Their StoriesHere we collect the stories from riders over the years.
2016Riders Monique, Hagen, Trina, Óscar, and Carly.
When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.— Sherlock Holmes author, Arthur Conan Doyle, Scientific American, 1896
When I first learned of Mark Bosworth's story and his family's decision to create a fund in his honor for first time riders, I felt an immediate connection with them. At the time I was enduring a broken heart and over the course of my training I would experience the loss of one of my favorite Aunts. Reading about Mark's love for cycling and hearing stories about his jovial spirit while volunteering with Cycle Oregon somehow made my own season more bearable. The above quote from Arthur Conan Doyle became my mantra as I let time in the saddle heal my heart and help me grieve the loss of my Aunt.
Having completed my first triathlon a few years earlier, I had rediscovered my love for cycling. It was then that Cycle Oregon made it onto my bucket list as a
One of the highlights of the week ride for me was wearing my Mark Bosworth jersey and having people come up to me throughout the week who had known Mark and share stories about him with me. Some had known him from Cycle Oregon and others had known him professionally, but all had wonderful memories about how kind, joyful and funny he was. I especially enjoyed stories that Eric (Mark's brother) shared with me at dinner the first night and a story that Julie (Mark's wife) shared with us the last night at dinner with their family. This made riding in honor of Mark all the more special.
I also enjoyed connecting with other riders throughout the week. Two of my favorite instances were opportunities I had to share my massage skills: one of which was with a gentleman who was experiencing neck pain up Bear Camp Rd. and the other was with a woman outside the showers who was experiencing lower leg pain. It brought me joy to serve these people and was just one way that showed that we were all connected on this journey we were taking together. Meeting the other scholarship recipients also was a huge blessing as they shared with me what brought them to the ride. I was touched by each of their stories.
The whole experience of Cycle Oregon taught me a life lesson. When I heard about the 2016 route I was excited and apprehensive. I had spent 10+ years living in Southern Oregon and knew the route well. I had even worked for a rafting company shuttling vehicles up Bear Camp Road and knew how steep it was. Honestly, the thought of riding my bike up Bear Camp Road was paralyzing at times. When I looked at the route I saw every other day compared to day 5 — Bear Camp Road. In contrast, I imagined day 3 — Bandon to Gold Beach to be very peaceful, serene, and flat, with a beautiful ocean view and a little detour out to a lighthouse.
Ironically, day 3 — Bandon to Gold Beach was my toughest day! The combination of the fierce wind on highway 101, fog at certain points, the cold weather, barely a shoulder to ride on, with large semi-trucks zooming by, gravel and the hills on the way to the lighthouse detour was NOT how I pictured that day going. I fought a negative mind space most of the day, but I got through it and finished. After Day 3, I was having crazy thoughts like
Thankfully, I did not succumb to these crazy thoughts and chose to continue riding. Day 5 came and I woke up with the feeling that it was going to be a good day! With the route before me, Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park via Bear Camp Road, I started out singing to myself from the saddle as I watched the dawn break. I was filled with a thankful heart at this opportunity I had been given and everything that brought me to this point. I believe knowing the road gave me a home field advantage as I made my way up Bear Camp, recognizing my surroundings. I had moved from Southern Oregon about a year earlier and there was something about travelling through familiar places, as a different person, that allowed me to recognize the growth and healing that had taken place in my life over the last year. Again, my heart swelled with gratitude. I was so thankful that my fear of potential failure (not being able to make it over Bear Camp Road) did not overtake me and rob me of this wonderful day!
These particular two days of riding showed me that life is not always what we expect: the things we think are going to be easy may be hard and the things that we think are going to be hard may be easy. Hard or easy it is in the journey that we find out who we are, not the destination. The life lesson I learned was that the only way to find out who we are and what we are made of is to show up and ride! I was surprised that other riders also shared my apprehension about Bear Camp Road and found the route from Bandon to Gold Beach challenging under the conditions, it just goes to show that we are more similar than we are different.
