Day 60: Oregon!

Julissa dedicated the ride today to momma Burton, a mom of her friend who has breast cancer.

Today we crossed yet another and second to last state border into Oregon. The scenery was pretty much the same as yesterday, yellow wheat?* and rolling hills followed by deserty hills. The 71 miles today felt like an easy day, however the mid afternoon heat made the last part of the day the hottest. Umatilla is a quiet town of only 7,000. For our first dinner we got a community dinner of salad, fruit, and pizza for only $2. Usually on i4k we look at the cost of food based on cals/dollar. And in our eyes the pizza dinner was an extraordinary deal.

Tonight we are staying at the McNary Elementary school. Once we arrived in the gym we noticed that there was a climbing rope. Christina was the only girl to make it to the top! To reward ourselves after the long day, some of us rode our bikes two miles to the ice cream joint in town. “Dairy dependent” Kevin, even finished a 44 oz shake.  After the long day of riding, Micheline was able to finesse showers for us at an aquatic center a few miles away.

We will most likely not have service tomorrow since we are camping in Mary Hill state park. IN only a few short days we will reach Portland. It is crazy to think that teams in the past finished their rides there. It’s so sad that this trip is winding down.

10 more days here, Oregon, what you got?



Day 59: Dad’s Time to Shine

Today we rode for a friend of Michaeline’s ‘grammy’ who passed away from cancer two months ago.

Lewiston to Waitsburg today. We crossed another state border into Washington state, our only night here. Although I expected greenery, our views today were mostly pastures and yellowish hills. Picture the scenery in the movie The Hills Have Eyes. Although it was not the green trees and mountains one thinks about when they picture Washington, it was still nice to see a different terrain in my opinion. During the last 30 mile stretch today it got extremely hot out, which made the 3,000 feet of climbing that we had even harder. Luckily Tyler donated Powerades to all the riders today to make up for the tough stretch.

What’s your hometown like? Wheeling IL. Pretty suburban, not much happening. Occasionally you got some happenings, we got a couple famous people out of the town. But really, nah nothing happens.

How does this ride compare to your last? Oh Man. It’s different. It’s hard to pinpoint what’s different. I think a lot of it has to do with the role as a ride leader. A lot of the time I forget that I am the ride leader.  I’m used to being concerned with a lot of things, every rider, food, small things. For the most part after a couple weeks people got the hang of things and Zach and I really only have to step in when necessary. That’s my favorite type of leadership. Only having to jump in when things need to be changed. It might not be the most efficient, but I think it leads to the most satisfaction for the team.

How does being a ride leader compare to being a rider? Constantly thinking about everyone else. The smallest things like whether they’re feeling well, if they’re having knee pain, whatever. As a rider I did best when I only had to worry about myself, as a leader I do my best when I’m concerned about others.

What the most challenging part about being a ride leader? Getting to know all the riders. I wish that there was enough time and enough ease to get to know everyone on the team. Though I do get to talk to everyone, it’s hard to get to know 26 people. But part of the role as ride leader you are watching everyone, and that creates a degree of separation, its different than I expected. I’m always observing how things are going sometimes.

What is the most rewarding part for you? Seeing how much the ride means to everyone. In Daymon Runyon in New York when they asked us why we are riding I winged it. I said I was doing it for everyone else. It’s one thing to have a life changing experience, but if I can do that for others, at least to make people think more, and make people appreciate others more, that’s why I ride. If I can do that for 26 other people I think that’s really powerful.

What are habits you have picked up during the ride that you wouldn’t do normally? A dumb one is that I’m addicted to sugar now. I usually have control, but I’m at the point where I’m buying a liter of Dr Pepper every day. I hope I get rid of this habit later. Right now all my body craves is sugar sugar sugar. A more profound one: I’m more willing to express my feelings and being more proud to share who I am. It’s pretty easy to open up on this team. No one judges or assumes anything. The way I act now is how I want to be in the future.

What is something that you will always remember about this ride? Watching firsthand day by day, as you guys experience i4k. During the school year at the meetings we talk at you about what the actual ride is like and all the boring logistics stuff and what not. And everyone is like “yeah wow that’s cool”. But not until day 1 do you actually realize what it means. And watching that realization of what the ride actually is is pretty memorable for me.

How has i4k influenced your life and how do you think it will in the future? I plan on going into non-profit eventually. The first time around made me realize that I need some kind of work that is fulfilling, and directly related to helping others. I don’t really have a preference, but I know something will happen in my life that will make me realize what direction I want to go in. But also how nice people are. It’s crazy how little we expect, and how well we are treated by others who have no idea who we are. People who let us stay in their school, church, whatever, it’s pretty amazing thinking that people are willing to do that. It pushes me to be more like the people we meet on the ride. Giving to us even when they have no reason to.

What has been your favorite day so far? 96 mile day in South Dakota. Most i4k feeling day. 96 miles and pretty hilly, but it felt like the ride. At this point we were very familiar with everyone and very open. Of course tailwinds help. Everyone was in a good mood, everyone was having a good time. We had good conversation, good miles. Riding was fun, it was very open and you could see very far in the distance. I was just happy to be there at that time. My group, Tina Sua and Nick Su, stopped at some abandoned house and explored that. It felt like the experience that I was waiting for. I knew the feeling that I wanted, and that was the first day that I reached peak happiness, or the most enjoyable day. Definitely a turning point on the ride.

What has been the hardest day for you? Day 1. We were the mamma birds letting the baby birds fly for the first time. There were a lot of miles and we got in at like 7:00 PM. I was already nervous going into the day and everyone was out riding on their own, and there was nothing that I could do about it. I just had to be confident in everyone’s ability to ride safely so it was very stressful.

