Meet the Team
It takes a team to make the wheels go round, and we would like to introduce some “spokes”:
Board of Directors
Don Leet, President
In 1987, Don’s friend and neighbor Sandy Green had an idea for a cross-state ride and asked Don for his advice. As a cycling enthusiast, he encouraged her to start the Oregon Bicycle Ride and as they say, “the rest is history.” Don is also an owner of Sunnyside Sports and his support of Sandy’s efforts grew to include providing mechanical support on the rides. Don rides and competes on mountain bikes, road bikes, cyclocross bikes, and was the National Mountain Bike Champion in his age group in 2011. When the snow flies, he coaches cross country skiing.
Today, Sunnyside Sports and Don continue to be an integral part of the experience for our riders. Don is a lifelong cyclist and he enjoys watching, helping and riding with the other cyclists on Bicycle Rides Northwest rides.
Kim Conklin, Director and Catering Spoke
Kim is our catering spoke for Bicycle Rides Northwest and has been providing the food for our rides since 1994. Kim has specialized in catering off-site, large group events since 1992, and has catered for many famous country singers such as Diamond Rio, Chris Ledoux and Reba MacIntire. Recently she became solely dedicated to the food service needs of bicycle tours and events. Her passion is week-long events in remote areas with great customers and co-workers. She is fortunate to have her son, Kyle Conklin, as her logistics coordinator and her daughter-in-law, Michelle, as her production assistant.
Kim says, “It has been amazing to work with Bicycle Rides NW for over 20 years and I am looking forward to serving the needs of BRNW for many more years to come!”
Sanna Phinney, Executive Director
After having participated in the Oregon Bicycle Ride as a rider from 2000 to 2009, Sanna joined the organization in 2010 assisting ride director Sandy Green. When Sandy announced her intent to retire from organizing the week-long rides, Sanna was asked to consider the position. This is her fourth season of organizing the rides and each year she takes to heart the feedback received from riders and strives to improve upon the previous year’s rides.
Sanna was a latecomer to cycling and began riding in earnest shortly after moving to Bend, and turning 30. She and her husband, Chuck, began a regular practice of meeting friends to ride mountain bikes on the trails of Central Oregon. A love of cycling was born and quickly expanded to include cycling on road bikes, tandem road bikes, and most recently a tandem gravel bike. Once their children reached adulthood, Sanna and Chuck discovered the active vacation lifestyle of week-long bicycle tours and have enjoyed touring in the southern states, the Pacific Northwest, and France. When she is not planning the couple’s cycling vacations or BRNW’s tours, she can be found running her 1031 tax-deferred exchange business in Bend, Oregon, and fitting in time for Nordic skiing; mountain, road, gravel and tandem cycling; and running.
Jim Moore, Assistant Executive Director
Jim is serving as BRNW’s Assistant Executive Director for the 2017 rides, and then will take over for Sanna as Executive Director for the 2018 rides and going forward – big shoes to fill!
A longtime marketing writer and editor who owns Word Jones, Inc., Jim is also an avid cyclist and the author of “75 Classic Rides: Oregon.” He started doing marketing for Cycle Oregon in 2006 and quickly figured out that the bike-tour world is a pretty great place to work. He eventually developed and directed two brand-new events – Cycle Greater Yellowstone and Cycle Adirondacks – for nonprofit conservation groups. When he found out about the upcoming opening at BRNW, he jumped at the chance to get back to the Northwest (really, the best part of the country for cycling, right?). He came on a 2016 BRNW ride and saw how the organization runs tours: very well. He vows to maintain the feel and traditions of the BRNW rides, and maybe add a little pizzazz here and there.
Russell Crecraft, Director
Russell joined our board in 2015. He has been a cycling enthusiast since his college days, where riding his bicycle as his primary means of transportation turned into a passion. He moved to Bend in 1986, met his wife Marla and helped raise their son and daughter who are now both in college. In the late ’80s, Russell was a founding member and President of the Alpenglo Velo Cycling Team, which promoted races and recreational cycling events. After a career as a C-Suite executive in the semiconductor industry, Russell is currently retired. He and his wife enjoy taking full advantage of the Central Oregon lifestyle including cycling, cross country skiing, an occasional round of golf, and enjoying a good craft beer.
Cycling has a special place in Russell’s heart due to the simple joy it brings as well as the community of people it brings together, such as the staff and participants of Bicycle Rides Northwest.
Liz Monson, Director
The day her youngest child got her driver’s license, Liz Monson jumped on her bike and hasn’t been off it since! She happily joined her husband Bill, who has been an avid cyclist for the last 30 years, and she’s as surprised as anyone that she enjoys long, crazy, all-day bike rides. She and Bill enjoy traveling around in their 108-square foot camper, biking wherever they stop.
When not riding her bike, Liz is a practicing nurse. She also enjoys reading, knitting, and all types of dogs. Liz has been on many Bicycle Rides Northwest rides (they keep her honest with her training) and she is excited to help add gravel road rides to the BRNW offerings.
Teri Shamlian, Secretary
Teri joined Bicycle Rides Northwest in 2011 as the Rest Stop Director. While still a Board Member she was best known for what she added to rest stops, “color and flavor” – themed music, daily snack creations and a large collection of colorful aprons and hats. Teri says, “With the right stuff and an upbeat staff, we definitely have the best rest stops in the world!”
