Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cyclocross at PIR - Peanut Butter Mud

November is not known for beautiful weather in Portland, but that's just a function of what you're hoping for. We have had some rain, but not a ton.... until now.

The forecast was for 3" of rain in three days which makes for cyclocross a different type of course than normal. Some people enjoy this and I will say that this was fun if you like to spin your wheels!

Susan was very strong on the course, pushing through her field and finishing in the top half. She was crashed into once and didn't fall on her own.

 I am not sure how she does that!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Crystal Mountain Trip

Amelia and Dad taking a swim in a secluded lake near Mt. Rainier.

Amelia with a tree just her size.

Posted by Picasa

Halloween Costumes 2012

Abigail looks spooky as a Vampire!
Amelia as native American. This costume resulted in a lot of questions for me,
wanting to use the choice of the costume as a teaching moment about the
importance of culture in our society. It is always a challenge being a parent, so
many opportunities to share and pass along and be a better society.  The interesting
part of this is that she got the inspiration for the costume from the boots which were her
sisters, which are from the Gap, so probably about the least authentic article of clothing
possible. A vampire probably would have been easier to explain.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kids Cross 2012 - Portland International Raceway

Amelia near the start navigating her way down a tough hill.
She's riding it and testing her luck. The boy to her right is walking his bike down.

Abby on the back stretch racing through the competition!

Amelia gets ready for the barrier.
 The kids cross course wasn't nearly as muddy as ours, so that was a good thing for us that have to clean them up!
Posted by Picasa

2012 Cyclocross - Peter

 The family has started to enjoy cyclocross on Sundays at the Cross Crusade series. I got a Team S&M jersey  (Sellwood-Moreland, get your mind out of the gutter, sheesh) and have started to get a little faster out there on the course. It has made it more fun.

The courses that I have been out on are around the Portland area (Alpenrose Dairy was first and Heron Lakes at Portland International Raceway was second), so one of the things I like to do is bike to the event. The first course was pretty dry, but this last race was muddy and it made for a good time. The last time I raced at PIR, it seemed like I was falling a couple of times each lap. This time I think I only went down once and it wasn't a bad fall on the last lap when I was really very tired from giving it my all. I think that cost me about four slots in the standings and I finished 43rd.

The outcome is not pretty, but turned out pretty well overall as I finished in the top 20% for my age class. It helped that I started nearer to the front than normal.
A great sport if you like getting muddy.
Posted by Picasa

2012 Cyclocross - Susan

 Susan had her day at the Portland International Raceway turn out a bit better than her earlier race at Alpenrose Dairy by not getting a flat tire.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Thoughts from Abby

My favorite things to do in fall are baking delicious foods in the oven, cyclocross racing and going to the pumpkin patch. We bake turkey, golden crispy German pancakes, fluffy warm rolls, tasty scalloped potatoes, and sweet, golden pies.

At cyclocross races we bike in mud and dust. At muddy races I hear the sucking of mud. At dusty races I see the haziness of the dust as the sun shines through it. Fall is lots of fun!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012: The Kids Schedule Returned

We're celebrating Susan Koonce Appreciation Week at the homestead. It is a every four year tradition (or something like that, at least we did it in 2008 and I am thinking that the Boston trip that they did to pick up the white pick up was about 2003 or so.

The 2008 version had me thinking through what and where the kids needed to be at any certain time. It's funny to look back at that version and laugh at how Susan thought she could control the behavior. I find myself thinking about how just to get along. Also, there was mention about walking to school and now we always bike. There isn't even a question with the kids, they would be shocked if we didn't.

Abby's Schedule
Monday: Take homework to school and complete Spelling Test.  Play Date with Eryn until 5:30 PM (pick up bike after)
Tuesday/ Friday: Abby has soccer practice at 5 - 6 PM 
Wednesday: Play Date with Brynna, Piano at Sellwood Community Center. 

Amelia's Schedule
Thursday: Amelia has soccer practice from 5 - 6 PM - I coach!

All in all, a busy week. 

