Heading North?

Today we rode north into a headwind…

If we had been heading east the day would have been one of the easier ones but alas we’re going to Dordt College and that means we’re riding north for a couple days.

I got all the photos online from the past week (week 5 album link) so check them out. I probably won’t bother integrating them with the blog so you’ll have to mix and match with which stories go with which photo.

This past weekend we were staying in the town of Fremont Neb. There is no CRC church there and for sunday service we had the option to be bussed out to either Lincoln or Omaha for a seatosea celebration service. Upon our arrival to camp some of the riders who had opted to stay in Fremont had attended the Lutheran Church across the street from the hockey arena we were camping out front of. Within a couple hours of their church service finishing and learning that there were 150 people camping out in the 105oF heat their church had been turned into a hosting center for us. There were brownies being baked, endless watermelon and cool drinks. There was wireless internet available and they even let some of us sleep in their facility overnight to escape the heat and humidity for even a few more hours. What a fantastic example of partnership within the greater church, we all felt so blessed to become the first priority of some members of that church on a day they expected to be hosting no-one!

Last night I slept in the arena because it was downright cold and more like sleeping at home in Edmonton when it’s 30 below with the window open a crack… it was great. I decided to make the most of it and slept right until 7:15 giving myself 15 minutes to pack up, grab a lunch and put breakfast on my plate. I scraped by just in time as breakfast was promptly removed from the table at 7:30 because the very first people had already eaten 2 hours earlier. I made a mental note not to take any cottage cheese when eating breakfast so late, it’s something that is rather disgusting when warm. Anyhow, after getting sunscreened up and putting in my contacts and sitting around talking with Steph for a bit (she didn’t ride today so was also not rushing out of camp) I hit the road at quarter past 8 am… right at the tail end of the group.

The route this morning was spectacular and much enjoyed, I felt a wee bit like I was riding in the hills north-west of Edmonton just where the Alaska Highway starts. There were patches of trees here and there, the fields chock full of crops and there were loads and loads of birds flying around. That stretch of road lasted for the first 50 kms or so and then I dropped out of the hills into the Missouri River Valley, the rest of the day was spent on pancake flat land.

Rolling into one of the towns around the 85 km mark I heard some bad news. Eritia had T-boned a car about 20 minutes prior. I have probably ridden more kms with her than any other person on this tour so far, I’m comfortable enough with her riding to draft within 4 inches or so of her and the same the other way around. Josh has even commented that he was kinda surprised at our efficiency zipping down the road. I was not very pleased by the news having lost Tyler to a broken shoulder, one of the others I’d ridden loads and loads with, only a bit more than a week ago. While the story got straightened out it began to sound more and more like people were trying to get her bike fixed. That was good news, she intended to ride the rest of the day. I poked my head in the back of the gear van and said hi. With a smile on she was bragging about how she completely destroyed the driver side mirror. Later on at camp she seemed to be doing OK and has gone to sleep with Barb Mellema (Cyclist from the area) in a real bed tonight. No doubt though she’s going to be stiff tomorrow and likely have a couple bruises. Keep her in your prayers please.

From then on the story of the day was headwind headwind headwind. The final stretch of 20 kms Lawrence and myself switched off pulls and made really good progress into town… 45 kph effort for a 30 kph reward.

Thanks for all of the offers for help regarding the dérailleur hanger. I do have one in shipment that should be meeting me tomorrow at Dordt. I picked up a new chain at the bike shop today (almost 6000 kms on my last one) as well as a couple new tyres, some new handlebar tape and a sweet new jersey that was half off. It’s now my favorite and will make an appearance in some photo at some point this coming week. Stay tuned.

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Where the dinosaurs died

Sunday we were warned that early this week we’d be traveling through an area that would teach us why the dinosaur’s died. Hopefully we’d experience the beauty of this paleontological hotspot rather than the brute force of it. Indeed we did today, it’s hard to capture on camera because it’s rather spread out so photos tend to include a little strip of cool stuff (hoodoos, badlands etc) across a ton of sagebrush and a ton of sky. Here’s the best I got:

Today was a good day on the road as far as cycling is concerned. We began with a headwind and downhill similar to how we finished up yesterday. Tyler and myself took turns shifting off up front and then freewheeling in the rear. The first hour and a half resulted in an average speed of 36kph and we picked up Eritia along the way. Following a 10 mile climb into the town of Vernal we had caught Matt Zanting, Hans Doef and Laura Holtrop. Eritia and I joined their group and Tyler went off with some others to explore a bit of town. After stopping in at an outdoors store and the bike shop we sat on the feet of a giant pink dinosaur and ate a bit of lunch at quarter to 11 am.

