Day 73: Orlandia

Today Christina Su dedicated the ride to a group she ate dinner with last night, five of whom were cancer survivors.

This morning we had a mostly successful departure as we started to roll out at around 6:30 after our 4:45 wake up along with breakfast served to us by the church community members. Although it was another hot day, we missed the worst of the heat as we pushed the rest stops to mile 28 and 53. It seemed like the terrain today was something that you would expect to see an actual desert, with the cacti and yellow fields. 68 miles felt very easy and since we had barely any climbing the day was not extremely challenging.

We arrived at yet another Methodist Church at around 1:00 and headed over to the local pool that had a Sandlot feel to it with painted blue walls and tall diving boards. We got major Cali vibes from the people there as we noticed that every single lifeguard was bleach blonde. When 25 of us rolled up at the pool, we got asked if we were a swim team. An inflatable obstacle course at the pool was the perfect place for races, and some of the little kids there even challenged us to a competition. Orland had a very small town feel to it and the lifeguards were calling out some of the little kids by name when they were messing around.

We have begun to notice that Methodist churches are the ones that usually provide us with potluck dinners and for dinner we were treated to roast beef, rice, rolls, and a plethora of salads. Pretty much all of us helped ourselves to seconds…or fourths (Mackenzie).

Although i4prom was supposed to take place tonight, since we decided to have another early wake up tomorrow we postponed it. Since we are staying at a very tiny church tomorrow it is not looking like the dance will actually take place. Stay tuned.

We are all coming to the realization that we only have three more days of riding and it is STRANGE. In a way it seems like this new lifestyle that we have adopted will go on forever. Sleeping in a normal bed will be weird.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a hard day. Probably the hardest we have left.




Day 72: Redding You Dog

Mackenzie dedicated the ride today per request of his uncle to his Aunt Irene Arciszewiski, who died of melanoma.

Mount Shasta to Redding California. Today was something else lemme tell ya. Although we knew ahead of time that the temperatures would be above 100 degrees, per team vote last night, we elected to keep wake up at a normal 5:45 instead of 4:45 this morning to beat the heat. I regretted being on the 5:45 team at right around 11:00 AM.

Around mile 10 we had to be shuttled two miles because a semi truck had flipped over. It was chilling to pass by the overturned van and see the 40 foot vehicle on its side.  After that two of my group members, Logan and Neeca, had to be picked up by the van because both of their tires got annihilated by an unknown thing. We had lunch at a McDonald’s, where we were all prepared with the downloaded McDonalds app for deals. After that the last 8 miles of the day were brutal. Even on the last downhill of the day, the heat hitting our faces felt like, in the words of Zach, “a hairdryer”, instead of a cool breeze. We pretty much ran inside the United Methodist Church for the air conditioning when we arrived. Overall Interstate 5 was terrible and I think I’ll have nightmares about it.

UMC has been a stayover for our team for the past five years, and for good reason. While eating the potluck dinner of enchiladas, beans, watermelon salad, and other luxuries, we were able to speak with some exceedingly friendly and interesting church members. One person in particular that stood out to me was Mabel, the kind of 82 woman who everyone in the community knows. With dyed red hair that “makes everyone remember her” Maybel is a former Korean War marine veteran that was quick to make a joke, offer us advice like “I have a lot of friends, everyone I like I call my friend, even if they don’t like me back”, or poke fun at the other church members like referring to Peggy, the Director of Ministry, as the “the caption”.  She was very entertaining and made us wish that we could have the same level of pizzazz as her when were that age.

From the dinner conversation I also learned that Northern California and lower Oregon have a movement to succeed and form the state of Jefferson. It doesn’t seem like the proposed new state will actually come into existence, but it is quite interesting if you are curious:

Yet another day that started out comically hard and ended with a feeling of fulfillment.

Eyes on the prize.



Day 71: Mount Shasta

Today Mack dedicated the ride to a family friend of his, Hayden, who at only the young age of 23 is going through chemo treatments for a rare form of brain cancer.

There were mixed reviews on today’s ride. With views of beautiful snowcapped Mount Shasta, the second tallest mountain and potentially active volcano in the US, and our first glimpse into California scenery. It’s weird to think that we have gotten used to seeing mountains as opposed to cornfields.

Wikipedia information about Shasta: “There are seven named glaciers on Mount Shasta, with the four largest (WhitneyBolamHotlum, and Wintun) radiating down from high on the main summit cone to below 10,000 ft (3,000 m) primarily on the north and east sides.”

We crossed our last state border today and took our very first team picture together (haha not). However, California is noticeably hotter than Oregon and we really began to feel the heat during the last 10 miles of climbing

The Mt. Shasta descent was something that was talked about in ride meetings, but turned out to be a bit disappointing. With headwinds, we really did not get to experience the full extent of the 6 miles of downhill that we had anticipated so much.

