HRV alum Nelson Snyder third in TransPortugal race

Hood River resident Nelson Snyder rode 1,162 kilometers across Portugal last month in 48:15:44 to finish third in the annual Trans-Portugal endurance event. The nine-day mountain bike race spanned the eastern coast of Portugal, running from north to south in nine stages ranging from 99-165 kilometers each, on terrain ranging from village streets and gravel roads to forested single-track, cliff-side trails and historic cobblestone streets.

After battling for second and third place through all nine stages, Snyder’s cumulative time was just three minutes back from second-place finisher Marco Macedo of Portugal. The winner, Vitor Gamito, was about two and a half hours ahead of the two.

“Usually with this type of race they make you do it in pairs or teams, but this one didn’t,” said the 41-year old. “It was a good challenge for me to see what I could do on my own. It was interesting that after nine days of racing we finished so close together.”

On an unmarked course, riders were penalized if they needed support between stages and had only bike-mounted GPS units to find their way through open country and small villages along the course. At the end of each stage, they stayed in nice accommodations and were able to relax and refuel for the next stage.

For Snyder, participating in the event was both an appeal to his competitive personality and an adventure in exploring another country in a unique way.

“It was pretty cool to see what another country is like from that perspective,” he said. “I try to do something like this every year; last year I went to Guatemala, the year before South Africa. Compared to a tourist trip, I think something like this gives a much more real, genuine feel of what life is like in another country.”

A 1989 graduate of Hood River Valley High School, Snyder said he wasn’t much of an athlete in high school, but once he started riding, the sport became a passion.

“Other than work and my family, riding is pretty much what I do,” he said. “That’s my biggest challenge right now — balancing the three. I’m competitive and I like to travel, so trips like this have been a great way to do both. I also enjoy bringing my kids (4 and 5 years old) along when I can to help them see the world and broaden their minds to other ways of life.”

Snyder, who works in construction, says he tries to go on at least one trip a year and takes his family along every other year. Next up for him is a 160-mile adventure run across part of the Sahara Desert. He gave a special thanks to Cyclepath bike shop in Portland for sponsorship.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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