Restoring your life balance part 2 – July 2015

Continuing my summer of reflection and reconnection.  A dear college friend, Kimberly Meyerson, came calling to the Pacific Northwest with a friend and colleague.  Last time we spent some time together was 20 years ago, when I was still in northern California.  Her free day was her arrival day, July 5th, so we made the most of the time.  Margo and I took her on the “nature tour”, showing her the jewel of the area – the Columbia River Gorge.  Add lunch and dinner conversations, a visit to Nakagawa West to see the kids.  By the time I dropped her off in Salem, the years apart went away.

I think the next time I’m on the east coast on business, I’ll need to take up her invitation to visit her home turf and hospitality.  She is a special lady whose friendship I don’t take for granted.

Kim Meyerson visit to PDX - July 5, 2015 Columbia River Gorge Trip

Kim Meyerson visit to PDX – July 5, 2015
Columbia River Gorge Trip

Kim Meyerson visit to PDX - July 5, 2015 Larch Mountain Lookout, Mt Hood in the background

Kim Meyerson visit to PDX – July 5, 2015
Larch Mountain Lookout, Mt Hood in the background

Kim Meyerson visit to PDX - July 5, 2015 Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge

Kim Meyerson visit to PDX – July 5, 2015
Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge

Restoring your balance in life – Chicago, June 2015

In what is now becoming a “regular trip schedule”, I had my June trip to Round Rock, TX.  this is a periodic review of my group’s business.  Over the past two years that I have been heading the group, I’ve started to become comfortable enough on taking care of the “needs” that I have found time to have dinner with colleagues that live in the Austin Area.

Helping Cyndi Johnson (KLA-Tencor) with some bicycle advice.

Helping Cyndi Johnson (KLA-Tencor) with some bicycle advice.

Catching up with John Petersen at the Black Star Co-Op

Catching up with John Petersen at the Black Star Co-Op

Catching up with John Petersen at the Black Star Co-Op

Catching up with John Petersen at the Black Star Co-Op

So for the first time in a while, I added a leg to Chicago, to visit my folks.  It was way overdue.  Possibly 3 years since my last “brief” stay in Chicago.  I almost gave in to the temptation of a “family only” trip, since I was only planning a three day stay.  But instead, I planned one side visit, and accepted a second last-moment side visit.  And it was one of the best decisions I have made in a while.

The first side visit was a planned lunch with Connie Putney.  She was my high school English Literature teacher.  Yes, I’m a geek who keeps up with three of my past teachers – Ruth Montrose (6th grade, by regular mail), Preston Hayes (HS Chemistry) by Facebook, and Connie (by email and Facebook).  After three years of connecting by internet, we finally got together for lunch.  A really fun time continuing on conversations we had had by text, but adding energy that can only happen by direct interaction.  Thus started my first thematic comment “A Lunch Date 30 years in the making”.

Lunch with my high school English teacher, Connie Putney.  We’ve been pen pals for a couple of years since connecting on Facebook.

Lunch with my high school English teacher, Connie Putney. We’ve been pen pals for a couple of years since connecting on Facebook.

The second side visit was unplanned.  I suspected that news of my visit to Chicago would prompt other friends and family to ask if I had the time to visit.  Sure enough, I received a Facebook message from a friend within 15 minutes of landing, asking  if there was the possibility of a coffee meet.  But it was a friend I was not expecting, and one who set the way-back machine even further.  And there was a bond that was unexpectedly broken, but somehow restored when she and I reconnected again over the last few years by FB.  So the unplanned dinner with Cheri McElroy, who goes back to my second or third year of high school, before her family moved from Chicago to San Diego.  We continued to exchange mail for a couple of years, before I headed off to college.  The irony was that she came back to Chicago permanently while I shipped off to the West Coast.  But again, it was a couple of hours where the stories flowed, we caught each other up to the present, and can continue our friendship forward as if the 33 years hadn’t passed us by.

Dinner with a friend that I hadn’t seen since she moved away from high school her second year & my third year (I think).  Cheri McElroy and I also got reconnected by Facebook a couple of years ago.  Irony that she moved back to Chicago about the same time I left :)

Dinner with a friend that I hadn’t seen since she moved away from high school her second year & my third year (I think). Cheri McElroy and I also got reconnected by Facebook a couple of years ago. Irony that she moved back to Chicago about the same time I left 🙂

The remaining day was the “family visit” evening with the aunts and cousins over for dinner.  My family gatherings tend to be very low key affairs, and some things don’t change.  Just another way to have a “touch point” with the family over the distance between us.

IMG_1443 IMG_1445 IMG_1442It was a brief, but necessary break from the world I have been living for the past several years.  My day job at Toppan.  My leadership role with Tour de Cure / Diabetes Association.  All the Margo health issues.  And it finally reminded me of how little time I have had to smell the roses and take some time for myself, unencumbered by responsibilities and deadlines.  And Connie and Cheri reminded me by their company that I have many special friends who I miss and need to stay connected, at least periodically.

