Tag Archives: Sunny’s Pedal

Sunny’s Pedal Day 2: What the Hill???

I rarely sleep when I’m not at home.  It usually takes me until day three before I finally get a decent night’s sleep.  I had hoped that the 86 mile ride on day 1 in nearly 100 degree temperatures would have remedied that, but sleep escaped me that night even though I was tired.  No matter.  Any day that we get to ride bikes all day is a great day! The menu for day 2 would include a 105-108 mile ride from Pullman to Grangeville (depending on whose Garmin or online app you followed), over 5000 feet of vertical climbing including a 22 mile climb out of Lewiston, and a side of 100+ degree temperatures. My kind of day! 

Wait, what?  Did I say 22 mile climb?  Yes, I did.  Here’s a preview from one of our tracking devices.


And this wasn’t the only climb.  It was just the most impressive one.

We started the day with a quick breakfast in Pullman at Daily Grind Espresso before heading out.  We decided to stick together until we reached the top of the glorious decent into Lewiston.  Several of us settled into a nice pace line to warm up the legs on a smooth road with wide shoulders.  I knew we’d likely split up once we hit the big climbs, so I took advantage of the team effort and got in some more drafting practice while it lasted. 

With Haley at stateline

With Haley at stateline


I learned a roadie tradition on this trip. Apparently it is customary to sprint to welcome signs.  The trick is to catch your compadres by surprise, but not start sprinting too soon so that you bonk before the finish line. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off with this group of cycling rockstars but it was in the back of my mind.

We gathered at the “Welcome to Idaho” sign.  I’m not sure who won that sprint but it wasn’t me!  



Spiral Hiqhway; I have no words!!!  It is a definite hill repeat destination next summer. 

Ray at the top of Spiral Highway

Ray at the top of Spiral Highway

Seriously, Lewiston friends, I’ll be on your doorstep. Climb a killer switchback hill and then fly down in spiral fashion over and over again?  I’m in!! 


spiral hwy

At the bottom of the hill, Sunny Lane.  A little hard to see the sign here, but it’s there.  She was smiling over us.

sunny lane

Thank you Meg and Natalie!

Thank you Meg and Natalie!

 I cannot say enough about our road support along the way.  They did a great job of traversing the course, chasing us down and making sure we had what we needed, when we needed it.  This is no easy task when eight riders are split up throughout the day.  This was the welcome sign they drew on the bike path, leading us to our rest stop in Lewiston.



 Fueled up and ready for that 22 mile beast, we continued on.  Moises and I stuck together for a while but I was no match for his carbon fiber roadie with race wheels (it’s a beauty!), with my 22 pound steel frame of a road companion. 
Really Fast Carbon Beauty

Really Fast Carbon Beauty







Stunning Steel Turtle

Stunning Steel Turtle

I love my bike!  I just have to work harder to keep up with others.  She’s solid, full-figured, and she’s no wimp!  She carries a spirit of determination, so we always finish.





1170950_10151577651913456_1629050036_n[1]The long climb starts with false flats.  I hate false flats. They’re so deceptive.  If you’re gonna be a hill, just be a blasted hill already!  The high temperatures started to kick in and we heated up fast.  Alongside us was a creek and we were both thinking the same thing.  We parked the bikes in such a way that we hoped our fellow riders will see and join us. We had to scale down some slippery rocks to get there, and we were only able to get ankle deep but that was the best “dip” in a creek I’d ever experienced! (Until day 3, that is!)  Afterward, we split up. I didn’t want to slow him down and I was ready to focus on the slow grind ahead. 


There is nothing quite like making it to the top of an enormous hill. You push and pull, slowly grinding your way up at “mock” speeds of 5-9 miles per hour, taking in the scenery as a distraction from the lactic acid that is building up in your legs, listening to whatever playlist on your iPod helps you dig-dig-dig deep and keep climbing.  And then you see it it.  The top! 

Your Rocky moment has arrived and you claim VICTORY at the top of your mountain!


