Portland is Trending

How do I know? Well, because the VeloCouch is being spotted in Portland and Portland is being spotted on Strava. What else is there? Check out these screen captures…

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In case you don’t recognize the scenery, the first image clearly features a runner on the banks of the Willamette River, clearly. And the later two feature runners in Portland’s Forest Park. That’s nuts! Strava followed me from San Francisco to Portland! And even though this is a cycling blog and I shouldn’t admit it, since moving to Portland I’ve actually enjoyed several runs through those very trees, on that very trail–which is Wildwood Trail…duh!

Heck, I’ve even enjoyed running in the snow…

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Anyway, this is all pretty interesting. And, are you stalking me Strava? You cheeky little devil!

Now, are you ready for a final WOW? Do you remember Eric J. Herboth, the aforementioned international man of mystery? Well rumor has it that he has been residing in Portland, and it would appear as if he is making sneak appearances on Strava himself…

EJH Spotting

Exploring new horizons!

My passion for bicycling has several layers, but riding bikes has always appealed a great deal to my curiosity as an explorer. Bicycles get you out into the world, allow you to negotiate a variety of terrain, and enable you to cover significant amounts of ground–all at a pace that leaves you better connected with your surroundings.

I’m feeling pretty happy to have moved to Portland, Oregon. It’s beautiful here!

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A Quick Catch-Up

What up VC Blog friends! It’s been a while, but how about a quick update before carrying on again with a great deal of excitement? Sounds good to me too. Ready, go…

Autumn in San Francisco was fantastic! It always is. Speaking of which, did I ever share the fact that Wifey and I were expecting a baby? Oh, well it turned out to be a little boy named Finley who was born one day back in September. No big deal. Meet the luckiest, most spoiled and loved kid we’ve ever heard of…IMG_0306

Cyclocross season was as fun as always, even though my arch-rival Philip Mooney (also one of my best man-crushes) and I hardly raced each other. I only got to battle him twice this season–once in Santa Rosa and once in the Bay Area Super Prestige Night Race (shown below)–and he barely beat me both times. In the meantime, I managed 13 starts this season out of which I scored 9 top-tens, a handful of podiums and 1 win. I was happy to have won the race hosted at a winery. I traveled home with so much tasty wine. And with huge thanks to my sponsor City Cycle, here are some photos from another highly successful cyclocross season…IMG_5326IMG_0986

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As for winter in San Francisco, global warming and the onset of a terrible drought has made the weather frightfully enjoyable. Not all a good thing, but it did make for sunny and dry bike riding.

The holidays were awesome too!!! So much eating. So much! And lots of time spent enjoying this sort of thing…IMG_5760

Told you he’s spoiled. Shown there disgruntled, due to the lack of attention he was receiving that day.

And then, we moved from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon…IMG_6067

For those of you who are not familiar, Oregon is the heavily wooded state that is north of California. It may be helpful for you to think of it as “Extreme Northern California.” Well, it’s awesome and…HOLY CUSS!!! This blog just turned a corner and started a dramatic, new and exciting chapter.

A San Francisco Factory Tour at DODOcase

As VeloCouch blog readers and Facebook followers are well aware, I am a big supporter of companies who produce innovative, high-quality products, particularly those companies who produce the products themselves, locally and sustainably.

In fact, I use products and services like this whenever and wherever I can because what’s better than buying from people living and working close by, who are members of your community and whose livelihood depends on their ability to provide the best value and service possible? Products from companies like this are often better, and the bottom line for me is that they make me happy. Well, yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the San Francisco factory of DODOcase and I was truly inspired by the experience…

As a participant in an event called OpenCo, I was in a group of six attendees who were fortunate to be able to visit DODOcase for a factory tour where company President and Co-Founder Craig Dalton was our guide. It was inspiring!

We learned the company’s story, and how, with conviction and belief in a seemingly insane idea, they accomplished a number of improbable feats and eventually fell face-first into their own success – re-purposing the art of traditional hard-back book bindings to make innovative, artistic and completely cool cases for modern e-readers, tablet computers, smartphones, etc. And they have done it all right here in San Francisco. If you’re unfamiliar with their products, I highly recommend you check them out…

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A few shots that I took during our tour…

Real San Franciscans making real San Francisco products.

The tricky part is the intricate production of CNC machined bamboo trays that neatly and securely hold a user’s electronic device within each DODOcase. It was amazing to see the complexity of how these “simple” cases come together.

What’s this…the folks at DODOcase are into bicycles? No wonder I love this company!!!

DODOcase uses old-fashioned techniques and machinery in the making of their products. They are artisans–focused on their craft.

You can see attention to detail in every step of DODOcase’s production process.

This press is used to emboss the DODOcase logo on the back of their cases. Its operation was demonstrated for our group. It’s a beautiful machine with an amazing and smooth motion.

Triple Crown 2013, Day Three (The Tamalpa Runners Mount Tam Hill Climb)

Triple Crown 2013, Day Three: Contenders leave their bikes at home in order to take on Mount Tamalpais–for the third day in a row–as participants of The Tamalpa Runner’s Mount Tam Hill Climb. Since 1980 members of the Tamalpa Runners and guests have met on Labor Day morning at 8AM under the depot clock in downtown Mill Valley. The objective: a foot race to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais–choosing the most direct route possible.

This year the race was attended by roughly 100 athletes, out of which only 7 of us lined up as continuing participants in the weekend’s Triple Crown series.

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The run heads straight out of downtown Mill Valley, up a steep staircase, up steep streets, to the end of the neighborhoods and onto the Tamalpa Trail. This photo shows one of a few “mellow” sections along the Tamalpa route. The rest of the trail is washed out, rutted and/or rocky. In less than three miles the hill climb route ascends 2500 feet.

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Action shot. :)

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And eventually you get here. I definitely had to put my phone back in my pocket for this section. The last pitch of the race is barely managed on all fours as runners climb up a wash, pulling themselves through oleander and over boulders. “The most direct route.”

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As you finally reach the lookout, your clock stops once you tag the metal door.

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A beautiful place to catch your breath.

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Looking from the finish line straight down the race route towards downtown Mill Valley positioned in the very top of this photo. Super crazy! Super FUN!!!

Triple Crown Crew (Day 3)

After a long jog back down the mountain, The Triple Crown crew celebrates their achievement.

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