The Daylight office is filled with bikers, road and mountain, commuters and racers. Maybe it’s our Portland location or maybe it’s the car traffic congestion that gets us pedaling to work each morning. Whatever the motivation is, with 75% of Daylight employees regularly commuting to work on their bike, we have a strong showing of enthusiastic riders. Daylighters may commute daily but we do not often ride together. Our individualism was recently broken down over Memorial Day weekend when Kristin, Dan and I took a three day mountain biking and camping trip to Central Oregon. This post is a short tale of what I learned.
Go Pedal And Relax
Breaking down the office barrier and learning more about what makes your co-workers tick can help with team interaction and collaboration. For an office full of bikers, what better way to engage with team members than on long rides through lush forests and high desert sagebrush?
We started our trip in the small town of Oakridge, climbing logging roads after a wet night of camping in a dense forest, all for the chance to ride the highly regarded single track on the Alpine trail. Throughout the course of the long weekend, I learned a bit more about Kristin’s and Dan’s affinity for mountain biking. There was a joke passed around the beer cooler, “every mountain bike rider is a hero” but Kristin and Dan truly are talented and dedicated riders. I wanted to know more about what makes them so strong on the trail, so I asked:
Tyler: That was a fun weekend of riding, what did you think of the Bend area trails?
Kristin: Fast, flowy and well-built, I always love Bend! We also happened to hit it at the ideal time after a bit of rain, which doesn’t hurt.
Tyler: We rode a day in Oakridge before heading east to Bend. You said you plan to race there later in the summer, what is that ride like?
Kristin: I love Alpine, I’ve ridden that trail many times over the years. That particular race is pretty tough though; it involves a 10 mile gravel road climb that ascends 3,300ft, and you have to do it twice. But then you get a lot of single track to enjoy, provided you have the wits left to enjoy it.
Tyler: I feel like we got a good view into the Central Oregon mountain bike scene and terrain. Dan, do you have any thoughts on how this region is unique?
Dan: What makes it unique and distinctive is how it lays in contrast with trails that are close to Portland. The rooty, loamy, rocky trails that define most PNW mountain biking turn to arid and sometimes dusty high desert terrain. It tends to be faster because of the harder packed dirt and also sight lines are great—you can see through the ponderosas to the next corner.
Tyler: I had a great time trying to keep up with you two all weekend. Dan, how do you stay so strong?
Dan: Ha. Riding is a priority for me and has been for a long time. Amidst a full time job and other “adult” responsibilities I try to get in a few 20, 25 mile rides during the week (either before or after work or sometimes even DURING work) combined with long adventure type rides on the weekend. Right now is peak season for local weekday races too if I want to really get a workout.
Tyler: So, you both race bikes and you race on the same team. What motivates you to race bikes?
Kristin: I ask myself this question all the time. I enjoy racing because it gives me a reasonable outlet to be overly competitive! It’s motivational on the days when you feel like being lazy to think about your nemesis out there training. Much fewer people race bikes then do running races, so you see the same people over and over and it’s motivational to try to move up in the ranks. I’m pretty goal-oriented, and it gives you a place to make a very specific goal and reach it.
Dan: At some point it’s just habitual, but at the root of it are two things: the community and plain and simple staying in shape. I found great support and camaraderie with my team on and off the bike. It harkens back to a playground friendship, kind of, “Oh you ride bikes? I ride bikes. Let’s try to be friends.” Riding bikes has taken me literally all over the world and the whole time was welcome by other cyclists.
Racing also lets you set quantifiable and sometimes reachable goals. For long endurance events trying to finish within a certain time, shorter races trying to finish within the top 10 or wherever, inspires me to keep riding and trying to get better.
Tyler: What is your favorite race season you participate in (type of bike racing)?
Kristin: Definitely mountain biking. It’s tough for many reasons, but I feel like not only is it challenging, it’s also just straight up fun. If I’m having a bad day on the bike, I can just sit back and enjoy the trail and the trees. Road racing? Not so much.
Dan: This is tricky question. The endurance mountain bike races happening during this season push me hardest and by far give me the most satisfaction just FINISHING.
BUT, I am most active during cyclocross season (late Fall, early Winter). The format is best for spectating, heckling, meeting new people, essentially all the things that are great about bike racing that isn’t bike racing.
Tyler: Are there any recent race finishes you are proud of?
Kristin: I’m pretty proud of just finishing High Cascades 100 last year. I didn’t train very much, and I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. It took me over 12 hours, and I almost gave up at one point, but I pulled it together and finished.
Dan: In February a teammate and I got third in the Duo Men category at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race outside of Tucson. This was a race that we did on a lark (haha a brutal endurance race for laughs) with zero expectations. We stuck to our plan and essentially relied on accrued fitness and really surprised ourselves! We didn’t even know we were in contention until we received a text in the middle of the night from a friend letting us know that we were in third (live results tracking was available) and that we should keep doing whatever we were doing. I can’t say it was the hardest race I’ve ever done but definitely the most impressive.
Read Dan’s race recap here
Out of the Office, On the Trail
After a wet day of riding in Oakridge, we packed up and traveled east to the high desert of the Bend. We found dry weather and amazing single track from our campsite perched just out of town. Hard pedaling during the day followed up by relaxed campfire conversations in the evenings left us all feeling refreshed. Not only did I learn more about Kristin and Dan but I learned not to hesitate asking coworkers to join in on an adventure.