Wine Country Run

This spring one of our local wineries (King Estates) hosted a Wine Country Run (5K). This was the inaugural event and a friend of ours ran it. So we tagged along, brought the kids, and I brought my little Canon G11 camera and shot some video. I hope this video expresses the great, laid back atmosphere and beautiful country. We had a great time. Maybe we’ll run it ourselves next year.

>"We’re cavemen"

>I found this ancient piece of history the other day.

In 1986 the 7-Eleven sponsored cycling team rode in the Tour de France. They suffered a lot. The 7-Eleven team was the first ever U.S. team to race in the tour. (Riding for a French team, American Greg LeMond became the first American to win the tour that year.) I had begun my tour fanship the previous year, but 1986 was the big year. Every weekend John Tesh and his team (and Tesh’s new-age style music) would bring us coverage of this great race. It was the first time that most Americans had a chance to be introduced to the sport of bicycle racing, let alone the Tour de France. In my life it was somewhat monumental, but most Americans couldn’t care less, until the Lance Armstrong phenom.

Here is a “get-to-know-them” video of the 7-Eleven team back in 1986. You will see some of the greats of American cycling from that era, including Bob Roll, Chris Carmichael (trainer of Lance Armstrong), Davis Phinney, Alexi Grewal, and Eric Heiden.

>Vive le tour (1962)


Following today’s top bicycle racers leaves one with the impression that it is a sport of the superhuman. This is true of following them in the press, but I assume also on your bike, though I have never tried. The best cyclists seem almost machine-like. But underneath it all is the very human struggle of athletic competition. Strip away all the hype and gloss and one might find something like this wonderful 1962 documentary directed by Louis Malle, Vive le tour.
Notice at 8:31 in Part 1 you hear in English one of the reporters saying, “Doping or not doping, that is the question.”
At 1:43 in Part 2 the film addresses doping. The excuse the riders gave? They had eaten some “bad fish.” Sound familiar?

Descending in the fog looked dreadful. 

It is interesting that the take on doping is about riders wanting to block the pain so they don’t stop rather than about riding faster. The film almost takes a sympathetic stance, as though doping only lets us know just how tough this race truly is.

>Bill Dellinger Invitational 2010

>On Saturday our little family jumped on our bikes and rode over to the Bill Dellinger Invitational cross country meet at Alton Baker park. The day was bright and sunny, but chilly. We had a great time, a good ride, and just plain fun. Lily has been doing some cross country running through Track City. Today she was able to get up close to some top athletes.

The ride to the meet. I am towing 
the trailer with the two little ones.
The men on the course.
Men first and second place finishers.
Univ or Oregon of course.

Men third place.
Again, UofO.

The little man Atticus Roux.
The women seconds before the starting gun.

The women take off.

The women on the course.
Women first and second place finishers.
Univ of Oregon or course.
The ride home.

>one more family activity…cross country!


Our eldest started doing cross country. Until recently she has unequivocally stated her interest in running is nil. She loves to bike instead. Not long ago, however, we heard about cross country running for kids coached through Track City. Surprisingly she said she wanted to do it, so we checked it out yesterday. Lo and behold she loved it.
Good job Lily!
I have to say I think this will be a good thing. Running is great for kids if they don’t overdo it. Of course, when any of our kids do anything like this it ends up involving the whole family. We may not all be running, but we are all part of it in one way or another.

Climbing Mount Thielsen

The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too.
~ Hervey Voge
The three rules of mountaineering:
  1. It’s always further than it looks.
  2. It’s always taller than it looks.
  3. And it’s always harder than it looks.
This past weekend I summited Mount Thielsen. This was the first real summit for me in many years and it became a test of my endurance and will. Climbing mountains is something I love, but in recent years my climbing trailed off and shifted to reading climbing stories and getting out of shape – the summits beckoned from the couch but the couch won out. Finally I got off the couch.
This climb was both a test of my current capabilities and, I hope, a jump start to more of the same. In short, I want to get back into climbing and climbing shape and, I have the say, I’ve got a long ways to go.

We arrived at the trailhead on Friday around 10PM and set up our tents in the dark. The sunset on Mount Bailey was beautiful. I crawled into the tent and began getting my gear sorted for the next day. I was not sure what I was going to need so I stared at my choices for a while and then decided I would make the final choice in the morning. The night was cool but not terribly cold, probably got down to about 30 degrees. I read some of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (not trying to be ironic) and then listened to my iPod – Arvo Pärt for a while and then John Zorn, and then I fell into an uneasy sleep. I don’t usually sleep on the ground and I was anxious about the climb.

In the morning I opted for a cold breakfast of a Cliff bar and water. I decided not the bring my crampons since no one else was. Our climb coordinator/leader was Wayne from The Obsidians – a Eugene-based outdoor group that organizes hikes and climbs and other trips. The others were Bob, Wendy, and Chrissy.

We started hiking around 5:40AM and in a short while I could feel the altitude. A mile in we began to encounter snow patches and eventually we put on our snow shoes. At times we could see the imposing summit peak through the trees. The trail steepened and we powered on. Because of the snow we took a shortcut through a “blow down” area where many large trees were scattered on their sides. It was eerily impressive. I began to tire severely and wondered several times if I would make it. My heart rate maxed out and my breathing was heavy and labored. I felt like I had bit off more than I could chew. I could tell I was getting clumsy. Finally we stopped for about 15 minutes. This allowed me to down some trail mix and electrolyte bites, lots of water, and catch my breath. After that I felt much better, though I was still only hanging on the the back of the group as we continued up the mountain.

