Monday, August 13, 2007


Posted by Shanshine

Recently I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. As the Outdoor Ambassador for Medicines Global I was able to represent them in a journey called Hybrid.Pedal, our purpose was to spread awareness about The Conservation Alliance, ride through some of the areas the conservation alliance has helped to protect, and to create a film of the our journey, to be debuted at the outdoor retailer show.

Hybrid.pedal was a team of riders that took a 900 mile bike journey from Portland, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah. We were on the road for 14 days, covering 900 miles and climbing 51,000+ ft. You can get the "day to day" of our adventure here.

There is just no way I could tell all the stories there are to tell...

To say that it was an amazing adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, an experience that will be will me forever, would be an understatement. There is just no way to put into words how truly awesome the hybrid.pedal adventure was.

Looking back over the blur that the trip has become, I can't help but think of how lucky I am. My teammates are all such amazing people.

The adventure started as soon as I stepped off the plane. I was in Portland, and waiting for me was an old friend of mine. Whitney Robins Tidwell. I was stoked out of my mind to see her! We spent that night and the next day together, laughing and catching up. I love Whitney and am so grateful for her generosity, friendship and support.

I came into this journey alone. I didn't know anyone. It was a bunch of Keeners, a guy from Dansko, and our support crew from Cycle Oregon. Let me tell you about these beautiful souls I spent the last 2 weeks of my life with.

The brute strength of our support crew, and the love that I felt from them was incredible. It was awesome to see the passion, dedication, and energy that they put into the trip. It wouldn't have been possible without them. Jerry, the leader, has a huge heart, mixed with Harry's sense of humor and whit, Mike's laugh and energy, and Greg's strength and encouragement were the ingredients for a fantastic journey. Really, could we have had a more perfect crew?

(Jerry, Harry & Mike: left; Greg & I: right)

Then there were the rest of the team. I didn't know anyone coming into this journey, but by the end they were like family.

Erika, my itchy friend who pulled this idea out of her brain and made it happen, who is one of the most loving, genuine people I have met, (Hello Bubble.) I shared a tent with her and we both struggled with itchy legs and feet the entire trip... I just scratch until it bleeds, she took the anti-itch lotion route.
(Erika, Me, Linda)

Miss Linda Tom, L-Train, my teammate and companion in the head winds. There were a number of days that I, along with Linda, were dropped on the descents (we're just little) but we learned to work as a team and found success in working together. Linda was not a cyclist before this trip, she is an incredible person and athlete and I am so stoked to call her my friend. (though sleeping next to her and her kung-fu fighting ways was a little on the sketch side.)

Bree and Brent will make the world a better happier place. They got engaged on the first day of the journey. I love them both both, and am so thankful I was able to share some good laughs and energy with them. A great addition to the trip, along with Kyle and his Kavu sunglasses, who chose to ride solo every day. He is a lover of the river as I am... I absolutely admire his determination and will.

Marc. Darc Marc. What an angel, agreed? Of course. This Dansko man from Delaware is the definition of good karma, really I imagine his Karma jar is overflowing. "The Pain Cave's and Homie Hook-up's" I love this side-burned, shaggy haired, pink-kit wearing man. Though he may disagree with my hippie ways, we all know that Marc Vettori is a hippie at heart. To him I say thank you for his pushing, pulling, kicking, hand-in-the-door smashing, lip biting, ways. He is one of the greatest people I know.

Then there was Chris and his commuter bike. Excellent. An energy ball of life. Still wishing him a speedy recovery and a future full of long bike rides and no "side effects." Chris is a person who can get people stoked on anything, he was the voice of Hybrid.Pedal, an amazing spirit.

Dan, our camera Man, Mr. ignition, in the off position. His excitement, energy, and passion made the trip that much better. I consider it a privilege to call him my friend. Dan was someone that I was able to talk to on the trip and relate to. A fantastic person.

Eric. My kayaking friend, and pal for life, made it possible for me to kayak the Payette one day. Thank You dear hippie dirt boy. As we all know, he is just one of those guys that loves everyone, who has this mellow energy about him, and just makes me smile. Eric rode his bike 40 miles one day, crushing his previous record of a five mile bike ride. We just had a killer connection from the get-go, and I look forward to more adventures with him in the future.

There I was, the hippie nature child, thrown in the middle of the Lycra Spandex, the chamois butter, heat waves, hills, butt paste, laughs, lakes, ipod tragedies, shot blocks and love. I am, get ready for this, the luckiest girl alive. Truly. I am so blessed to know each one of these people. They all changed my life for the better. This was an amazing trip! Though getting back on the saddle every morning was a challenge, fighting the heat, the pain, and the little monster in my brain that said,"just stop." It truly was an incredible adventure.

