Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The trails of Eugene October 7-8

October 7 and 8........28.54 in 2:42..... Monday was a total relaxation day. Pam ran some errands downtown, and I took the opportunity to find Pre's Trail.  It's in a park, close to town, and it is all that I've imagined. It's a four mile trail, for runners and walkers only, made of bi product from the forest industry. It is basically triple shredded mulch, that is very easy on the legs. Even though it runs through wooded areas, I was amazed that there was not a single tree root to sprain an ankle on. It runs in a four mile loop, and passes community vegetable gardens, a small amphitheater, a Frisbee golf course, and....the University of Oregon's football stadium and athletic complex.....everything except track, which occupies prime real estate on the main campus. I took some time to go into the football stadium, which was open because the band was practicing ( in the rain), and I went into the football shell building, which was open because the track team was doing plyometric and explosive preseason drills. (The shell building was very similar to WVU) the baseball team was doing fielding drills in the baseball stadium, and the field hockey team was practicing on their field. The men's and women's cross country teams were out in small groups on Pre's Trail. It was a busy place.
I also walked around downtown and found some bike shops, and dropped big $$$$ on some rain gear. I bought some high tech, breathable, lightweight and waterproof long pants, and some waterproof/resistant covers for my bike shoes. I figure I will get my money's worth out of them riding this fall, and anytime I ride in below 50 temps. I've never really splurged on expensive gear, since I got a gortex jacket when I was coaching and running. About 1993. I'm over using Walmart bags on my feet, after my Washington state rain experiences. To end our lazy day, Pam and I ate at a Mongolian restaurant, where you fill up your bowl with raw fixins, and they cook it for you on a flattop grill. Good stuff! 
 I woke up on Tuesday, to a rainy forecast, so I thought it would be a good day to test out my gear. If it doesn't work, I was going to take it back because it was $$$$$$$ expensive. I waited until about eleven, when it started to rain, and I put in about three hours of riding in moderate to heavy rain in forty degree temperatures, the acid test. I'm happy to say I was comfortable and dry. The pants held just enough heat without holding sweat, and beaded up all the water. The boots kept my feet much warmer than a Walmart bag, and dry, except for the toe area where my clips are.
I rode south on Coburg Road  until I came to the Willamette River Trails, which follow the river of the same name. I decided to go up one side of the river, cross a bridge, and down the other side, through Eugene, back to Coburg Road. 
The trail system is very extensive in Eugene, and I only touched a small portion of them. The trail I rode on was concrete, scenic, and had bicycle/walker specific bridges across rivers and streams, as well as under or over unavoidable intersections with traffic. Another thing I noticed, was that every road of consequence had a bike lane, with well marked directions for bikers. Many other towns I've been in that claim to be bike friendly, are not as well marked as Eugene. I've been alongside bike trails that I never knew existed because there was no signage. I now believe that, in my opinion, Eugene is the most extensively bicycle friendly city I have ever been in. That, in combination with its running community and track and field pedigree, makes it a very appealing place for me. I could live here. I read on the Internet that more people commute on a bicycle to work in Eugene, per capita, than any other city in the USA. 
One unrelated comment that I did want to make is about the huge transient and homeless population of the northwest. Today I passed people sleeping in the underpasses, wandering the trail, and I even passed two 'tent cities', which  I have read about but never seen.  I guess the weather is conducive, with no extremes in hot and cold, and the alternative lifestyles present  here tolerate a large presence better than other areas of the country. But it is a huge problem that I am becoming more and more aware of. The comments I made about the homeless in Seattle had to do with their begging on every street corner. The population is just as large here, but I have encountered no begging in two days in Eugene. They are just.....here.

Bike path

Willamette River

Bridge for walkers, joggers and bikers only.

Oregon's football stadium

Some joggers on "Pre's Trail"

"Pre's Trail"

The leaves are falling!

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