The snow got too steep for snow shoes so we abandoned them by a tree. Wayne marked the way point on his GPS unit so we could find them on the way down. We climbed into a bright sun which rose behind the mountain. The trees on the ridge now thinned out to twisted scrub and the wind picked up for a while. As the ridge steepened we left the snow and climbed scree and then loose rock we called the dinner plates. At this point the route began to get quite steep and our group slowed down. Some in the group said they did not want to “look down” at that point. I appreciated the slowing. It allowed me to catch my breath, but I also began to feel more in my element. Though I am not in mountaineering shape like I should be, I enjoy when the terrain becomes more challenging and alpine. For the first time I felt that I would make it to the summit. We ran into a couple coming down the mountain. They had passed us going in but they had not brought proper gear and were unable to go any further up the mountain. They were moving slowly because one of them was clearly scared of the steep angle of the slope and was going slowly down the mountain scooting on her bottom.
After the dinner plates we hit steep snow and out came the ice axes. The snow was firm but not too hard. We kicked steps at we moved carefully higher across the snow field. The exposure steepened dramatically. We opted not to set up a fixed line though a fall could have sent one of us quite a ways down. But our feet felt solid under us and we felt confident. Finally the slope curved from east to north under the summit block and got very steep and the snow got quite hard. We carefully kicked steps up to a small ledge where the six of us were just able to stand and trade spots as we took off our packs and put on our climbing harnesses.
Wayne then led the summit block – 80 feet of near vertical scramble – with Bob belaying him. Once the rope was secured at the top each of us took our turn climbing, using prusiks for self belay. The summit block is a jumble of solid rock with many good foot and hand holds. The exposure, though, is extreme and the running belay was welcome. Finally I stood on the small summit of Mt. Thielsen at 9,184 ft (2,799.3 m).
The pinnacle of Mt. Thielsen can only hold about six to eight people. It is known as the lighting rod of the Cascades. On the east side one can look down a couple thousand vertical feet to the glacier. After taking a few photos we each had to down climb to our packs. Going down is usually where climbers get into trouble, so we were very careful. Once we got to our packs as the base of the summit block, we decided to set up anchors and drop the rope down the steep snow slope. It was still icy where we were and some in the group didn’t like down climbing on the ice. I offered to go first to test the slope. The first 20 or so feet was still icy and I gingerly kicked steps backwards. Then the snow became very soft and I turned around and plunge stepped down to the end of the rope and slid my prusik off the end and continued down to a patch of loose rock where the others eventually joined me and we rested, ate, distribute the group gear, and then continued on down the mountain.
Like most hikes out it is easier going down than up, but one’s feet begin to ache and mine did considerably. We got back to the trailhead by 7:30 PM, hiking the last couple miles through mosquitoes. The drive home was long but good. I got a ride from Bob and he and I talked about search and rescue – for which he does a lot of volunteer work.

As I write this my legs are very sore and my sunburn hurts, but I feel very good. I carried sunscreen to the summit and back but forgot to put any on, so my face is as red as a ripe tomato and beginning to peel. I’ll take my sunburn as a temporary badge of honor though. I have been living as an armchair mountaineer for too long. My heart longs to be off the couch and hiking through alpine regions. This climb means a lot to me in that respect. One thing for sure, I need to get into better shape if I am to climb again. Another thing for sure, I loved this experience and can hardly wait for the next.

>2009 NCAA Cross Country Western Regionals

>Back in November we decided to watch the NCAA Cross Country Western Regionals which took place at the Springfield Country Club just outside of Springfield, Oregon. I look for opportunities to get my kids face-to-face with these kinds of events – plus I love them myself. I brought along my wife’s Flip camera to try it out.

You will see Oregon’s newcomer, Jordan Hasay, getting second place in the women’s race. I predict big things for her at Oregon – of course, so do a lot of other people.

You can see it in HD. Once it starts playing find the “360p” at the bottom of the video and chose “720p” instead.

I would have posted this video months ago but Windows Movie Maker, which allowed me to edit the thing just fine, did not allow me to publish it because of a file type (.AVI) conflict. Finally I found Windows Live Movie Maker which can handle the file type. However, my titles and edits did not import exactly perfect and I don’t want to take the time to fix them. So it’s not perfect, but it never was anyway.

>Steve Prefontaine, 1973 indoor mile


Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, “I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.” It’s more then just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better then anyone else. It’s being creative.

~ Steve Prefontaine

Outdoor track season is upon us. The University of Oregon women and men just wrapped up the NCAA Indoor Championship with 1st and 2nd places respectively. Here is Steve Prefontaine (former UofO track team member) in top form against a great group of runners, including Marty Liquori, in an indoor mile. I love the British announcers commentary, and the interview at the end is great too.

I remember seeing Prefontaine run when I was a kid. A gutsy runner if there ever was one.

Here’s Liquori beating Jim Ryun in 1971 in the “Dream Mile”:

>Alberto Salazar, 1981 NYC Marathon

>Once, in the early ’80s (probably around the time of the ’81 NYC marathon) when working out at my highschool track after school (I competed in shotput/hammer/javelin/discus for the team) Salazar came by to do some laps. We watched him run faster than anyone on our team could possible run lap after lap. After about 25 laps he left. We thought it was cool. Needless to say he was one of the greats.