We Came, We Saw, We bRambled!

Back ShotFull disclosure; I am not an avid cyclist. If you read my 5 Reasons Why Cycling is for Crazy People post last week, you know why. But thanks to some peer pressure from a few of my fittest co-workers, I decided to give a big cycling event a shot. So, along with a team of PacificSource riders, I hopped on my rock hard (utterly painful butt destroying) bike seat, and rode in Eugene’s Blackberry bRamble.

For the bRamble, I had the option to ride 100 miles (nope), 62 miles (nope), or 40 miles (still sounds dreadful). While there was a 20 mile community ride at the event, almost all of the PacificSource cycle team were doing one of the long rides, so I figured I could handle 40 miles. That was my first mistake, I had no idea I worked with people who are half bike riding robots. Here was my tale of the day:

The start


The PacificSource Cycling Team

At 8:00 a.m. our 40 and 62 milers gathered at the start. We did have one maniac from PacificSource do the full 100, but he started a few hours before us. We took a quick team photo, and off we went!

I felt great for about 3 miles, then we hit our first hill. Whoever designed this course must have thought that putting a monster hill in the first 5 miles was hilarious. I did not find it amusing. But as it turns out, I’m actually built for climbing. I’m a runner at heart, so the cardio was no problem, and skinny guys like me can attack hills like gangly mountain goats. So by the time we reached our first summit, I was feeling pretty good. Then we hit the downhill, and I watched the pros blow past me. I always thought downhills were for resting, but I was wrong, because these guys kick downhills right in the face. I was left in the dust.

Rescued by a freight train

As the ride progressed, I realized that flat country roads are very pretty, but unforgiving to a solo rider. After I got smoked on the downhill, I was left trying to catch the pack. When you ride solo, the wind beats you down, and it takes everything you’ve got to keep pace. Luckily, Martin, our unofficial team captain, had hung back, and rescued me on the flat land. Here’s what you need to know about Martin; the man is a train! He’s big, he’s strong, and he can absolutely power through flat ground. He’s also generous, and he let me ride in his draft  so we could catch the pack. I’m 90% sure that if Martin hadn’t found me, I’d still be out there somewhere.

Rest StopThe halfway mark/the greatest sandwich in the history of sandwiches

At the 20 mile mark, we hit my favorite part of the ride; the rest stop. The Blackberry bRamble had loads of volunteers ready to feed starving riders, and I can say with confidence that I’ve never enjoyed a sandwich more. When we got back on the road, the 40 milers and 62 milers went our separate ways. Lucky for me, 6 of my teammates were also doing the 40, including Martin who destroys flat ground, and Rowan, a master on hills. I was in great hands.

The “looking like an idiot” crash


Martin putting on a tire changing clinic

The last half was definitely harder than the first. We got a little lost (turning our 40 miles into almost 50), I blew a tire, and had a good old-fashioned “I’m not moving, can’t clip my feet out, look like an idiot” crash. But my crew had me covered, and Martin showed how quickly a pro can change a tire. It takes me about 4 days to change a flat, Martin had me back on the road in about 10 minutes. It was beyond impressive. In the last 10 miles, as my legs were burning, and my stomach was growling, I gave a thought to Chris, the lone PacificSource lunatic that rode 100 miles. The fact that he rode twice as far as we did absolutely blew my mind. The man is nuts.

The glorious finish

The Reward

The Reward!

Finally, we hit the home stretch, and finished at Amazon Park. After a much deserved team high-five, we mingled with riders of all distances. The cool part about the bRamble is that it offers a community ride to mix hard-core cyclists with casual riders and families looking to get their kids moving. It was awesome to hear everyone’s tales from the day. And of course, the reward of blackberry pie made everything worth it!

The day was a blast, and I can’t thank my fellow riders enough for carrying me to the end. And, a huge kudos goes to Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARS) for putting on such a great event. All of our community riders, our 40 milers, 62 milers, and Chris, our 100 mile crazy man, had beautiful, safe rides. Not sure what my cycling future holds, but I definitely had a great time at the bRamble.

Here are some more pictures from the bRamble:

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Related Post: 5 Reasons Why Cycling is for Crazy People

Cops and Kids: Using Fitness to Build Relationships

Cops hanging with kids at the Eugene Police Act

Cops hanging with kids at the Eugene Police Act

For ten years, the Eugene Police Department has been hosting a week-long camp for kids in Eugene/Springfield. Promoting positive relationships between students and law enforcement, Cops and Kids uses fun and fitness to show kids that police officers are your friends. Over the course of five days, the children get to participate in a variety of activities. From hiking, bowling, a ropes course, to behind the scenes tours of Autzen Stadium and Mathew Knight Arena, every day is a new adventure.

“I have been doing this for about seven years, and every year it gets better. New faces and old, these kids grow up so fast!” – Officer Bob

Cops and Kids is open to all children in Eugene/Springfield ages 8 to 13. With the help of local high school students and police officers that volunteer their time, nearly 130 students were able to participate. This year was largest group they have ever had.

Since PacificSource has proudly sponsored this camp for the last two years, we wanted to get a better look at how it all works. So, we sent our very own, Kim the Intern to check it out. On the day she attended, the students were visited by the Eugene SWAT team and officers in full regalia. With them came a K-9 unit, two hummers, three police cars, and a supply of specialty tools used by the SWAT team. Students were excited to speak with the officers and SWAT team members about their adventures, and they were curious about all of the devices used for the enforcing the law.

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“I don’t think the kids really think of us as cops until the very last day when they get their certificate and we are in uniform.” Said one of the officers leading a group of ten year olds, “Basically until Friday, we are just regular Joe’s hanging out with a great group of kids.”

Cops and Kids was created to help kids understand that officers are a resource for help and inspiration. The week long camps allow students to get to know these officers on a new level and learn from them. This, in turn, fosters a positive relationship with the local law enforcement.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Cops and Kids visit the Police Events and Camps website. There are lots of opportunities to get yourself or your children involved with the Eugene Police Department, and they always welcome new faces to the volunteer force.

Related Post: Veggie U: Growing (and Eating) Vegetables in the Classroom

Walk It Off Wednesdays!

016It’s that time of the year again! The days are longer, the nights are warmer, and the rain has subsided. Well, Kind of. Regardless, PacificSource is teaming up with morning radio personalities, Liz and Reilly from 94-5 Mix FM in Eugene, to host Walk It Off Wednesdays!

So if you love long walks and good company, join us every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m at Alton Baker Park. We love seeing new faces, and it doesn’t matter if you come with a group or solo. The point of this event is to get out and keep yourself active. It’s not a race or a group walk, it’s just designed to get you outdoors and moving on your terms.

Flavored WaterEach week, we will have fun flavored waters, fresh fruit, and new recipes (created by our very own, Kim the Intern) to take home. Liz and Reilly will also be have a weekly prize drawing and all you have to do is sign in! If you aren’t convinced yet, there will also be a huge drawing at the end of the summer and for every time you join us at Walk It Off, the more chances you will have to win the BIG PRIZE. Last year, they gave away a $500 gift certificate to Salishan on the Oregon Coast.

We’re four weeks in, and it’s going strong. Each week has been themed, with Tie Day for dads weekend, Bling it On for fun, and this week is crazy hat day (make no mistake about it, people take the themes seriously). We promise it won’t be like that scene in Legally Blonde, you won’t be the only one in costume. So, if you find yourself without something to do this Wednesday join us!

Here are some photos to paint a picture of what Walk It Off Wednesdays are all about.


Related Post: Step it Up! Walk your way to a 10K!