Monday, August 6, 2007

Day 13: Bear Lake to Huntsville, UT

Some of us felt our strongest, others explored the depths of their pain caves, and still others of us hit the edge of our sanity levels today. We climbed to 9,000+ ft, and pedaled up a 15 mile hill, against a headwind then descended 25 miles also against a headwind to our destination in Huntsville. With a total of 82 miles in the saddle, we all agreed today was our hardest to date. But the Wasatch Cache Mountains presented us with views every bit as beautiful as the day was difficult.

Hitting false summit after false summit gave me plenty of time to reflect on the milestones of this trip.
- One of us did our first century ride (100 miles in a day)
- We lost an iPod to a port-a-potty (then retrieved and tried to revive it)
- We found two weeks time to spend out of the office
- We met amazing people doing inspiring things to protect our wilderness
- 2 of us (Mike and Jerry) turned 60 (today!)
- 2 of us got engaged (Bree and Brent)
- We traveled to 3 states and covered more than 1,000 miles by bicycle
- We met amazing friends who will be with us for life

As we sat down to our last dinner together Harry, Hybrid.Pedal’s bike mechanic and over all cycling industry pro, gave us all goofy reminders of the trip AND we celebrated Jerry and Mike’s 60th Birthdays over 3 cakes (Chocolate, Carrot & German Chocolate). And we were joined by Barry from SUWA, and John and Adam from the Conservation Alliance. A special night indeed.

It is with mixed emotions that I’ll greet tomorrow, our last day of the ride. Thinking of not snuggling into a palace of a Kelty tent, on a cushy Therm-a-Rest with an inflatable pillow then getting up at the crack of dawn to sort out our identical jumbo Big Agnes duffle bags, kitting up in a hurry then rushing off to hit the road before the heat hits is odd. The end of this epic adventure, not seeing and riding with each other day after day, not having the support structure and family we have become, or continuously stumbling upon sights, gems & people we never anticipated leaves me a little at a loss. BUT the idea of fresh sheets, no shamy butter, clean clothes and a chance to get reaquainted with my running shoes is also very welcome.

So for now, I'll look to tomorrow with a big ol' grin, waiting to see what treasures the day holds for our group.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Day 12: Logan Canyon to Bear Lake, UT

“Follow your heart”
This morning we woke up to find Jeff from Yakima at our campsite which was a fun surprise. He’d braved the lightning storm the night before and driven 11 hours from Portland to join us for another day of riding out of Logan Canyon, Utah. If you’ve ever been in Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake or really any canyon outside of Boulder, it’s that kind of beautiful.

The food train continued in a major way when Carol, a buddy of Mike on our ride support, hosted an amazing breakfast at her house. About 15 really hungry riders descended on her house and devoured almost everything in sight including homemade cheesy bread, eggs and coffee (probably the best and strongest coffee we’ve had so far on the trip, not that we’re complaining).

We reluctantly left the cozy food-filled house and headed off for the 40-mile ride, which followed the course of the canyon along the river along a mellow grade, topping off at a false summit, with some more climbing for good measure – around 30 miles to be exact. When we arrived at Bear Lake (the Caribbean of the Rockies), we jumped in the water and swam. Swam some more, and swam some more. Then Bree, Linda, Shannon and Erika got totally lost in bizarre reeds several feet overhead. Check out the picture. All Shannon kept saying was “follow your heart and you’ll find your way out.”

So the sun’s finally setting now and it’s hard to believe the trip is almost over. Looking forward to 80 more miles tomorrow…wish you were here.

Day 11: Malad, ID to Logan Canyon, UT

We LOVE Idaho scones… They are like a giant dessert doughnut or a funnel cake but in Idaho they are dinner and breakfast food (instead of bread). After a balanced breakfast of “scones” and oatmeal we hit the road. Full of carbs and with fresh legs we were ready to take on the day and finish the Idaho stage of our ride. Today may have been out strongest riding day to date, with group speeds hitting up to 28mph! (Who would have guessed we’d ever be riding that fast?) The only downside we found to the speed is that sight seeing takes a back seat when getting there is such a focus. When we rolled into lunch, it was pretty clear that wheels and butts were most of what we remembered from the day’s ride.

