Volunteer Project: Reach the Beach

Each year the American Lung Associations hosts a bike ride from Portland, OR (technically Beaverton, OR) to or Pacific City on the coast. Each rider is asked to donate $35 dollars to register and raise an additional $125 for the cause. The Reach the Beach web-site makes it quite easy to make your own little web-site and collect and raise donations. Using this model, generating support from riders and their sponsors, the ride raises thousands of dollars for lung disease research and prevention.

So I did this. I raised the money and packed my things to prepare for the ride. And just to be clear, when I say “packed my things” I mean everything that I would own from that point forward. I had decided that this fundraiser/ride would be the perfect opportunity for me to kick off my extended bike tour adventure.

ONce you register for Reach the Beach you get to choose from 4 different start locations making the ride range from 104 miles (Beaverton, OR) to a mere 26 miles (Grand Rhonde, OR). Reach the Beach has all the amenities of a supported bike tour. They’ll carry your bags, have mechanics on hand and best of all they feed you breakfast, two lunches, snacks and a giant dinner at the end. Nom nom nom.

This year was the second year for me to attempt such a feat. Each year I say that I am going to do the full ride from Portland, but each year I fail. It seems that an 8am start time is just a bit too difficult for me. Who would have guessed? This year I missed the cut off by 18 minutes. So, I started my journey from Newberg, OR just a little over 80 miles from the finish line. I was super excited to be on the road again.

Here is a extremely attractive picture of myself to prove it.

But within the first 15 miles I was already bleeding. Since I wasn’t quite used to carrying so much stuff on my bike, I was a bit wobbly. When I tried to stop, it fell on me and cut me with it’s gears. Sigh.

After that, however, it was relatively smooth sailing. I was at the tail end of the pack, but not so late that the rest stops were already closed. This is particularly important, because Reach the Beach feeds you every 10-15 miles. And to be honest, most of the reason that I enjoy bike touring so much is because I get to eat 5-8 times per day.

Anyhow, I wish that I took more pictures while I was riding, but that’s dangerous. So you’ll have to take my word for it, the route is incredibly beautiful. We rode alongside streams and waterfalls and farms and through lush Oregon forests, but I don’t have proof of that. I do, however, have pictures of logs…

…and a tiny llama. You can use your imagination for the rest.

And finally, 9 hours and 82.4 miles later, I Reached the Beach!

My legs were on fire! I was incredibly tired, but I had completed the challenge and was quite proud of myself. This, however, was only the first step. As we speak, I am in Reedsport on the Southern Coast of Oregon. I biked here as well. I am getting stronger and stronger every day, and look forward to more FEATS of STRENGTH as I set out on my quest to become A Voluntourista!

So ya wanna…

Ride in the next Reach the Beach?

Volunteer for Reach the Beach?

Follow my bike ride almost constantly?