Monday, July 28, 2008
The Van Dyks (I'm not sure I spelled that correctly)
The ultimate Dutch bingo
The top of Berthoud Pass with Brian.
The tail end of Rabbit Ears descent.
"Sea to Denver with Laura" has arrived in Denver. What a swirl of emotion. Many people have suggested it being bittersweet, but at the moment, it is all bitter, I have to admit. As we rolled into Denver Christian on Saturday, those poor cheerleaders must have been confused to why I was in tears. Maybe they didn't notice, there was so much going on--music (a mix including Garth Brooks and Black Eyed Peas), goodie bags, cheerleaders, haircuts, mail, and lots of family and friend visitors.
The ride on Saturday was in my top 2 ever. We left Snow Mountain Ranch in longsleeve, full-finger glove, and legging weather and soon started the climb up Berthoud Pass, which was one of the most picturesque and least physically demanding climbs. Or maybe we are just in excellent shape now. I had my 6th flat tire on the way up. I squeezed my 7th flat in on the way home from church on Sunday, just hours before my departure.
The way down was filled with hoops and hollers as Hans, Matt, Sarah, Brian, and I all hit our record speeds (at least I'm pretty sure of this fact). Mine was 50.2mph. How can you not yell about that? We were passing cars.
We rode through several cutesy towns, the Red Rocks Amphitheater, and many courtesy refreshment stops supplied by friends and churches.
I met several supporters on the route who enthusiastically waved the "Shifting Gears" devotional or a Sea to Sea bracelet saying, "I've been following you guys! See my bracelet?" A random family reunion crowd described themselves as only "flatland riders" and promised to donate online. I realized that I was a flatlander not long ago--before I fell in love with mountain passes. About a year ago, I remember driving up Berthoud Pass and seeing 2 bicyclists riding up. I thought, "Why would anyone ever want to do that?" Its funny how things change.
As sad as leaving the tour is for me, which was planned, we have to remember Tyler and Arnie, who were forced to leave unexpectedly. Arnie had surgery on his ruptured achilles last Friday, and Tyler broke his collar bone in a crash on Saturday. He is on his way home. Please keep them in your prayers.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Rabbit Ears Pass...Continental Divide!
Plenty of time to take pictures at 6.7 mph.
Lesson learned: Don't forget to take our biking gloves before you put your laundry in the dryer.
Thank you Cory, keeper of the portable outhouse.
Words of yesterday:
96 miles into
“I love right now.”
Today we had an easy 35 miles to Snow Mountain Ranch. None other than Nancy Meyer, my Calvin XC coach met me on the roadside today. That was a nice surprise. I caught my first glimpse of the Tour de France in a coffee shop. I have a new appreciation for the sport these days.
Audrey, a young woman from
This is a quickie because I must make the most of my little time left with these wonderful people.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Perfecting the over-the-shoulder shot
Bittersweet to be in my last state
A very candid high five with Nick in front of the summit elevation sign w
We are in “Colorful Colorado,”
Today was a tough day of 92 miles--the theme of the week. From this ride’s experience, this section of
On the upside, our route was scattered with weathered, off-colored dinosaur statues of various sizes. The best was the town of
The last 10k (I must be surrounded by Canadians), I was the closest I have ever been to bonking on a bike. I’m blaming my exhaustion for allowing myself to spend $4.80 on a frozen coffee drink as soon as I got to town.
I am falling in love with early morning cycling. If only I could learn to go to bed on time.
We’re losing so much salt, my sweet tooth is pretty much gone these days—by the end of the day, I’m covered in salt, and the best treat is dutch licorice (thank you Krabbe’s and Walter), jerky, or salted nuts.Its bittersweet to be in my last state of the tour. I didn't realize it would be such a big deal to leave early. What a great community I will be leaving.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
A view from our pavilion of our tents.
I made history with my first century ride yesterday thanks to a “short cut” and a mini-tour of the
Local churches provided 2 rest stops on the way, with the best service so far—girls were eagerly serving me special-order drinks and energy bars from my chair. It was great to start making some connections in my new home of
Our first pass up
The two most emotional times of the day were arriving into camp and realizing we were staying in a “walk-in” campsite requiring a ½ mile walk to our tent sites. There were far more tears shed over the camping situation than over the biking.
And a storm is here....we’re in the mountains.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The bustling downtown of Snowville.
Horizontal pace line?
The tandem: Rita and Bill Wybenga.
A touching moment.
We continue on.
We pedaled 86 miles yesterday to the smallest town of the tour—
Yesterday in a café, some of us heard the story of a farmer, who considers himself impoverished because of increasing gas prices and decreasing potato prices. I doubt our listening ears were enough to satisfy him.
Yesterday we also were able to enjoy a homemade tarp shower--quite the bonding experience. Ingredients: tarp, webbing, softball backstop, and a hose.
Beautiful full moon last night.
Also, yesterday was a difficult day for morale. It was a hot and long day with a steady headwind and no scenery except for farms and sagebrush. There were several grueling uphill climbs that looked so innocently gradual. I kept checking to make sure my brakes weren’t rubbing or my tires weren’t flat--how could I be crawling so slowly? The outhouse fell off the van and landed in the middle of the highway, and the kitchen truck door opened on the road.
