Pastor John Van Sloten's Blog 2001-2007

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Day 68 – Fredericton to Sussex – 133k

Aug 31, 2005

I’ve never slept with this many people in one night before; 150! Yeah, in a gym again… and let me tell you it’s not very glamorous. Seeing puffy eyed faces before they wake up, tumbling across half dressed people hanging out of their sleeping bags, and averting your eyes when necessary (especially when a real old guy decides to offer his half lit audience the full monty! Oh my…) I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I headed to the washroom.
Today we are expecting massive rain (again). It should fit in well with the psyche that has permeated many on this camp. You can taste it in the water, feel it in the air. It’s malaise, fatigue, resignation, depression, even to the point of a short tempered kind of anger. “Counting the days, no not me, I’m counting the hours,” one young guy said on the public phone the other day. There are two young women whose faces betray them; for the first 9 weeks of this journey all smiles, full of energy, and now there’s a heaviness, bags under the eyes, drooping at the corners of their mouths.
I guess this is the final hour, the storm before the calm, the big push. You dig deep, you find within yourself and you finish what you started!

The other day my Dad called to update me about my grandfather. Very sick and dying, he’s still lying in some hospital in Edmonton, waiting for a nursing home; waiting to end his journey. My dad keeps saying how great a life Opa has had, very few major setbacks, great health; a good ride. And yet now he faces this final push, legs aren’t working that well any more, la joie the vivre est finis, his heart just isn’t in it any more. Today as I “suffer” through a bit of rain I’ll pray for my Opa, ride for him… I’ll miss him when he’s gone.

But we don’t lose hope, him or I, because in a few days we’ll be dipping our tires in the water, a great sea that surrounds both country and throne.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 07:29 AM PDT
Sorry to hear about your OPA John. I will be praying for him and hopefully you will be able to make it back before the Lord takes him home. Perhaps being able to share your experience with him will allow one last twinkle in his eye. God speed. Be safe. Dave Park


Day 67 Florenceville to Fredericton – 153k

Aug 30, 2005

My camera (correction, my friend’s borrowed camera) is on the fritz. I think I might have soaked it to death with my sweat yesterday. I’m hoping and praying that this thing still works once it dries out a bit. I think I might be addicted to it. When I lost my battery two days ago I was almost frantic. Observing that in myself caused a bit of concern. It’s only a camera right?
I’ve often wondered about the blogging as well. Several have commented that I seem a little shaky when I’m away from the laptop to much, “My precious!”

A writer named Philip Yancey once talked about how being a writer can, in a strange way, cause a person to avoid life. In a way, you have to engage more deeply in order to see and hear, but in another way you run the risk of starting to live your live through the stories of others. You spend so much time and energy in others that you lose yourself. (he wrote a lot about others) Ok then, so maybe I’m ok… if I write about my life and my environs then maybe its different… or is this denial? “My precious, precious little Canon…” Losing the camera for the day will be a good exercise in self control. Can the day be just a rich, or maybe richer in the loss? Can the lenses I currently have in place, optical and emotional and physical and spiritual bring enough clarity, richness and beauty to life? Surely a day can be lived this sparsely. I’m sure I can do it.
“Maybe it’s just the battery? What if I just borrow a battery from someone else and check? ….. Or…… I could borrow a camera from someone else… hmmmmm…. Excellent.”

(oh and by the way… pouring rain outside this morning… smile)

Later that day… It’s interesting to consider the psychology of cycling as it relates to rainy days. Many people were psyched by the promise of rain well before hitting the road. The result; one of the toughest days this tour for a lot of riders. For me, after all the rain fun of yesterday, it was a good day; long, with lots of hills, but enjoyable. Good health helps.

As we headed out this am. one rider says to me, “The weather is always worse from the inside of a window.” He was right. The day started off a bit damp, but then stayed relatively dry for the balance. Actually the conditions were perfect for the hilly terrain.

And as for my camera concerns… a day without went ok… I heard a lot more things today… although I’m sure I missed at least two great shots (I’m sure). When I got back it still didn’t work… so I took a blow dryer to it. After 30 minutes of grooming it came back to life. Awesome. Now I’m all ready for the next two days of rain.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 31 2005 @ 10:21 AM PDT
Hi John,

Like I said before, don't sweat it (pun intended) about the camera.

