Monday, August 20, 2012

Tour des Trees Generates Record Fundraising

The ride is behind us and we may actually exceed $600,000 in research funds when all is said and done. We have already hit a record amount. Everyone is out of the hospital from the various crashes and our worse injured rider had to take the scenic train back to Wisconsin since his punctured lung would not allow him to fly for weeks. I wish all the wounded riders speedy recoveries.
Here is just some of the publicity the ride generated:
  • American Way (the magazine of American Airlines)
  • Women’s Health Magazine
  • LadyLux Blog
Bicycle Paper
  • Green Industry Pros
  • GreenXC
  • Lawn & Landscape:
  • Mother Earth News:
  • Filanthropik:
  • Prairie EcoThrifter:
  • Green Living Arizona
Press Highlights from Previous Tours:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stage 7 "Fun Ride" Final Day on the Bike

Saturday was our final day of riding, a 30 mile "fun ride" around Portland culminating with our celebratory ride into a park where the world champion tree climbing competition was taking place. We could not, however, escape the day without an accident. A local rider in a hurry tried to pass our group, bumped tires sending one of our riders to the asphalt. The local rider just kept going. Our rider was checked out by the paramedics and is OK.
Besides that excitement Saturday's ride was very urban as we had to watch out for light rail tracks throughout Portland, cars, pedestrians and the usual city hazards I am somewhat used to. What makes things harder is when you are in a group of 100 riders. Even the "cyclist friendly" people of Portland yelled at us a few times as we blocked streets and make it difficult for cars to get around us. The weather was perfect, the route was flat and we all enjoyed coming into the park with some fanfare. I personally enjoyed seeing my family there welcoming me in after a long week of riding. They have had to endure my training time away as well as my entire week away as I completed the Tour.
I made some new friends on this Tour and spent some quality time with old friends. I learned somethings about myself as a cyclist: my training was essential; I could not have completed this Tour if I had not trained as I did; I am an average cyclist and that is OK; I got stronger as the week went along; Massages really help you recover after a ride and are essential for multi-day rides; I have plenty of room to grow as a rider and can get much stronger/faster; I like the cycling "community," they are good people...most of them; cycling and trees are a good combination.
People asked me if I would do this tour again. Not sure but I do want to keep cycling and get better. Over the last 7 days we rode 580 miles and had elevation gains of about 30,000 over the course of those miles. I spent 41 hours on the saddle, pedaling my bike. My butt and legs feel remarkably well...I can actually feel them.

Thank you again to all who supported me and the Tree Fund with my ride. You notes, emails, and words of encouragement meant a lot and really did motivate me along the ride. Riding is like a lot of things in life, when it gets hard or things don't go your way, you just put your head down and pedal, you keep going. You have to.

The celebratory ride in capping our 580 mile, 30,000' odyssey.

Our final "fun ride" along the Willamette River that bisects Portland. It was a busy, beautiful Saturday ride.

Sunday was the first day in 7 days I was not on a bike. My family and I went to see Mount St. Helens. All I could think about was what a blast I had on the Tour des Trees.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Stage 6 Videos--- Including Dangerous HWY 84

After a big climb comes the fast downhill. Hit new personal best of 43.6mph on this run.

Beautiful forested trail along the Columbia River.

Dangerous Hwy 84. 11 miles with interstate traffic flying by and into 35mph headwinds. This is where one of our riders was thrown by the wind over the guard rail and into the hospital. Watch the trucks coming by towards the end of this clip.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Final Stage, 6 Tour des Trees

Today was the final stage of the Tour before we do our "fun" ride on Saturday. We left Hood River for Portland into a headwind of 25-30 mph whipping through the Columbia River Gorge. Many of us had not launched when we already hear a biker was down. He was thrown by the wind over the guard rail along Rt 84 that we all had to ride on. This is highway, a full out highway but a designated bike route. He ended up with a compound fracture of the collarbone, broken ribs and a punctured lung. He can't fly for several weeks and will have to take a car if he wants to get back to his home in Wisconsin. This was the 3rd major accident on this tour.
That said, the ride was another epic journey today. We climbed up off the Columbia River gorge to some amazing vista points. We saw many waterfalls including the second highest in the US--Multamonah Falls. This is the #1 tourist attraction in Oregon. We climbed a lot today with one climb being 3 miles, 1000 feet. No big deal, been doing that all week. Once we completed our last climb we shot downhill and I hit my new personal best of 43.4mph. We were flying.
It was our last day and one of the toughest once again. Lots of climbing but always rewarded with amazing views.
The tour is now officially complete. I achieved my goal. A simple goal of finishing each day with enough in the tank for the next---to not have to ride in the "SAG" wagon. I wasn't the fastest, it wasn't a race. I wasn't the strongest, it wasn't a competition. I learned that all my training served me well. I would not have been able to do the whole ride without all the training I did. This was too long and to hard of climbs to just come out and ride. There were many good riders and several great. Two ride for the Stanford cycling team and another just got a cycling scholarship. Didn't know such existed. There was much inner talking between my ears as I pedaled away. Sometimes I was alone on the road and missed my family. Most of the time I was in some sort of peleton, hanging with a group. As much as I like to ride alone, it was much faster and efficient to be pulled along in the peleton. Teamwork is a big part of cycling.
People asked me if I will do it again. As of now, I don't know. I will need some time to rest. It was the toughest thing I have done in my life, nothing has come close. It has also been the most rewarding thing in my life. The toughest things give you the greatest rewards.