Also, there were a few injuries, including Arnie, who partially tore his achilles tendon. Please pray for him as he goes home soon to see if he needs surgery.
Thankfully, today’s ride was very smooth as far as I know—through farms, salty “marshes,” and lots of roadside fruit stands. No “R-rated” movies in the theaters.
Pray for us tomorrow—95 miles ending with a climb into the mountains. It will be a long day for everyone.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
ziplocs and purel, very common things
So a couple of days ago I was telling someone who I had rode with that day. They replied, "Oh, so you are a part of Team Sweet now?" Little did I know that there was such thing as Team Sweet and that I was "intruding." Fortunately, Team Sweet is very inclusive and malleable. I rode with a core of them again today, and had to rename the team for about 20 miles to Team Squeak due to my pesky derailleur (sp?).
Today was long. We made it into a 90 mile day with a waterfall detour.
Highlights: base jumper sighting, dairy tour, Twin Falls RCA lunch, crop duster, and a Moose Drool.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Our campfire last night.
All Talk. Me, Hans, Pastor Len, Sara, Matt
Having fun on trusty "Old Highway 30"
Checking off another state line.
As of this weekend, I’ve reached the half way point of my trip in days, but not miles quite yet (not elevation either). We enjoyed a great tailwind for our 55 miles into
We had a restful weekend in
We stopped at a truck stop off the highway for coffee--"food and fuel," said the sign. We arrogantly boasted that food and fuel are redundant in our case.
On Saturday, some of us helped out at the Boise Bicycle Project, which is a young program that fixes up donated bikes to distribute to the homeless and low-income families—a really awesome concept. The building consisted of 3 rooms lined with bikes and 2 piled with bikes. It was a great lesson in bicycle history. We spent our time stripping bikes to the bare bones for future re-assembly.
The real today:
62 miles on bumpy road to Gooding, Idaho. Old Highway 30 in this section is so lightly used, it is covered in gravel for much of the way--resulting in rough cycling. But we can also ride "neighborhood bike gang" style, which can be a nice break.
This was an incredibly uneventful day for me, except for my first flat tire of the trip. It breaks my heart to think of my perfect streak shattered...well, maybe that's an exaggeration.
I rode with Jess Fox today--great company. The variety of riding combos is great--solo for ultimate freedom (but high probability of loneliness), duo for good conversation and simplicity, pace line for good cruising, gang-style for a good party on the road. No two days are alike.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Agatha at work in her roadside beauty parlor.
Adventures of Sweep Team J.
Watermelon thanks to our great sag driver, Walter.
Jenna, Peter, John
Tents are photogenic.
Internet access has been difficult to obtain these last few days. I apologize for the delay in updates.
Yesterday my “sweep team” was on duty, meaning we were responsible for loading and unloading the gear truck, helping with dinner and breakfast, and making sure everyone made it to camp. It turns out to be a fun time, since we are “forced” to go slow and take our time on the ride. For Sweep Team J, this meant spending two hours in a coffee shop before we even left town at 11:00 (which was preceded by applause from various coffee shop patrons—for well wishes I hope, not because they were happy to see us go).
I wrote this post on Wednesday night:
“Today it is difficult to report on the coffee shops we stopped at, the sights we saw, and the hills we climbed. It is all feeling quite redundant (I may even go as far as to say silly). I’m having a great time for sure, but finding it difficult to deal with the trip’s relevance with the big picture of poverty. At the moment all I’m clinging on to is the fact that we have raised 1.55 million so far. Does that mean the biking is working?
We had a great time of “Wednesday Worship,” led by Hans Doef. Tonight we read through the book of Ruth aloud.”
It seems as though God directly answered my recent questioning with an encouraging encounter in the grocery store today. I went inside to buy a couple of peaches while Johnny sat outside to watch the bikes. As usual, I struck up a conversation about biking with the produce manager, Jerry (okay, it’s not always the produce manager, but someone who is wondering about my spandex and clanky shoes). He turned out to be extremely passionate about issues involving orphans, widows, and the poor here in
In this way, Jerry opened my eyes and encouraged me about the mission of this bike trip.
“Will you pray for us?” Jerry asked me. I said that sure I would pray for him while I was biking.
“No, pray now,” he said.
So we held hands right amidst the peaches and prayed. Jerry wouldn’t let me go until he introduced me to close friends and co-workers of his who were all active in his church.
By the time I got back out to Johnny, he was wondering how in the world I could take so long to pick out 2 peaches. Before we saw the pits of our peaches, we were approached by the owner of the grocery store, Jerry, and a few other workers, who insisted on praying for us and then gave us a dollar bill…a dollar bill wrapped around a 100 dollar bill.
“This never happens to me,” says Johnny.
Me neither.Its so hard to put this in words, but I hope others are as encouraged by this as I am.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Agatha and I. State #2.
Computer time at the yellow school on a hill.
Our progress so far.
We made it to
After a great Sabbath in