Describe i4k in one word: inspirational



Day 58: Riding Easy

Today Mackenzie dedicated the ride to Sharon McRoy, a relative who passed away from triple negative breast cancer on October 30 2013.

We started our day on a somber note this morning and reflected on our dwindling time together. For the Mosher, we took turns talking about our favorite memory with Jessica, who functions as both the team clown and confidant.  Although the team oftentimes jokes that “it’s happening”, meaning that we are hitting our breaking point where we erupt in chaos and fighting, we have been pretty lucky in terms of team dynamics, injuries, and weather. Overall this ride has been ideal conditions and it has made this experience pretty sweet. For our last three weeks, I think we all want to make the most of it.

Today was our last stop in Idaho, but the views today did not disappoint. We continued on highway 12 along the Lochsa river in between a valley of pine hills.  We spotted many lumber trucks chugging alongside us on the highway carrying wood to the factory in Lewiston.

Although 66 miles would make us sore for days during our training period while we were still in school, today seemed like a breeze. We are spending the night in Lewiston, which borders nearby Clarkston. According to Wikipedia Lewiston is, “At the future townsite they encountered settlements of the native Nez Perce. Lewis and Clark passed through the valley on the return trip from the Pacific in 1806 also.” We also learned that the region was once inhabited by the Nez Perce Indian tribe, the group that helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition and provided them with horses that very likely helped them survive their journey.

We arrived at around 2 PM at the First United Methodist Church where we were served a lasagna and spaghetti dinner with kale salad. After dinner we gave a presentation about our organization. Later in the evening I was lucky enough to get a prom-posal from Mackenzie. In my opinion his rap with backup dancer Dylan, Logan and Zach clad in black getups was the best one yet. Although prom was originally planned for tomorrow, our only day in Washington, we have decided to postpone it until we have a full team together once again.

Washington, here we come



Day 56/57: Idaho

Yesterday we camped in Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. Today we had another century day. Compared to the first one, today was much easier in comparison and we arrived at 4:00 as compared to 8:00. We stayed on highway 12 for the entire day today and followed the Lochsa river into Kamiah. Kamiah is a small town of only 1,500, we even saw a man with a cowboy hat on casually riding his horse casually as we rolled into town.

We only have one more stop in Idaho before we enter Washington. Crazy to think that we only have 19 more days left.

Don’t want the trip to end.


Day 54/55: Missoula for the Win

We arrived yesterday in Missoula before noon after a short 55 mile day. The ride was dedicated to Kelly and Lisa, friends of Jody and Kevin who are currently battling cancer.

We arrived and hit up the local favorites from amazing BBQ at the Notorious PIG, Big Dipper Ice Cream, and Thursday live music at Caras park. The church we are staying at broke our pasta and lentils streak by graciously providing us a tasty catered pasta dinner yesterday and chicken pot pie and salad this evening. When we woke up this morning most of us got bagels for breakfast and shopped in thrift stores for our promwear. On our only day in Washington next week we will be having I4Prom, an I4k tradition. The theme is ‘whatever you can find in a thrift store for under $10’.  People have started to prepare by doing ‘prom asks’. Dylan set the bar pretty high by incorporating an ask to Neeca during a morning Mosher involving tapped pieces of paper on people’s backs and Neeca’s characteristic “dropping the weapon”.  If you are not sure what ‘dropping the weapon is” I’m sure Urban Dictionary can fill you in.

We got to visit with Adventure Cycling HQ, a not for profit that promotes bike travel and sends bike expeditions, they even made routes that people could follow across the US and South America. We had a bbq cookout with the staff and got a tour of their modern office. On their walls they had polaroid’s of people that had passed through in 201, doing their own cross country tours. I was surprised that there were three walls filled with adventure seekers riding their bikes across the US. We even spotted a guy we met on the road into the Tetons. I think many of the graduated seniors were low key thinking about applying to the organization because it seemed like an amazing place to work.

Later on today we went whitewater rafting, a Montana favorite. Luckily Jessica got us a group discount and we piled the whole team into a school bus to the Gorge 30 minutes away from town. Our guides were a bunch of college age hippies and they showed us a good time rafting for 4 hours. We had awesome canyon views lined with pine trees and we even got to see a bald eagle in flight. We were lucky enough to be some of the only people on the river.  All of us were jealous of our guides being able to get paid to go rafting on a daily basis.

It’s safe to say that Missoula was the best rest day.

I will be back Missoula.



Day 53: As Far as Small Towns Go..

Today I dedicated the ride to my dad’s cousin, JoAnn. Picture the bubbliest, most loving, generous, Texas woman squeezed into a mere 5’3”. She was always the relative that my sisters and I got excited was staying at our house. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2015 and passed away in her favorite place, San Antonio Texas, this past March.

Even though we had to wake up at 5 AM this morning because the YMCA we stayed at opened at 6, we still were unable to make the 7:15 rollout time, much to the chagrin of Tyler. But it’s okay because what we lack in timeliness as a team, we make up for in fun. The Spanish speaking conversationalists finally got to ride today and there was mucho practica. The ride today was awesome conditions with little to no wind, a cool yet warm temperature, and no winds. We finished off the last 18 miles at an average pace of 19 mph.

Drummond is a small town of only 300 something, however the local diner, Parker’s did not disappoint. With over 101 burger options to choose from, Nick Nodus, the team foodie, even claims that it was the best food that he had on the ride so far. After this pre-dinner before pasta and lentils, we attended a meet and greet at the library, run by husband and wife power duo Jody and Kevin. They both work at the high school we are staying at. After talking about our favorite summer memories from the ride so far, they invited us back to their front yard for s’mores and stories. Their daughter even let us play with her 10-week old golden retriever puppy.

As far as ideal i4k days go, today was pretty sweet. Tomorrow we have a short 55 mile ride to Missoula where we have a rest day.