My hopes for the ride were to stay safe, have the stamina to complete it, and enjoy the journey with my fellow riders. I would have to say that the ride exceeded my expectations as I did not experience any injuries and did not even get a flat tire over the week. I was able to complete the week ride without using the SAG wagon and met wonderful people along the way, some of whom I am still in contact with. The ride has also left me with an incredible gift, cycling as an anchor for me when life is easy and when it is hard. I want to especially thank the Mark Bosworth fund and family as well as the Cycle Oregon staff and volunteers for this opportunity.
Óscar's StoryMy name is Óscar Fernández. I am an immigrant from Costa Rica and currently teach courses on race, social justice, and immigration at Portland State University. I was fortunate to receive an award from the Mark Bosworth Fund for Cycle Oregon's 2016 ride in southwest Oregon.
Commuting by bike was not something I did growing up in Central America. I only took the public bus to visit my grandmother during Christmas and summer breaks. As an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan, I bought my first bike outside a fraternity house for $35. At Penn State, I bought my first mountain bike from another graduate student, and only practiced mountain biking. When I moved to Portland in 2003, I sold my Honda Civic and became a bike commuter.
During the 2016 weeklong Cycle Oregon ride, and especially during the long climbs (the 16-mile Bear Camp climb, for example), my mind wandered. My thoughts turned to Mark Bosworth and his family: How do I honor Mark's memory and his family's love for him?
My mind also turned to events in my personal life: How do I honor my mom who, at the time of Cycle Oregon, was undergoing treatment for breast cancer? How do I honor my dad, Tony Ríos, who was the primary caretaker during my mom's 10-month struggle with cancer, radiation, and chemotherapy?
My thoughts also turned to bikes and death: My uncle Óscar was killed on his bicycle by a motorcyclist who was speeding, lost control of his motorcycle on a curve, and crashed head on as my uncle returned to his house from my grandmother's house. Both cyclist and motorcyclist died on impact.
My mind also turned to incredibly banal preoccupations: Jeez, I have a stomach cramp; I really should not have eaten that second sandwich during our lunch stop in Myrtle Creek. Why am I overeating? Am I going to gain weight during Cycle Oregon? Why is my left knee hurting? On the way to Gold Beach, the wind on US 101 is terrifying the hell out of me. Am I going to end up underneath one of the semi trucks heading south on US 101? My mind also turned to cultural anxieties: Are there other Latinos on the ride? Are there other gay, lesbian, and trans cyclists here?
I did experience some brief moments of clarity. Thanks to the Mark Bosworth Fund, I realized a simple truth about cycling and honoring those we love. In some cultures, we honor our loved ones through song, dance, and sermons. During Cycle Oregon, we honor our loved ones through action, by doing, and by the sheer act of cycling for loved ones who are with us and who left too soon.
2015Chris blogged about the ride for his students. We think this will do just fine for our stories of 2015... Please enjoy [Mr. Basham's Class Website]. Scroll down to 9/19/2015. Great work Chris!
Our fav photo(s) — Our three 2015 riders in the first ever MBF Jersey:
2014Riders Lillian, Sara, Ashley.
Ashley's StoryAlbert Einstein said that,
Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.At Cycle Oregon I had the incredible opportunity to spend a week simply riding my bike, eating good food, observing beautiful scenery, meeting new friends, and relaxing. I managed to maintain my balance on my bike all week, despite riding through gravel one day and up a 14.5% grade another, but more importantly, spending a week on my bike helped restore balance to my life as a whole. Two weeks before Cycle Oregon started I graduated from a strenuous 15-month accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Two weeks after Cycle Oregon ended I would take my licensure exam to become a Registered Nurse. A week of getting up every day and just riding my bike, without having to worry about studying, applying for new graduate nurse programs, cooking, and all of life's other little stressors, was exactly what I needed to process the last 15 months, and to prepare for new adventures as I begin a new phase of life in a new career.
