Day 2 of the Midwest biking tour presented a fun opportunity for most of us: our first century ride (100 mile ride)! I was definitely excited about his and definitely apprehensive about this. The furthest I had ridden was the day before, when we rode about 65 miles. I was a little apprehensive about how my back was going to do, but it felt fine at the moment. Plus Jon’s wife had packed essential oils for him that he was willing to share, so I figured that would go a long way.
Since we stayed in a home that didn’t have coffee, the first stop for those of us whose drug of choice is caffeine, was the nearest Caribou. It also had to be the cutest Caribou Coffee I’ve ever seen.
Once we were all fueled up, we hit the road, literally. On our way out of the parking lot, I thought we were going to beat the oncoming cars, but everyone else wanted to wait, which left me clipped in and wanting to stop. Y’all know where this is headed. Yep, I fell into the nearby pretty rock landscape and provided much needed entertainment for the guy mowing the lawn on his riding lawn mower. Don’t underestimate your purpose…. some days you are entertained, some days, you are the entertainment…
The next 100 miles were filled with huge climbs, gorgeous scenery, and AMAZING speeds on the down hills. I clocked 40 mph on my bike on one down hill, and let’s just say I was praying a lot that cars nor slide outs would ruin that long run down…I love speed…which is why I will take biking over running any day (let’s just call it what it is…I don’t really run, I lope…my asthma, allergies and aging are proving more prohibitive than I ever would have imagined. Please, if you are in your 20’s do it all!! The 30’s are when you start falling apart. Trust me.). It’s also why I need hobbies that provide speed because if you haven’t noticed, life, well…at least mine is more of a marathon pace and nothing happens when I WANT it to. God and I have lots of talks about this. And God usually wins. When I “win” it never turns out well, so it’s not really a win. But it usually takes me a bit to concede and realize things would have turned out better if I had let God’s best rule. The thing about God though is that God will let us have our way whenever we want and we can run into as many walls as it takes us to realize God’s best is always better than what we hope, dream or imagine. Someday, I hope to be able to believe that enough to actually live it out… Until then, I imagine I will run into many more walls and will go running to God to be consoled and reminded to stretch my patience out just a bit longer next time.
The first 50ish miles of this day were brilliant. And then the inevitable, my back pain set in again. So, with 50 miles to go, I needed to stop and stretch about every 7-10 miles depending on how many hills we had and how much I pushed myself.
The first couple of times we had to stop, I was okay with it. I didn’t mind being the reason we had to stop. But I wanted to push myself til I just couldn’t bear the pain any more and then stop. Well, I went too long one time and literally getting down on the ground was so painful I couldn’t hold back the tears. So there I lay on my back in the middle of who knows where Wisconsin in excruciating pain and I guess, trying to save face and from being humiliated. So from behind sunglasses (so my team couldn’t see how much pain I was in) I told them I could just wait for sweep (y’all know how well that went from Day 1) and that they should just go ahead. To which Fred responded, “No. We are a team and we will stick together and all finish as a team. You of all people should know that, you’re the Missions Pastor. Plus, I’m always ready for a bathroom stop and these stops remind me to drink more water.” Everyone else chimed in and agreed. So, the rest of the day was spent riding together across Wisconsin with stops about every 45 minutes so I could stretch my back and everyone could take bathroom and water breaks.
And finish together as a team, we did.
If I’m being truthful, I’m still unsure why it’s so hard for me to be the reason to stop. If it had been someone else, of course I would stop for them, as many times as they needed and thought nothing of it (and probably even enjoy a reason for the break). But when it comes to me, I don’t want to be the reason people have to stop. I don’t want to be the reason people have to slow down. I don’t want to be the “weakest” link. Perhaps it’s my age old perfectionist tendencies. They’ve gotten better over the years, but clearly I still hold myself to unrealistic expectations and always want to be great at everything, otherwise, why do it (I know, I know, horrible belief system, but I’m just being real). Perhaps this is the reason my word for the year from God is “play.” Not perform, not excel, not pray, not lead, not seek, not follow, but “play”.