Sunday, 30 June 2013

Day 7

Sunday - We were supposed to be in Phoenix today, so new arrangements needed to be made to find a church here in Payson to worship.  As it turned out, the Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church just around the corner from where we were staying opens their church to the community every fifth Sunday of the month for the service and a lunch afterward.  Of course, they had to prepare a little extra food than they were expecting, but they were glad to have us.  They even made their church available to us for the rest of the day if we were looking for a place to get out of the heat for a while.

Day 6

Saturday - Since we couldn't bike today, the tour organizers arranged with the local Habitat for Humanity for a bunch of us to paint a house.  Forty of us were out there over two shifts and we just about finished painting the entire house.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and exploring the town.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Day 5

Friday - Due to extreme heat warnings, the tour has been suspended for a few days.  We were bussed through Phoenix to our Monday night stop in Payson.  We'll be resuming again on Tuesday morning.  Although it's a little disappointing that we won't be able to bike the entire way, driving through what would have been our Monday ride, it's very unlikely I would have made it the whole way in this heat.  The view was breath-taking by vehicle, but the long hard climbs followed by steep declines would have been very grueling.  The temperature here is a cool, comfortable 30 C.

Instead of cycling, we entertained ourselves with hola-hoops, jump ropes, and euchre games.

Day 4

Thursday - We've crossed the border from California into Arizona.  Although the interstate shoulder had been gracefully cleaned for in California, they weren't as helpful in Arizona, so the shoulder was covered with tire debris.  I believe we've had over 30 flats among the hundred or so riders, including two of my own.  After the second flat, I inspected my tire closely and found a small piece of wire from a blown truck tire sticking through.

It got really hot as the day progressed, with some people's bike computers reading 45 C.  I admit, the heat was starting to get to me, but the people at the SAG stops were life savers with ice cold water and ice soaked towels to cool us down.  We were originally expecting to have to camp outside on the only green grass within 50 km, but the nearby air conditioned building became available to us.  God has really been providing for us on this tour.

Here is a group of us crossing the Colorado River into Arizona.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Day 3

Wednesday - Right now I'm in the air conditioned club house of a golf course in the middle of the desert.  To avoid the heat we got up at 4:30 am (getting up before the sun is just wrong) and left camp at 5:30.  Unfortunately, the first SAG stop was late to setup and so we ran out of water as we entered the desert.  A support team with lots of water caught up to us eventually, thankfully.

We had to take the interstate for a while, since that's the only road through the desert, and it got really hot as the sun rose higher.  We reached the golf course just after 11:00 am and enjoyed a dip in their artificial lake to cool off.

Day 2

Tuesday - Today was a very long day.  My group had to stop several times for one problem or another.  After Shannon's second flat we realized that her tire was punctured, not just the tire tube, so we had to wait for support to arrive.  One of the bikers wasn't biking today, so she was able to continue on his bike.  Near the end of the route, we came across a bike shop where Shannon was able to buy a new tire.  Just as we were leaving, I found out my own tire was punctured and had to head back in to replace it.  Although this was very annoying (and expensive), I'm very thankful that this happened just outside the bike shop and not in the middle of nowhere.  We finally rolled in to camp about 4 pm.

This is the road we blame the problems on.

Day 1

Monday - We didn't have the greatest start to this tour - a rider broke his foot and needed to be picked up by an ambulance. At this point I don't know his condition.  Other than that, the ride was pretty good. We were greeted by a light drizzle when we left the campus, but it stopped pretty quickly and the clouds cleared up by mid-day. Most of the ride was spent on a dedicated bike trail, so we didn't have to worry about traffic very much, which was great.

Here we are fixing our group's first flat.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Ocean #1

After an afternoon outdoor worship service led by a local praise band and a local pastor, we biked down to Newport Beach for the tiring dipping ceremony.  Now that I've dipped my tires in one ocean, I only have one more to go, so you could say I'm half done.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

I'm here!

I've arrived safely in Los Angeles.  I felt a little sick on the first flight due to turbulence, but other than that, the flights went well and were on time.  We had an orientation where Claire Elgersma, talked how this is all about God -- it's God who's going to get us through this, and we were encouraged to look for him as we ride across the continent.  We were also introduced to all the organizers and had a very long discussion on safety.

Friday, 21 June 2013

I'm Off!

I'll be flying to Los Angeles early tomorrow morning.  Please pray for me and for the other cyclists and volunteers for safety getting there and during the tour.  I'll try to post updates as often as I can, but I'm not sure how often I'll have internet access.  If you want to follow along the day-to-day rides, you can find them here.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Daily Devotional

For anyone interested in following along at home, the Sea to Sea Store is selling a daily devotional.  It covers each riding day from Los Angeles to New York City, and contains a map of the route for the day, a Scripture reading, a prayer, and a short mediation on the Beatitudes.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

My Bike is Gone

Yesterday morning I loaded my bike and my gear onto the support truck in Grand Rapids, and it is now on its way to California!  I didn't want to take my bike onto the plane with me since I don't entirely trust the airlines and this way I don't have to worry about losing my stuff.  Of course, that means I won't be able to do anymore training on it, but I don't think resting for a week is such a bad thing.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Training Update #5

I was finally able to do the 100 km I've been trying for on Saturday.  I rode with Shannon Marcus, who's also doing the full Sea to Sea ride, as well as a couple cyclist friends.  The weather was good and we had a great ride.  Now that I've done it once without any problems, I'm a little more confident that I'll be able to do it every day for the summer.