Do what you love; love what you do

One of BlueOregon's original 2004 contributors, Kenji Sugahara, is profiled in the Oregonian today. He's now the executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.

Policeman. Cheerleader. Recruiter. They are just a few of the many hats Sugahara has gladly donned for the past two months since replacing the only executive director the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association had ever known in its nearly three-decade history.

In many places, being the leader of the state's bicycle racing association would be a low-profile, low-expectations job. Not in Oregon.

Sugahara took over one of the nation's leading independent bicycle racing associations, a 3,500-member nonprofit, with ambitions to attract an even larger following. By drawing more women, junior riders and out-of state cyclists into the fold, Sugahara said he sees no slowdown to OBRA's growth rate for decades to come.

His career track took a few turns, but ultimately landed Kenji exactly where he wants to be.

As a boy, Sugahara had ambitious goals. His mission: become president of the United States.

Raised in suburban Connecticut, Sugahara was the youngest of three children born to first-generation Japanese Americans. Sugahara was elected senior class president before graduating from high school with a grade point average above 4.0. After an Ivy League education at Dartmouth, he and Tessa, his college sweetheart, moved west to attend law school at the University of Oregon.

Sugahara passed the bar exam in 2000. But he soon discovered he didn't like practicing law. He quit after a year to become information technology director for the Courthouse Athletic Club in Salem. ...

Sugahara's move into OBRA's top leadership position helped quell mounting anxiety among the state's racing community. When his predecessor, Candi Murray, took the helm back in the early 1980s, the fledgling organization counted about 700 members. She became the face of OBRA on a pauper's salary: $18,000 a year.

So when word began spreading two years ago that Murray wanted to retire, a big question mark popped up: Who would take over? ...

"I love cycling, I love the community -- how better to give back?" he said. "It doesn't get any better than this."

Forget becoming president.

"This," he said, "is my dream job."

Read more from Kenji at his racing blog, "Racing with K-Man", at

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    Before the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) there was the Oregon Cycling Association, with the unfortunate acronym OCA.

    Congratulations, Kenji, Candi's are some big shoes to fill.

  • Jason Skelton (unverified)

    I had no idea the K-man was here, too! The more overlap between cycling and progressive politics the better.

in the news

connect with blueoregon