Reach the Beach 2011

It’s amazing what a little peer pressure can get you to do. For example, you get an email from a friend who asks if you (and some other folks) are interested in riding Reach the Beach – a 104 mile bike ride from Portland to Pacific City, supporting the American Lung Association – in a few months. You put off responding because you’re used to riding about 4 miles commuting to work, not 104 miles. Then others say they’ll do it, and the peer pressure mounts. So you say you’re in, and you frantically try to figure out how to ride 104 miles in one day.

PHOTOS FROM THE TOP

ONE: THE START – TWO: GRANDE RONDE – THREE: THE BEACH
FOUR: FINISH – FIVE: JERSEY BURN – SIX: REACHED THE BEACH!

Yes, peer pressure convinced me to do Reach the Beach. Prior to the ride, I did some training rides… I got up to about 60 miles and felt pretty good. Not that I thought Reach the Beach would be easy, but hey, the difference between 60 miles and 104 miles is pretty much nothing in the grand scheme of things, right?

We left Portland (Beaverton to be more specific) at 8am; we arrived in Pacific City at 4pm. Almost 6 1/2 hours of that were on the bike seat, turning the pedals over. And over. And over. I learned the benefit of riding in a pack. I learned that headwinds suck the strength from you more than anything. I was reminded that Oregon is a great place to ride a bike, and you gain a whole new appreciation of its beauty when viewing the state from the seat of a bicycle. I learned biking 104 miles isn’t easy. I learned the last four miles is probably the hardest. I learned the human body can overcome physical limitations through mental cajoling and the promise of beer. I learned you earn the license to eat whatever you want if you ride your bike that far. And I learned that peer pressure, when used for good instead of evil (I’m still not sure which this qualifies as), can be an excellent motivator to get you out of your comfort zone and try something new, challenging and ultimately, fun and rewarding.

I ended up raising $285 for the American Lung Association. Thank you to all my friends, family and colleagues who donated to the cause. A second “thank you” to all those who offered their support via Facebook, Twitter and text messages. Those little bits of digital encouragement kept me moving. The third “thank you” goes to the volunteers out on the course who were fantastic, directing traffic and making sure everyone was okay. My fourth “thank you” goes out to the people who waved us on along the course, especially those who greeted us with cheers and cowbells in Pacific City. Your encouragement was amazing. My final “thank you” goes out to Steve and Dave, my teammates on the ride (as well as Adam on the training rides). Thanks for making me push myself a little bit further. And a bonus “thank you” to my wife, who plays a role in pretty much all of the previous thank yous.

Pacific City, I may be back next year.

104+

MILES

16.75

AVERAGE SPEED / MPH

38.84

TOP SPEED / MPH

2241

VERTICAL GAIN IN FEET



p.s. While this post is about riding a bike for a long distance, feel free to use that as a metaphor for any large challenges in your life.

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