From there on out we had another 10 miles of downhill (again in the mid forties for speed) and the day wound up with a 20 mile gradual climb into the little town of Dinosaur. We do indeed have showers here but the visitor center at the national park has trouble with a shifting foundation and is closed. So all of us that hurried out here so we could go check out the national park are a bit lacking with things to do. Some of us are going to go buy a bag of ice and have a bit of cold therapy for some of them muscles.

We’ve got another medium difficulty day Wednesday and a tough one on Thursday. I’ll be on the sweep crew for Thursday which should make for a very long day on the road.

Regarding yesterday’s prayer items, Stephanie left camp and turned around after 4 kms aware that she had swelling and fluid on her knee, she doesn’t plan to try and ride tomorrow either. Art is still undecided when he’ll give riding another kick at the can.

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One of the best days

Today was no doubt one of the best days thus far on the trip. Our route was long, challenging, beautiful and rather rewarding. The people on the road alongside me were full of hilarious conversation. The weather was splendid, overcast and mid-twenties. I got to sleep in all the way until 6 am.

I’ll make an attempt to give a brief overview of the day because these broad sweeping strokes don’t paint a terribly beautiful picture for everyone who couldn’t ride a bike today.

I have to start out by saying that there was no elevation profile given for the ride today, a blessing and a curse. We knew there was a pass to cross but didn’t know how steep or how high it would be. We didn’t know how soon the climbing started once we left camp and didn’t really know if it was downhill or rolling after that. We set out on our bikes soon after 7 am knowing there were about 150 kms to travel and not a whole lot else.

I teamed up with 5 others while leaving camp, Jeff Schoon, Jenna Zee, Jessica Fox, Julia Wissink and Hilena Zylstra who was quickly re-named Jelena for the day so that she’d fit the mold with the others on the J-team.

We started by loosing around 500 feet of elevation within the first 5 miles. It was downright cold to be blasting along at 60 kph without getting warmed up first but there wasn’t much complaining about that. After a quick left we proceeded to gain that 500 feet back and another 300 within 2.5 miles of highway. If we could coast along at 60 stretched out over 5 miles you can imagine that all that elevation squeezed into a 2.5 mile stretch meant for a bit of a steep “Welcome to Monday Morning!” kind of climb.

When we reached anoverlook and turned around we saw that the downhill grade had a warning for an 8% grade. Serious stuff to accomplish before 7:30 in the morning.

We proceeded to cross a few rolling hills before Hilena… sorry… Jelena got a flat tyre and insisted on changing it herself. 36 minutes later we were rolling along again and that was going to be the flavour of the day, lots of breaks, lots of long breaks, and not a lot of reason for them to be so frequent or so long except that we were in no rush. Jessica and Jeff were long gone, 36 minutes long gone by then and our riding group was whittled down to 4.

The climb to the pass started without much of an announcement, we were following the bank of a small river up the valley and were distracted by the water so didn’t pay much attention to the fact that we were crawling along at 26 kph. 26 soon became 24 and soon became 22, We rolled up to Walter Vink’s support vehicle and filled up our water around the 50 km mark of the day. Everyone felt like our tyres were low on air, that our hubs were full of glue and that our legs were out of practice from taking Sunday off. That lack of elevation profile was probably a good thing, no reason to take on the hill climbing mentality, we just pretended we were slow and needed to rest more than normal.

Walter then told us that we were going to be going up, and that there were about 7.5 miles of it before the peak. That’s a big climb and the mentality changed. We were now climbing a hill. The sluggish legs were traded in for climbing legs and the dawdling minds were traded in for the focused ones. Those 7.5 miles were tough, the climb was steep and the lungs burned more than the legs. We were reaching the level at which elevation would begin to influence the riding, not by much, maybe only 1% but enough to notice and that was exciting in and of itself.

The second to last mile was a real kicker, I was out of the seat in my second to easiest gear (that’s about 2 gears easier than my easiest gear while sitting) and really going at it. The final mile gave a bit of reprieve and soon enough the summit sign was in sight. 9485 feet above sea level to boot.