Columbia River

Me with buddy Terrill Collier at Multamonah falls.

Multamonah Falls. Second highest falls in US.


I finished!

Videos from Stage 5


Construction on the highway. No where to ride. A bit scary.

Through Oregon's arid region.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tour des Trees Stage 5--Another Epic Day!

This wasn't supposed to be as intense as Stage 4, but it was a very difficult 100 mile ride. We started out with some nice descents from the Mt. Hood area and I hit 42.6mph, a PB. We had some intense climbs today, gaining 8300' in elevation. We also descended nearly 12,000' today. One of our climbs was nearly 2000' up a long winding highway. This climb lasted about 10 miles. You have probably driven on such climbs, up and up to the pass then down the other side. You tend to do a lot of soul searching when you are grinding out those kind of uphill miles. Lot's to think about and not any breath with which to talk. I kept my heart rate below 150, legs felt the best they have all week, but I just could not get much speed. I did not want to risk cramping again because it was hot so I did not push it. What's the point to pushing it when you are going 100 miles uphill?? Had my first flat today. Luckily the tire went flat as I came into our first rest stop. I didn't even notice it at first. We had come across a series of bumps and gaps in the road that pounded my tires and rims. I think the flat was caused by that pounding.
We had a huge climb again after lunch and we were all shook by a terrible fatal crash that had occurred on our road near The Dalles. A log truck (many which pass us regularly) had dumped its load on a car, killing all occupants in the car. We all rode slowly past the scene of the accident and none of talked about it. There was nothing to say.
Our climb finally dumped us into the Columbia River gorge. We had been warned about the potential of 45mph winds that could create some issues. Fortunately the winds were relatively light. We traveled along the river and then climbed out of the gorge to an unbelievable viewpoint that simply killed our legs getting up the 1000 feet we needed to climb to the point. The view was worth the pain. This was perhaps our toughest day, but a day where we had the most spectacular views. It was also the second day I was able to get a massage as soon as I arrived at the hotel. I quickly put my bike in my room and headed to the masseuse who has been on staff helping our riders all week (compliments of the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.) I had some tight muscles in my legs worked on and the results were amazing.
Tomorrow is Friday our last major stage. We have a mere 74 miles to finish out the week but we still need to climb 4700'. I am kind of tired of climbing, seriously....but is what we do out here.

Goodbye Mt Hood. Very narrow lanes on this highway. Yes, scary.

Just a long road, really long road with Mt. Adams in distance.

A baby cow out of the fenced areas. Think his name is UB8.

OK, this is ugly but reality. One day you are driving down the road and in a blink a load of logs is raining down on you.

The load of logs that did the damage.

Top of our climb, view of Columbia River.

Mt. Adams.

90 miles later, after a 1000' final climb up, this was our view of the Columbia River gorge.

Rowena Crest, the view of the Columbia River gorge and my Cervelo, which got me there.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tour des Trees Stage 4--EPIC day

This was dubbed as our toughest climbing day. Nearly 8000' over 85 miles. We climbed pretty much the entire day. Every time you looked up the road was rising in front of you. So I just kept looking down and pedaled. This day it was hard to keep going because the scenery was so stunning. Up we went along the Clackamas river to where it is dammed forming a beautiful lake. Along the river runs the world's longest fish ladder, helping salmon reproduce. We had to walk our bikes across a break in the Forest Service logging road, through a field and across a stream. We traveled through some of the most diverse coniferous forests in the US--Douglas fir, larch, noble fir, Western red cedar, limber pine and lodgepole pine. The smell of "evergreen" was fantastic. No crashes today, thankfully. Traffic was fast but the roads big as we rode down the last descent into our overnight in Government Camp. The cars and trucks go 70-75, I was only able to hit 35 down the hill today with a strong headwind.
Riding up the Clackamas river. Hydro dam. World's longest fish ladder as well.

Just a view along the ride.

Mount Hood looms. Home of US Ski Team training center. Always has snow on it.

Mt Jefferson.
This was one of our huge climbs today.

Crossing a stream with our bikes. 1/4 mile cross country route.

Heading towards Mt. Hood