Local to attempt daunting endurance test around the island for 67th birthday

Local to attempt daunting endurance test around the island for 67th birthday

Steve Rhoades will paddle around the island and bike through the Chilly Hilly loop Sunday

What are your plans for your 67th birthday?

For most, an acceptable answer might be lounging around the house with friends, family, and perhaps some good food to go with it. For local endurance-fitness enthusiast Steve Rhoades, the answer is waking up at the crack of dawn to paddleboard around the island before hopping on his bike to cycle the Chilly Hilly loop, a total of 63 miles, all in one day.

Initially, Rhoades was prepping for the Race to Alaska but had to shift his plans after the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the former Marine took matters into his own hands to do a local stamina test while also working to raise awareness for the Navajo Nation Code Talkers.

They are taking such a hard hit with this virus,” Rhoades said. “The code talkers … helped us win WWII. I have to do it.”

Rhoades’ lengthy history includes spending 15 years living on the streets and battling alcoholism, eventually being discharged from the Marine Corps in 1993. After moving to Bainbridge, Rhoades found guidance and direction in his life to help keep him sober, he even became a bicycle messenger, peddling around the streets of Seattle, getting his body back into tip-top shape, while also ministering to homeless people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

The feat itself is incredible, but Rhoades wants the community to also recognize what it took for him to get to this point of peace and happiness in his life, while also performing an incredible endurance task.

“Parents on this island with their kids struggling with drugs, alcohol, all this stuff; when they see a guy 67-years-old paddling around the island in six hours and then getting on his bike and doing the Chilly Hilly route, I mean, something’s happened,” Rhoades said.

This isn’t Rhoades’ first rodeo with the task ahead as he completed the hybrid-endurance test five years earlier in 8 hours and 10 minutes. This time, he will face the challenge again with a new knee and hip, but he’s not looking to beat his prior time, only to simply complete the daunting test once again.

Rhoades has been preparing every other day by biking and paddling in the water. He starts by waking up at 4 a.m. to get his mental state sharp, noting that he’ll be in the water by 5 a.m. Rhoades starts the day with some silence, meditation and some coffee to get the juices flowing before hopping on his board to eat his breakfast.

“I can’t over-do it,” Rhoades said about his preparation going into Sunday.

On Sunday, Rhoades will leave for Fort Ward and start by paddling his way clockwise around the island going through Rich Passage.

“When I come back up on the east side of the island, I’ll be against the tide,” he said. “I’m doing a circle so I have to go against the tide for half of it.”

Looking ahead, Rhoades said he expects the paddling to take somewhere between 6 and 7 hours, while the biking route should take 2 to 3 hours. The total 63-mile trek is comprised of 30 miles of paddling around the island and 30 miles of biking, with much of the terrain being hilly.

“I want to try and find anyone who can try and beat this,” Rhoades said.

As for what he wants the community to take away from his personal-task, Rhoades said he wants to use his story as a microcosm of bringing hope and positivity to those who need it most.

“Everyone’s got a gift, you got to find it,” he said. “When someone sees me do this and actually knows a guy who’s 67 doing it, I mean, ‘how did you do it? How did you get off the street?’ It’s my spiritual program. I’m so blessed.”

Rhoades also noted that when schools open back up, he wants to talk to students about the value of getting outside more often.

More in News

Tax credit for working families passes

By Sydney Brown WNPA News Service A tax credit for working families… Continue reading

2 new REAC members appointed by council

Two new members were recently appointed to the Race Equity Advisory Committee… Continue reading

141 new cases of COVID confirmed in Kitsap

On Monday, the Kitsap Public Health District confirmed 141 new positive cases… Continue reading

Artist rendition of affordable housing project. Courtesy Photo
BI coalition works to provide affordable housing

A Bainbridge Island coalition is working together to provide affordable housing. The… Continue reading

Jean and family members. Courtesy photos
Woman in BI turns 105

Though hard to verify, Jean Wohlsen has to be one of the… Continue reading

Recycle food to reduce carbon footprint

When Bainbridge Island residents throw out food, rather than recycle it, the… Continue reading

Aisha Harrison working on a sculpture. Courtesy Photo
BIMA Zoom event about clay-to-bronze sculpting Sunday

With its continual offerings of Zoom webinars each week, the Bainbridge Island… Continue reading

Ethical dilemma: Intent or what we want?

BI council’s new code denies Winslow Hotel

Improvements in lighting over the years. Courtesy Photo
Shedding some light on BI fields

The Bainbridge Island Football (soccer) Club recently made a pitch to the… Continue reading

Most Read