We were psyched to be joined by Kevin Kobe, Adam and Carol from Utah State, who met up with us just outside the Utah border and were source for insider information as we rode into Logan.

Later in the evening Winter Wildlands, Nordic United, and the Bear River Watershed Council brought dinner (and a party) up to our campsite in Logan Canyon. We learned a lot about mixed use issues in Logan Canyon and the ways the local conservation groups are working to deal with them. We were also treated to Shannon’s guitar and song writing which was absolutely divine!

THANK YOU to all the FOLKS IN LOGAN for making us so welcome!
We really enjoyed your hospitality and support of Hybrid.Pedal.

Check out our camera crew!!! --> Not only are they getting great footage of Hybrid.Pedal they are also amazing us daily with their freakish abilities to longboard skate crazy long hills and to film off a mountain bike, riding one handed with a big ol' camera!

Day 10: Ketchum to Malad, ID

Rest Day! Oh beautiful rest day! This one wasn’t planned but was well needed. Ketchum was so beautiful and Ellsworth Estate felt like home away from home so by group vote we decided to spend the day prepping and resting for the rest of the ride. Laundry has never been so fun! The attached pictures best illustrate how a group used to spending long hours in the saddle deal with a little down time.

As late afternoon rolled around we headed out to Malad City, ID where we camped in the city park and checked out some of the local hang-outs.

One thing so unique about this trip is the opportunity we’ve had to spend time in out-of-the-way towns that would not otherwise cross our radar. Places like Paulina and Malad where ways of living and sources of livelihood are so different than ours.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Boise Party Note from Bill

Dear Keen folks (and John):

Thanks so much again for providing the impetus (with your bike ride and film) for our Celebrate the Payette Party Monday night in Boise. By all accounts it was a wild success and a fun evening.

Some highlights:
We had more than 200 people through the door during the course of the evening... And fed and watered them all.

While those in attendance were mostly IRU members already, 10 new families joined on party night.

We covered our expenses and raised $1,000 on top of that for our conservation work.

We got some decent press coverage from the Idaho Statesman.

Stan and Jo sold some stuff — part of the proceeds from those sales came back to IRU.

And our members had a fine time of celebration and great music and beer without being pestered... For once... For money.

All and all, a very good night. Thanks so much for your part in it. Have a safe ride to SLC, and I’ll see you all on party night.

If you love a river. . .
-- Bill Sedivy, Executive DirectorIdaho Rivers United

iPod Recovery in Progress

Stay tuned for the outcome of this risky clean up effort!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Day 9: Stanley to Hailey, ID

So sorry for the long silence from us, we’ve been out of the reach of technology (at least cell phones and internet service) for the past couple of days. What a respite from the speed at which our usual lives fly by. But now that we are back in range, let the good times roll!

Today we really did let the good times roll with a 25 mile descent!!! Yee-haw! First we climbed Galena pass (8,750ft.) after having a Clif Blok and Glucos party at the top we saddled up and rolled down into Ketchum. We rode along the Sawtooth Scenic Byway with smoke filled views (lots of wildfires burning in ID) of the Boulder Whitecloud Mountains, which Idaho Conservation League is currently working on turning into a national wilderness area. When we got into town we stopped in at Elephant’s Perch a great local outdoor store to say hi and then jumped on the bike path to Haley and tonight’s rest place – Ellsworth Estate B&B. Fantastic!

After shower time and some homemade iced tea & brownies, we headed back into Ketchum to attend the reception that Backwoods Sports and the Ketchum branch of Idaho Conservation League put on for Hybrid.Pedal at a park in the center of town. While we had planned for an evening of jazz and beer – we ended up with un-seasonal and much needed rain showers. So in true bike adventure style, we pulled out our Showerspass rain coats (that we were beginning to wonder why we packed) and hung out in the rain with ICL and Backwoods. Here’s a link to the short version of the article that ran in today’s “Idaho Mountain Express” on the event.