Very interesting observations though, sometimes I've photographed a whole event and missed it myself! And I wonder if it's possible to be so involved in church things that you actually miss what it's all about?

Glad to hear the blow dryer worked. Ever thought of using a ziploc bag to carry the camera?? Barb


Day 66 - Later that adverturesome day...

Aug 29, 2005

What an adventure of a day! Started off feeling like total garbage (didn’t mention it in my morning blog because I had to deny the problem… with 150k in fro not me I had no option but to ride… anyways) and wasn’t sure if I could do the ride. The first 65k were fairly miserable; my gut felt like it was twisting and I didn’t feel like eating anything (for fear of mass upheaval or disposal). But I had to eat, and so, in faith, I did. We ended up going to a place for second breakfast; a restaurant attached to a motel. At first I thought Rob’s choice sucked, but when it got inside it was bliss. All new finishes, a table right along side a small escarpment that viewed a waterfall. We could not believe our fortune, and for some reason, the food tasted great; and when I left the place I was feeling much better. 60% (which is a pass right?)
We then rode for 40k with the weather continuing to be perfect; overcast, cool and no rain. With all the forecasted rain, it looked like we were going to get off easy. But looks can be deceiving. After a 45 minute chat at one of the SAG stops, the drops started coming down. Within 30 minutes we were riding in a torrent. 30 or so kilometers in the pouring rain, and I absolutely loved it! At times we were climbing some pretty steep hills and there were rivers of water coming down the other way. We decided that we would draft each other in the current. At the bottom of each hill there would be a small lake. When I was leading I’d shout out, “Water!” For some reason, amidst the thunder, lightning and pouring rain, the rest of the team understood. Meanwhile, my rain gear is keeping the rain out and causing my sweat to pool inside. Bare legs, shoes filled with water, like two small bath tubs, the water washing over my glasses to the point of vision loss, water pouring through my sweat soaked helmet washing salt water into the corners of my mouth; and my incessant smile ensured that I drank deeply.

There was something so pure about that time… cleansing… redemptive.

We started to talk about this tour ending a bit. At one point Jordan says to me, “Next week at this time I’ll have just finished a morning of rowing and will be back at University. Where will you be John?” I did the time change math and said, “Next week at this time I’ll be hugging and kissing my family at the airport… tired and so happy to be home again.”

Strange how we prepare for things to end; we take some of the future and insert it into the present. And by so doing, we shorten our attention to that present moment. Slowly we pull the needle out of our arms; we detach.
After breakfast this am. I told my riding group how much I was going to miss them. I will.

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 29 2005 @ 04:20 PM PDT
Wow - some deep thoughts there. John thanks for sharing your daily biking life through this blog. I'm going to have to find something else to do on my computer time once this ride is over. There will be no more blogs to read.


Please send Stuive greetings to David Veenstra or shall we call him Mavid Leenstra :o)

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 29 2005 @ 04:49 PM PDT
Life is to be lived and shared, I for one will be checking the New Hope
Church weblog to see if this continues, there is more to marriage than
the wedding there is more to the Sea to Sea tour that the wheels on the
road... the adventure will continue and only our LORD know how it will be
as we know He's not telling. Sure appreciate you looking after our "kids"
and a tear wells up in my eye when I realize this part of the adventure is
about to end. God bless
Rob's mum, Chris


Day 66 – Edmundston to Florenceville – 150k

Aug 29, 2005

As the rumours of a rain filled week continue, the camp is a bit subdued this morning. Many have already hit the road and the rest are gloomily getting close.

