As September rolls around and there’s 3 weeks left before I head back to Kingston, I already miss it all. I still have difficulty adjusting to my lifestyle from the past two and a half months.
I miss waking up at 5:30 in the morning, spending 7-8 hours in the saddle, that feeling of “I’m never going to make it”, the feeling of “I can actually make it”, the difficulty of pacing yourself up a mountain, the joy at the top that comes with the uphill struggle of a double digit grade, the ability to eat whatever and whenever, the carelessness of sleeping on any ground (pavement, grass, dirt road..), waving to other cyclists and that split second of bonding, hating on cars, bike grease on my legs, swearing at gravel roads, stopping at traffic lights with cars, talking to strangers, delivering the message of our journey, meeting cancer survivors, clapping for cancer survivors, being inspired by cancer survivors and those that are still fighting, writing the name of someone touched by cancer and seeing the smile in their faces, experiencing the kindness of strangers, reaching a new time zone, reaching the destination of the day, the utter exhaustion that comes with a 12 hour ride, seeing the town sign of the destination for the day, and knowing that somewhere, someone touched by cancer, is inspired by you, and you are inspired by them.
The list goes on and on and on..
I miss it all.
Alas, I sincerely thank everybody from the bottom of my heart for their support, kindness and generosity throughout this journey.
Please keep in touch with me via facebook https://www.facebook.com/so.i.sing.a.songoflove or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you thank you thank you for the most amazing summer of my life.
WE MADE IT TO PORTLAND! WE MADE IT WE MADE IT!!!
I biked with Mo, Ally, Ashley and Chey on our very last day..to celebrate our final day of riding together.
One mile before we reached our destination, 4K caravaned into the square, and I partnered up with Chris. I remember biking with him on the very first day of 4K, so we only saw fit that we bike together on the very last day as well.
Once we reached Pioneer Square, we were greeted with a dance party in the works and a community concert that had already been prebooked. Opps, my apologies from 4K for interrupting.
I reach Canadar on Sunday..and I will be writing everyone POSTCARDS and probably doing a post 4K post. I miss it already.
ONE DAY LEFT!
Today I rode with Mo, Bilqis, Val, and Chey on a 75 mile ride into St. Helen’s…. so much for no more long days.
The ride was misty and foggy, full of uphills, narrow roads and logging trucks. All I wanted to do was make it through the day, and make sure I made it to Portland.
After hearing about the unfortunate death of two cyclists in the same area, we were all a bit scared to ride in the rain.
Our water stops were fun with dancing and snacks, Oh, how I’ll miss the times at the waterstop.
In the evening, David led some camp games and we watched a team slideshow where we cried and laughed.. I cannot believe it’s already the end.
Tomorrow, we’re going to Portland.
I can really say that now..
Tomorrow, we’re going to Portland.
WE HAVE REACHED THE PACIFIC OCEAN!!!!!!
It took 40 miles to go from Tilamook to Cannon Beach, but boy was it worth it.
There were hills and hills to climb, but the smell of salt in the air and knowing that the ocean would be on our left was an amazing motivation to keep pedaling, keep pedaling..
To celebrate our ocean voyage, we got to pick our own groups today, and surprise surprise, I paired my regular group of riders, Ally, Mo, Chey and Natalie. Every sign we passed that said “Canon Beach x number of miles”, we would yell OCEAN OCEAN!!!!!! I don’t think I have teared up that many times on a ride, but it was really the final moment we have been waiting for on this trip.
Just about 3/4 of a mile to the entrance of the beach, the entire team rode in together (up a steep steep uphill, we were too excited to care/stop pedaling/slow down). We lined up on the beach and rode our bikes into the ocean together, dipping our front wheel into the Pacific as we had dipped our back tire into the Atlantic back in Chesapeake Bay.
After the inaugural ceremony, everyone held hands and jumped into the cold water, hugging each other, posing for pictures, and we did our 4K cheer on the beach as onlookers in their windbreakers and rainjackets wondered what on earth these kids were screaming about with only their sports bras and spandex on..haha
We had the option of shuttling to our final destination for the night of which was 20 miles away (Warrington, Oregon), but Jane, Chey, Natalie and I decided to bike the rest of the way there. Later in the evening, Nat, Allie and I went shopping/browsing and one of the boys working at the counter gave us free shop stickers when he heard what we were doing.. ah, the perks! :P
Nancy had a box of Jellybeans..the ones that were the same colour, but either Peach or Barf, etc etc. It took me 5 GOOD jellybeans before I ate a skunk flavoured one. Entertaining, to say the least.
Tomorrow will be our last full biking day *tear* before we reach Portland. It will be a 75 mile day to St. Helen’s, Oregon.
My knees are killling me as I have gone 2 straight weeks without a rest day/van day, but alas, I hate to miss out on biking/have any regrets..
Two days left! :)
HEADED TO THE OCEAN TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today was a 95 mile day into Tilamook, Oregon. It was our last long day as our last 3 days will consist of 60 mile days into Astoria and St. Helen’s.
I rode with Ashley, Steve, and Jane as we trekked up a 18 mile uphill. In some parts of the pass, the grade was 21%.. and to top it all off, I had a bee following me on a few of the climbs..meaning I was half waving it away while trying to bike. Not fun, I tell ya.
The whole day consisted of trees, trees and more trees..but alas, we will be seeing the ocean tomorrow. I keep telling myself, it’ll be worth it!
As we arrived at our host tonight, the pastor (thank you Lutherans!) had purchased a keg from a cyclist/brewmaster of whom also attended his church. He explained that it was aged beer from Pacific City Brewing, a company that had won numerous awards internationally for its beer. I just thought it was hilarious, and a definite first for the team to meet a pastor as cool as Pastor Jerry.