Retired and living in Bend, Teri can be found in her shop making stained and fused glass creations, or enjoying all the outdoor pleasures Bend has to offer. You’re in good hands since Teri and many of the Rest Stop Team members are also volunteers with the Deschutes County Search and Rescue Team.
Don Wyman, SAG Spoke
Don is a retired computer specialist who enjoys being the man behind the scenes as our SAG Director. He finds that working a large event like Bicycle Rides Northwest is far more satisfying than participating in the event. You’ll find Don driving a SAG vehicle and coordinating each day’s SAG drivers to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable ride.
The great outdoors is Don’s favorite place to play: bicycling, rafting, and skiing. During the winter months, when he hangs up his bike, he can be found assisting skiers on Mt. Bachelor where he volunteers as an Ambassador and Mountain Host.
Wesley X. Yurovchak, Camp Central Spoke
Wes became part of the BRNW family after working on Baggage Crew in 2012. Now in his fourth year with the organization, he is looking forward to coordinating Camp Central. Following the experience of his first tour, Wes quickly fell in love with the organization’s philosophy of “Low Density, High Adventure.” He enjoys being part of a team providing premium food, beverages, and excellent service for the riders in very remote places.
When he is not working on one of our rides, Wes lives in Portland and works on his business as a freelance musician, videographer, and project manager. He has worked with many great musicians all over the world and recently graduated magna cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston. You will see him drumming on just about anything he can get his hands on— empty recycling bins, wine bottles, or even a bicycle!
Tosch Roy, Construction Spoke
Tosch has been working with Bicycle Rides Northwest for 14 years, starting as a wee lad of 12. For his first few rides, he manned the Sunnyside Sports boutique operation, selling copious amounts of chamois butter, and writing repair tags for bikes that had random, unidentifiable creaks. While working and riding with the mechanics was a lovely summer job (but mostly a vacation), the lure of the Construction crew was calling to him. So he lay down his pen and credit card machine and started hauling bags and setting up canopies. BRNW keeps him coming back for the great community, the beautiful roads and mountains, and of course the awesome food. When he’s not chatting with riders on the tailgate of a baggage U-Haul, you’ll find him in Bend, Oregon, sewing skiing and climbing packs for Free Range Equipment or out enjoying the open space of the Oregon Cascades.
Stan Nowakowski, Route Spoke
We have Stan to thank for sending us out on some of the most scenic and interesting places in the Northwest. Putting together our routes for the fourth year, Stan loves the opportunity to explore the Pacific Northwest. When he is not out scouting for the quietest paved roads in the most scenic corners of the Northwest region, he is out riding on almost any kind of road, path or trail. Stan also heads up the Safe Routes to School Program in his hometown of Madras, Oregon, encouraging kids to bike and walk to school and working with the community to provide safe routes to school.
His collection of bikes range from a one-wheeled mountain unicycle to a carbon fiber road bike to a steel framed gravel bike. His wife even gave him a five-foot tall-bike that comes in handy whenever there is a parade to attend in his hometown of Madras, Oregon.
Phil Bard, Route Spoke
Phil has spent the majority of his life in pursuit of outdoor thrills. After he moved west in his twenties he became an active rock climber, spending summers climbing on Yosemite’s granite walls and bagging peaks in the Sierra. He began a professional photography career during that time, shooting articles and ads for climbing magazines, and in subsequent years moved into the photographic mainstream with corporate and editorial assignments of all sorts. Cycling soon grew as one of his major passions, and he eventually became involved with organized cycling tours, assisting with promotion and route creation. After some years running a digital imaging business in Portland, he recently retired and now spends most of his time trying to catch up to his partner Alice (below) when they’re on their bikes on Oregon’s back roads.
Jodi Johnson, Tent and Porter Spoke
Jodi has been a rider on many of our rides, so she understands and appreciates the importance of great service that the BRNW crew provides. Now as the lead for our Tent & Porter Service, Jodi is dedicated to giving back and doing her best to create a great experience for our riders and guests. She is no rookie when it comes to tents and camping, as she has pitched her own tent in many places around the world, including at 20,000 feet on Mt. Everest. Her family background in tourism lends itself to making sure that the customer has the best “room” in the great outdoors.
Jodi is a retired teacher who spends much of her spare time volunteering both locally and globally. This includes the folk, film, and beer fests, as well as Mercy Dental, and most recently Helps International. She loves to travel, especially when it involves biking, hiking or Nordic skiing and the company of her two loyal canines, Elsie and Ruby.
Alice Bonham, Activities and Historian Spoke
A native Oregonian and the only girl in a family with five boys, Alice learned early on how to get into mischief – and (usually) get out of it. She also realized that being a tomboy was a whole lot of fun, and took to it at every opportunity. Alice looks forward to her next adventure as BRNW’s “Director of Fun,” as she’s finally discovered the perfect fit for her antics and activities. When she’s not pedaling down the road, Alice is likely to be found developing websites and graphic design projects, or spending time with her partner, Phil, who has a keen sense of direction. Otherwise, you’ll probably find her foraging through the pantry for dark chocolate.