
Two children with illness, five siblings makes seven,
one parent working
and one at home caring.
Doernbechers host the two girls young in age,
one with an illness, that will never go away.
A list of requests;
a pantry of food,
warm coats and hats,
clothes would be good.
Puzzles and art supplies,
appear on the list,
and toys for the little ones
ages 5 and 6.
The air was crisp for our gift-bearing team,
speeding along Burnside, we did not go unseen.
Honks of approval for our festive bright sight,
“Merry Christmas!” they shouted
under MAX platform lights.
Finding our way to the small ranch style home,
we were greeted and welcomed
into the room full of love.
Packs were unloaded, introductions were made,
sugar cookies shared while shy eyes stood and gazed.
Coach Jeff, the leader of our merry band,
asked mom if the kids
could open just one.
Bilingual home and translations were made,
ages 5 to 23 chose a package
from the gifts where they lay.
The two little boys were speaking in Spanish,
one would not share his new Spiderman mask.
The girls opened gifts of warm winter coats,
and jeans that sparkle
were pulled from the tote.
Oldest three girls and their mom gave us hugs.
Merry Christmas” they said.
Our time here was done.
Bags now were empty, but hearts very full,
our wheels pointed home, for our seven mile pull.
Christmas music was blaring,
our lights twinkled bright,
Pay It Forward a success,
and to all a good night.

Special thanks to Jeff Tedder and the Hammer Velo Team, Cindy Barshay at OHSU, team sponsors, friends and family for making this event happen with your donations and support. Over $1000 was raised and items donated to make a happy holiday for this family.

Drew Coleman of the Hammer Velo team also did a write up for BikePortland.org

http://bikeportland.org/2012/12/19/reader-story-pay-it-forward-ride-brightens-holiday-for-a-family-in-need-81354

40 Volunteers and 2 Converts-Trail Building on Mount Hood

DSC_3568Written by Julie Kramer

You never know what kind of weather a Saturday in October in Northwest Oregon might bring. We got lucky on Saturday October 20th, heading out into a deluge of cold rain, and arriving on the East side of Mount Hood in sun, light snow and crisp mid-30’s temps. DSC_3596Longtime Sellwood customer and friend, Ranger Jim Thornton and his trusty Forest Service volunteer Paul Gundlach prepared the area ahead of time, painstakingly marking areas with specific instructions on brightly colored flags along the trail system known locally as “44 Trails.” These trails branch Eastward, off Highway 35, fanning in all directions from FR-44, and include some of our favorites, like Fifteenmile, High Prairie, and 450. A group of about 40 volunteers came from Hood River, Portland, Vancouver, Carson, and all points in between. Ranger Jim immediately got to work on some downed trees, and the rest of us spread out, moving dirt and wet gravel to control erosion.DSC_3587After a quick lunch break to inhale some sandwiches provided by NY Subs (a Hood River-based shop), we heard a strange noise. Soon enough, four motorbikes appeared, sputtering up the trail. Our man Paul approached them, standing firmly on the singletrack, to inform that they were in the midst of designated wilderness trail. The young men were extremely apologetic, unaware that the trails were off limits to them. They also expressed that they did not want to ruin the outcome of our obvious sweat equity. I exclaimed, “you guys look fit and strong–wanna help us?” The next thing you know, they parked their motos, and picked up shovels. They would have stuck around for the sweet bonfire and raffle prize giveaway, but they had to go get ready for their high school’s homecoming dance that night.DSC_3579A good four hours of solid trail work ended in a celebration for some, huddling around a fire, and receiving small tokens of appreciation from Sellwood Cycle, Dirty Fingers Bike Shop, Dakine, 10 Speed Coffee and waiting for others from NYC Sub Shop. My friend Sam and I chose to brave a brisk wind and descending sunlight for a few miles of singletrack to check our work. We totally got all A’s!DSC_3560Keep an eye on the Sellwood site for upcoming info about trail work in our area. 

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