Archive for the ‘Sports & Outdoors’ Category

Make Gloves Not War

I think I must be blind. I have driven past this intersection of SE 82nd and Stark countless times – aand I honestly don’t remember ever seeing this sign before. This huge grenade on a post declaring “.” Apparently this is the HQ for Grenade Gloves a sportswear company for snowboarders/skateboarders.
The sign doesn’t really look new – am I I indeed just blind?

Sportfight 24 – Blood on the Canvas

Sportfight 24 - Photos by David Lawrence

It’s beyond me why the Rose Garden Arena isn’t completely packed for SportFight 24. For four and a half hours fighters pounded it out in an evening filled with action, sport and blood. What more could you ask for from a Friday night out!? It’s hard to imagine what kept the Rose Garden from being as full as a match up between the Winterhawks and The Seattle Thunderbirds. Is it the expensive $8 a cup Rose Garden beer that kept people away? The 7pm Friday night early start time? Or the fact that it was broadcast live on HDNet? Whatever the reason, many Portlanders missed out on a fantastic, unmediated top class sporting event that can be experienced by watching it on TV. Fans who opted to watch the matches at home on HDNet missed some of the best action of the night as the untelevised under card fights proved to be stronger and more exciting than some of the main bouts.

Sportfight 24 started with a bang with two extremely strong under card fights. Marques Daniels made quick work out of Joshuah Lagrange with a rain of punches that caused the ref to jump in and stop the fight (one of the few fights of the night stopped this way). That fight was followed by the much hyped Colt Toombs and Colin Porter bout. Toombs is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s son and he clearly had the support of the crowd (who chanted “Piper, Piper”). Early on in the fight Toombs got into trouble, taking a number of hard shots, his face began to well early. Toombs then got caught in a rear naked choke that looked it was going to end the match and put a damper on some of the the hype surrounding Toombs. Choke well set Toombs gave the ref a thumbs up and then proceeded to find his way out of the choke, he then reverse it into a dramatic choke of his own to win the fight. It was one of the more explosive moments of the evening and it kept the buzz turned way up for Toombs.

After the first two solid fights things stayed on the ground for several of the middle matches. After an arm bar win by crowd favorite Tyson Jeffries, four of the next bouts went the full three rounds and almost all of them ended by decision. It wasn’t until the fight between DJ Linderman and Mychael Clark that things started to heat up. Clark displayed flamboyant martial arts styling with spin kicks, supermans and other ‘showy’ moves, but it was Linderman’s consistent strength both on his feet and on the ground that made him a clear contender for the win. Linderman looks pudgy, but after three rounds he barley seemed winded. Taking a solid unanimous decision Linderman showed he’s a fighter not to be underestimated.

My favorite fight of the evening was the Mark Miller, Mike Pierce bout. Mike Pierce, who fights out of the Braveheart Gym didn’t find much support in the pro Team Quest crowd, but even his harshest critics couldn’t help but notice the absolute precision in Pierce’s fight. I saw Pierce fight in a previous Sportfight and it’s clear he’s put his time in training and refining his skills. Like a surgeon Pierce took Miller apart. One blow opened a huge cut on the top of Miller’s head and blood streamed out in a flow that made Miller look like something out of a Rob Zombie movie. The fight was stopped so that they could assess Miller’s injury and much to the surprise and delight of the crowd they let the fight continue. Step by step Pierce pushed the fight in the direction he wanted it to go, with control of almost every position on the mat Pierce showed that he was clearly the better trained fighter. In the end Pierce won by TKO and Miller’s cuts became too severe for him to continue. Of all the fighters who fought at SportFight 24, it’s Pierce who showed the most promise and his fight was worth the price of admission.

The feature title bout between Enoch Wilson and Brian Gearahty wasn’t as exciting as the Pierce/Miller bout. Gearahty gave Wilson a lot to handle for four rounds, locking him up and pressing submission attempt after submission attempt. Four rounds into the fight it was clear that Gearahty had done just enough to win a few rounds but not enough to take Wilson’s title away from him. Ultimately Wilson prevailed with an earth shattering, late fourth round, punch that left Wilson dazed in the corner. Wilson gave a gladiator roar as he pounced around the ring, sticking around long after the bout was finished to celebrate.

