Enjoying the Winter Blues

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Enjoying the Winter Blues

In every part of the world there are advantages and disadvantages to local and regional climate and weather. There are pros and cons to every place we call home. Living in Arizona for 10 years meant relentless heat but it also meant 365 days a year of riding. That’s a great trade-off! As the thermometer reading climbed it simply meant starting our rides at 6 AM. But now after 10 years in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, BC and Portland, Oregon) I still see the pros and cons of weather.

Sure, this is the time of the year where we really complain. Rain, fog, unrideable trails (not all), and the ever-present darkness weigh heavy on us. December 21st has become a holiday of sorts in my household knowing that it is the shortest day of the year … it’ll only get better (and lighter) here on out. But ironically, I’ve come to love winter here. Not just tolerate it, but embrace it. It has become my favorite time of the year. What?

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Self-talk and inner dialogue is a real thing. It is funny how we have an ongoing conversation thread with ourselves. We tell ourselves all sorts of things … and even absurdities. For all of the years living in Arizona I had myself completely convinced (or fooled?) that I loved the heat and arid climate. Sweating was to be embraced. But the moment we moved away I thought to myself, “What were you thinking? That was nuts! That heat sucks!” But for 10 years I loved and enjoyed it. Maybe my love for the rain and darkness is a similar absurdity … but it seems to be working.

The same trail in the winter not just feels different but is different compared to the sunny blissful days of summer. And maybe that is the point. It takes a lot more gumption to ride year round here. That means more self-pep-talks to get onto the trail and then spending more time washing your bike, doing laundry, and cleaning up after your ride. But it is all worth it. The rideable trails in the winter take on almost a magical quality about them. The forests are darker and more brooding, the visual color palette is more muted, and then the moving fog and mist gives the landscape an otherworldly feeling.

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That’s why I enjoy the winter blues. I’ve come to embrace them.

Exploring the Columbia Gorge on bike or foot is that much better in the winter. The crowds are gone and you feel the changes in weather and are more acutely aware of your clothing. Maybe it’s just that you feel more alive in the winter. The rain, the tempestuous winds, and dreariness are actually an invitation to get out and ride more.

How about you? How do you cope with the winter blues?

Words and photos by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager.

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Squeezin' in Dirt Time

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Squeezin' in Dirt Time

Life is busy. We’re all busy … too busy. It seems that the customary response to the question, “How are you?” is to reply, “I’m busy.” Unfortunately busyness does not always equate to time out on the trail. And in a place like Portland where to get to the “good trails” is nearly an hour drive you either default to (a) road rides, (b) gravel rides at Forest Park, or (c) hitting the Gateway Green Bike Park.

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An Epic Outing Goes Awry

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An Epic Outing Goes Awry

I had it all planned out. A family hike, a new trail (to us), and all of the essentials to make trailside coffee. Coffee (check). Grinder (check). Water (check). Scale (check). GSI Java Drip for pourovers (check). Coffee mug (check). Camera to document our excursion (check).

Looks good right?

But … I forgot my Jetboil to heat the water (slaps forehead).

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Recreate

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Recreate

rec·​re·​ate | \ˈre-krē-ˌāt \

Definition of recreate:

  • to give new life or freshness to : REFRESH

  • to create again

With coffee in hand this morning finds me poring over topo maps, google, and different trail apps to plan out my next two days.

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Making the Case for Rural Gentrification

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Making the Case for Rural Gentrification

Living in Portland feels like ground zero for the gentrification debates. Our African American community, once located primary in inner N/NE Portland is all but gone, dispersed, priced out, or for the fortunate ones cashed out. I don't have to look any farther for the deleterious effects of gentrification than the part of the city I've called home for the past 7 years.

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Measuring the Bottom Line

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Measuring the Bottom Line

What is the goal of any business? The bottom line. Generate a profit and then increase that profit margin. Produce and sell more goods. Over time then become more efficient in producing goods at a lower price and enlarge your distribution channels and network. That in a nutshell what the bottom line is all about. Without it businesses would falter and eventually shutter operations.

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