I know a lot of you are wondering why anyone would want to ride 1,000 miles from Portland to Salt Lake City. Well… other than raising awareness for the wildplaces that need protection and the people that are working to protect them… the answer is FOOD! Yes, we are eating our way from stop to stop and beautiful area to beautiful area and it is FUN! Brownies, shakes, sandwiches, trail mix, pizza, steak, sour dough pancakes, biscuits and gravy and the list goes on. Trust me, hours outside and tons of food make every mile worth it! OK, maybe too much time on my bike is making me crazy…

Day 8: Lowman to Stanley, ID

Idaho! Have you ever been someplace so beautiful and open and spectacular that you have to call out at the top of your lungs to celebrate the moment? If you have, then you know the absolute joy we felt as we descended into the lush valley that borders Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. If you haven’t – check out the wild lands of Idaho.

While less mileage than most of the ride, today’s nearly 3,000 ft of climbing kept us challenged and encouraged us to work together as a team. After nearly a week on the road, hybrid.pedal is now more than ever becoming a team event. We are learning to work together in a pace line, are “pulling” each other when energy starts wane and (our stronger riders) are literally helping “push” other group members up the hills. Working as a team vs. riding as individuals is making each mile on our bikes that much more fun.

After soaking in the views and nearly floating (if you ignore the headwinds) along the edge of the Sawtooths, we stopped in Stanley for lunch at a great little bakery off the main road. If you are in Stanley this bakery is a must eat! From lunch we headed out of town to Red Fish Lake, a place with water so clear you can see your toes on the lake bottom when you are shoulder deep in water and warm enough you can soothe your tired muscles in the lake for hours. Add to that the peaks of the Sawtooths as a backdrop and you end up with something pretty darn close to heaven.

But the decadence doesn’t end there. For dinner we dined at the Red Fish Lodge. Imagine a bunch of cyclists walking onto the set of Dirty Dancing…. That was us.

Quote of the day: “I had a moment of melancholy as we descended into the valley, or maybe it was a moment of zen. How do you tell the difference between melancholy and zen?”

Day 7: Emmett to Lowman, ID

Traffic, wildfires, and long hot hills – but still fun as all get out! Today marked Bree and Kyle (from KEEN) and Bree’s fiancĂ© Brent (yes -- they got engaged in the Boise Airport!) first day of riding with the group. To make the day even more special Suki from Idaho Conservation League and her friend Sharon also rode with us, it was fantastic to have such great energy and enthusiasm infused into the ride, not to mention Suki’s fresh legs setting the pace for us!

We saw more traffic (and mean drivers) on ID Hwy 55, then we have encountered before or since, then hit the hottest steepest climb to date. And to add to the pain caves we were dwelling in on the climb, there was a clear view down to the Payette and all the rafters and kayakers, frolicking and floating down the cool, clean river. Talk about the quickest way to make a hot cyclist bitter! (Just kidding… kind of).

In fact, most of our day was spent riding along various parts of the Payette River. We saw bits of the North Payette, the river protected from damming by ICL and Idaho Rivers United, then camped along the South Payette and where we enjoyed Pine Flats Hot Springs one of the BEST hot spring I’ve ever been to – it was nestled in a cliff above the river with bathwater perfect water (and no sulfur smell).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Campaign Profile: Boulder White-Clouds Wilderness

On Thursday, Hybrid.Pedal will roll into Ketchum, not far from the proposed Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness in Central Idaho. The Conservation Alliance supports Idaho Conservation League ( in their effort to secure Wilderness designation for 325,000 acres in the Boulder-White Clouds.

Ronald Reagan was the last president to sign Wilderness legislation for lands in Idaho, despite the fact that the state has some of the largest unprotected roadless areas in the Lower 48. The Boulder-White Clouds stands a solid chance of breaking that impasse and starting a new era of conservation in Idaho.

Working closely with Republican Congressman Mike Simpson, ICL has helped craft a proposal that will protect much of the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains, while providing economic benefits for gateway communities in Central Idaho. The proposal also makes concessions to the ranching and ATV communities in Idaho. Far from perfect legislation, the Boulder-White Clouds proposal reflects the diversity of stakeholders that want a piece of the BWC pie. For that reason, the proposal has endured criticism from all angles. In the end, though, it would permanently protect 325,000 acres of land, and cap ATV in adjacent lands at current levels. Interesting factoid: There were 750 registered ATVs in Idaho in 1980. In 2004, there were 104,000.