Gear bags are stuffed to the hilt with all of the additional gear that rain precipitates. Psyche’s are feeling a bit ominous. The forecast is wet for the week, with the possibility of the hurricane that is now in the Gulf of Mexico ending up in Canada by the weekend (so the rumour goes!). We’ll see.
Talking about it over breakfast we figured that riding through hurricane remnants would make for, yet another, good segue into telling people what we did this summer. Every time news of a hurricane comes up in the next few years, we could say, “That reminds me of the time I was biking Canada and bumped into ‘Katerina’ in the Maritimes… what am I referring to?... well let me tell you…”

Only 5 more cycling days after today… Someone just came up to me and asked what it would cost to get mentioned in this blog. I told them it was priceless… All Micah wanted was to say that, “Marcel stinks”. I guess Micah’s most happy for the rain today… $20. please…

And now to the road…

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 29 2005 @ 06:41 AM PDT
John Rozeboom here, John.
You are read, JVS! Everyday. And God is praised. Your daily prose brings a whole bunch of us in on a truly great adventure. I think about you, the gang, the tour every day, several times a day.
Stay safe this last go, Linda and I pray.
Have a ball bringing your message Sunday, John.
A million thanks.
John and Linda Rozeboom.
A big favor? Some evening will you find Martin Contant, ask him to turn around, place your big hands on his skinny shoulders and give him 15 seconds of deep muscle massage? Please.


Day 65 – Edmunston rest day – 0k.

Aug 28, 2005

What a great morning. Went to bed early last night, woke up at 5:30, got up at 6:00 and headed off to work out my sermon for next weekend. Finished that by 8:00 (whoo hoo!) and went to get breakfast, only it wasn’t there yet. I then realized that my 6:00 am get up time was really 5:00 am (before the time change)… oh well. 6 more riding days…

I heard about a neat parable that played out yesterday. It went like this…
“There once was a woman who loved cats. She loved them more than most, especially the feline who found residence at her home. One summer the woman decided to cycle across Canada. This meant she had to leave her cat at home. She worried that the cat would go unloved. She had no idea that something more tragic might happen. Sure enough her cat ended up getting sick; seriously ill. The woman asked some trusted fellow cyclists to pray for her cat, but, sadly her cat died. For weeks the woman mourned her loss, up hills and down she carried her pain. But then one day, on a lonely road into the Maritimes, in the middle of nowhere, right there on the side of the road, she came upon a miracle; one small kitten, no more than 5 weeks old, sitting all by itself. The woman stopped and stared… then she went over and picked up that little gift and held it to her face. Its purring brought peace, it restored her heart.”

To think that God would love this lady this much astounds me. Through the circumstances of life God is speaking, all over the place; if we only had eyes to see, soft hearts to feel, willing hands to pick his words up.

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 28 2005 @ 08:16 PM PDT
John, It's been great reading your daily thoughts as you tour across Canada. One of your first ones was called Agatha and you commented on her at the Abbotsford rally. I haven't heard anything since. Has she made it through the whole tour? Is she the oldest female going Sea to Sea? Just wondering!
Elsie B.

Day 65 – Edmunston rest day – 0k.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 28 2005 @ 11:48 PM PDT
Hi John
Your blogs are very appreciated. We doing our part with keeping informed and prayer.
We also will go through withdrawal when this is done.
God's blessings and protection during this final week.



Day 64 - later that day

Aug 27, 2005

As expected it was a tougher go today, but alright on all counts. First off out of camp we climbed 250 metres and it felt great; nothing like the 1300m into Manning Park, but fun none the less. Really, I can’t believe that I’m actually starting to like hills.

En route I had some good conversation with Angela and Jeff. Angela is a very astute young woman, and today a very strong cyclist! Mid afternoon she was quoted as saying, “I don’t want this day to end!” Jeff has thighs that are bigger than Angela’s waist. He’s a very strong cyclist who held back all day long; except for the one huge descent that he decided to re-climb and do again. I feel old saying it, but, “Youth…” At one point in the ride I asked them where they had seen God’s face on this tour. Angela’s first clarifying question was, “Today?” “No, on the whole tour,” was my response. She said she felt God’s presence during the sunrise at Manatiwaning, on Manitoulin Island. It was that 33k day, and what she so appreciated was the sense of peace, and relaxation and joy that so permeated each of us on the site. My guess is she saw that morning as a gift from God. Jeff said he saw God’s face in the fog that was floating out over the St. Lawrence a few days back. He’s right, it was mystical.