Like life, Cycle Oregon was full of highs and lows for me, though there were far more highs than there were lows. Perhaps the most challenging day was day 3 of the ride. It was less that the riding was super strenuous that day, though there was a fair amount of climbing, and more that I mistakenly dropped some gear at the first gear drop. While I was quite warm at the gear drop, I didn't realize how much cooler it would be by the time I reached lunch at the sno-park by White River. Freezing gusts of wind left me visible shivering at lunch, and made the first several miles of post-lunch descent miserable. Thankfully I slowly thawed as we descended down to a lower elevation, allowing me to enjoy the end of the ride into Tygh Valley.
One of the week's highs came the next day, on day 4, when I successfully rode up the 14.5% grade. The hill was steep, and in stark contrast to the previous day's freezing weather, the hot sun beat down upon me as I very slowly ascended, eventually making it to the top. I found it cathartic to push my body to its limit on the hill, and survive.
Another highlight of the week was dinner the last night of the ride. I was able to participate in Cycle Oregon because I received a Mark Bosworth Fund Scholarship, without which I would have been unable to afford the event. Julie, Kelly, and Claire Bosworth, the wife and daughters of Mark Bosworth, had dinner with the two other Mark Bosworth Fund Scholarship riders and I the last night of the ride. The meal was marked by stories, laughter, and a few tears, and was the perfect way to end a wonderful week.
I would like to thank the Mark Bosworth Fund for enabling me to participate in Cycle Oregon. I would also like to thank all of the Cycle Oregon staff and volunteers for making such an wonderful week possible. The event left me physically tired, but mentally renewed and refreshed. I hope to return to Cycle Oregon at some point in the future. I also plan to support the Mark Bosworth Fund so that others can experience Cycle Oregon.
Sara's StoryWill link to Sara's blog ASAP. Sara made lots of friends on the ride.
Lillian's StoryHere's Lillian, obviously having too much fun!
2013Riders Carey, Jeffery, and Kayla.
A Cycle Oregon Memoir
Arriving in John Day, Oregon on September 6, 2013, I stepped off of the John Day People Mover with merely a bicycle and a bag of belongings, ready to go! I was very excited for my first bicycle tour and didn't really know what to expect. I kept an open mind while remembering why I was there.
I was a recipient of the first annual Mark Bosworth Scholarship fund, which sponsored a first time rider to Cycle Oregon (C.O.). I had been chosen because of my newfound love of cycling after the tragic loss of my 13-year-old brother as a result of a bicycle accident. This resonated closely with the tragic disappearance of Mark Bosworth, who went missing during C.O. back in 2011. Although I didn't have the faintest idea of what I was getting myself into on the day before the ride, I knew that I was going to make the most of it and ride in the memory of Mark and my brother… and ride I did!
At the final MODA rest stop on the sixth day of C.O., after riding 57 miles consisting of some of the steepest hills on the ride, I was pooped. It was the first time at C.O. that I truly felt tired. I was excited about the prospect of only being 11 miles outside of camp. “I can make it 11 miles… If I've already rode almost 400 miles this week, 11 should be a piece of cake,” my thoughts convinced me. I got back on that beautiful bicycle and began to pedal… Right into one of the strongest headwinds OF MY LIFE!!! Oh no!
Due to the ferocity of the headwind, I couldn't stay in my big chain despite being on flat terrain. I was using the smallest gears on the bicycle; gears that I only had to use when the hills got ridiculously steep. Here I was, riding towards Seneca, completely exhausted (partly due to riding my first Century the day before) and finally breaking down mentally. IT WAS HARD! When the going became too much for me, I started to think about waving down a SAG wagon to take me back to camp (something I promised myself I WOULD NOT DO!!!).
Luckily, Seneca had decorated the last few miles of the course with little signs every couple hundred feet containing jokes and phrases to keep the riders entertained while rolling closer to town. With my head down and thoughts turning slightly negative, I looked up and there was a sign with a bicycle on it. On that sign were three words that I will never forget. The three words below the bicycle read “Best Day Ever.” Upon reading it, laughter escaped my mouth. I realized that despite the pain coursing through my legs and the fact that, of course, there was a headwind when I thought that the last 11 miles to town were going to be easy, it was indeed the BEST DAY EVER! What else would I be doing on that particular day that would even come close to comparing to the beauty and magnitude of it all?