Or you rest in the shade and wait for others to climb to victory…

moises shade

Tom and Moises rested under small tree at the top of the hill and welcomed the rest of us as we summitted the beast.  Patrick and Cris were both long gone and we had no idea how far ahead they were.  Patrick would go on to be the first to reach Grangeville where his family was waiting to pick him up to head to the Oregon coast for a family vacation.  Thanks for cheering me on as I was oh-so-close to the finish line!  Nice to meet you, Patrick.  See you down the road!!  (Actually, I’ll be documenting my Coeur d’Alene Fondo ride in the near future — WHAT and adventure! — and wouldn’t you know it?  Patrick was the announcer at the finish line!)

There is something about people cheering you on that enables you to get the job done.  It’s how Rocky reached the top of those steps, afterall.  That fist pump and cheer out the window from Patrick gave me the boost I needed as I hit a strong headwind heading into Grangeville.  The dark clouds above looked ominous and I wanted to make it before the impending downpour.  (Oh man, stay tuned for my Fondo experience!)  As I reached Grangeville, my Garmin said 106 miles, others said 107 and still others, 108.  Whatever, it was a long way and I burned about 4800 calories.  FOOD!!  Best thing about training and being active!!  In fact, EVERY meal after a long day of exercise is the best meal you’ve ever had.  I highly recommend it if you are not already in the habit. 

We had initially planned to camp out but there was clearly a crazy storm heading in and Sandi Lebsack was so worried about how exhausted we were and about the storm that she got us some rooms at a motel.  Hot showers!  Thank you so much, Sandi.  You saved the day.  Again!

While we took turns getting cleaned up, I took in some recovery beverages. 🙂recovery drinks

sandy and me

Thank you, Sandy!!

After de-salting and washing the stink off, we dined in style at the Pizza Factory.  Another donated meal thanks to friend Sandy Kantner and my sister, Wendy Kaschmitter.  Wish my sister could have been there for the event!






What. An. Awesome. Day!

The Gang With Happy Bellies

The Gang with Happy Bellies

The best moments of a day like this are sitting around a table with the group, exhausted, refueling, silly and loopy, recapping the day’s events and knowing that tomorrow, you get to do it all over again.  Did I mention the cause?  I believe I did, but if you missed it, refer to Day 1 and this website for the incredible full story.  And if you’re not currently an organ donor, please consider it.  It’s such a beautiful and easy way to make an amazing impact on so many lives as you end your own journey. 

Day 3 (and my last for this ride) recap coming soon.  Plus Coeur d’ Alene Fondo 108 mile crazy adventure bike ride, and marathon relay fun.  Until then, keep moving, keep believing, and never give up. 

Sunny’s Pedal Day 1, Part 2: “Don’t Falafel Your Bike!”

The ride to Pullman was quite simply, a beautiful blast.  We had to resist the urge to go all out in the downwind, knowing that we had more 100 miles days and tough climbs ahead of us.  As an enthusiastic cyclist, this was the most personally encouraging ride I’ve ever been on.  I stuck with the guys in the front, some of whom are members of a local racing team.  I wanted to increase my skills in preparation for an upcoming big cycling event and knew this would be a great opportunity.  For most of my cycling years before the giant shift in my severe asthma, I rode alone.  Mostly because I would inevitably have some asthma trouble and I don’t like to slow others down OR scare them with my breathing issues so I learned to ride solo.  It was a pleasant shift to be able to start riding with others a few years ago and enjoy the camaraderie and occasional competition that comes along with that!  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with these guys but I was determined to for as long as I could.  They gracious enough to have me along and I walked away from that ride feeling more confident than ever before in my cycling skills and conditioning.  I had never learned proper technique as a roadie versus as a triathlete. Heck, I don’t have proper technique even as a triathlete.  I just ride – ha!  I jumped right in, drafting, pulling, and playing right along.  A long, beautiful paved road is really just a giant playground and we had a blast!  Thanks so much, guys.  I learned so much from you!

