We found out earlier this year that the 31st RedSpoke would also be the last. They have cancelled this event and this is my last opportunity to participate. Even though I'm under-trained I leave for the adventure on July 18th. For those who haven't heard me talk about the ride it's a five day across state event that takes us up over Stevens Pass and along highway two as we travel from Redmond (Red) to Spokane (Spoke). I have ridden this event six times over the past seven years and am sad to know this will be my last.
One of the other things you might not know about this ride is the incredible people that come out each year and the special connections made through cycling. I've met some amazing people on this adventure and maybe I've told you the story of Mongo and maybe I haven't. I met him the first year I did this event and he was not to be missed - 6'6" and over 300 pounds. He had played football in college for the WSU Cougars (I'm a Husky but we still got along) and professionally for the Chicago Bears for a bit. He was loud and cheerful and made friends everywhere he went. The next year he signed up as part of our team and we did some training rides and events together. If you were riding an event and needed company all you needed to do was text Mongo and he was there. He didn't ride with us every year for RedSpoke but he made it a point to come out to the start or meet us along the way for margaritas. In 2014 he was at the starting line and promised to join us next year because he was already wishing he'd signed up for that year. Sadly, three days after Christmas in 2014 we heard from friends that Mongo was hit while riding his bike in Florida. When you ride your bike you always hear stories but you never really know the person. Until you do. While I'm sad that this will be the last season for RedSpoke because it is one of my favorite events I am also sad that my connection with a friend will change after this season. It was a way to honor and remember him and feel like he was part of this adventure still.
So even though I've only ridden about 150 miles so far this year and this ride is over 300 I'll be out on the adventure the middle of July. The ride is a fundraiser for the Redmond Rotary as well and while it has always been I've typically just self funded. In the spirit of the last RedSpoke I thought I would send this out to friends and family so if they felt so inclinde to donate they could.
Thanks for reading a little bit about one of my favorite adventures and sharing in my cycling journey. I'm planning to look for new multi-day adventures for next year to continue making fun connections like I have on RedSpoke for the past eight years.
Hope to see you all soon!