My seven day cycling adventure in Eastern Washington and Canada is now a memory, and my body has fully recovered from the agony I put it through. I have a real sense of accomplishment for completing this adventure and am equally pleased my brain is now empty of a desire to do anything like this again.

Riding with 31 other cyclists, our group covered 480 miles in a circle from the little town of Republic in northeastern Washington into Canada and back to Republic. During the ride we pedaled for seven straight days, crossed five mountain passes and pulled 28,000 feet of climbing.

It was an area of Washington State previously unknown to me and, I suspect, many long time residents. Based heavily on timber and mining, the region has fallen on some hard times, but the residents were proud of their little towns, friendly to strangers (even those on bicycles), and intent on making life work in a new world.

The Canadian portion of the trip featured some spectacular mountain passes, Lake Kootenay (which took almost a full day to ride along), two beautiful free ferries, a hot springs that wound deep into a mountainside, and some outstanding breweries.

For many of my fellow cyclists, my dream trip was only one of three or four such adventures they will undertake this summer, including some that involve camping out in tents for a fair number of nights – ugh.

I can’t resist sharing a few observations about how it relates to the day-to-day communication challenges we face at VHPR in helping our clients deal with a changing world.

  • You really do need to use all of the channels. The challenge of riding 60-90 miles per day with 5,000 feet of climb did not leave as much time as I had hoped for photos and videos. However, I made the time and have to say the photos were the best way to convey the trip to family and friends. I’m trying to use my camera every day.
  • Chopping a big challenge into manageable parts really does help. I never thought “how am I going to do all I have to today?” Rather I had a strategy for making it to the first rest stop, then a plan to make it over the mountain pass, then a strategy for getting to the next rest stop, followed by looking forward to the relaxing hot springs at the end. Before you knew it, another day was successfully completed.
  • You need to define your own joy from such an undertaking and don’t look to others to provide you with your “way to go.” While I wasn’t the first man to make it to the top of the pass, I celebrated my own success and gave myself ample praise for my success. In fact, several weeks later it still feels great.

For a link to our itinerary, you can check out Cascade Bicycle Club’s website at www.cascade.org/EandR/tours/tour_wa-bc.cfm.

Boyd's summer 2010 bike ride - Washington to Canada

Boyd’s summer 2010 bike ride – Washington to Canada

Boyd and his bike on the ferry

Boyd and his bike on the ferry

A beautiful day at Lake Kootenay.

A beautiful day at Lake Kootenay.

A long slog up Kootenay Pass.

A long slog up Kootenay Pass.

More pictures of Kootenay Pass.

More pictures of Kootenay Pass.

Leaving Colville, Washington on the way to Kettle Falls

Leaving Colville, Washington on the way to Kettle Falls