We went to pick up Abby's bike after the play date and we biked with Annie running alongside. When we got to pick up the bikes, Abby told me she forgot her key. So when we started back home, the rain really set in! The kids wouldn't even put their rain jackets on tonight when we picked them up on bikes from their playdates and they were singing about being so happy in the rain. I just sorta of shook my head and laughed at how Oregonian that was of them. For 40 degrees - lobster gloves. Definitely helps to have the fingers stay together.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sellwood Neighborhood Maps - Through the Kids' Illustrations

Amelia focused on the school and the homes near ours.
Abby had a class project to describe her neighborhood and name the streets around the house. A really good assignment for a fourth grader, who should know their address and how to get home from a few blocks away and from distinct landmarks and businesses, etc. We took the opportunity to do a little more than the class assignment and include Amelia into the fun.

Abby had a lot more to detail and scope of the project. She needed a little help with the street names, but was happy that she could draw the bike shop and her friend Chula (the dog that has a home away from home in the shop). The Sellwood pool and our neighbors were in there as well. Biking to school is prominently described here too.
Posted by Picasa

Tiger Lillies Soccer - Abigail #8

Abby is in her fourth year of soccer as a Tiger Lilly.
Coach Tina Farley is still at the reins.
Both #8, our Saturdays this fall have been spent in the grass.
Abby likes to play goalie in the games. She took a goalkeeper's Camp this summer.
Posted by Picasa

Blue Kangaroos Soccer - Amelia #8

Amelia is in her second year of soccer and this year, I am head coach of the team. We called this group the Blue Kangaroos in honor of our local coffee shop, which is a frequent reward post-game, especially if it was a tad wet out. This summer has hung on so long, we haven't had a hint of rain (well maybe a bit at the last game). 
Amelia chose #8 to be like her sister!
Lots of Amelia's friends on this team, including two from Lexington Street!

The team is mostly girls which is fun for Amelia. I guess that's what you get when you have a lot of friends new to soccer and a dad that jumps in to coach a "new" team of kids.
As I coach, I try to emphasize having a good time. We accomplish that sometimes as long as there isn't a request for special treatment too often.  Now, if only they looked this ferocious at the other team!
Add caption
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homework for week of September 24, 2012

 “The man put on his coat and walked down the street to his car.”
Assignment: Add some adjectives to make it more interesting:

The bored man put on his creamy coat and walked down the strange street to his old lopsided car.

The excited man put on his shimmering coat and walked down the bright street to his shiny car.

The beaming man put on his blue coat and walked down the dim street to his hot pink car.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Abby's First Week of 4th Grade

By Abby Koonce

I was nervous about the first day of school because I didn't know my teachers very well.
I'm excited about Break and reading.
We have library and computer at the same time. We have Number Corner too, which is math and calendar.
What I am looking forward to...
Reading and computer are my favorites. There are also games that we play that help us get our wiggles out.
4th Grade is cool because my teachers are awesome.

by Peter Koonce
Curriculum Night at the School is this week and I am looking forward to going to Abby's classroom to learn a little about how the teachers will work together throughout the year. I am interested in how two teachers can Team teach effectively. I am sure it can happen and it may even be the best potential situation because the teachers remain fresh throughout the week by not having an entire "full time job" in the classroom. I know when I was working in consulting and I was doing the same thing for 40 hours straight (writing a proposal, or proofreading a large report), I was never as effective as if I had a half day's worth of writing and a half day's worth of meetings.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CYCLE OREGON Day 3 - Prospect to Ashland

The start of the day was COLD. We had frost on our tent and we had to get an early start to cover the entire route with the amount of elevation that was in store: 6,800 feet! Over 88 miles.

The 5:45 wakeup wasn't bad until we got on our bikes at 7:15 and we were happy to have feet warmers, even though they were not completely doing the job! I failed to wear tights over the shorts I had and that was a serious problem.

It warmed up after the first 15 miles, but that was a slow start due to the numbness in our extremities.

One more fun note was that as I was packing up the tent I realized it was going into the bag more easily then the previous days. Well that was because the rain fly was still on the ground.  Oops!  And that was where all of the ice was! Two options: unroll the tent and repack or stuff the tarp in on the side. Option 2 was chosen and let me just say that the nearest experience of doing this that I can think of is rooting around in a cooler for an ice cold beverage for 2 minutes solid. My Hand was Fuh Reez Ing!

