Thursday, July 26, 2007

Portland Short track #4

July 16, 2007
Portland International Raceway
Portland, OR

I'm tardy in publishing this race report as I've had a ton going on with a really busy work schedule, our kitchen remodel and of course the recent trip we (the Porter clan) just took to Disneyland!!! (tons of fun, but word to the wise - Thunder mountain railroad is not the most appropriate ride for a 3 & 6 year old. I think both kids may have almost had heart attacks and Megan & I had to build up their trust again for the next 2 days!)

The race as usual was great. I completed 7 quick laps along with the rest of the race leaders and managed to hang on for a series best of 8th place. One thing really exciting, is the number of riders from "Team Cyclepath" in the top 10!

Order Plate Name Team
1 90 Andy McKerrow Bike Gallery
2 141 Ryan Weaver (prime) River City Bicycles
3 30 Patrick Wilder Cyclepath
4 114 Martin Baker
5 64 Jacob Furniss Eddy Merkin
6 11 Pete Zlatnik Bike Gallery
7 31 Nelson Snyder Cyclepath
8 13 Daniel Porter Cyclepath
9 353 Michael Gallagher River City Bicycles
10 240 Matt Hall Ira Ryan Cycles/Veloshop

34 single speeders started the race which was a decent sized group. The course was more like a cyclocross race than a mtn bike race, though it did not contain any dismounts.
I missed this past weeks race (July 23) as we were still traveling, but I am anxious for the series final on July 30th. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fear and panic on the way to work

The other day I had one of the worst possible situations happen to a parent and a cyclist. The morning started usually. I was in charge of getting Kendall to camp and Megan is in charge of Simon. I asked both the kids in the morning "How do you want to get to camp today?". Kendall was tired and wanted to drive (some days we take the trail-a-bike) so I loaded up my bike into the car (I leave the car at her camp and ride the remaining part into work. Simon wanted to ride so I set up his trail-a-bike to Megan's bike and after breakfast, making lunch, getting the kids dressed we were out in front of the house ready to go.

Kendall saw Mom & Simon jump on her bike and decided that she too wanted to ride in. I was already running late, so I quickly grabbed the bike and connected her trail a bike to it. I locked up the house, closed the garage, got the two of us situated and we were off.

We made it about 3 blocks from the house when the worst possible scenario happened. I felt my bike suddenly lighten, I heard a scraping sound and looked behind me to see my poor sweet daughter skidding along he pavement tangled in her bike. I pulled to the side of the road, ran back to get her and pull her to the safety of my arms. I checked her out for broken bones and calmed her down. I cleaned her up and bandaided her scrapes as much as I could. She was a trooper and let me load her back on the bike to get her home where I did some more extensive first aid.

I eventually got her to camp (we drove) and she was ultimately ok (and I think she likes the attention she has gotten from all of her various bandaids). However I shudder to think how bad this could have been.

BTW: the trail a bike detached due to my error. In my haste, I didn't push the connector in far enough to get the pin to engage... I just hope I can get her to get back on the bike again..

Tabor #6

Mt Tabor Park
Portland, OR
July 11, 2007

It's funny writing race reports about a race that has the same course each week. I could really shorten the report by saying, that we went around and around a bunch of times, my heart and lungs almost exploded and I ended up in XYZ place... Thankfully, I hopefully can add a bit more spice to the report than that.

This was the last race of the series so I had a bit to prove. My previous results weren't as spectacular as I would have like, plus this race brought out the largest field of the series (22 freaks on fixed gear bikes!). As mentioned in previous reports, this is was the fixed gear category - We go around the circuit 4 times and the majority of the strategy surrounds the following elements:
1) Gearing choice (over the years I've settled on 42x15)
2) Strategy.

Like a normal crit, unless you are super strong, you don't want to totally take off from the gun. Instead, you want to go as fast as you can to tire out your opponents without totally blowing yourself up. There are always a few guys that try the break off the first lap and it is almost never successful - especially with a big field. I try to hang with the guys that I know will be tough to beat. In this particular race, there at least 2 guys that I knew I wouldn't be able to beat on a normal race (ie I've never beaten them before). When they took off I would chase, when they slowed down I'd slow down... In the end this strategy worked as well as I could have hoped. I took 4th - my best result of the series.

Now it's time to do some necessary maintenance on the bike.

Until next year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Portland Short Track #3

Lucky # 13

I should have published this photo last week, as it was during last weeks race that I crashed, almost lost my front wheel (had to stop and tighten the skewer) and got off course requiring a reride of a section I already completed. I'm not a superstitious person, and this week the #13 worked just fine. I moved up 12 spots from last week to finish in the top 10 (10th place to be exact). The race was course was a little more technical and longer than the week before and although it was a hot night, we had a nice summer breeze that kept the temps in check.