The complete set of photos on Smugmug (link here)

Kent.

 

The Spring Classics, ending with Reach the Beach

I have been struggling to find the time to do any sort of consistent bicycling, whether it be for pleasure or for training.  And then the Spring Classics came like a steam roller.  I was expecting to do the Salem Monster Cookie.  It’s mostly flat, so you don’t need to train hard for that.  But the following weekend, Ride Around Clark County, is almost 4000 ft of climbing terror over the span of 65 miles.  Surprisingly to me, I completed it in record time.  I did take precautions, walking up the harshest grades.  But still, having had no real distance mileage under my belt, it was very surprising.

Photo Finish 2015 Salem Monster Cookie

Photo Finish
2015 Salem Monster Cookie

Inspire has a lot to do with it, though, especially on the flatter sections of ride.  She doesn’t understand slow.  And she almost complains when this overweight pilot slows her down.  But the plus side is that she glides on flat pavement.  If you can get a head of steam on a flat section, she takes off.

2015 Ride around Clark County

2015 Ride around Clark County

Which brings us to the unexpected ride.  Margo signed up for Reach the Beach, the 100 mile ride from Portland to the coast.  But due to yet another car accident, she couldn’t ride.  So what do you do with a paid $150 ticket?  Yep.  Kent took on the 82 mile course from Newberg.  This was the first time I’d done it since 2011.  In spite of that, this was my 2nd best pace on RTB since 2006 (still a personal best).  Credit goes to Inspire, for hanging with two pace lines in the stretch of ride where the headwinds are absolutely brutal.  Just for reference, where I was with those groups, we were pulling 16-18mph.  When I got dropped five miles out of Sheridan, my speed dropped to 11mph.  All because of the 20mph headwinds in the valley.

 

Newberg Start line pictures 2015 Reach the Beach

Newberg Start line pictures
2015 Reach the Beach

But I made it to the finish before the 5pm “Bus of Shame” (sweeper vehicle).  And surprised the personal entourage (Margo, Mary, Melissa) who thought for sure I’d surrender with Melissa at Grand Ronde.  I just couldn’t resist sending Inspire on the downhill from the coastal summit to the beach.

Lunch stop 1 - Amity (28 miles) 2015 Reach the Beach

Lunch stop 1 – Amity (28 miles)
2015 Reach the Beach

Finish area photos - Cape Kiwanda.  82 miles 2015 Reach the Beach

Finish area photos – Cape Kiwanda. 82 miles
2015 Reach the Beach

Spring Classic Pictures

Salem Monster Cookie

Ride Around Clark County

Reach the Beach

2015 Salem Monster Cookie

Inspire took off on a very chilly Monster Cookie ride. The weather was curious – the total overcast kept away all headwinds (yay!). but then it started rainy drizzle on the last 25 miles (boo!). But the lack of headwind allowed for survival in the last 20 miles as I ran out of gas. Was still able to stay sub-4 hours saddle time for 61 miles, which only sets me back to 2011 🙁 Really cannot complain given the lack of preparation this winter.
Joined by Chris Tatum, John Furze, Les Brown, and Levon Brown.

TeamNakagawa group photo 2015 Salem Monster Cookie

TeamNakagawa group photo
2015 Salem Monster Cookie

Photo Finish 2015 Salem Monster Cookie

Photo Finish
2015 Salem Monster Cookie

More pictures on Smugmug

Ride season, and a new character – Dreamer

After years of having issues with her gearing, Margo has upgraded her bike, and given it a name.  Dreamer.  She’s planning the full slate of our season rides.  Salem Monster Cookie (64mi).  Ride Around Clark County (65 mi).  Reach the Beach (80 mi).  Pioneer Century (64mi).  And of course, Tour de Cure (100 mi !!!).  At least now, she can’t blame the bike 🙂

Margo on “Dreamer” - 2014 Trek Domane 5.9

Margo on “Dreamer” – 2014 Trek Domane 5.9

Starting 2015 with a visit to frozen falls

 

A frozen Multnomah Falls (2015)

A frozen Multnomah Falls (2015)

Margo and Kent started off 2015 with a trip to see one of Oregon’s natural wonders- a frozen set of waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge.  After a week of sub-freezing east winds, this day was the “opportunity day” – the winds died away, and before the temperatures moderated, we could see a frozen Multnomah Falls.

Given how long it’s been since the last meaningful post (Tour!  Really?), it is clear that we’re not doing enough of the “stop and smell the roses” things to make life worth living.  Hopefully, we’ll remember this as something to change for 2015.

More pictures on Smugmug.

Frozen Falls 2015

Frozen Falls 2015

 

The Final Tally – Tour de Cure 2014

Kent’s “sisters” - Mary and Trish Ryder borrowed our tandem bike to allow Trish (diabetic and vision impaired) to experience her Tour de Cure.

Kent’s “sisters” – Mary and Trish Ryder borrowed our tandem bike to allow Trish (diabetic and vision impaired) to experience her Tour de Cure.

The final numbers have arrived.

