Monday, October 27, 2014

Wind, rain, and pacelines.

Joshua is a blueberry dynamo in his full rain suit.

Dark skies, and an early morning rain storm inspired many not to show up, but those who did, had a grand time!

Jaden and Bergmann are on radios and keeping all well.
Balmy air on an inner city route made for perfect  conditions.

Beginners and State Champions alike enjoyed a brisk crossing of town. From River City to the Eastmorland Park sign, Portland's inner-SE side was traversed.

Lara Gifford pulls through to the front.
Riding close together, and pulling through on the lee-ward side, then falling back on the windward side were the orders of the day.

Little Joshua and new commuter Lara, had been practicing in the wind just the day before.

They did a great job of demonstrating their power and prowess in the more advanced ride the next day.
Lara and Joshua on Piedmont Bluff the day before.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Speed, unbridled!

Jason Skelton puts the death blow to the race.
Practice is usually a place to implement some of your skill, then return home before you are so tired you get sick. I often ask:
"What do you want to win? Practices or races?"
They usually answer "races!"

Thinking behind all this, is development comes safely when you practice within your abilities. Inevitably, even the conservative trainer finds themselves out on the edges of pain, and traction speed. As strength improves, skill follows suit.

Reasonably it works within the context of commuters who make race goals and rehearse them on the weekends.

Three off the front, shatter the field.
Recently however, the stakes have risen. Real racing has become one of the practice activities, and a go for broke, devil may care ambeance has permeated the scene. A real race peels your skin back and leaves dust where your heart once was.
Recovery takes days.

Out in northern most Portland's Hayden Meadow, Bob Mionskie showed us a two mile loop. Just two miles is palatteable to anyone. But three times in a row, climbing two hundred foot climbs each time, it bites you like a shark.

"On your mark, get set, GO!" are the mystical words that change everything. Now when you a wheel, the party is over. You are toast.

Everything seems to happen quicker when the racing is real.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Educating Joshua

Joshua Morris in the pack.
Development of bicycle racers at Cyclisme has always included a wholistic list of details. Mind body, and spirit all must be given ample attention in the activities Cyclisme cycling programs offer.

Coach Morris has a willing student.
Cindy and Dell debuted on the tandem.
Children are taught to read and write. Youth are expected to coach and mentor, and adults are led to serve the community in the fullness of their skill set. These supra-cycling elements build the team up in a way that is often vexing to an opposing peloton wondering how to come around our lead out.

The Gerwings watch as Elena pursues cycling.
Early this Sunday, our team event was improved by the attendance of our youngest, and most motivated team member, Joshua Morris. We were having something of a homecoming event featuring the visitation of famous members of yesteryear, The Gerwing Family.

Starting with breakfast at GRAVY, the group enjoyed a mega portion breakfast and laughter. Afterward, the group sauntered down to THE FRESH POT. Joshua got his carbon fibre bike out and rode it up and down the sidewalk. Little Elena Gerwing tried to keep up with Joshua on her tiny wooden stride-a-bike.

Preparing to sprin
She was thrilled to be playing on her bike under the adoring gaze of so many cycling fans. Joshua lent his cycling expertise graciously. Elena was all smiles.
Nurturing plants.
After lattes, it was down to Swan Island for speed work. Joining up with Robin Jacobson and Texas Lawton, the group gained enough strength to take on double digit mileage.
One would think when the paceline began to roll in earnest, little Joshua would drop away, but Joshua is not built that way. He is determined to perform well amongst his teammates everytime. Time and time again he came to the back of the pack and renewed his resolve to pull through to the front.

Finding strength and shaping character, Joshua empowers his teachers when they nurture him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fifty Miles and a Sprint!

Climbing out of the Rock Creek Valley.
Rock Creek Valley arrives after treacherous pot holes, and energy sapping hills like only The West Hills can provide. When 9 people set out to work together to get there, the adventure is intoxicatiing.

Skyline Blvd. traverses the crests of the NW Tuality mountains. Over the years, sub-urban development has turned rural nature into public
Griffin and his Dad.

Loreful, though this old training road is, it is also now infested with cars. This neighborhood is known for its many cycling casualties. Statistically it is the lone rider dutifully tucked over in the gutter at on the edge of the road who gets knocked out by a passing truck mirror like the slowest gazelle get snatched up by the hungry lion.
John Hilde lives for Skyline.
Cyclisme tradition and self preservation lead the team to form up our paceline to protect us from automotive predators like circling fish defend against sharks. Arguably the defense works not too effectively, but the team van adds another layer of deterence.
If racers saw what we see in the rear-view mirror, they might be shocked  by how fast drivers fly up behind.
Between vehicles of different size, shape, and speed, the tension on those roads is palpable.

So the question begs to be asked, "where does an inner city cycling  team go to get 50 miles and a sprint?"