Single speeders finished 6 laps in the 30 minute race. Each lap was about 1 mile long. I'll let you do the math on how fast that is. As mentioned earlier, the course was a bit more technical and quite a bit longer (though strangely we did the same number of laps). I managed to keep the rubber side down this week, however the same could not be said for everyone. Lots of guys were going down on the course. I removed the bar ends (that although I like) caused me problems in the last race. Also, I lowered my wheel pressure down a bit which gave me a tad more traction. Next week I might try making my gear ratio bigger (or is it smaller?) Anyway, easier.... Currently riding 36 x 18 which is a great forest park gear range. Not so great for slow flats where I need to have quick etup & go. I think.... If I have a 20 tooth rear cog I might try that instead.

Totally unrelated to bike racing, but just curious if you know what stress is. Here is a picture of stress:

My Kitchen
(actually, sheetrock was installed today, so it looks a bit better)

Actually, it does have something to do with bikes & bike racing. Kitchen remodels are stressful. They are expensive (this one is costing us 50% of what we paid for our first house!), you have to eat out a lot or devise creative ways to cook with a skillet and a microwave and if you have kids, you have to keep them from playing with/eating/etc. the insulation. The list goes on and on. Anyway, riding my bike and racing my bike seems to melt that stress away. Try it, I promise, you'll like it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ergon Grips Gear Review

A friend of mine recently loaned me some Ergon R2 Magnesium grips to try out. I put them on my 29er Single Speed (Soma Juice). The bike has a rigid fork, so I thought that the Ergonomic shape of the grips would provide a bit of padding on my hands. Also, although I don't like bar ends, there is something to be said about them for their hand positions - especially when you are climbing a fireroad on a single speed.

In the past month that I've had them installed, I've ridden them on quite a few rides - mostly in Forest Park and I really like them as they did help pad my hands - providing just enough to take the edge off as well as take away unnecessary pressure.

The exception to this, is I had them on my bike for the first Short Track Race. If you read that report, you'll notice that it really wasn't my best showing. I kind of blame the crash on the grips. At the start I was neck and neck with the front of the pack. The bar ends seemed to have gotten caught a couple of times on other riders and I think ultimately resulted in me losing control.

So, in summary, these are great grips, just don't to a tight fast race with them.

Portland Short Track #2

Portland Short Track Series
Race #2
July 2nd, 2007
Portland International Raceway (PIR)

Picture courtesy of

Like the Mount Tabor Series, Portland Short Track is another week day (after work) racing series that happens every year here in Portland.

I missed the first one as it happened to land on my wife's birthday, so I was quite anxious at the start of this weeks race.

I rode out to Portland International Raceway (about a 6-7 mile ride from downtown) to revel in the whoops, turns and twists of the popular MTB Short Track course. (200+ racers showed up this week (for all categories).

The gun went off, I tore into the first turn hot, and bam next thing I knew, I was on the ground along with a couple of other guys. I picked myself and my bike out of the dirt and jump back on the saddle. Unfortunately, the damage was done and I lost my chance at a good placing. I played the rest of the race trying to catch up. I had a few more problems over the next 6 laps - my front skewer was loose (due to the crash) and I opted to stop and fix it over the chance of losing teeth in the event of my front wheel coming off. Then, I got lost on the course (how does one get lost on a STX course?).

Not to complain. The race was great fun and well run as always. Plus, you need to have bad races to appreciate the good ones. I ended up in 22nd place out of about 40 single speeders. We all did 6 laps on a beautiful summer evening. How bad can it be?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mount Tabor #5

Mount Tabor Park
Portland Oregon
June 27, 2007

By Daniel Porter

I missed Tabor 2,3 & 4 for a variety of reasons (injury, work, etc.), but was back in the saddle on June 27th for the 5th and second to last race in the 2007 'Velo on the Volcano' series.

Started out a bit nervous as I had basically been off the bike for 3-4 weeks. I rode hard on Monday and Tuesday (the 25th & 26th) to try to get back into shape.
The racers were basically the same cast of characters as previous weeks with only a couple notable exceptions (JV?, Jackson?). Still a good turn out of 15 riders (which is pretty high for a fixed gear ride.

The first lap was pretty mellow with no one wanting to attack to soon. The group stayed pretty much bunched up making it feel like a real race. SUbsequent laps got progressively faster and faster with different guys trading off at the front (me included) until the final lap where a few guys attacked and took off from the front. I tried to get on the wheel of the top guys and only remotely did so coming out of the flat (prior to the climbing finish) in 6th place. On the climb, I dug a little deeper and passed a guy resulting in a 5th place finish. Yippee, I'm number 5, I'm number 5...

Actually, it was a good race and it proved that I didn't 'fall out of shape' as fast or as hard as I had thought.

Next & final Tabor is on July 11th.

BTW: I absolutely love the Rush. It is a truly great bike with a really nice feel. Funny thing - there was another guy with an identical red frame as I in the race. (I beat him)