It’s exceptional to live in an area with such easy access to high quality Mixed Martial Arts and a shame more people aren’t taking advantage of it. The athletes fighting out of Team Quest and Braveheart gyms have the foundation to carry them to national attention, and for just a few bucks you can catch them live and in person. I look forward to more great MMA in Portland including Rumble at The Roseland.

See photos from Sportfight 24 courtesy of Photographer David Lawrence at On Portland.

World Class Mixed Martial Arts in Portland – Sportfight 24 – 9/19 @ The Rose Garden

Sportfight XXIV 9/17 7pm

Sportfight XXIV 9/17 7pm

It always surprises me that more people aren’t buzzing about Sportfight. Portland is at the epicenter of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) with internationally famous gyms Team Quest, Xtreme Couture and local buzz-worthy gyms Braveheart MMA and Impact Jiu Jitsu .

Portland has a very long history of being THE place for fighters & wrestlers. In the 1970’s Loprinzi’s Gym on Division was the home to many of the great wrestlers that helped define World Wrestling (including guys like Jesse “The Body” Ventura and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper).

Now a new generation of fighters call Portland home including UFC vets Matt Lindland and Randy Couture as well as next generation fighters Ryan Schultz and Enoch Wilson.

Then there’s notable Portland fighter Colt Toombs who has been using Sportfight to establish his career. In Sportfight 23 Toombs won his debut fighter with a TKO 1:38 in the first round. At Sportfight 24 he’ll kick things off with a bout against Washington fighter Colin Porter. How does Colt Toombs represent the history and future of MMA in Portland? His dad is none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Given the caliber of entertainment presented at Sportfight I’d expect the stands to be packed. With 10 action packed fights and tickets starting as low as $20 it’s difficult to see why Portlanders wouldn’t turn out in force…That is if they knew about it! Sportfight wasn’t on my radar screen until Sportfight 23 back in June. I decided to check it out with fellow MMA fan David Walker and I had a blast. I think if more people knew that they had world class MMA in Portland they’d go. So… now you know!

Sportfight 24 is at the Rose Garden Arena, September 19th starting at 7pm.

Great Flying Flutag!

Last year we had Illume – this year the Flutag is BACK!

Teams from the all over the Northwest made up of Starbucks employees, dragon-boaters, Kells staff, computer geeks, and students built flying machines shaped like underwear, Chinese takeout boxes, a Winnebago, Godzilla…. and will launch themselves off a ramp into the Willamette tomorrow afternoon. And it appears that several of the teams also have “special moves” choreographed by members of the Blazers Dancers…hmmm…..

The first flight takes place at 1pm in Waterfront Park just south of the Hawthorne Bridge – but the gates open at 11am. The last time it was here in 2004 they say more than 50,000 people showed up – so go early if you want a good spot!

And after everyone has gotten wet – I’d recommend popping into Three Degrees – the bar in the Riverplace Hotel – for a drink and a snack – they have good stuff and a nice outdoor seating area – then you don’t have to fight traffic out of the area.

Whhheeeeeee!!

High school football NIMBYS?

In general I am not a sports fan – I can have fun at a game or out with friends at a bar or a Super Bowl party, but not really because of the game, I’m there for the social aspect. I went to every one of my high school and college football games – because football is a vehicle for the halftime show – and once the band was dismissed after the 3rd quarter, we left. And because I think it’s the most boring of all the popular team sports, the obsession that people have with football, really drives me crazy.

All that being said however – these Lake Oswego neighbors are just plain mean. They live next door to a high school and they’re freaking out about football games and teenagers being in the neighborhood? Seven times. Less than 2% of all the days in a year. These cranky snobs think that a bunch of high school kids having fun at a football game is going to “permanently damage the livability… of the neighborhood.”

Wow. What a bunch of a-holes.

