Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Houston, MS to Kosciusko MS

March 22nd

Houston, MS to Kosciusko MS [75.3]

I know what you’re thinking – what is Kosciusko? Apparently it’s the name of a Polish general who fought in the revolutionary war. So that clears that up.

This morning I volunteered to do devotions. I used the same one that I read at Kansas City about the cynical feelings I used to have about Fundraising and how God used that to change my heart. I also added a story to it that I learned from Boy Scout Camp that I think ended the devotion in stronger way. I had many people come up to me later and tell me that my devotion spoke to them. I was glad the Lord used my words to encourage others and we all needed some encouragement that morning.

Fortunately Jack let me barrow his jacket for another day, if not I may have turned into a Popsicle. I remember biking out with a group wearing two jackets, my helmet covered with plastic, wearing my biking pants, arm warmers, my handkerchief wrapped tightly around my ears. My hands covered in dishwashing gloves with my bike gloves overtop of them. I even wore a knock off under armor shirt – although to be fair it was designed to wick out sweat instead of keep heat in, but it had long sleeves and I figured it would at least do something.

I remember my fingers going numb first, then my feet, finally my legs started becoming stiffer and harder to move and all this was within the first ten miles. I was riding in a pace line and I knew I probably was not going fast enough to keep myself warm, but it was biting cold.

I should have known this was going to be insane when even, dare devil and bike mechanic, Jonas Winn decided he wasn’t cycling today because conditions were too dangerous.

My core was still warm, but everything else was aching and my Achilles tendon which had become so sore and strained felt tight and sorer. I was fighting hard to make it to that rest stop. It was supposed to be a 75 mile day and when I arrived I quickly decided that if I was going to be fighting like this for every new rest stop that I wasn’t going to want to do it. I’ve ridden in bad conditions before, I have nothing else to prove and I could tell my gear was not equipped for this kind of cold and wet. I hopped in the van to warm up and I wasn’t the only one.

Jonas hopped out and helped break down bikes. Most folks were ready to call it a day, although a few decided to keep riding. Jack volunteered to shuttle people to the church.

Harper and I were the first two to be shuttled back. I was already in Jack’s van since there was no more room in the Fuller Center van to warm up.

Jack drove and Melissa navigated in the front seat and I chatted with Harper in the back seat. Harper is kind of shy by nature. One of the first things we all noticed about her was that she loved to read – she spent her all her time in a very thick book. A book I recognized I might add – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. So naturally we had plenty to talk about. The fact that she’s seen many of my favorite animated series and has read many books that I have was awesome.

I’m glad talking with Harper was easy because I’ve never been good with talking to fourteen year olds about anything before; seriously – if you don’t believe me then go ask my cousins.

So we arrived at the church and unloaded our bikes and our gear so as to give Jack plenty of room for the next batch of riders. The pastor of Parkway Baptist church (and yes this church is called Parkway Baptist too) provided us with coffee and hot chocolate which was a warm welcome on such a chilly day.

So then came the wait for the next set of riders, followed by more waiting and then even more waiting. Well it turned out that about forty-five miles away the rain had cleared up, making it simply a cold day instead of a wet one. So the remaining riders no longer wanted to be shuttled back in the van, they all wanted to see if they could finish the ride. Hours later we had riders emerge – some made it the whole way, others road in the van for twenty miles to warm up. I still remember Sarah Doren arriving – wind burnt, cold burnt, every kind of burnt, she was looking fierce like some kind of warrior women striding in on her bike having conquered the day.

A number of others finished the whole ordeal, including the sweeps. I applaud them, but I do not regret my decision to cut the ride short at all. For all I knew it could have kept raining, I was ill prepared for that and for the sake of safety I feel like one has to know their limits and besides I wasn’t looking for a crazy challenge this time around. I was looking to enjoy myself and I don’t think I would have enjoyed myself to finish a very bitter day.

The church bought us boxes upon boxes of pizza – it was wonderful, hot pizza to counter a freezing day.

There is Harper to the left, followed by Ryan who is working on his laptop, then Bud active on his tablet, Venus whose also joined the laptop party and Angela who just happened to be walking by when I took this picture…

After dinner it was game time; actually even before dinner today seemed to be the day for games. That afternoon a group played worst case scenario junior and a game called ‘somethings’. In the evening Sarahs wanted to play a game called Telephone Pictionary which they did, thanks to a bunch of paper from a memo notebook I brought. We also had some folks who actually wanted to play Catch Phrase, which is really nice since I’ve been having a harder and harder time finding people who still want to play that game.
Also I remember we all had another bike cleaning party – which is important to do after riding your bike through the rain.

Here is Jonas working on his bike. He also found a Fireman’s hat in the kid’s room of the church.

It looks like it will be warmer tomorrow, but still rainy, but that’s ok. I can handle warm and rainy. It’s also our last day of biking which is sad, but also exciting.

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