It has been a wet spring but full of shop time for Ira Ryan Cycles and also the new Breadwinner Cycles company that Tony Pereira and I launched in March. 2013 has been full of opportunities and new goals. The reality of being in the bike business is it gets harder to ride bikes as much and it is also tough to want to spend a few hours in the saddle after you woke up, worked all day and had dinner thinking about how to make bicycles better. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding and feel recharged after even a short ride in the rain or sunshine. It fuels me to push what I do better and keeps me in touch with the real reason I love the bicycle as a machine, as a sport, as a culture.
After riding and calling myself a racer for over twenty years, my approach is to just toss myself into the deep end every spring. Racing is never easy and there were a few years “back in the day” when I felt fast and fit. I can’t wait to race cross in the fall and I love riding in a climate that has “emphasis”, as my friend Joe Staples said once. Something about riding on those days when most the other riders are home, makes me feel more connected to the sport. I do like training and being able to ride 10 hours a week is a luxury I long for but racing with 3-4 hours a week has it’s own set of challenges.
Portland is lucky in that it has a great racing and riding culture and there is a full schedule of races from March to November. There are 2-4 training races held during the week that are in town. Being able to ride to a race, toss your backpack on the side of the road, race your bike with 25-40 people and then roll home is a great thing. I have races a bunch of races already this year and I have ridden to every one. I love it even if I get crushed.
Last night I raced the first Mt. Tabor race. It is one of my favorite local race series and always draws a good crowd who sit in the park to watch some bike racing after work. It was a little rainy but still fast. Just like throwing yourself off the high diving board, there were a couple moments of panic as I struggled to breathe but overall, it’s not the world championships and we are racing for a few dollars worth of primes. It’s hard to take yourself too serious. Making my way up towards the front on the last couple corners, someone in front of me slipped and I pulled off a sweet fishtail skid to avoid him and just tapped his back with my rear wheel. It was my friend Richard and I stopped to make sure he was ok and not too hurt. As I rolled to the finish, there were two more crashes caused by slick roads and mossy corners. I am glad it all worked out and I was happy to spin home with Rachel and eat enchiladas.
Next week is a big Rapha Continental exhibition in Portland with a grip of old Conti bikes all on display and I am excited to see everyone all together for a few rides in our back yard. If you are in Portland and have a bike, you are invited to ride. The ride will begin and end at Rapha HQ at 12:30pm on Friday June 7th. It will include 35 miles of Portland’s finest. Tony and I will be there and hopefully riding some sweet Breadwinner bicycles.