Posts tagged ‘adventure’

Day 54 in Radford, VA – Tired and Sore, Thankful and Energized

My legs feel like they are bruised making it hard to enjoy the ride. Though there was less climbing than in the past week, I found it difficult to ride well. However, I am motivated by God’s Spirit and not by how well I ride so the day went well. And just to be sure I remember it is God’s ride I am on He revealed his protective powers today on three separate occasions. The first time was when I was descending on a well paved road and decided to take my eyes off the road surface to enjoy the scenery, which can be dangerous at speeds of over 30 mph. I looked down in time to see two large potholes side by side with only an inch separating them and my front tire was on that one inch. I immediately thanked God for saving me from a nasty spill. The next two incidents were also on descents that ended with a stop sign at the bottom of a curve with no warning there would be a stop. The first crossroad had no traffic so everything was fine. Again, I thanked God for His protection. The second such intersection had traffic coming from the left. I quickly assessed the distance to the stop sign, my speed, the fact there was no traffic from the left, and that I had time to cross the road before the oncoming traffic would pass. I made it safely across the road thanking God once again. I realize that I need to be very careful on the road, but am very thankful that God saw fit to deliver me safely to my interview with a local reporter, Mike, and my appointment at the Radford Seventh-day Adventist church in the evening.

Mike interviewed Pam and me, and then came to hear me speak at the church. After the program he told me how awesome he thinks it is that I am taking the time to ride across America for such a cause that brings people together to help one another. The CEO of the Radford Pregnancy Support Center, Debbie, was there to receive diapers the Adventist church had obtained from a diaper drive. This is why I’m riding! It doesn’t matter that my legs are sore right now because God is using this ride to motivate His church to work with others to solve kingdom issues today. Debbie told us stories of how their Center has helped change the lives of young women and families whose most desperate need is diapers. And then Corrine from the Radford church gave Debbie diapers to distribute in her Center.

I am tired. My legs hurt. And my saddle sores, though manageable, are uncomfortable. But I count it a privilege to have such aches and pains for the front row seat I have to God’s power to move in people’s lives and to keep me safe on the road. This is truly an adventure that I wouldn’t trade for 10 vacations to sunny beach locations. I’m glad God is still in the business of calling us to His work.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 68.4     Elevation Gain- 3,612 ft     Avg Speed- 12 mph

Catch the pictures on Facebook

Day 51 to Lookout, KY – Pictures and Mingling

I have perhaps found more life lessons and harder rides in the Appalachian Mountains than anywhere so far. I have climbed more than 5,000 ft each of the last two days with climbs as steep as Missouri. Like most of us, I have my own preconceived ideas about Appalachia even though I have never been here. While taking lots of pictures of the area I realized today that pictures aren’t enough. A picture might be worth a 1000 words, but you’ve got to mingle with the people if you really want to know the true meaning of the picture.

Some observations from snapshots of Appalachia while on my bike include the following: 1) Lots of people go to church because there’s a church around every corner. 2) They’ve got guns here because many of the street signs are used for target practice. 3) They are wary of strangers because there are “No Trespassing” signs on literally every house. 4) The economy is supported by coal and all the other businesses have have “We Are Coal Friendly” signs.

But it wasn’t until I completed my ride today and arrived at the RV that I was able to mingle with people from Appalachia. Tonight our RV is parked next to a soccer field where a local high school team was running a scrimmage. The coach saw our RV and asked if I would talk with the girls about my ride and give a short devotional thought. So I walked over to the soccer field with Pam, Dorothy, and Bill to talk with the girls. After speaking with the girls we gave them each a Ride 4 Diapers business card. One girl, Frankie, came to talk with me after I had finished speaking. She wanted information on how she could do something for her community. We talked for a few minutes and she plans to have diaper drives at WalMart and her high school to distribute to the local pregnancy center.