Our crazy skies

Most of us should be used to the overcast-ness and rain-ocity of the great northwest, but holy smokes! The storm last night was fantastic! And forgive me for speaking of weather, because I know that it’s the most boring thing ever, but I really truly thought that thunderstorms didn’t exist here. Earlier this week, I saw one meager lightning strike just east of Mt. Tabor when I was walking home from the store, and that was the first one I had seen since moving here nearly a year ago. I’m a huge fan of lightning and thunder and good downpour, so when I woke up last night to something that sounded like aforementioned Tabor blowing its top off, I got excited. The lightning flashed and I counted until the rumble-crash of the thunder would sneak past my apartment. My cat was freaking out, and I was too tired to stay up for the early fireworks, so I eventually fell asleep. I would love to see storms like that more often here, but I guess when they’re so rare, it makes them an extra-special treat. At least it cleared a little more smoke and haze from the air. Speaking of, keep your eyes on the air quality, outdoorsy people – we’re getting a lot of junk up from the California fires and some of our own right now, so don’t strain the lungs too much out there.

On bike riding and sweatiness

Holy crap was it hot last weekend. As a person sans air conditioner, and with a slightly crazy side, I forced the boyfriend to help me clean the house (as was previously planned) leading to nearly dying from heat exhaustion. Fortunately for him, I sent him down to Foti’s after cleaning for some gyro goodness for dinner – there was just no way I was going to turn on the (now sparkling) stove on Saturday. So yes, we missed out on the Organic Brewfest at Overlook park, and besides a multi-store grocery and Laurelwood run on Sunday, we didn’t much leave the apartment (though I might have, had I read the Dave Knows suggestions).

I started bike commuting a few weeks ago with partial hopes that it would help me adapt to the rising temperatures, among other things. Since my ride in to downtown is mostly downhill, and the mornings are still cool, my cooldown time before entering cube-land is short, but on the way home, with the all-uphilledness of the region and hot patches of air, I’m sweating something fierce by the time I get home. As a convenience I sometimes stop by the Whole Foods/Wild Oats on Burnside to pick up groceries, and I’m a bit embarrassed by the being hot and having helmet hair while I’m walking through the store with my pant leg tucked into my sock. With a city such as this with a ton of bike commuters, I would assume that the employ would see plenty of people like me, but even with the pile of bikes out front (Dear Whole Foods, please get more bike parking, kthx), I didn’t see another person looking disheveled in the store.

I’m not an easily embarrassed person, but I’m wondering what the consensus is on this kind of situation: Do you hop into the store with your hair plastered down and mingle with the hipsters, or do you go home and cool down, then go back the mile and a half to the store while looking at least somewhat presentable?

Sunday Parkways

Now that summer is here, it’s time to start getting out and walking these fine Portland streets. I hopped on the Yellow Line to go check out the big Sunday Parkways shindig up in North Portland. I gotta say, it was awesome. The idea is to remind everyone just how walkable and bikeable Portland is by largely shutting down a section of it to vehicular traffic, and allow people to walk and cycle around without cars.

In order to fuel myself for the walk, I enjoyed some extra hot and spicy peanut wings at the Interstate location of Fire on the Mountain. Once my insides were properly spiced and greased, it was time to hustle. I walked a fairly large swath of NoPo streets, just enjoying seeing so many people out and about. At first I had on earbuds, listening to my Sirius Stiletto (an awesome little gadget). I took them off for a moment and noticed something odd. The sound of no traffic. It was quite strange, walking down North Portland streets and not hearing the familiar “whoosh…whoosh…” of passing cars. I decided to keep the earbuds off.

It really was a great time. People (and their canine companions) of all types were out on their bikes and feet. It’s something I’d really like Portland to do more often. Maybe in SE next time?

An Oregon Camping Quiz

So we just had our annual boys/girls weekend. The husbands and boyfriends all headed to the woods camping – coolers full of beer and sausage, the girls ‘slumber partied’ at one house with a 12+ bottle of wine vat of sangria, leaving the house for only pedicures and a night out of jello shots and dancing. But I digress.

As the husband did his packing we did some reevaluating of the camping gear. What needs replacing, what do we not use, what else might we want to pick up. We love to get out and camp near Portland in the summer – and as farther away vacations are becoming less and less affordable this summer – camping sounds even better. So we were trying to think of ways to do it, or places to go to spice things up a bit and get out more this summer than we have in the past.

