The ride today is more majestic and beautiful to-date. The ride was just 77 miles and 3,800 feet. We rode along the Columbia River and headed up the Hood River to the infamous Gorge towards Mount Hood. If you have not been to the area you should add it to your “bucket list”, including summer skiing on the Mt. Hood Glacier.
Unfortunately on the ride I was sideswiped by a car. All things considered I am in good shape other them some nasty scrape and contusions on my elbow, thigh and hip. Ironically I did more damage to the car then myself and was able to complete the ride. This serves as a stark reminder that no matter how well prepared you are and practice safe riding protocols (including wearing a bright jersey, use flashing lights on the front and back), there is little defense from an inattentive driver.
After seeing that I was ok, the driver demanded I pay $200 for the damages to her car. I shattered the passenger mirror and put a crease in the side of her car from the front wheel to the back of the car. Apparently I only fell after she past me. The group gave me high scores for not falling immediately! While we are only in the ride three days the support and comradery from the group and staff of Trek has been fantastic. Thank you.
In response to her demands of payment, our group “circled the wagon”, advised her of the law in Oregon and called the police, letting her know she did more then $200 damages to me, my clothing and the bike. She then left the scene of the accident. The police (Deputy Sheriff Joe Graziano), was great and helpful and concerned on this being a hit an run and have put a bulletin out for her and her car. Shortly afterwards I was interviewed by two TV stations (KATU Portland and KGW-TV) regarding the accident and my ride for Alzheimer’s recognizing not only the patient, but the impact on their loving caregivers.
Tonight we are staying at the Hood River Hotel. Called the windsurfing capital of the world, Hood River is just an hour from downtown Portland, located at the panoramic crossroads of the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Range. It’s chock-full of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails, craft breweries, wineries and farm-to-table bounty. Tomorrow we are looking at 101 miles with the largest elevation gain for the trip at 8,300 feet. Time to rest up and get ready for tomorrow.
A beautiful day riding out from Astoria towards Portland, Oregon. 97 miles and climbing 4,600 feet in 5:47 minutes. While is it a journey and not a race, my average speed today was 16.9 mph and a max speed of 38.6 mph. A great day to be alive, though the final 10 miles into Portland was hot (86 degrees) with a headwind and I was out of water ….. but not without energy, inspiration or motivation.
Experiencing the eclipse was surreal. We stopped at a fire station in Mist-Birkenfield in the middle of nowhere, and were welcomed like family. While we here at 98.6% of totality, it was still near daylight, though the light was somewhat eerie. It got cold and we all got a chill, the street lights turned on and some roosters started to crow! I am sure everyone has their own story and experience. Go UW Huskies!
A great day for the start of the ride of my dreams. Dipping the front wheel into the Pacific Ocean in Astoria, Oregon, a tradition for cross country riders at the start of the ride and and again when we finish when we reach the Atlantic ocean. A “picture perfect” 30 mile warm up and 3,770 miles to go!
The clear blue sky provided a moment of reflection of the beauty of the Northwest and how fortunate we are to enjoy these moments. It also served as a time to reflect how others are dealing with the impact of Alzheimer’s and to pray for them and their families. Wearing the Alzheimer’s jersey today sparked number conversations and encouragement along the way. On Friday KOMO News Seattle (Herb Weisbaum), interviewed me about the ride and what it means to me. Share your thoughts.
In only four days I will be starting on the ride of my life, a ride with a purpose. It is somewhat ironic that the first full day of the trip from Astoria to Portland, Oregon we will be riding through a near total eclipse, (99%). Shortly after starting our 97 mile ride, we will start to experience the eclipse. I anticipate it will be somewhat surreal. Over a period of 2 1/2 hours we will slowly lose our light (and sight), somewhat like one loses their memory from Alzheimer’s. Fortunately for me and the other 21 riders on the group, it will be like entering a tunnel knowing we will see the light at the “end of the tunnel”. Unfortunately for the 47 million afflicted by Alzheimer’s and their families, they are not facing such a positive outcome, yet.
To-date friends, family and the community have raised over $6750, moving us close to our $10,000 goal Thank you! Please consider your support. 100% of all funds raised go towards finding a cure and treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Poem from my mother, Louise Spiezle (Peabody Mass)
by Louise Spiezle
As you get ready to go away, I have a few words to say
On the 20th of August you will start one of your lifelong dreams
As you start cycling across the USA seeing many new scenes
Forty-five days later you will arrive in Maine,
Hope the weather will be nice and without rain.
when you finish this trip and head back west
You will have great memories and will need a good rest
At the end you will probably be tired and sore,
But you will have memories and pictures galore.
I am proud of your endeavor and remembering your Dad
But when you are safely home I will be glad
Stay well and enjoy your time away,
I will miss our calls is what I want to say.
Love, good luck and happy riding
I am humbled by the support of not only friends and family, but from strangers who have learned of this endeavor and challenge. As I shared in an interview today, it is not about me, nor the bike, it is about supporting everyone who has been impacted by this disease. I have found may strangers who just need to talk and share their stores, their pain and most importantly their hope for a cure or treatment. Combined this is all the more of an inspiration for my ride.
This ride is run by Trek Travel (part of Trek Cycles). It is fully supported with a mechanic and guides who will provide the encouragement and nourishment to make this a ride of memories and a “Ride for Memories”. To donate visit my fundraising page.
Today I hit the hills climbing close to 4,500 feet over 50 miles in preparation for the trip in just 12 days. During the ride I thought of how Alzheimer took another victim, Glen Campbell at 81. As I pushed myself, some of his classic tunes came to mind pushing me to ride harder. It also reminded be how Alzheimer’s strikes another victim in the US every 66 seconds. Like my father he struggled to maintain a quality of life during the early stages and was with family at the very end finding peace.