We made the trip to the Crater Lake Rim Drive with 45 minutes to spare, so we were safe to continue our riding. Apparently, the permit limited access to the early hours and 11:00 a.m was the cutoff.

Crater Lake was as advertised,  I had a hard time pulling my eyes away from the deep blue of the Lake. The terrain posed a challenge and the elevation took us to 7,700 feet.

Pictures to come.

CYCLE Oregon Day 2

Great day,  long and rolling terrain that suited us just fine as we looked forward to the big climbing day of Crater Lake.

The stretch of the route on Highway 97 was not very nice from a pavement smoothness perspective, but ODOT did do CO a favor by lowering the speed limit to 40 for the day and coming off a 2-mile section for us to use a complete lane. That didn't stop a wicked crash from happening though as someone crashed at a high rate of speed at the end of the downhill section.

At mile 60, we latched on to a guy and his wife (in a paceline) that were jamming along at over 25 mph. I wasn't sure we could hold the wheel at times because of the grade and the passing cars.  We went along at that pace for 15 miles and lost them a mile or two from the rest stop. We caught up with the couple and I could not believe that this fellow was probably in his early to mid 60s and he kind of scoffed when we thanked him for his efforts, saying it wasn't much effort. This guy was a monster and I will look forward to future CO years when I can carry that sort of pace. (Turns out he has ridden in Race Across Oregon,  look it up.)

The town of Fort Klamath was very happy to help out with our fun. We stayed at ranchers property that had lots of room for the entire CO community.  Susan had a piece of peach pie and we shopped at the local markets that were set up for us.

The entertainment for the night was David Wilcox, who is also riding the route.  I have heard him on a KINK Live CD and enjoyed his lyrics that I find very clever. He is also preparing an original tune for us each day at Announcements for the participants.

Lots of Pictures coming - no way to get camera shots to the tablet for posting

Cycle Oregon Journal Day 1

First day of Cycle Oregon and just 490 miles to go! This would start us off with theaverage amount it took to get around the loop! Yet as anyone who rides knows, it is not always how far but also how much climbing there is.

It was a day that was a warm up for the challenges ahead.  70 miles and a bit further tomorrow but less climbing,  so not a day that I had concerns about.

The weather today was great, almost cold enough for arm warmers,  but not bad after a cold morning where I thought it would be good to get the legs covered.

Last night, Cycle Oregon had a tribute to the 9 that have been on every single day through these many years. Our tent is actually next to one woman who was honored and it is a nice recognition of the group and the commitment that takes.

The cycling community is a nice one, it has been fun to see so many people that we know.  Susan's involvement in Sorella Forte means that there are usually people who know her, that I would not otherwise have any connection to.

We remarked throughout the day how this was a great way to celebrate our anniversary.  I wondered whether we could do this again on the 50th running of the event. It could be tough to top this route, but I am not speaking from a position of authority on this topic, having reserved most of our riding to the Portland metro area.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ride for Foundry - Why I Cycle

My inspiration for why I ride: Dad with the Trek 730
Why I Cycle - A Brief History
Bicycling to me is a means of transport first and foremost, but it has become a lot bigger part of my life than I ever thought it would. I was taught that first principle by my father's example. I was raised in North Portland, born long before my fair city was known for its cycling culture. My family lived modestly, scraping by financially. While we didn't keep up with the Jones', I considered us wealthy because we lived happily. My father started riding his bike to work shortly after he stopped smoking and about the time my mom's work commute took her and the old Volkswagen Beetle in the opposite direction from where he worked. My father may be the most frugal man on the planet and the second job that he worked didn't always match the hours of the local bus service. Besides, riding his bike was cheaper than the bus and he could get home faster on the bike. All this transpired about the same time that Portland got its first bike lane.

They don't close down Interstate freeway bridges
for biking events in Texas (at least not in 1998!)
I watched his example and grew from that experience, taking the bus during my high school years and getting my first bike when I was headed off to college (It was a black Schwinn Crisscross). I cycled a bit in college, but it wasn't until moving to Texas (for graduate school) that I realized how different Portland was as a community. This realization coincided with my studies in transportation engineering and a realization that a lot of the work that I had done to design transportation facilities were exclusive of considerations for bikes and hardly considering ways to make transit faster. At the same time, there was a lot of talk about getting people on transit and biking more and I found that my message would ring true if I practiced what I "preached".