We took a picture of Frankie with me, the only picture of real substance of Appalachia because it’s a picture of mingling. I now realize that though the people of Appalachia may have a different subculture than me, they respond to someone caring about their needs just like I do. The basic needs Jesus describes in Matthew 25 cuts across every culture. I have never seen Matthew 25 in that light before today. We all need food, water, clothing, and a friend to the stranger, the sick, and the imprisoned. This is the place to begin in any community anywhere in the world.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 87.7    Elevation Gain- 5,164 ft    Avg Speed- 11.1 mph    Max Temp- 102.2 with 90% humidity

Mingling…

 

And here’s Frankie who is inspired to do diaper drives…

Day 46 to Mackville, KY – Faith

Yesterday I saw tangible evidence of the truth described in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good when we trust in God’s way. Today I have to accept this truth by faith. Yesterday I could see how the pain of previous rides helped me enjoy the hills of Kentucky. I have faith today’s painful ride will help develop patience, insight, and strength.

When I have a difficult ride I try to deconstruct it to learn as much as I can from it. So here are the ingredients that made this ride so bad:

1) We crossed into the Eastern time zone yesterday losing an hour. This would not have been so bad except that I didn’t realize this fact until after yesterday’s ride. This made the evening short & the morning early. We started the ride about an hour after we otherwise would have started it. LESSON: Be prepared. Such facts are important to know when there is so little time after each ride to shower, attend to the saddle sores, ice my legs, eat, blog, post pictures, and maintenance the bike.

2) My mind was not into the ride. I just wanted to get it done which is always a recipe for a hard ride. I know better than this, but I was mentally tired today. LESSON: Take as much time as necessary to get my mind in the game! Rather than looking for results, think about the process, the purpose of the ride, and seek inspiration from God’s Word. Even when it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time, I know that is exactly when I need to take the time to be in prayer with Him.

3) I road my spare bike because my primary bike has over 3,700 miles on the rear cassette and chain. I knew it needed to be changed about 3 weeks ago, but I’ve been able to ride it well until this week. However, I didn’t check out my spare bike until last night, which was shortened by the time change. So I quickly got it ready, but I didn’t have the time to check out every detail. I discovered each of those details on the ride today. LESSON: Don’t just have a back-up plan, have the plan fully ready to be implemented.

4) I made the decision to visit the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln as it was only a mile out of our way. I knew this would prolong the day and make it more mentally challenging, but I didn’t want to miss this site which I had never seen. It was inspiring and an added hour to the ride that I think was well worth it. The problem for the ride came into play because of #2 above. LESSON: Be mentally prepared for the ride. This trip is more of a mental challenge to be ready each day than it is a physical one. I find this to be true in everyday life as well.

So I fully expect tomorrow’s ride to be much better. I still enjoy my primary bike much more, but it will get serviced in Louisville on Friday. I will enjoy the fact that I have a back-up bike to ride and appreciate it for what it has to offer. I will spend the time necessary to be in touch with God’s purpose for this ride and focus on the process of this trip and the ride tomorrow.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 83.5   Elevation Gain- 3,862 ft     Avg Speed- 12 mph     Avg HR- 111

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 44 to Beech Grove, KY – When to Stop

We took a shortcut through Illinois thanks to the cyclists we met in Kansas. This will allow us to take an extra day off this week in Louisville where some cool things are happening because of this ride. One of the Louisville Seventh-day Adventist churches is collecting diapers for the women’s shelter in conjunction with this ride. I will be speaking at this church on Sabbath so I’m looking forward to meeting the people of this church who want to connect with their community in ways that demonstrate God’s love and acceptance.  

As I rode into Kentucky today the question of the week has become, When do I stop? The mental and physical fatigue as well as the saddle sore issues from this long journey are catching up with me which would tell me to go less miles, not more. On the other hand, the idea of having two full days of rest in Louisville with family and friends will be be helpful in relieving these challenges if I can make it to the end of the week. But just how far should I go each day to gain the extra rest? How much should I push myself for this respite?