After taking a much longer than necessary break at the summit and shooting photos with the sign we saw a semi-trailer go past and bemoaned the fact that we weren’t ready to try and draft it down the hill. Just then a second semi trailer came around the bend and John Vanderveen, Alex VanGeest and myself lept into action. We worked harder for the first 2 kilometers of the descent than the entire ascent trying to catch up to the semi trailer on the downhill and finally caught it’s draft. The driver was taking it easy and we could see that the semi trailer ahead of it was going a bit faster. Out of the draft we went, into the passing lane and passed the semi trailer on the downhill at around 75 kph. We worked hard again and I managed to catch the draft of the semi trailer ahead. John also caught on for a stretch but fell off. I was all by myself behind that semi trailer and I had high hopes of breaking 80 kph. Indeed we had a straightaway and the semi trailer let off the brakes a bit and got up to 81.6 kph a new personal record top speed! The semi trailer honked, I backed off and he turned off into a neighbouring farm. I then proceeded to set another record of my own and crossed a cattle grate at 71 kph. I waited up for John and Alex to catch me and together we cruised into the town of Hanna.

I waited up for the J-team at the local cafe and we got some coffee and pie. Everyone else hd the same bright idea and the cafe was standing room only, we ate all of their apple and blueberry pies. Their cherry and peach pies were almost running out by the time we left as well. We guessed that they were supposed to be the entire week’s supply. Leaving town the gradual downhill continued and we cruised along into a moderate headwind for another 20 miles. At this point Jenna decided to have a flat tyre and changed it herself in only 5 minutes much to Jelena’s dismay. It was done 98% correctly but Lawrence and myself needed to get in there and reposition the tube so it wasn’t pinched under the bead because there was no way this was going to turn into another 36 minute tyre changing game.

The ride from there into Duchesne was more downhill and between Jelena and myself we managed to suck John Vanderveen along at 25 miles an hour for almost the entire 18 remaining miles into the headwind without him pedaling at all.

Arriving in camp we had spent 10 hours on the road and ridden for 5 hours and 26 minutes. We had ascended 4700 vertical feet and covered 149 kilometers. Arrangements had been made to use the local pool for showers and a quick swim. The lifeguards there were amazing and didn’t care what kind of stunts we tried on the diving boards, quite opposite to our experiences in La-Grande and Ellensburg. That’s all for now though, I’m off to bed. We’ve got another relatively long day ahead with a moderate amount of climbing, it’s split up though so shouldn’t be too tricky. Rumour is that we’ve got to build a tent shower tomorrow for our stay in Dinosaur, that announcement tonight was greeted with 50% cheers and 50% groans. Read back to the account from Snowville last Thursday if you missed it, I suppose it was a polarizing experience.

A couple of items for prayer:

  • Arnie Isset ruptured his achilles tendon last thursday and has returned to Michigan for medical attention. Pray for complete healing and that he would be at peace with the fact that he likely won’t be able to rejoin the tour this summer.
  • Art Smit (whom I’ve done a lot of riding with this summer) who had a sprained ankle in week one has had knee trouble recently which may or may not be related to a modified riding style trying to keep stress off that ankle. He’s had to take a few days off even though the rest of his body would love to get out and ride. Pray for quick recovery.
  • Stephanie Webb (whom I have ridden with a bit this summer) arrived with knee trouble but has been able to ride each day thus far. Today was too much and she had to pack it in before getting to camp. The decision to take a ride in a vehicle ‘is a very tough one and I couldn’t imagine having to make it for myself. Pray for peace with her decision, that there would be no regrets about having to miss a piece of one day. Pray that she would reap the rewards of not pushing it too far today and that she would be able to successfully ride many more days this week and the rest of the summer.

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Two weeks done

A quick update on stats thus far:

I’ve put in 1378 kilometers in the past two weeks. A total seat time of 50 hours and 17 minutes, which puts my average speed around 27.5 kilometers per hour.

The celebration service in a downtown park this morning in Boise was lots of fun. The message was one about peace, which if you’re reading the Shifting Gears devotional is the theme for the upcoming week. A couple items for prayer:

  • Strength: This week will likely be the most challenging yet. We’re still heading through the desert and temperatures are hot. The daily rides are also longer (averaging 120 kms per day this week) and as a result most riders will not be able to finish before the heat of the day as we were able to do this past week.
  • Patience: Not only for long rides and long hills, and maybe Saturday’s challenging ride will require that… Actually though, as the daily riding is turning more and more into a routine the less natural it is to make concessions for this and that. A spirit of camaraderie among the cyclists depends heavily on our intention to do so.