I have been commuting to work by bike for the past 14 years and now am to the point where I never miss a day. I really enjoy the exercise it affords me and the time to connect with the natural environment. Cycling is great on so many levels and I enjoy sharing my experiences with others. I have become a bit of a bike commuting evangelist encouraging colleagues to give it a try.

Does Peter Work as Hard as he Plays?
No, but I work really hard. Today, I find myself working for the City of Portland as the Traffic Signals engineer, directing the design of transportation facilities and ultimately trying to implement the policies of my hometown.  I am passionate about what bicycles can do for a community, having seen how far Portland has come in the last ten years. I ride my Trek Portland most places throughout the city to meetings and I get odd looks an awful lot. The work that I do is something that I constantly write about on my blog: rEvolving Transportation.

My blog captures my professional interests: traffic signals,
bicycles, technology and other articles of note

I enjoy my work, so it seems like play. I am also competitive and I like to lead the way. One professional goal is to design signals and transportation facilities that not only accommodate bikes (transit, pedestrians, & freight), but also  encourage people to ride because they find them intuitive, safe, and a great way to get exercise with their friends and family. There has been a lot of work done in Portland from which to build off of. Signal timing is another part of my job and I consider it an important detail for how the City works. The signal timing should be set to meet cyclists needs (this link is downtown SW 4th Avenue) and they should be allowed to address cyclist needs. We didn't do this for cyclists actually, it was mainly to make downtown a more livable space (keeping traffic speeds safe and consistent), but it is an example of what I like to consider as conceptually how we should design our cities.

Cyclocross and Cycling Clubs: Making Cycling Social
Beyond work, it is clear that I have unduly influenced my wife (Susan) and kids so much that in doing so, they sometimes surpass my interest in bikes with their own. Susan took up road racing and cyclocross this past year and dragged me into two cyclocross races, getting me addicted to the excitement, camaraderie, culture, and absurdity (at times) of the event. The ridiculously muddy and sloppy conditions make for a perfect challenge for anyone who attempts to race (more on that later). Her cycling club has inspired the development of mine, Sellwood Cycling Club, which has turned into a social group that has over 30 members with jerseys.
The design of the Sellwood Cycling Club came as a result of my
goal to create community around the neighborhood making
social connections that were lacking.

Our local dealer Sellwood Cycle Repair doesn't have Foundry bikes yet, but when I recently thought it may be time to replace my beloved Trek Portland, they said I needed to check out the Auger Cross bike because it just seemed like... "knowing you it is what you would ride". My wife didn't blink an eye and said "it's like your car and you ride it so much it's worth the investment. Besides, you should have something that you'll enjoy". That got me interested enough to find the website and write this application.

A Portland Centric Bike Snob No Longer
Before travelling to Minneapolis almost two years ago for work, I scoffed at the thought of Minneapolis taking the top spot as #1 City for cycling in the U.S. and would have been elitist at the thought of a Minnesotan based bike and not a Portland handmade beauty as my next bike. In retrospect that's a bit odd becuase my family has been loyal to Wisconsin based Trek since my Dad scooped up a Multitrack 730 hybrid in 1995 and the Trek Portland was still made in the U.S (back in 2007). I guess that's before the Hand Built Bike Craze picked up steam and I started streaming BikePortland as our household's primary news source.

We're used to talking about our bikes, there's nothing
that gets people talking quicker than a Dutch Bakfiets!
The Civia Loring is a real eye catcher at the racks
where our kids go to school
The sole exception to the Trek stronghold was broken when my wife added to her fleet of bikes last year, picking up a Civia Loring after I insisted that she spend the extra few bucks for the coolest bike that we'd seen in our shopping efforts.  Civia had me at the bamboo fenders and the beautiful front rack that makes the bike a conversational piece at the grocery store, the school playground, coffee shop, really where ever we go! I get to ride it only so often, but when I do it is fun to tell stories of the bike search and I would be happy to do the same with the Foundry bike. It probably won't get as many looks and comments as the bakfiets we got in 2008, but this contest is a different animal.