The primary threat to the area is unregulated ATV use. The legislation would help address that issue by defining where motorized recreation is allowed, and where it is not. Without the Wilderness designation, it is likely that ATV use will chip away at the wilderness characteristics of the Boulder-White Clouds.
I'm sure it's been a long haul for the riders from Boise to Ketchum. We hope they enjoy a nice visit and party when they are in town!
John Sterling
(Still at my desk in Bend, wishing I was on a bike)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 6: Rest Day!

We are currently at a party at Idaho River Sports in Boise, ID to celebrate the Payette River put on in honor of Hybrid.Pedal to raise awareness for local conservation group Idaho Rivers United. We are psyched for such a great reception, delicious BBQ with locally grown butter dipped corn on the cob and cold beer and wine donated by the Co-op and Sockeye Brewery all set to some tasty local music by Bill Coffey and Ned “with the amazing hair.”

On this rest and recovery day we want to send a BIG THANKS to all of you who have been rooting for us on our journey. From here the ride will only get better!

Day 5: Burns to Frenchglen, OR

We went into today expecting an easy refresh day after yesterday’s 90 miles only to find that each day presents its own challenges. Although the road from Burns to Frenchglen is only 60 miles and mostly flat it became one of our most grueling rides. With long stretches of open prairie land, cross winds and a clear view of exactly what lay ahead today’s ride was a tough one.

As the miles slipped past us we entered the wildlife refuge that surrounds Frenchglen and prairie turned into marsh grass and rock banded hills. In the end we were rewarded for the days efforts with dip in a deep, fresh swimming hole (3 sandwiches), a home cooked meal at the Frenchglen Hotel, and air conditioned rooms and a grassy lawn to camp on. Much to our glee the bugs that we had been warned about seemed to be taking the night off.

After a brief nap we headed off to Steens Mountain Wilderness Area, which we had been watching on the horizon all day. I don’t think any of us were prepared for the take-your-breath-a-way beauty of this amazing place. The Steens is one of the places Conservation Alliance Grants helped to preserve. Standing atop this 9,000 ft. mountain overlooking geographic features unlike anything I have ever seen before, watching the sunset, then the moon rise was a moment of a lifetime and the kind of experience that makes the importance of the work of conservation groups across the world come into sharp perspective. I am so grateful the Steens will be available for future generations to experience.

As we turn in tonight we are all looking forward to a great rest day tomorrow as we head off to Idaho.

A Little History: Steens Mountain, Payette River

As the Hybrid.Pedal riders cross the border between Oregon and Idaho, I thought it would be a good time for a history lesson. The team spent last night in Frenchglen, a small town on the west side of Steens Mountain. Steens is often called the "crown jewel of Oregon's High Desert", and I won't argue.

In 2000, The Conservation Alliance gave $20,000 to Oregon Natural Desert Association ( to support the group's effort to secure permanent protection for Steens Mountain. In the waning days of the Clinton Administration, ONDA generated the public support necessary to help move legislation through Congress to designate 170,000 acres on Steens Mountain as Wilderness. In addition, through the legislation, ONDA won the first-ever legislated "cow-free" Wilderness on 100,000 of those acres. (Grazing is allowed in Wilderness unless otherwise prohibited). The protections ensured that Steens Wilderness remains roadless and closed to resource extraction forever.

Tomorrow, the riders will pedal along the North Fork Payette River, which holds a special place in the lore of The Conservation Alliance. In our very first funding cycle, back in 1989, The Conservation Alliance made four grants, one of which was to the Friends of the Payette. It was a little group of paddlers that banded together to halt a proposed dam on the North Fork Payette. Those of you who paddle, will recognize the NF Payette as one of North America's premiere whitewater runs. This ragtag group of kayakers decided to take on JR Simplot -- Idaho's largest landowner -- who wanted to dam the NF Payette for hydropower. Friends of the Payette -- which morphed into Idaho Rivers United ( -- stood up to Simplot and rallied enough public outrage to halt the dam proposal. The victory proved to The Conservation Alliance that supporting passionate, local organizations was the most effective way to preserve the special wild places that we need for habitat and recreation.

As Hybrid.Pedal continues through Idaho, the riders will visit more places that need protection. It's important to pause and remember the people who worked hard to save places we now enjoy, and occasionally take for granted. Thanks ONDA and IRU!