We’re planning another detour on Tuesday to visit some sand dunes that are a bit off course, I’ll of course keep you posted on how that materializes. I hope to write again soon but this is all for now.

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One week done

A week of cycling is already behind us. For some of the cyclists it seems like we’ve been riding forever, I’ve heard the phrase “So where are we actually right now?” more than once, I on the other hand feel like we just started and am only beginning to catch on to the whole process.

My apologies about the GPS unit. As you probably know if you looked, the GPS tracking didn’t really work all so well. I think it only recorded twice. These are the problems of running a self contained unit. When it doesn’t work the amount of trouble shooting that you can do is quite limited. The self contained satellite internet connection has been suffering the same fate, not a lot of options as far as fixing is concerned, when it works it works and when it doesn’t it doesn’t.

So since I last posted I rode one day as part of the sweep team. It seems that people appreciated the list of names and locations so I’ll try it again even though some of these huge groups are tricky to remember. Art Smit, Eritia Smit, Justin Helder (Ontario) Clare Kooistra (BC) Lynn (No idea where she’s from) Jessica Fox (Michigan) and Shawn (also no clue) We spent the day playing catch-up and wait with a few other groups which was OK, we rode in the rain all day long but it was warm and things weren’t terribly muddy so not a ton of trouble. Following the ride everyone at camp had the same bright idea to clean their bikes at the same time so we had a huge bike cleaning party on the lawn of a school. Doing so without a shirt wasn’t the brightest idea as I am unbelievably white in the non-tanned areas. Following a visit to the local ice cream shop and dinner put on by the local CRC church we headed out to celebrate independence day with fireworks and root-beer floats. The show was pretty good but staying up past 10 pm is really late these days and the 10:30 bed-time was a bit of a stretch.

Saturday we rode downhill again along the Yakima river through a beautiful valley with cliffs along the sides and orchards and vineyards surrounding us. The riding group was Kyle (BC) Stephanie Webb, Julia Wissink (Ontario) and Jenna Zee (Edmonton) and myself. Excellent tailwind on Saturday but the weather once again was a scorcher. We’re currently camped in a park along the Columbia river which serves as our shower and is full of some huge trees. We’ve had the slackline out and about as many people are trying it as there are taking pictures of those who are using it. Photos are pending successful upload… we’ll see how successful that is today.

I’d describe the flavour of the week thus far as one of unity. It’s funny that I mention that in my prayer requests for the past week, with 150 people coming throughthis website each day there are obviously some who are reminding God that we’d really love to be blessed in that way. It’s great that fewer and fewer conversations begin with “I’m Josh and I’m from Calgary, well Edmonton really these days, but I grew up in Calgary”… names are being stored in the head and I think I’ve only got 30 or so more to go. While everyone knowing one another on a first name basis isn’t really the best metric by which to measure community it is one of the only ones I can think of to put into words. I hope it does communicate the amount of effort that so many people are putting in to building relationships amongst the cyclists and support crew. I’m not talking even talking about romantic relationships (there’s a few forming and are an excellent source of humour for the rest of us… I’m not sure if I’m at liberty to mention those two so I won’t quite)

How else can I describe the unity of this team? Well I’ve got a couple examples. Canadian cyclists outfitted all of the riders for independence day with flags for their bikes following the singing of O-Canada at our evening meeting on Tuesday. There have been in excess of 30 flats for the last two days on the road… there are typically a dozen people stopped to watch (tyre changing is a one man job but the moral support is thick!). (Photo of the most hilarious occurrence is about 25 cyclists “helping” to fix a flat just outside Zillah in photo gallery). Then one of the more humourous ones. About 60 cyclists headed around the corner from the park last night to find a beer. The local sports bar was filled with 90% cyclists and they needed to send the guy running Karaoke out to buy more cups from Safeway because there were just so many people. There was line dancing, pool, two stepping and a rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace” done by one of the chaplains (Markus Lisse) that was drown out after two lines by the rest of the bar rising to their feet (locals included) and joining in.