The scenery in California is actually quite different than Oregon, and only 5 miles into today’s ride we began to spot tall Redwood trees along the side of the road.  Although Mount Shasta, the town where we are staying in tonight is a bit small, it has gorgeous scenery surrounded by forest and views of the mountain top.

At this point in the ride every rider is experiencing soreness and we don’t really know what it feels like to not have a sore behind. We are all looking forward to a break from biking while simultaneously dreading being separated

Don’t let me down California



Day 70: I4Khristmas

Rest day in Klamath Falls! Many of us started the morning with the I4klassic of the Daily Bagel, a local breakfast joint that serves, you guessed it, bagels. They were the best we have had so far, sorry Missoula. Luckily for us the Yeti’s Lair is conveniently located right near the main street and we were able to make a lot of stops today including: the farmers market, some thrift shopping for last minute Christmas gifts, the riverfront park, and the frozen yogurt shop. Once again Mike and his wife spoiled us with a pasta and salad dinner on the sidewalk outside the gym.

This week we will be graced with a celebrity driver, I4k’s very own, Jeff Bogue. Where does this leave van driver rankings, the world may never know.

After dinner we had our last (of about 3) team meetings where we talked end of ride logistics and sadly began to accept that this trip will actually end. After dinner we exchanged Christmas gifts around a computer generated fire and Christmas music courtesy of self-appointed DJ, Mason. Some notable gifts included *possible * anal beads, a used glove, an old hat, a pinecone, a whistle, and a jacket sanitized with a ton of Lysol. After the gifts David finally popped the question (prom) to Madeline with a drawn out magic trick involving making toilet paper disappear into a cell phone. He got a standing ovation by the rest of the team as he finished.

So many mixed emotions about the final stretch of the trip. Slightly worried about California’s terrain where in the words of Kevin “everything wants to kill you”.

David’s always right.



Day 68/69: Crater Lake

We made it to Crater Lake! After climbing about 4,000 feet we saw the deepest lake in the US. It was the bluest and most pristine body of water I have ever seen. This particular National Park might have been my favorite just because it was not overcrowded with tourists like the other parks we visited on this trip. It was nice because during our multi hour rest stop at the top we were pretty much the only ones around, and the only activity taking place on the water was a singular boat riding to the island in the middle of the lake (that is actually another volcano forming).

After our extended rest stop we had to be shuttled to the top of the mountain because the roads and construction made for a dangerous combination for bikers. At the lodge at the top we ran into some PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) hikers looking like they had been through a long journey. (Next adventure?) As we rode down 1000 feet to our campsite the noticeable chill at the top of the mountain got warmer and we were able to take off our jackets.

This morning we rolled out pretty much on time (7:30) and made it to Klamath Falls at around 1:00. We will be staying in the Yeti’s Lair, the famous i4k rock climbing gym stayover. Mike the owner had been hosting the team for a few years and was nice enough to wip up some burgers and allow us a running tab at Dutch Brothers coffee shop. After dinner Mike belay certified myself, Nick Nodus, and Mack and we belayed and rock climbed the rest of the night.

Anyone wanna be belayed?



Day 67: Ahh My Leg!!

Today was a doozy. Another near-century (we’re gonna call 96 miles a century at this point) with 5,000 feet of climbing. The elevation map looked like a right triangle. It was mostly a gradual climb but at 60 miles BAM it started to get extremely steep. At one point there were 7 people sagging in uncle Rico (the van). Although our expected time of arrival at the stayover was 8PM we got in at about 6:00.

Crescent is a town of about 300 people and it is so small that the people at the grocery store knew our stayover contact Gil from us just mentioning his first name to him.  After some last minute changes, we ended up staying at an old haunted out of use restaurant for the night. Complete with a bowling alley, a bar, a banquet hall, and a full kitchen straight out of the 1970’s, this place could pretty much be the set of the Shining. The strange thing about this place was that it seemed like it had been the local hangout one night and abandoned the next day. There were bowling balls and shoes still in the bowling alley and cups still in the bar. We couldn’t resist the haunted charm and ended up playing a game of hide and seek.

We had a surprise today, Jessica returned. After flying all the way to Eugene and then taking a two-hour cab, she showed up at our stayover and surprised us all. After about 15 minutes of just going around and hugging everyone, she was finally able to get settled in for the night.

Tomorrow we have loads of climbing into Crater Lake and we will not have service while camping at the top. It is a famously hard I4k ride and I am quite scared for my knees. We expect it to get extremely cold at the top and tent groups are actually trying to recruit more people into their tent for added warmth.

What goes up must come down right?