John Sterling
Conservation Alliance Executive Director
(still chained to my desk)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day 4: Paulina to Burns, OR

90 miles today! Make that 90 miles of climbing and ripping descents. It was a roller coaster of a day, and with temperatures hitting 97 degrees it tested all of our endurance.

As we darted (and slugged) through Ochocos we were stopped by a (very friendly) ranger who almost turned us around due to fire crews at work. Thankfully he was sympathetic to the mission of Hybrid.Pedal and let us proceed with caution. The stop also provided a much needed rest after the longest hill climbs to date en route to Salt Lake City.

One of the most amazing things about the country we rode through today was its vastness and the change in landscape. As we traveled from high desert to forest and back down into the plains I was reminded of how special Oregon is and how very important it is to set aside lands that will retain the character of what we saw today for future generations.
As I sit in Burns at the Sage Bed & Breakfast enjoying the last hours of the day, and the accomplishment of our hardest ride to date I'm looking forward finding out what adventures are on the horizon for us tomorrow as we head to the Steens.

Prineville to Paulina, OR

What a day! We saw miles and miles of open space, on our 58 mile ride today. After a long gradual climb we hit one of the most fun descents into a gem of a valley. Definitely a ride highlight. We all seem to be riding stronger and are traveling faster than anticipated, but with a 90 mile ride ahead of us tomorrow, we’ll get a real sense of how much the group has progressed.

Today we stopped in Post, OR. (photo of Post general store).
Which is significant to our journey for 3 reasons:
First - it is the geographic center of Oregon.
Second - it is the location where Linda lost her iPod to a port-a-potty. Although it was a sad moment, the comedic value of the loss mitigated the tragedy of the situation. The saddest part of the loss will be riding (tomorrow) our longest day on the trip sans music.
Third -we met Mariah, the grand daughter of the Post General Store shop keeper who amazed us all with her animal impersonations. This little girl could give Jim Carey a run for his money. She did the most convincing cougar any of us had ever heard.

After the ride we settled in for the night in Paulina, OR (population 36). This overnight ended up being more of a treat than any of us could have anticipated. The town Mayor Mason came out to greet us, the locals made us a pasta dinner, at which Linda's salvaged iPod (retrieved from the depths of the port-a-pottie) made a suprise appearance.
Add a dip in a 4 sandwich swimming hole in the Ochoco National Forest to the mix and , and music with “cowboy singer,” Jerry, who came down from the range to play for our group and end up with a truly perfect day for the Hybrid.Pedal crew.
It was amazing to see such different ways of life and to catch a glimpse of how creating wilderness areas impacts differnt groups of people. For instance, Mariah has grown up with daily wildlife spottings that without protected wilderness areas may one day become rare.
Stay tuned for updates on the iPod saga

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hybrid.Pedal Team Doing Great

As doping scandals diminish the Tour de France, the integrity of the KEEN Hybrid.Pedal team remains intact. They've downed plenty of CLIF Shot Bloks, and a few cold beers, but the riders are making their way across Oregon without blood replacements or steroid injections.

I visited the group in their campground in Prineville, Oregon last night and their spirits were high after a great ride from Sisters by way of Smith Rock State Park. Riders from Bend and Sisters joined the group for most of the day. The crux of the evening was swatting gnats. I decided not to tell them about the mosquitoes that await them when they reach Frenchglen.

They are off today for what will likely be a quiet few days traversing Eastern Oregon. The area is rich with Pronghorn and raptors, and wolves are making a gradual comeback to the area, so, with any luck, they'll see plenty of wildlife along the way.

-John Sterling (stuck in my office in Bend)
Conservation Alliance Executive Director

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 2: Sisters, OR to Prineville, OR

Eastern Oregon brings it! After a tasty breakfast in Sisters (where we found a newspaper that covered yesterdays kick-off in Portland) we were met by 50+ riders from Bend and Sisters who came together to ride with us in support of Conservation Alliance Grantees, Oregon Natural Desert Association and Deschutes Basin Land Trust.