Knowing “when to stop” is an important one for our daily lives. I’m not talking about immoral or wrong actions. If we’re involved in such things we obviously need to stop sooner than later. But we are all involved in good activities – work, vacations, ministry, housework, family time, recreation, and more. These are all good, but how do we know when we’ve done enough or even too much? Books have been written about this, sermons have been preached, and we all have lived with the consequences of our decisions about when to stop.

 I certainly don’t have all the answers, so I welcome your insights on this issue. Here are some principles I have discovered on this ride that guide me when to stop:

  • Have a goal. My goal for this ride is to raise awareness and money regarding the need many families have for diapers. This goal includes sharing God’s love with people along the route and helping churches to see how important it is to be the hands and feet of God in their communities. The issue for us in our daily lives is to have a goal for our lives. Where does God fit into your life’s goal?
  • Have a plan. I have plan for this ride. Each day has been clearly mapped out. I can “bank” time by riding a few extra miles to spend in a place like Lousiville because I do have a plan. It’s also important to have a plan for our lives. Do you have a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and/or life plan? Do you know where you want to be in 5 years and 10 years? Where does God fit into your life’s plan?
  • Know your calling. I know God has called me to do this ride. This fact above all else has kept me going when I really don’t feel like riding. I know there is a greater purpose to this ride than just taking a trip across the country. Living without knowing your calling likely results in living for yourself rather than for God. It’s the difference between taking a ride and taking a ride for diapers.
  • Know your heart. Jeremiah tells us our hearts are deceitful above all things. Andy Stanley has written that there are 4 enemies of the heart & they are all a matter of debt. They are 1) Guilt – I owe you.  2) Anger – You owe me. 3) Jealousy – God owes me.  4) Greed – I owe me. There is a habit to practice to defeat each of these enemies, something we can do to prevent these enemies from destroying our heart. The habit for guilt is forgiveness, for anger is confession, for jealousy is celebration, and for greed is giving. When I practice these habits I free my heart to live for God. I can then begin to trust my heart. It will tell me when to stop because my motivations will be pure.
  • Be honest with yourself. Each day I have to be honest with myself as to the reasons I want to stop or not to stop. Are my aches and pains serious or just discomforts? Is the reason I want to get more miles a particular day for my own accomplishments or for the ride? Am I staying true to the goals and plan of the ride? This gets to our need for an accountability partner, a mentor, and/or a friend that will tell me the truth about my actions as they relate to my goals and plans. 

I look forward to the ongoing dialogue on this important topic.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 83.3    Elevation Gain- 1,785 ft    Avg Speed- 12.5 mph   Avg HR- 107    Pedal Strokes- 23,001

The Ohio River bordering Illinois & Kentucky…

The only “welcome” sign coming into Kentucky…

 

Day 36 to Chanute, KS – Expectations

I have learned to approach each day with anticipation rather than with expectation. When I expect the ride to be hard, it is often easy. When I expect it to be easy, there are many times when it becomes very difficult. I am not certain how much my expectations color my perception of how easy an expected hard ride becomes or how hard an expected easy ride becomes. But I am sure that my expectations are a large factor as to my perceptions during the ride. But when I have no expectations of the level of difficulty of a ride, my anxiety prior to the ride markedly decreases as my ability to handle various challenges during the ride markedly increases.

Today is a perfect example of this principle in action. I had no preconceived ideas about the ride today. I simply wanted to enjoy the journey as I realize it is fast approaching the end. I also know the road surface could be poor at times, the wind could be briskly blowing against me, and even the hills of Kansas could be steep. But I also knew that with God’s strength, I have met every challenge to date. The ride began easy enough with little to know wind and a smooth road surface. However, within 30 minutes the wind began blowing and one hour into the ride there was a 10-15 mph wind that persisted throughout the remainder of the day.  Nearly half the ride was into a strong headwind. Fortunately there was a tailwind for about 30% of the ride with a crosswind the rest of the time. An additional challenge was a late start that placed much of the ride in the heat of the day. Since I was anticipating the journey rather than expecting an easy ride I was able to enjoy the entire ride no matter the circumstances.