Now I’m the first to admit – we are LAZY campers. We camp only where we can pull our car up to the camp site. None of this having to pack your stuff in. No way. We bought a new tent that says it sleeps 12, for 2 of us, and maybe 2 dogs if we bring them along. But last summer we got rained on 4 out of 5 camping trips, and we want to have some space inside our tent in case we have to spend more time there than originally planned. We bring a ginourmous cooler, a camp-stove for the 10 cup drip coffee pot we mus bring! All kinds of stuff that others may say doesn’t belong camping – but hey – we like it that way. We have a battery powered fan/reading light for the tent that is just the best thing ever. And this propane tree that you can attach a torch to on the top and have another hose running out the side to power your grill or whatever else might need fuel. I love the camping gadgets!

In addition to our food and booze – we usually bring some games and will sit around a picnic table playing scrabble or such – and sometimes just relaxing in a chair in the sun reading a trashy magazine is great, and of course we’ll take a nice walk around the area we’re in…but what other things do you do while you’re camping?

We like camping at Lost Lake – the trek around is a nice walk – not a hike. I said we’re lazy remember. The lake is fun to go out on in a little paddle boat or canoe. There are a plethora of good spots along the Clackamas River with easy walks in the woods and many have places where you can jump in the river (although staying in usually isn’t possible – that’s some cold water!) If we have more than a regular weekend, driving down to Crater Lake is awesome. But every time I go to look for a spot, I tend to go back to those areas because I know the facilities are good.

So my questions to you campers are:
1. Where do you go – will you share your favorite spot?
2. What do you do to entertain yourselves while there?
3. What’s your favorite camping gadget?

Bridges, Trains, and Roses

Now that the two three-day weekends (at least for me) are over, things should be getting back to normal here, which includes me spewing about everything I have been saving up for the past week. Thusly:
I-5 Over the Columbia
The Columbia River Crossing project needs input from the public, and the current feedback period is only open until July 1. Last Friday, a coalition of 13 groups requested a 60-day extension to said period to give ample time for those people and organizations involved to read the 5,000-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) dealing with the project. I wouldn’t suggest reading it yourself – I got stuck around page 50, and struggled to get that far – but glean as much information as you can on the project (try here and here, for starters) and chime in with your $.02. This is a Big Deal that will affect major transportation in and out of our fair city for decades to come, and yes, it will affect you in some way.

Nextly: I took the train (and bus) to Vancouver BC with the boyfriend 2 weekends ago, and I must say: train travel is awesome, though travel to Vancouver could use some help. Supposedly, there will be direct train service to Vancouver BC from us down here in Oregon in time for the Olympics (a good bit of the city is torn up due to transportation additions to the waterfront and Olympic Village), but I won’t believe it until I see it. We’ve already had a review of the train ride from PDX to SEA, so here’re the bits:

  • Pros:
  • Far less security hassle than the airport: we arrived and boarded barely 20 minutes before our scheduled departure
  • Access to a proper power outlet (120V) for unrestricted use
  • We had the ability to use our cellphones where there was reception (though chose not to)
  • The car we were in was incredibly quiet, and we whispered most of the trip
  • One can bring his/her own liquids aboard! No more smuggling 3oz bottles of vodka! We brought our massive flask and some mixers and made cocktails at our seats
  • The seats were comfortable and there were plenty of bathrooms to go around
  • Cons:
  • Delays – we were over an hour late to Seattle, but the connection was guaranteed, so some people got to wait on the bus for us. Sorry, people!
  • When we boarded, the a/c was broken in our car, and we were sweating up a storm (hottest day yet of the year + running a suitcase from the MAX to Union Station = ick!), but it was fixed when we departed (which was, granted, nearly 45 minutes later)
  • This is really about the bus – The bus sucks. It’s better than taking Greyhound the whole way, but the bus just seemed that much more crappy after such a pleasant train experience
  • Price – It was less than $200 for both of us to get to Vancouver and back, but I would love to be able to take the train down to Sacramento and maybe across the continent without having to sell my firstborn and a kidney. Get the prices for 6+ hours of travel down to an affordable rate (i.e. cheaper than airfare), and I’ll start booking my travel today.

And one more quick one!! Holy crap, it’s Rose Festival season again! The rides are going up to make Waterfront park a muddy mess, should the rain continue (opening Thursday) and the fireworks kick everything off on Friday. The good stuff (boats!) will start floating in on Thursday (Tall Sailing ships, 5/29-6/5, then Fleet Week 6/4-6/8). I’m so excited – more on that soon!

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