Jeff then went on to say, “I was gonna say…” Then he stopped. I told him that he couldn’t just stop and goaded him on. He then said, “I was gonna say, ‘Trevor’s butt’” I could see why he was a bit sheepish about offering that response, but immediately I knew where he was coming from. Jeff went on to say, “I’ve been looking at that butt for weeks, as Trevor has pulled and pulled and pulled me on this tour.” Evidently Trevor is a total machine… rarely does he like to let others do the hard work of leading. He’s a total animal on his bike. Jeff went on to talk about his sheer power as a cyclist. Coming from the thigh master that was quite a compliment!

God’s peace in times of rest, God’s mystery in a fog, God’s modeled in the miraculous legs of a man; his creation.

Oh, speaking of legs and feet. Today as I arrived on site I saw God’s face in another way. Konstantin taking off his sandals and running through the grass in his bare feet. He was literally giggling… honest. “The grass, the grass, it feels great on your feet!” I just stood there smiling. I had no idea there wasn’t grass in Russia. Or maybe it had more to do with a grown man growing young after a 143k bike ride. He was like a toddler. Our Father younger than we…


Day 64 – St. Alexandre to Edmunston – 143 hillier k.

Aug 27, 2005

I’m just sittin here at 6:46 am staring at a thick mix of poplars and birches in behind the equipment trailer. The sun is shining through when it can, and the sky is a pale powder blue with wisps of translucent white cloud. It’s so peaceful; beautiful.

So far this morning I’ve done the standard air mattress/tent set down, ate two breakfasts… ok… if you must know, Raison Bran first, then eggs and home fries… had a coffee and some conversation and am now sittin down at my lap top at 6:47 am staring at a thick mix of poplars… this could get circular very quickly!

Speaking of cycling, today promises to be a bit more of a challenge; a bit of distance, and some hills (we’re told) and a forecasted head wind, all as we head into a new province; New Brunswick. I’m riding with a couple of new people today (new to me, not the ride). I’m also thinking more about my message for next week. Feeling a bit of pressure to do it right… internal pressure of course. And, lest we forget, only six more days of cycling after today.

Let’s see what this day has in store…


Day 63 - Later that day...

Aug 26, 2005

Later that day…

In before noon, tail wind all the way, sunny in the St. Lawrence Valley, some neat photo opportunities, and time for an iced barley beverage before dinner ("an"… "some"… what’s the difference really?). What a great day this has been so far. I can’t believe that we’ve only got 7 more days to ride… and then… I can’t say it!
As I was leaving early this am. a guy named Kirk comes up to me and says, “When you go through St. Jean Port Joli, check out all the carvings, these people carve everything!” Seeing as I love artwork and artists, I looked forward to getting there. 30k into the ride I approached the town and saw what he was talking about; stone and wood carvings all over the place. Very neat.

About a kilometer into town I heard the sound of a hammer hitting wood and was convinced that a local artisan was already about his early morning creating. I imagined meeting this bearded creator artist ( a guy) giving birth to some kind of amazing piece of art. As the pounding and chipping sounds grew louder, I looked around the outside of a big hedge only to see some guy removing wood shingles from the side of his house. A few kilometers further I heard the sound again, hammer to chisel carving some kind of pure Canadiana scene; only this time, it was two carpenters nailing a fascia board onto a new house. 20 kilometers up I heard the sound again as I passed a truss manufacturing company. Then the thought hit me… Is it any less an art to nail a fascia, build a truss or renovate some old exterior cladding? Sometimes I honour some kinds of art over others, and that’s not fair. Woodworkers of any kind are plying their trades creatively. Each can honour God in their work. All of it can bring worship to God... praise him with a hammer.

Driving along the tree lined roads for the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but think of the Artist who came up with the idea of wood.