Looking back on it, it wasn't just the BEST DAY EVER… it was the BEST WEEK EVER! In fact, Cycle Oregon was one of my favorite adventures I have ever embarked on (that's saying a lot since my life for the last three years has consisted of constant travel…). Throughout the pain of climbing mountains, of riding centuries and pushing through those hardcore headwinds, I noticed I always had a smile on my face. Perhaps the smile came from the fact that I had over 2,000 instant friends on the road to cheer me on, offer great conversation and blast the likes of Tom Petty and Steve Miller Band throughout the ride. The energy of it all somehow made the miles seem nonexistent. Every aspect of the trip was friendly, positive and fun.
One of my favorite moments of the week occurred on Friday night when I was dancing to the funky music that resonated through the valley of Seneca from the CO stage on the last night of the ride. To my right was Miriam- the lady that inspired me to ride 100 miles with her the day before. To my left were Julie, Kelly, Claire and Eric Bosworth — the family of Mark Bosworth — who gifted me the amazing opportunity to participate in Cycle Oregon as a first time rider via the scholarship. All around me were friendly faces that were complete strangers not six days before. Here we were, 2,200 riders strong, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere Eastern Oregon under the most amazing starry sky.
It was such a magical moment to see how different I was, how far I'd come and how many truly amazing people existed in the world that I never had the opportunity to meet until we rode Cycle Oregon together. It also struck me how, because of the truly tragic happenings of Mr. Bosworth's disappearance and the death of my brother, I was able to get to C.O. but because of it, so much beauty, happiness and inspiration had come to me. It was very touching and truly profound.
The seven days and 450 miles that I got the opportunity to not only ride my bicycle, but make friends, learn about bicycles, drink wonderful Oregon beer, and dance to music with Cycle Oregon went by way too fast. Tomorrow I knew that it would all be over and I reveled in the fact that I got this one last, truly phenomenal, night to experience and enjoy it all.
Reflections on Cycle Oregon
Cycle Oregon is so much more than a bunch of avid cyclists indulging in
I told people that after my first CO, I would be able to cross it off my bucket list. But once is definitely not enough for me. As one of three very fortunate winners of a scholarship in the memory of Mark Bosworth — a CO participant and volunteer for many years — I will return to ride in his honor and that of my brother, and more importantly, will volunteer and donate toward the scholarship to pay it forward for another person to have the same amazing opportunity. Without the scholarship I would never have been able to make this happen, so am indebted to the family and the board for finding my story compelling enough to select me out of many worthy applicants.
Cycle Oregon was Amazing
Cycle Oregon was amazing. That's the best way I can put it. I'm going through some pretty hectic and stressful times right now as I transition from a full-time worker with a mortgage and kids to a full-time student with bills to pay. Cycle Oregon was wonderful in giving me a week to just relax and ride with people who love cycling. There is no possible way that I would of been able to ride on my own.
I doubt in my lifetime I would of ever gone through Central/Eastern Oregon without this ride. I would of missed some beautiful country and wonderful people. Cycle Oregon was fantastic. Everyday I met someone (or rather many someones) new. I loved the feeling each day, waking up with thousands of other cyclists and having to do nothing but get on the bike and ride. In a perfect world, this would be pretty high on the list of things that I would want to do every day.
It's been years since I have had a vacation, and I can finally say that I've had a real one. It wasn't easy, I did have to ride up some pretty steep and long hills, but it was worth every minute on the bike and drop of sweat that I shed.
All of this was possible because of the Mark Bosworth Fund. I feel guilty in some ways, because I know that none of this would of happened without the events that happened back in Riddle. When I dig into that thought deeper, however, I realize that if it had been me that disappeared I would of wanted my family to do the exact same thing that the Mark Bosworth Fund is trying to accomplish. I would like to think that wherever Mark is, he's pretty proud of what you all have done and would approve.
I can never express how thankful I am that I was given this opportunity. I am positive that Kayla and Carey echo that very same sentiment. I am far more appreciative than words can express.
Mark Bosworth Fund Home Page