with the guysthe guys







The scenery of the Pacific Northwest is beyond words.  I wanted to stop constantly to take pictures but we had a destination to reach and we were on a roll.  The chatter helped pass the time and I was amazed at the skill of the guys around me. They have been racing for years and made it look so easy.  I had to focus all of my energy on the tires ahead of me, keeping close enough to feel the pull, yet far enough away to not cause an accident. That meant I didn’t notice some of the details of things around me along the way like they did. I did my part a couple of times and pulled the group along but I have no gauge for how fast I should go. I was so relieved when my buddy came alongside at one point and said, “That was one helluva pull, girl! We’re gonna make it to Pullman in record time if you pull like that!”  My heartfelt response: “Oh thank you for saying that because I’m DYING!”  Being new to true roadie technique, I’m learning how to set the speed for a pull.  In my attempt to do my part, I obviously I overdid it but I was ecstatic to know I could handle it!

Town Greeter at an old gas station. We assumed he worked here back in the day and is wearing the uniform he wore then. What a sweet soul!

Town Greeter at an old gas station. We assumed he worked here back in the day and is wearing the uniform he wore then. What a sweet soul!

We stopped for lunch in Rosalia and we just can’t resist getting a photo with this guy who happily greeted us, allowed us to take the photo and then warmly wished us well and insisted we be careful. What a sweet soul.

Lunch!  We find our support crew just beyond the chalk signs they left us on the road, and they greeted us with cow bells and cheers as we rolled in. We ate at the small park and rested for a bit.  Great conversation and laughter as we got to know each other better.  I had no idea that entertainment would be provided but the combination of personalities in this group made for quite the comical dynamic.  Nothing like a day of riding bikes and belly laughing!

Shortly after we depart, Cris has a surge of…..well something, and rockets past us and into the distance. Patrick and Moises can’t resist trying to catch him and I know I can’t hold that kind of pace and make it through the next two days as well, so I settle in and take in the scenery.  We meet up again as they stop in LaCrosse and we join forces once again to the finish.

We practically fly through the 96 miles into Pullman in 4 hours and 39 minutes of seat time.  Wow!  Actually it ended up being 98 for us because we took an unexpected detour which ended with a ½ climb at about 18% grade!!!  Geez! We make it to our destination for the night, a home which was generously donated to us while the owners were out of town.  Thank you Morse family!

Speaks for itself!  :-)

Speaks for itself! 🙂

We enjoy a donated meal for the riders at South Fork Public House. So much support and generosity on this trip! Guinness never tastes better than after a day of riding like that.  We’re tired and hungry and around the dinner table, it becomes downright giddy. Everything becomes a play on words and having the predisposition of being easily entertained anyway, I’m practically on the floor with every goofy joke.  Even my meal isn’t safe from jabs; I ordered falafel and was taunted with,  “Don’t falafel your bike!” for the rest of the evening.  I know.  It’s not that funny in black and white and when you weren’t there, but it was hilarious at the time and still makes me laugh as I think about it!

In case you are wondering….YES.  I am the “go-to” person for testing out silly jokes!

A fantastic first day and a prelude to what would be an epic day two.  What an amazing day of riding that would turn out to be.  Stay tuned!

By the way, to my fellow asthmatics:  No rescue inhaler needed.  Not once.  What I want more than ever is for you to know that there IS a better way, that you CAN be as active as you want to be, and you should NEVER give up.  EVER!

biz cards

Sunny’s Pedal, A Sunny Ride for Organ Donation

Sunny’s Pedal, Day 1: Something Special is Before Us

Have you ever jumped into something spontaneously because you were drawn to it based on what is known at the time, but somehow you know that there will be something so much more than you can see initially?  Or perhaps the actual experience that you expected morphs into something so much bigger in the end and you can’t do anything but smile and know that God brought it across your path for good reason, beyond anything that you could have come up with yourself?