Prayer requests for the next week:

  • Safety – this past week has seen more falls from bikes each day than I was aware of occurring all of last summer with my riding partners. No-one’s injuries are severe but they do bring a lot of stress to medical people as well as the group as a whole.
  • Awareness – Riders have been challenged to each have a conversation each day with someone at the side of the road as a bare minimum. These conversations are highlights each day for myself as well as many other riders. Please pray that God would use these conversations in mighty ways to challenge and change perspectives, injustices and apathy surrounding poverty. We’re cyclists, not spokespeople by training but by God’s grace we have the opportunity to make big influences. While the 144 conversations each day is a minimum there are hundreds more than that (thousands more might be a stretch this past week, but God is a big God and we’re only getting more comfortable with it)

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Safe in Seattle

I arrived safely in Seattle on Saturday afternoon after a bit of re-routing. Everything turned out great and I got to pay a bonus visit to Vancouver as a result, all my bags are here and my bike which was taking a ride on top of a fellow cyclist’s car has arrived in working order. I’m ready to get riding!

Meeting cyclists has been the project of the last couple days. I think I’ve met close to 100 of the ~150 that are here and think my retention rate is about 50% which is great. 150 people, it looks way bigger in real life than it does on paper. The contingent of tall blonde dutch-herrtiage males is hilarious. We had a worship service this morning, apparently the tradition of claiming the pews in the back of the auditorium first isn’t unique to River Park Church.

A couple things to remember in prayer right now:

  • There are still bikes missing in transit, pray that the airlines and couriers can sort out the details before tomorrow morning!
  • It’s hot, it’s a common source of discussion and even though it’s only going to get hotter as we enter the desert towards the end of the week pray that cyclists deal well with it.
  • Pray for unity, the first few days of meeting and greeting and forming friendships is really going to form the community for the next nine weeks. Thus far it’s been great and diverse interaction between demographics, countries etc etc.

That’s it for now, the first celebration service is tonight and we’re dipping tyres in the pacific tomorrow at 9am PST. If you’re interested there is a rumour that this will be broadcast online (live). I assume you’ll be able to find the link from the official website. I appreciate the comments and emails… keep them up it’s great to know there is a fan base out there!

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A cool story

Here’s a cool story, it’s a bit of a nightmare to keep track of names I’ll admit, but consider yourself lucky I’ve got 140 names to learn when I arrive in Seattle in 5 weeks.

Neil, Ellen and I went for a short bike ride on Saturday morning and upon the return of Ellen and I to the Yellow-House Jenna had left a message for me with Amy. Amy was
dutifully relaying the message when Jenna called again, obviously so excited by the message she had for me that she couldn’t even wait for Amy to pass it along.

Jenna was in Edmonton for a part of the weekend looking for a house for her and Betty, and I was up for a conference and a bunch of meetings regarding the research group I’ll
be joining in September. I also happened to find time to go biking a bit and visit all kinds of cool people but I was specifically not in the business of looking for a house for myself and the three other people I’ll be living with. A 5 bedroom house came up in the listings a few days prior and Jenna was able to track down someone to show it to her, she got a hold of me after really liking it and I saw the place as well. We managed to get a hold of all of the other people who would be living in that place via telephone and kinda got the go-ahead to keep pursuing it. The connection with the landlord was made around 7:30 pm and we set up plans to met her at Tim Hortons 15 minutes later. A previous pioneer-ranch-camp volunteer, very caring lady and sister in Christ showed up with a huge smile on her face and by about 8:30 there was a signature on the lease!

Now, the process of renting a house doesn’t make for such a great story all by itself but here are a few kickers. Jenna and I had a discussion somewhere in the blur of the afternoon about needing to learn a thing or two about resignation to His plans. A pretty
much continuous stream of prayers were answered to allow the process to move along smoothly (I needed to get to Calgary for Church the next morning), does 7 hour start-to-finish define quintessential smoothness or what? We were even able to get a hold of all parties on the phone. The matter of fitting 6 people into a 5 bedroom home was tidily resolved and really affirmed by a few comments by the landlord! Michelle has somewhere to go when her current lease expires. The only real request for a home made by me was answered in spades! I requested that wherever I live has got to have a proper kitchen and this one rocks: gas range, ceiling height cabinets, excessive counter space, natural light, dishwasher and adjacent dining room.