Brad Chaulfant Executive Director of the Land Trust and Sister’s Mayor Brad Boyd led our group on a super fun 47 mile ride with peleton speeds hitting up to 28 miles per hour. Not to impressive when compared to The Tour but way faster than we ever imagined we’d travel during Hybrid.Pedal. With long deserted roads, vistas to Skyline Forest and a lunch stop in Smith Rock, day 2 of our ride proved to be every bit as fabulous as day 1.

In large part because Hybrid.Pedal is a corporate funded ride, buzz around the ride continues to spread. Bend/Sisters local news and radio shows came out to interview today’s riders showing that Hybrid.Pedal is having an affect on drawing attention to Conservation Alliance issues. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to all of Hybrid.Pedal’s sponsors for using their names to drive awareness for the Conservation Alliance and the areas it is helping to preserve.

Today also marked our first swimming hole stop and the creation of the swimming hole rating system. On a scale of one to five, our swim spot in the Crooked River got “two sandwiches.” The sandwich system is based on clarity of water, river bottom type, water depth, and scenic value.

Movie worthy moment of the day: Shannon (Medicines Global) receiving a FedEx package on our lunch break at Smith. Darn those guys are good!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 1: Portland to Government Camp

We started at 7:30 with an amazing send off breakfast at the KEEN headquarters then headed out for a 60 mile jaunt past the proposed Mt. Hood Wilderness area to Government Camp. Our crew of 18 (with representatives from Yakima, Dansko, Medicines Global, KEEN and Oregon Wild) had the great fortune of a perfect Oregon summer day for the inaugural day of the ride.

Two flats, a stop at Joe’s Donuts and bags of CLIF Bloks later we finished the day with a celebratory beer then parted ways with the Yakima and Oregon Wild crews as our core group of 5 riders headed on to Sisters on the road.

Quote of the day: If you don’t try to control stuff, everything works out better anyway – Dan Austin, Hybrid.Pedal cinematographer.

Day 1 Crew

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hybrid.Pedal Starts Tomorrow!

Hi All,

John Sterling from The Conservation Alliance here. Well, after many months of planning, the Hybrid.Pedal Bike Tour is finally upon us. And for those of us who will be riding from the KEEN offices in Portland to the flanks of Mount Hood tomorrow (65 miles and 4000 vertical feet gain), a few extra days of preparation might be in order!

I want to thank the folks at KEEN for conceiving of Hybrid.Pedal. The tour route will connect the dots of special wild places between Portland and Salt Lake that Conservation Alliance grantees are either working to protect, or have already protected. Places like: Mount Hood, Skyline Forest, and Steens Mountain in Oregon; the Payette River and the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness in Idaho; and Logan Canyon in Utah. Hybrid.Pedal is a brilliant way to showcase these places, and the local organizations that are working to safeguard them for future generations.

It is easy to take our wildlands and rivers for granted. Threats to these places can arise quickly -- like when the North Fork Payette was slated for a new dam -- or they can prey slowly on a place -- as with the intrusion of motorized recreation in Southern Utah or Central Idaho -- gradually diminishing their wilderness qualities.

It is also easy to take for granted the organizations that work tirelessly to protect these wildlands. Seven of those organizations are partners in Hybrid.Pedal, and they deserve full recognition here: Oregon Wild; Deschutes Basin Land Trust; Oregon Natural Desert Association; Idaho Rivers United; Idaho Conservation League; Winter Wildlands Alliance; and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Each of these organizations represents thousands of people who care about protecting the special wild places in their back yard. These groups thrive on a passion and commitment to the land, and from a sense of responsibility to save special places for future generations. For that, we honor them.

So, tomorrow, an intrepid group of cyclists will leave Portland, and ride 60-70 miles per day for two weeks until they reach Salt Lake City. Along the way, they'll be joined by dozens of additional riders for a day or two. They'll see the places Conservation Alliance funding is helping to protect, and they'll meet the organizations behind those protection efforts. Fortunately, you can follow their exploits here each day. And, a film crew will capture the Hybrid.Pedal experience and distill it into a documentary to be released shortly after the ride ends.

On behalf of The Conservation Alliance, thank you to everyone who has helped make Hybrid.Pedal happen. And thanks especially to the riders. Enjoy the journey, and we'll see you in Salt Lake!

-John Sterling, Executive Director
The Conservation Alliance