Why Select Peter? Shameless Marketing on a Team Kit, Blogging and Social Media, and a Laughable How Not To or Why Not Column for Riding a Foundry
So, just to start the conversation on why me? and to show my commitment for getting the word out about Foundry, I would commit to having the Sellwood Cycling Club complete our kit with shorts that have the Foundry logo on the back (I would organize the club to make arrangements for this since I am the leader of the jersey production). We'd get our local designer to work with your folks on a sweet design that would make a statement in the Cyclocross events and road rides we attend. I think the black motif we've got going would look good with the bike and at the very least we could mix a Foundry logoed cycling cap into the team's kit as well.

I hope you enjoyed my entry and it's worth considering. I am not sure this tells a complete story about what bike I would want and how I would come up with a complete Foundry Tradesman concept, but here's an a few final thoughts based on my experience in the blogosphere, twitterverse, YouTube, and Facebook. I would propose a series of how to videos on cycling infrastructure brought to you by Foundry. It would explain some of the treatments we've used in Portland and could be shared with bike advocates across the country. These would be done on a weekend (don't want to conflict with my day job) at least once a month soft of like what I have done on my blog, although with a little friendly reminder about Foundry (picture of the bike set up as my normal commuter on the infrastructure using creative product placement).

Another option or addition to the previous concept is that since I plan to race cross and I am a beginner, it would be fun to share experiences about this (use a helmet cam) and demonstrate how versatile the bike is (transition from previous concept).

A great example of how not to take a corner in Cyclocross!

Features could be described to me by local shop and cross guru Erik Tonkin of Sellwood Cycle Repair and I think it would be quite comical for me to show how not to do some of things he teaches me as I go.   I might beg local cross videographer and neighbor Dan Kaufman of  for a bit of his time to help with editing and to share the videos on his nightly BikeCheck show.

Lastly, I plan to ride the bike whereever I can. I commuted and toured almost 5,000 miles last year and so I am on the bike a lot. The longer century rides will still be on my Madone most likely, but it would be fun to use this bike and give my old Trek Portland a rest.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to the news!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

NutureShock book review

Normally book reviews are on my technical blog, but I am reading a book about how kids develop. The first part of the book focuses on "the inverse power of praise" and specifically how it is important to provide praise for the process not rewarding the finish. Research shows that frequent reward does not develop persistence and leads to people being "praise junkies". I may be in that camp to some degree.
Not telling your child they are smart leaves it up to them, and robs them of the chance to learn that for themselves.

The author hits on other subjects
* Sleep - it is important for them/us
* Race - it is complicated to get the kids to not have bias, it is sort of counterintuitive in some cases
* lying - promoting truthfulness leads to more lying and they learn from watching their parents. just remind them of expectations
* tattling - it is the era of holding info back if you tell them you don't want to hear it.

I am halfway through the book and looking forward to reading the rest.

HAPPY Chinese New Year - Year of the golden dragon

Abby wanted to know why people worship (or celebrate) dragons, so today we went to the Chinese Garden in downtown Portland. It is the year of the Golden Dragon which means that there is prosperity for everyone in the new year.
We are going to talk with our friend Ann Xu tomorrow to learn more about this and beforehand we decided to brainstorm some questions. Here are the questions she came up with.
How many chinese dragons are there?
Why are dragons important to people.
What do Chinese dragons eat?
What is your favorite color chinese DRAGON?

After getting back home from the Garden today, I asked her what she saw. The list includes:
a fantastic chinese dragon

people with fuzzy pants ( performers 
Groups of fish

lanterns of all sorts

The Chinese have a lot of great traditions and one of them was hanging riddles from the ceiling to exercise your mind.
Abby impressed us with her ability to decipher a few of them including: What building has the most stories? AND What has four legs, but never moves? Answers at the bottom.

 We ate puffy rice bars, sugar mango and the traditional Moon cakes. The flavors the kids tried were the mung beans and red beans variety and they were both very sweet! The kids also had tea; Abby had the Orange Cranberry, which was very good and Amelia had peppermint.