Posts tagged ‘mountaintop’

Day 45 to Elizabethtown, KY – All Things Work Together for Good

Today’s ride reminded me of Romans 8:28 which says, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I enjoy riding in the hills of Kentucky. Yesterday was difficult because my left knee was very sore from a prior meniscus tear and surgical repair in January of this year in addition to issues with my saddle sores. For some reason I didn’t suffer from these problems today which allowed me to enjoy the ride today. Perhaps I felt as good as I did today because I knew when to stop yesterday. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed riding the hills today. 

 As I think about it, my experiences throughout this trip have prepared me to enjoy the hills in Kentucky. The first day was a very difficult ride of over 100 miles in extreme heat. When I awakened on the second day to ride another 100 miles I had serious doubts that I could do it. In fact I questioned my ability to complete this ride until I sat on top of Lolo Pass near the end of that first week. It was at that moment I realized I could really make it! I then enjoyed the challenge of each mountain pass and the increased fitness level they brought to me even though fatigue and pain often accompanied each ride. And then there were the steep hills in Missouri with their multiple 15-16% gradients. I had a difficult time enjoying the beauty because the rides were so painful. However, without the mountaintop experiences in the west and the extreme challenges of the hills of Missouri I would not have been able to enjoy the hills of Kentucky with their 8-10% gradients.

I have gained strength, confidence, and fitness as I have biked from Washington to Kentucky. Likewise, I am learning to be thankful for the difficult spiritual climbs to reach the mountaintops and overcome the everyday hills of life. These work together to make me a stronger, more confident and fit follower of Jesus. Fitness always comes at a price. My advice to all those wanting to be strong, confident, fit spiritual warriors is to never avoid a mountain pass or an everyday hill because they all work together for good for those who love God.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 10.5    Elevation Gain- 4,692 ft    Avg Speed- 14 mph     Avg HR- 117

Day 39 to Houston, MO – Reaching the Mountaintop in Missouri

Yesterday was my first full day in Missouri. I began by attacking each hill. They are not very long, but they are very steep (many are 12-14% grade). Since they’re not long, I thought I could power up them one after the other with a short break on each descent. After 50 miles I was exhausted. I try to keep my heart rate in zone 2 per my coach’s recommendations, but I was getting into zone 4 on some of the “out of the saddle” attacks up the hills. And yesterday was NOT the day to ride too hard because I was scheduled to speak at the grand opening of the Diaper Bank in Springfield, MO. I made it to this event, gave my talk, listened to the other speakers, and left inspired. But I also left knowing that I had forgotten the purpose of “Ride for Diapers” during my ride yesterday. I had made the ride about getting faster and conquering the foothills of Missouri.

During the event last night I described my ride to a person who has done a lot of riding in this area. He told me they call the hills I’m riding in this week the “foothills” because there’s another hill every foot! I then talked to Jill Bright, Newborns in Need volunteer, about the challenge of my ride. We talked about the difference between the mountaintop experiences in Montana and Colorado from that in Missouri. The mountains are bigger and take longer to ascend in Montana than those in Missouri, but in some ways they are easier because you know there’s just one or two passes to ascend that day. In Missouri I may ascend 30 “mountaintops” of 12% grade. As I talked with Jill, she shared how she finds the hills of Missouri to be similar to the daily  problems in life while the mountains of Montana are similar to the major milestones in life. As I have thought about her observation, I tend to agree. Just like the hills of Missouri compared to the passes in Montana we encounter many more hills in life. These hills become exhausting. Think of the mother who only has 2 diapers left for another week. Every time her baby cries because she has soiled her diaper, the mother has another hill to ascend. When steep hills come at you around every bend in the road it gets exhausting. But thankfully, God has given us one another to share the burden. Thankfully Jill has listened to His voice and started a Diaper Bank in Springfield, MO. Thankfully we can help one another.

Yesterday I rode in such a way that is more than I can actually do because I thought I could do it my way all by myself. How often do you and I attack our problems without any advice or help? This is like trying to do more than we can. I have a coach who has given me counsel that has worked throughout this ride. I made the foothills of Missouri a major problem by not heeding his advice.  The mountains of Missouri have taught me to never try to do more than I can. But they have also taught me that when I heed advice, whether it be from God’s Word or God’s Spirit or God’s people, I can usually do more than I think!

Yesterday I attacked the mountains of Missouri resulting in an average heart rate of 116 bpm and an average speed of  12.2 mph in 74.8 miles. I tried to do more than I could do. Today I kept my heart rate in zone 2 giving me an average heart rate of 111 bpm and an average speed of 11.4 mph in 82.4 miles. So remember, never try to do more than you can but you can usually do more than you think.

Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 82.4    Elevation Gain- 3,973    Avg Speed- 11.4 mph   Avg HR- 111 bpm   Max Temp- 113

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