If this is how God responds to our request for housing that has only begun in earnest recently I can only imagine how great his plans are for the things that have been consistently in daily prayers since January and last summer. I have a crew of friends heading over to Africa for the month of July to work with Christian students in Zambia. The opportunity of that group to foster leadership growth in those students is so unique and has amazing potential. My involvement with the mother-of-all-bike-rides this summer continues to require prayer. Here are a few specific requests:

  • For the right route. Give thanks to God for enabling Ed Witvoet, our operations & logistics manager, to finish charting the exact route across the continent.
  • For support crew members. The tour still needs a few volunteers to travel with the tour to ensure a smooth and safe journey. Please pray for people to consider this opportunity and apply.
  • For increased awareness. Ask God to bless the efforts to communicate and promote the tour and its goals to churches and individuals so far, and to give creativity to organizers to spread the word further.
  • For tour sponsors. Pray that those being contacted as possible corporate sponsors will catch the vision and come on board to help underwrite tour expenses.
  • For celebration rally planning. Local committees are busy planning the many Sunday celebration rallies along the route. Pray that all the details will come together so these rallies glorify God, unify His church and motivate all to serve the poor.
  • For cyclists. Riding across North America is a major challenge and commitment that needs the support of family, friends and co-workers, and the Spirit’s clear discernment. Pray for safety as riders train for the tour.
  • For the steering committee. Organizers have a lot to plan with not a lot of time. Pray for wisdom in decision-making and unity within the committee.
  • For those living in poverty around the world. May compassion be evident in God’s people and may justice prevail in the hearts of those who govern.

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Commissioning from McKernan Baptist

This morning McKernan Baptist, the church I’ve been attending in Edmonton for the past 4 years has a commissioning for all of the people doing “kingdom related work” this summer. 17 people were sent out from just that community to go make a positive impact on the world for Christ in the next 4 months. God’s abundance seemed to be so evident.

It was a really good experience to be blessed by that congregation before I departed Edmonton, Pst. Sam prayed specifically for guidance in preparation, something that’s been tricky in recent weeks. I am quite aware that I’m leaving Edmonton soon, have I really asked all of the people for support that I should have asked before I split from town?

We also prayed that God would pour into us an extra measure of courage and clarity with regards to opportunities to share the gospel. That’s also something that’s been going through lots of cyclists heads in recent weeks. There has been a discussion going on with regards to why in the world we’re going on a bike ride along with this fundraising. The ultra-brief answer in my mind boils down to being a witness to our world. If through cycling there are opportunities to communicate the importance of caring for the poor then by all means it’s not a pointless endevour. Does that make it a worthwhile endevour? Well I guess I’d like to chalk up some quantifiable level of awareness at which I think this becomes worthwhile. If I can communicate well to one completely different person each day the reasoning behind my biking then I by all means am on the right track. Is one person enough? I think that if I start down that road I’m going on a bit of an adventure in completely missing the point, but here’s what I do know. It requires a good dose of courage and a clear mind to be making that conscious effort from day to day.

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Accomodation Prayer Requests

Six nights of accommodation for the Tour this summer remain unconfirmed. Would you please join in praying that the leads that are currently established would follow through and that the location in upstate New York would be sorted out. It would be a great relief to the organizers if all of these locations could be sewn up in the next weeks.

  1. Dinosaur, CO – local campground
  2. Fraser, CO – YMCA park
  3. Wray, CO – at local park and local pool
  4. Fremont, NE – Military Memorial park
  5. Woodstock, IL – High School in town
  6. Albion, NY or Batavia, NY – still open, no leads

In another line of prayer, there are currently numerous riders who anticipate participating this summer who are dealing with injuries. Some of them are frustrating inconveniences like broken hands that aren’t likely to impact riders’ success this summer but some other riders are dealing with knee trouble and other cycling related problems. The health and strength of all members of this summer’s itinerant community will make a big impact on the extent to which those weeks will be so much more of a blessing than a chore.

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A Current Prayer Request

One of the things that I have been very careful about communicating is that all of the money they donate goes towards the cause and none of it is to support us cyclists, who are relying on corporate sponsorship or themselves/ourselves to meet those costs.

Our development manager, Al Vander Hart, passed along a prayer request this evening. Al has been working with contacts at a rather large franchise company for a major corporate sponsorship of our tour. The process, which has been going on for literally months, faces a significant crossroads tomorrow (Friday, March 7) as executives review the proposal with a view to making a decision.

Would you please join me/us in prayer tonight and tomorrow asking that God will open a way for our proposal to find favor with this national,
well-known organization? It means money towards the cause but it also means momentum in that effort.

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