Jerry had also rode Cycle Oregon SEVEN TIMES. I hope when I’m elderly, I will be as hip as Pastor Jerry hahaha :)
Tonight, Bilqis and I are staying at our host family. The two sons, Devin and Aiden lost their dad to melanoma only seven months ago. In such, Bilqis and I will be dedicating our ride to Tony tomorrow morning. I am quite sad that this will be our last time staying with a host family. As great as churches and community centres are, host families are the most wonderful places to stay. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a night of conversation on the couches and getting to know new individuals and the surrounding community.
It’s all ending so sooon!!!!!!!
We are ONE DAY AWAY from the ocean!! Tomorrow we ride to Tilamook, Oregon and then we hit Canon Beach (WATER) the day after!
Today was a short (thank goodness) day of 45 miles to Corvalis. I rode with Arvind, Ally and Bianca. Surprisingly, there were no mountains on this stretch..It was 45 miles of flat and some uphill road. We had a slightly strong headwind but the fact that it would only take 2-3 hours to arrive at the destination was a definite motivation!
Upon arriving at our host, snagging a soft beanbag chair to sleep, and playing on the guitar for a while, I ventured down to a nearby used bookstore in which I was able to purchase SIX BOOKS for $23!!!!!!!! DEAL!!!!! I got a few books on Marx, a bio on Mao for my pols class and a chick lit for the plane ride home, but regardless, the nerd in me is extremely satisfied :)
4 days until I’m home.. I’m quite bittersweet about the ending of this amazing journey, I will have to think about a roundup post soon, in the meantime, thank you all for your support in keeping me going strong for the last week!! :)
PS. I AM SLEEPING ON THE SWEETEST BEANBAG CHAIR/BED TONIGHT. NO FLOOR! :D
123 mile day, and to the whole team’s surprise, NO WALL!
Adventure cycling AND mapmyride both wrote in their maps that there would be a stretch of 27% grade uphill on mile 70. The entire team dreaded it, I had a dream about cycling up it, but eventually mile 70 came and went, and there was nothing but the consistent slight uphill we had biked since mile 40.
In the morning and in anticipation of the wall, we had formed groups based on our own pace. I rode with a team of my favourite riders..We often cheat the “random system” to ride together on long and difficult days. Chey, Ashley, Mo, Ally and I have seen a bear together, ridden our first century together and plan to ride our last century together.
We started the ride going through the 3 Sisters Pass, Elevation 5000ft. This was part of the Cascades Mountain Ride and it was an uphill of about 7-8% grade for 15 miles. Midway through the ride uphill to the summit, a few of the boys decided to do the 4K tradition: Naked Mile.
Off their clothes went, and they rode through the (mostly) empty road as quick as their bright nakey bodies could take them without being caught by the park ranger.
At the summit, the area used to be a sea of lavaaa 1500 years ago. From the observation area, we could see Mt. Washington, Mt. Hood, and a number of other snow-capped mountains in the famous Cascades region.
The downhill was a 22 mile descent from 5000ft to 1000 ft. The curves and sharp turns of the downhill made for a dangerous ride as we met cars on corners and the narrow one lanes. To add to this, my back brakes were squeaking in the morning. Everything looked normal on my bike but when I braked, my back wheel would wobble. In other words, danger on hills. I definitely swerved to the oncoming traffic lane and had to clip out one leg for balance a few times…
Regardless, after 123 miles, we happily made it to Eugene, Oregon (home of the Oregon State Ducks and Tracktown USA) where we were served an amazing dinner by the generosity of a couple that had met three of our riders at the summit. They graciously welcomed 26 hungry and drained riders into their home, serving us icecream and burgers. It was definitely the epitome of a swift act of kindness that we were all privileged to experience!
The day we biked a 13% grade.
But tomorrow…we have a 27%.
Question of the night: what is 13x2+1?
Today was our rest day in Bend, I slept in to 8:30 am (whooooooo) whereas many of my fellow team members had already been up at 7:00. Hopefully these early morning wakeups will come with me back to Kingston when I have Monday morning 8:30 Economics… Or maybe they won’t :P
I spent the morning catching up on this blog and reading a graphic novel of Che Guevara’s life. Incredibly fascinating and definitely a fun read.. Why all poli sci books in graphic novel form, I have no clue.
In the afternoon, the team went downtown for a donated lunch and we got icecream/souvenirs. I spent the remainder of my afternoon sitting on the porch and finishing the Guevara novel while sipping ice tea and having oatmeal cookies. Definite ideal relaxing day…
This evening, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Ronald McDonald House in Bend. For those of you of who are not familiar with the House, they are similar to Hope Lodges in that they provide free of cost/extremely low cost residence to out-of-town families that have children of whom seek medical attention at the local hospital. They cater specifically to the under-21 age group and deal with many many premature babies (yay premi’s!)
We cooked dinner for the 6 families that resided in the House and I had the opportunity to speak with the weekend coordinator for quite a bit; explaining our mission, talking about experiences on the road, premi babies, and the like. As today would be our last rest day (ever), it was extremely satisfying to have spent it in a volunteering position even if only for a few hours in the night.
After the House, half the team decided to head back to the host while the rest of us decided to go for Pho. Funny, I felt so close to home :)
Tomorrow is a challenging challenging day of riding. It will be 115 miles to Eugene, Oregon and we will be riding through a pass in the 3 Sisters mountains (insert crying frown icon). In one part of the day, there will be a 27% grade uphill in which we we will rise to 2000 feet in a mere 1.5 miles. The largest grade we have ever biked is 13%.
I really don’t want to walk up a mountain, but if my bike begins to slide backwards down that WALL, it may be inevitable..
Wish me luck! :)