I saw so many things. We ventured through Mt. Hood, The Sawtooth Mountains, Red Fish Lake, The Steen Mountains, The High Dessert, The Payette River, through hills, flats, wilderness and miles and miles of beauty. One of the highlights of the trip for me was when we stayed in a little town called: Paulina, Oregon. Population: 13. There wasn't much to this town, a general store, a church, a couple houses, some cowboys, border collies, and a couch. As we ate dinner on the lawn that night a cowboy, a genuine cowboy, walked in. He had his wranglers on, with his boots to his knees, clanking into town with his spurs. He wore a 14" brim hat, and had a handle bar mustache that would do Mr. Yosemite Sam justice. He carried with him a guitar case that looked as though it had been around the world. He sat on that porch there in Paulina, and played music for us. It was so special. When asked if he played often he said, "No, I gave that up years ago, now I just play when I want." So it truly was a blessing that he came down from the mountains that night to play for us.

There are so many stories to tell. So many things to describe, but impossible to do so. Though I do have this adventure in a journal, so much gets lost into memory. I took 500 pictures on the journey, you can see them all by clicking here.

I was able to see family along way. My brother Tyler and his wife Rachael, two of my greatest friends, met me in Boise. It was so great to be with family. I was able to kayak on the Payette River one day. I had made mention to the team that I was a kayaker and how hard it would be to ride along a river I had only ever dreamed of running. So they, unbeknownst to me, got me all set up with gear and some paddling partners. So Eric and I paddled. My mind was set free on the water. I felt the peace and soulfulness of the water go through me. It was just what I needed to lighten my spirits and it gave me the push I needed to keep going.

I wore a necklace with three charms on it during the tour. A Heart, a Nickel, & A Paddle. The heart was given to me by my sister, I wore it for my family, the people in this world I love the most. The Nickel was given to me by my softball coach, Coach Clark, it represents teamwork. To be honest I didn't know how relevant teamwork would be on this trip, but as it turns out it was everything. The paddle represents my kayaking friends, my team, that believe in me and encourage me to do my best. Not one day went by when I didn't think of these people and how much they truly mean to me. I am, as I have said, the luckiest girl in the world.

We had some good times and some tough days. But we sure ate good along the way. A favorite eating establishment and general location was Red Fish Lake. Beautiful. The lodge we ate in sat on the shore of Red Fish Lake, at the base of the Saw Tooth Mountains and the trees. As I left the restaurant that evening I noticed a dread lock boy sitting on the steps. I simply took notice of him and continued on. Then I realized that he was still looking at me, pointing. Marcus? A friend. I kayak with this boy, and hadn't seen him in months. It was so great to see him. Another highlight on the trip.
This was the hardest thing I have ever done, the most rewarding, strenuous, mentally & physically challenging adventure yet. This was an emotional trip. There were moments of homesickness, moments of doubt, pain and just plain exhaustion. But these feelings were overcome with feelings of accomplishment, motivation and love for my new friends and teammates. There were times when I felt like I had found that edge, my limit, and had to jump. But in those moments where I felt I had nothing left, there was a friend, a teammate to push or pull me along. One of these moments was day 4. somewhere around mile 80 or so, at the base of the third summit for the day. I hit the wall, in fact I slammed right into it. But as I thought I was out, had nothing left, here came an angel. Greg's hand on my back, pushing me up the hill. Still out of energy, Marc came along, another angel hand, pushing me to success. This is me at the summit. Exhausted. But there.

I had moments when I was brought to tears, just out of gratitude as well as the overwhelming feeling of doing something that I just didn't think I could do... finding the strength that I just didn't know existed, and being surrounded by friends. Would I do again? The blood, sweat, and the tears? Of course. No doubt in my mind.

I love my new teammates and would do anything in the world to make them happy. I am so thankful for the incredible adventure and memories we were able to share together.

All in all it was an incredible adventure. By the last night together we all shared the same mixed feelings. As it was our ultimate goal, our quest and journey, to make it to Salt Lake City, the finish line. We came to a realization that this was our last night together. The journey was coming to an end. We all had become so close, each of us connecting to one another in some way. We had become a team. As I sat at the dinner table that last night, I looked around in complete admiration for my new friends. It was Jerry and Mike's 60th birthdays, so we celebrated with cakes, candles and laughs. Everyone had a good time. Harry had put together gifts for everyone, explaining them in some way. It was awesome. He gave me some anti-itch creme, some "hippie soap" and five stones which read: Faith, Courage, Strength, Spirit & Hope. It was a great way to spend our last night together.

When we finally rolled into Salt Lake City, after a hard day of riding, with some steep climbs, it seemed so surreal. We were there. We were joined by some single day riders that day, but our team lead the group in. We made it. 14 days, 900+ miles, 3 states later, with friendships that will last forever, we were there. I was Home.

I will never forget this experience. I will never forget those who I experienced it with. I am a better person after being apart of this journey known as: Hybrid.Pedal.


fatmarc said...

very nice my friend, I threw you a link on the ole fatmarc page...

Chance & Leslee Lundgren said...

Shannon .... You're my hero!!