I find misguided expectations to be a key factor in the level of frustration, anger, impatience, and general malcontent. Unrealistic expectations are certainly a major cause of increased medical liability. A patient expects there to be no complications 100% of the time even though she has been counseled regarding the risk of surgery. But she expects the complications to effect someone else and not herself. A husband gives his wife flowers for the first time in 30 years. When she responds differently than he expected he becomes angry creating a family feud. If we choose to live each day in anticipation of the unexpected happenings each day brings in our journey through life, we will allow ourselves to experience the joy of the wins as well as the challenges.

Ride Stats:   Total Miles- 80.3      Elev Gain- 1,522 ft       Avg Speed- 13.8 mph       Avg Cadence- 79       Avg Temp- 90.1

 

 

 

Day 35 in Wichita – Biases

As I have been in Wichita for over 24 hours, I have been reminded of how easy it is to form opinions prematurely. I have never been in Kansas until this trip. Without ever being here I had judged that it was not a place worth my time to check out. In fact, when I lived in Rockford, Illinois I knew a person who was thinking about transitioning from Wichita to Rockford. This person chose to stay in Wichita. I thought he was crazy. After all, who would want to stay in a place like Wichita when he could move to Rockford? Well, I should have visited Wichita 15 years ago and I would have understood his choice. Wichita is a bustling, vibrant city with a very Midwest feel to it. Some of the appeal includes excellent roads making it easy to get to the downtown which is being revitalized, wonderful neighborhoods, an abundance of shopping and restaurants, a zoo, lots of parks and cyclists, and friendly people.

In the Richland Church, this is the year of connection. This means we are focusing on connecting with others. When I desire to connect I am willing to walk in their shoes, understand their point of view, and am quick to love while slow to judge. It’s one think to dismiss a city to visit, it’s quite another to dismiss a child of God because of a bias I may have. I am thankful for this lesson once again in my life. I challenge you to examine your biases that may be preventing you from connecting with others. I will be examining my own biases this week. I thank God for this reminder.

Trip Stats:    Total Miles- 1,881.4     Elevation Gain- 55,760 ft     Hours- 163      Pedal Strokes (Wk 5)- 129,263

Day 34 to Cassaday, KS – Bolt Syndrome

As everyone knows by now, Usain Bolt from Jamaica won his fourth gold medal yesterday by winning the 200 meter sprint. He has now won the 100 m and 200 m sprints at the Beijing and London Olympics. Bolt had this to say about his accomplishment, ““I’m now a legend, I’m also the greatest athlete to live.” Really? The greatest athlete to ever live?

Yesterday I described the ride as “brutal” pronouncing the wind to be the most difficult variable to overcome in cycling. As I began what I thought we be a fast, easy ride to Cassaday today, I found a very challenging road surface. It was so bumpy that I had to slow down just to navigate the road. After 5 miles of this kind of surface I then encountered a fresh chip seal surface for the next 5 miles. Just as I got through the bad road surface a direct headwind developed. This is when I had the thought, “This is the worst day ever!” Road conditions can be worse than a headwind! And then I thought of Bolt’s statement concerning himself. I realized I had been stricken by the “Bolt Syndrome.” This would be the syndrome where I am at the center of my universe. In this syndrome, my problems are more severe than anyone else’s. When I develop Bolt Syndrome, I think the state or county needs to reassess their road to make them cycling friendly no matter the cost. As I encountered my last hill of the day (there had been a dozen or more 3% climbs) I realized it was only an overpass for the interstate. I had the thought they should have made an overpass for the county road and then I wouldn’t have to make this last climb of the day – Bolt Syndrome.

How often do you have Bolt Syndrome? How often do you fail to see the bigger picture? How often do you get upset when others don’t do exactly what you desire? It’s easy for us to think Usain Bolt is egotistical, but truth be told we all suffer from this syndrome from time to time. I realized today that I need to seek God’s guidance for the bigger picture. I need patience and love to accept the challenges of life and make them into opportunities in His work.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 37.2      Avg Speed- 12.9 mph      Avg HR- 112       Avg Cadence- 79        Pedal Strokes- 11,352

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