Brendan and Ryan separate themselves when the road ascends.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Indian Summer Speed

Kinnell is okay.
Bicycle racing
in Portland, Oregon
is easily all consuming.
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association's schedule runs nearly year round. Choosing one's battles helps set a racer up to maybe win a few.

Following Word-RCB's State Championship victories at the end of the road and track season, The Team had a decision to make. Do we race cyclocross, or do we go back into the wood shed and practice what we do?

Fergus looks back.
Given the Cyclisme tradition of pacelines and road work. The decision was not difficult. Riding together on the roads around Stumptown feel like a vacation.

"Miles my with my friends feels good" says the old man of the road Tim Bergmann.
"Yeah." say's newly arrived Team Captain Fergus Kinnell. "I like it.

Jaden and the young guys.
Captaincy has both daunting responsibility and satisfying privilege, but on a team it needs to be cultivated just like athleticism.
Practice events give the team the chance to cultivate their synergy and team dynamics.

In practices new racers get a chance to watch Captains and learn without the distraction of race day survival.

Brendan likes it fast &  uphill.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New Blood!

Sprint finish in Hayden Meadow.
Robin, Tony, and Fergus fraternize.

Norberto is a powerful addition.

End of Summer is typically a time when cyclists of all styles reach good form.
Some who are coming up, but have not been racing need only a nudge to embark on making top flight goals.

Such was the case with our three latest recruits. Tony, Norberto and Griffin. Each of them awesome, they are thrilled to find the benevolence and skill represented by The Word.

Paceline home.
Norberto, and Griffin are High School students, and Tony is married and a father of two small children, but one thing they all share is riding in a paceline thrills them.

While our Captains are fired up for a great season in 2015, they have yet to shake the fatigue from 2014's big Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial success.

New riders with such fresh motivation inspire the veterans.

Sunday at 10am is a big hit!
No matter how hard trainers train, a train can still derail their training.

Monday, September 08, 2014

OBRA Championship Jerseys

The Holy Grail
Every year Oregon Bicycle Racing Association features key racing events where the winner gets double points in the BAR, and also the right to don a special "OBRA Champion" jersey.
A racer can win a jersey in the discipline of their choice and in the division they qualify for.

This year, three Word-RCB racers won a total of six OBRA Jerseys.

Gillian Bergmann

Seventeen year old Gillian Bergmann set out to win the Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Seriess in her Junior Womens' age division, and did.
Months before, she stepped up her riding miles, and worked hard in the weight room to prepare.

A bi-product of her diligence and hard work is she also attended and won the OBRA Junior Track Champs at Alpenrose, the TT Champs in Peoria, and the classic OBRA Hillclimb Championship held at Government Camp.

More than just championship on the bike, Gillian brought great honor to our organization by becoming an iconic mentor in the elementary school cycling culture at Blazer Boys and Girls Club.

Jaden demonstrating cleen and jerk.
One of her more casual yet major accomplishments for Cyclisme Racing Programs happened when she introduced a younger Wilson HS classmate to the team. His name is Jaden Salama, and in the space of a year, his athleticisim transformed.

Working in very much the same weight room, plyometrics and road miles regime as Gillian, Jaden got faster.
Pursuing the Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Series in the same division as Alex White, Jaden found a friend and a fast champion to pursue. Finishing in second place behind Alex most of the series, and in in the Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Final GC, Jaden was always gracious and supportive of Alex and The Team.

Joshua is a good student.
Jaden was also a key mentor supporting the kids at Blazer Boys and Girls Club, especially in the weight lifting instruction of young Joshua Morris. Practicing a variety of lifts centered around the cleen and jerk, Jaden bacame stronger.
It paid off too. His improvement was especially evident when Jaden made a huge crowd pleasing attack at the Oregon Junior Track Champs. Taking only one of the older 17 year olds with him, he was just nipped at the line, still winning the 15yr old championship.
Developed as a well rounded cyclist, Jaden also climbed from Government Camp to Timberline in 40.37 to win the 15 year old division OBRA Hillclimb Championship.

Dan "Double D" Dhounau is a 50 year old Harley Davidson motorcycle mechanic who came to the team when we discovered him doing laps at Alpenrose in 2010. Double D is a quiet mild mannered individual who has a great sense of humor, and always stands ready to be of service to the team.
It was his discovery and repair of an overly tight hub cone that allowed Jake Hansen to explode into the 2011 Nationals Points Race (lapping the field)  after a confusing lack luster performance in the Omnium. Jake had been racing with brakes on until "Double D" rescued him..
Double D and Hilde on rollers.
This kind of integrity and discipline have made Double D a beloved team leader.

Dan has worked on something new every year and his prowess has progressed. He won his first OBRA Bronze Medal on the Track in the Master's 500 last year.
This year, in the early season, he lifted weights to build strength, and rode rollers to improve legspeed. With improved legspeed and power, as well as an improved aero position, Dan won OBRA Track Gold in the Cat 4, 4k Pursuit.