Enter Sunny’s Pedal

On July 24th, a friend of mine announced that he would be participating in this epic journey to raise awareness for tissue, eye and organ donation.  Two things caught my eye:  The cause itself, and that the means for accomplishing it was a 580 mile bike ride in 7 days…through Idaho! Be still my heart!  1094466_405932132861235_1539202229_o[1]My friend was seeking support and I had planned to offer it, but I knew immediately that I wanted to do so by participating as one of Sunny’s Pedalers.  I didn’t even think about it; the pull was so strong and I knew I was supposed to do this for some reason beyond my comprehension at the moment. There were immediate obstacles. The time for signing on had since passed, I would have less than two weeks to raise enough for the cause in order to participate, I had to take more time off from work (oh, how sad!), I’d have to find transportation back home once I reached my final destination, and I was literally about to move to a new (and fabulous!) place that very weekend so fundraising wouldn’t start for several days.  I had zero angst about any of it; I knew it would work itself out.  Sure enough, within 24 hours the details were covered and over the next 10 days after my move, my supporters jumped on board, providing enough donations to the cause in order for me to participate.  A heartfelt thank you to all of them, whether they contributed monetarily, or with love, encouragement and prayers, or the ride to the starting line! And to my sister who helped arrange for a meal at one of our destinations; more to come on that.

Game on!

My schedule only allowed me to take on the first three days of the journey but what a journey it would turn out to be!  My friend was in the same boat on that so we agreed to make it to McCall (can’t miss White Bird Pass!) and carpool back.

Sunny’s Pedal Eve, Friday, August 9th (also my cousin’s wedding at the same time and I was able to swing by for a short while – so happy for them both!).  We gathered at Hogan’s Diner on the Spokane South Hill for a launch party for the group.  It was PACKED!!  A big shout out to Hogan’s for hosting this event and making so many arrangements for SP!  Add this little gem of a restaurant to your list of places to go.  I only knew my original friend Cris so far, so this was my opportunity to meet the other riders and supporters as well as get the necessary information we’d need for the journey before us.  We met, we ate, drank carbs, took photos and readied ourselves for what was to come.  Sunny’s Pedal would begin at her alma mater, Lewis and Clark High school the next morning, and finish up in Sun Valley 7 days later, where Sunny was living at the time of her death 20 years ago, subsequently impacting 100 lives by being a donor. Staggering to think of and a thought that would keep me going as I put on the miles in the saddle.


What a crowd!

at hogans 2

The first riders! A motley crew 🙂

Day one!  We gather at the High School and prepare to depart._MG_0137

Mayor Condon gives us a send-off but before he does, he reads and presents a
declaration to Sunny’s mom, Sandi that this day was officially Sunny’s day in
Spokane.  A special moment for the family and a fitting way to begin the journey._MG_0180

Sunny was a cheerleader, so it was a special touch that the LC cheerleaders showed up to see us off as well.

And then we were off!

Today’s destination, Pullman, Washington. Shortly into a beautiful warm-up along the trail, we stopped at the cemetery where Sunny rests.  I didn’t know her, but I could not help but feel the emotion among family and friends who were there to gather and greet us, and that emotion spilled over in my own spirit.  This was something special.  Fresh flowers were carefully placed at Sunny’s gravestone, stories shared, tears shed, light laughter at the good memories._MG_0191

As we prepared to depart again, Sandi presented us with cooling neck hankies – I can’t think of another name for them.  She put some kind of binding agent in them that absorbs and holds water like a diaper and keeps our necks cool.  They were fantastic and a life saver in the heat that we would be riding in over the next several days. Thank you, Sandi! _MG_0203 _MG_0199 _MG_0204

I’ll continue with our fun-filled, amazing ride to Pullman for day one soon enough.  For now, I think it’s more appropriate to pause and direct you to the specifics of Sunny’s story, in her mother’s words.  It will give you an idea of not only the emotion and how special this event was, but it also shines the light on the gift of life as a result of tissue, eye and organ donation.  I’ll let the story speak for itself.  If you’re interested, and I hope you are, please visit this blog for that part of the story. It’s extremely impactful.

Stay tuned…

Rom 8:28