San Francisco Information

The 2016 team will be arriving in San Francisco on Sunday, August 7th! We plan to arrive at the Baker Beach picnic area around 2pm. The San Francisco University of Illinois Alumni Club will be greeting us and will provide box lunches for the riders.

More information about the event can be found at the link below. Supporters can order their own boxed lunches on the page as well. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Day 65: Rest Day in Klamath Falls

Today has been the most restful rest day we have had so far. We all slept super well on the cushy rock climbing floor and had a leisurely morning. We made our way to Dutch Brothers Coffee and The Daily Bagel at our own pace for breakfast, and all went our separate ways from there. While Klamath Falls has a nice downtown, it isn’t a very big city, so there was less pressure than usual to get out and see a ton of different things. Many people did laundry, some wandered downtown, others worked on job applications, and others really just sat on the couch.  We all climbed at some point, which was a fun change in activity.

Mike provided a delicious dinner again. We continue to be thankful for generous stay overs, especially on rest days. It’s hard to believe this is the last one! 6 rides left!

We have greatly enjoyed our time in Oregon but are very much looking forward to crossing into California tomorrow!



Day 63 & 64: La Pine, Crater Lake, and Klamath Falls

What a couple of days!

Catherine chose to dedicate our ride into Crater Lake to her grandmother’s husband Dan Norman. Dan passed away in 2012 after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was a huge Auburn Tigers fan and a great handyman.

The ride started out really fast. We all made great time on the first 40 miles, partially because it was freezing in the morning and we were doing anything we could to get the blood pumping.

We had an 11 mile climb up to the rim of Crater Lake. It was challenging, but we all agreed that we have gotten so much stronger, and that it was really the narrow shoulder and traffic that made it difficult. We saw snow on the way up, and many of us stopped to put it down our shirts to cool off a bit. It was so incredibly odd to be profusely sweating and see this patch of snow just off the road.

We made it to the main lookout on the North Rim, and this is where I struggle to describe what it was like. Everyone just looked. I have never, ever seen water so blue. It’s the kind of blue that if it was a painting, and it was painted to look realistic, it would look unnatural. It was unbelievable to think that there used to be a volcano where we were standing, and that this lake just happened to form because it erupted and collapsed in on itself. It’s the deepest lake in the world, measuring over 2,000 feet at its deepest point. For this reason, the warmest it has ever been is 60 degrees at the surface. We didn’t have the chance to swim, but it would have been chilly for sure.

There was also a wildfire that had been burning for three days, and the wind was blowing it over the lake. The combination of the smoke and a very dangerous shoulder caused us to have to shuttle the last 9 miles of our ride to our campsite. We had a great last night camping. We sat around the fire, talked, laughed a lot, and looked up at the stars constantly. It was astonishing to see more and more come out by the minute. We also enjoyed brief visits from Steven’s parents and Catherine Kemp’s mom and grandma.

Today’s ride was dedicated to the mother of one of Sarah’s classmates. Her name is Andrea Soskel. She is a survivor of intraductile breast cancer.

We cleaned up our campsite and then went to a nearby lodge for breakfast. We didn’t get on the road until 10, but it was a shorter 54 mile day today. We all wore just about every piece of warm clothing we owned to breakfast, and in the 2 hours that passed it warmed up to the point of taking it all off before starting our ride. The day went by quickly, and we all were into the stay over by 3:30.

We are staying at Yeti’s Lair, a rock climbing gym in Klamath Falls. The owner, Mike, is super generous. He is providing dinner for us, bought us all coffee from the near by Dutch Brothers Coffee shop, and is doing everything he can to make sure we are comfortable.

We cross the bridge in San Francisco one week from today! We are all in denial.


Day 62: Bend to La Pine

We had a short 30 mile ride to La Pine today, so we didn’t start our ride until 8 a.m. We appreciated not packing the van in the dark, as well as the extra couple of hours of sleep.

Our ride today was dedicated to Dianna, a woman we met a couple of days ago. She is a breast cancer survivor and is now battling bone cancer. We are hoping her current treatment is her cure.

We stopped around mile 13 to explore Lava River Cave and the Lava Butte Volcano. Believe it or not, many of us voluntarily climbed 500 feet of an 8% grade hill to get to the top of the volcano. It provided a beautiful view of the Cascades once we got up. The caves were formed by lava tubes, and very fun to explore. The caves were so dark that a flashlight was absolutely necessary, and it was so cold down there that we could see our breath. It was a bit shocking to come back up into the super hot sunshine, but we finished up the remaining 17 miles no problem.

We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the stay over and then actually all packed in the van to go back to Bend. We wanted the chance to experience it a little more, and took advantage of the extra time in the afternoon. We then headed back to La Pine for dinner, because our hosts generously provided lasagna, casseroles, and seven pies. Yes, seven. Apple, blackberry, coconut cream pie…they were delicious.

We are all very excited for Crater Lake tomorrow! Send us strong thoughts as we climb up there!

There is a good chance that we will not have service tomorrow. I will update the blog when I can!


Day 61: Paulina to Bend

Another hot one! We had a 90 mile day into Bend. The good news is that the wind wasn’t horrible today, and we didn’t have quite as much climbing as yesterday. The ride was beautiful, as we had a nice view of the Cascades for much of the day. We rode into a much more populated area than we have been in in a while, and it was surprisingly stressful to be on a busy road. We have been on much busier, it was just a little difficult to readjust to traffic.

We dedicated the ride today to Brett Ryan, a close family friend of Maren’s who had esophageal cancer.

We all arrived in Bend around 4:00 today. Alison is the food donation champion and got us all a make your own pizza from Mod Pizza. We were shocked by their generosity.

Many of us are exploring Bend a bit. So far it looks like it has a very cute downtown with many stores, a few bike shops, and restaurants. There are hanging plants all down the main stretch, and it is a very bustling area.

It is fun to be in a populated, energized place after being out in the middle of nowhere for so long.


Day 60: John Day to Paulina

Today was a hot one! We also had over 5,000 feet of climbing, but we’re used to the hills by now. We were thinking about what it would be like to go back and do the first 3 days of New York now and how much easier it would be. It would certainly be very different than today, because we rode for 81 miles and didn’t see a thing. No gas stations, no restaurants, nothing. We are staying at the elementary school in Paulina and the closest high school is 55 miles away. It was a pretty ride, though, and the climbs provided some great views.

Our ride was dedicated to Mr. Lim, a friend of Austin’s. Mr. Lim passed away last March from lung cancer. His son sent a really nice story about him and about how his family is working to carry on his memory.

We are looking forward to arriving in Bend tomorrow! Rumor has it it’s a pretty cool place. I know no other information, so I will report back with details tomorrow.