  • Number of Riders – down 16%
  • Total Donations – up 7%
  • Average Rider Donation – up 28%
  • 90 Champions ($1K Riders) – up 18%
  • Champions raised 52% of all rider donations, averaging $1930 per Champion.
  • 90 Red Riders averaged $858 per rider, up 23%

And TeamNakagawa raised over $7000 this year!  Thank you donors!

The 2014 TeamNakagawa Group

The 2014 TeamNakagawa Group

Banniversary Week 2014

As usual, it’s 10 days of celebration and reflection.  It starts with Margo’s August 20th birthday, Kent’s August 28th birthday, and our August 31st anniversary. It’s usually a low key week in spite of the hype and hoopla.  But this time, we took a day trip up to Mt St Helens on Kent’s birthday, to take advantage of a nearly cloud-free day.

Mt St Helens, from Johnston Ridge Observatory

Mt St Helens, from Johnston Ridge Observatory

Coldwater Lake, Mt St Helens National Volcano Monument

Coldwater Lake, Mt St Helens National Volcano Monument

More pictures on Smugmug

Oh yeah, and that anniversary video thing:)

2014 Video

Tour de Cure – the Volunteer Wrap Ride and Lunch

2014 TDC Wrap Ride

2014 TDC Wrap Ride

The Saturday after Tour, the volunteers get together to ride the 26mi route and have a celebration lunch.  It allows those who had to work day of event to at least ride part of the event.

12 riders (+ 2 kids) joined in on our ride this year.  Afterwards, we caught up with three more volunteers and had a nice brunch at Kent’s local restaurant (Golden Valley).  A great time to reflect, cheer, and pat each other on the back.

And it was time for Kent’s moment of pride.  Where the other committee members focused on the initial rider responses (overwhelmingly positive) and the ADA focused on the fundraising numbers (meeting goal for the event!), Kent saw the continuing evolution of the volunteer planning team from a “local group planning a club ride” to a growing team planning the best ride in Oregon.  And all looking forward to next year.

More pics on Smugmug

2014 TDC Wrap Ride

2014 TDC Wrap Ride

Tour de Cure 2014

Kent gives the course safety talk

Kent gives the course safety talk

Wow.  It’s two days since Tour, and I’m finally able to reflect on the day and the year.  To call this year’s Tour a year of change is understating things.  I knew that there would be change, just from accepting the Chairman’s role and handing off the Ride Director duty to my friend Todd Rosenthal.  It was going to be odd not to be actively managing “my ride”.  But the learning curve behind leading “my event”?  Wow.  I haven’t been this mentally drained since graduate school.  Add the physical drain of a week of preparation.  I need a vacation from my vacation.

Kent’s “sisters” - Mary and Trish Ryder borrowed our tandem bike to allow Trish (diabetic and vision impaired) to experience her Tour de Cure.

Kent’s “sisters” – Mary and Trish Ryder borrowed our tandem bike to allow Trish (diabetic and vision impaired) to experience her Tour de Cure.

But the results speak for themselves.  “My ride” – the same course, but a much more lively atmosphere at the rest stops.  A new rider support structure.  One veteran (HAM radio), a new motorcycle leader, a new truck support leader, a new rider call-in system, a new Incident Commander (me!), and a Commander in training – and the initial feedback is excellent.  Nobody left behind.   No major issues.  Only some valuable lessons on timing that will make things even better next year.

2014 Tour de Cure Kent’s groupies - Angie and Kevin Beers, after completing the 43mi (Angie) and 65mi (Kevin), returning Kent’s PDX bike for the photo.

2014 Tour de Cure
Kent’s groupies – Angie and Kevin Beers, after completing the 43mi (Angie) and 65mi (Kevin), returning Kent’s PDX bike for the photo.

And it’s really still no longer “My ride”.  All the leads in the Command Center had a plan, executed their plan, worked together, and really left me and my #2 on the sidelines – which is exactly what you want to have happen.  The truth is, it’s THEIR ride.  They run the show now.

The 2014 TeamNakagawa Group

The 2014 TeamNakagawa Group

So how about “the event”?  A new approach to the start/breakfast and the finish/lunch venues surprised veteran participants, but the initial comment is that it was a a much improved setup.  It is interesting.  While the comments I received from riders was “top notch”, the comments I received from my team were “I wish these tents weren’t so far from the rest” and “the water station should have been here” and “wish we had a band for the 6:30am start”.  The team is already thinking toward next year, coming up with more ideas on how to improve things.  The new skeleton is in place, and now they’re taking it from there.

The fundraising book closes at the end of August, but it looks like we’re going to be close to $400,000 in donations from over 900 riders.  We had a local TV crew record a news segment at our event (first time).  TeamNakagawa’s crew of 12 raised over $7500 (a record), and yielded four champion donors.

I took a few pictures and videos of the event to share with everyone.  And now I’m looking forward to the year I can hand off the Chair baton to a stable committee, get on my bike, and ride my own Century course for the first time!

Setup week pictures on Smugmug

Event day pictures on Smugmug