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 26 2005 @ 03:35 PM PDT
hey john,
i've just read almost all of your comments on this past week and i feel like i'm still on tour with you... your writing is so inspiring. it's tania writing (the piano player). i've missed riding everyday that i've been home... but after reading your blog - i feel like i've been there every pedal of the way.
thanks for sharing


Day 63 – Montmagny to Sainte Alexandre (wonder who he was) – 118k

Aug 26, 2005

This morning I woke up at 4:47 am. Awake for the day, I opened the big tent flap directly above my head and just lied there, staring at the last yellow star that was left in the fast fading night sky. It stared back at me. And then it began to speak. I mean, I began to realize, once again, how utterly small I am; one human being in the course of history on one little planet in one little solar system, all part of one little galaxy. Sometimes stars possess great wisdom. They should speak up more often.
The little piece of grey matter that lay on that pillow inside that tent just did the math. We are so small; in the big scheme of things, very small. And there was something about the distance of that star that made me realize how close I was to other people. Relatively speaking, we’re all small together. We’re all part of relatively short lived and intimate community; all 6 billion of us. Alive together for the moment, populating this little blue orb right now, and then time, history and space will move on.

Sort of like this bike tour. Sort of like life. My smallness. God’s greatness. I read this verse from this psalm from the Bible this morning…

Praise the Lord,
Praise him in his Sanctuary
Praise him in his mighty heavens
Praise him for his acts of power
Praise him for his surpassing greatness
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet
Praise him with the harp and the lyre
Praise him with tambourine and dancing
Praise him with the strings and flute
Praise him with the clash of cymbals
Praise him with resounding cymbals
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150

Today, as we head north east, the wind is from the south and strong. I really don’t know where it’s coming from and where its going. I have no idea how wind works, so I’ll just go with it.

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 26 2005 @ 05:35 AM PDT
John-Since the start of the tour I have looked forward to your blogs each day. How thought provoking and inspiring. Your photos are one of a kind; creative and wonderfully unique. I will be there in Halifax to welcome you all. George van der Kuur's sister- Corrie

Day 63 – Montmagny to Sainte Alexandre (wonder who he was) – 118k
Authored by: rob_b on Friday, August 26 2005 @ 09:24 PM PDT
For some bizarre reason at 4:47 AM John would like to know who Sainte Alexandre is. Turns out there are 37 Sainte Alexandres. One was born towards 250, patriarch of Alexandria, and took part in the Council of Nicée. He died into 328. Another has a town in France named after him. Saint Alexandre was the bishop who came to christianize the town back in the 12th century. Quebec city also has an authentic british pub named Sainte Alexandre that is listed as a favourite jazz spot. Wait a minute John likes jazz, John was just in Quebec City ...


Day 62 – St Marc to Montmagny – 144k

Aug 25, 2005

What’s not to look forward to? 24 degrees, clear skies and Quebec city for several hours over lunch. Sure it’s freezing right now, and everything was covered with a heavy dew this am, but that’s not going to dampen my spirits. No way. A guy just walked by and wondered what in the world I could be bloggin about this morning. I think he thinks I’m a blogaholic. I can stop any time. Anyway, what’s there to blog about… all kinds of stuff man… I’ve been awake for 20 minutes already and the eastern sky is filled with colour… and there’s a thin strip of fog on the field to the right. And there all 150 human freaking beings, all made in the image of God, moving all around the site this morning. And…
Later that morning… Ok… so what if we’re going to believing 15 minutes late… why in the world should it bother me, and yet it does. My thought is that if I made all the effort to leave on time, why couldn’t the whole group? I asked Jordan what he thought about it all and his response went something like this, “Well, the way I look at it is, we’re all doing this together, we all want to get to Quebec City to do this thing together; no one has to meet a friend or do something apart from the whole group, so who cares if we have to wait?” He’s right, if we’re doing this as a group, we have to wait, or we won’t be complete in the doing. This is not about me going to Quebed, this is about us going to Quebec. I’ve got to figure out a way to include more ‘us’ thinking and less ‘me’ thinking into my mental agenda. Gonna process that this am.

Later that glorious day… just got in at 7:30 pm. Yeah. Seems we managed to stop for over 6 hours of meandering; and I loved every bit of it! First we had second breakfast at a bed and breakfast run by a former Olympic gold medal winner (short track speed skating – Francois Drollete). He served us our coffee. Then we had lunch in Old Quebec City (a lovely baguette with duck, marmalade and camembert). Then we went to another restaurant and had coffee and dessert (coffee cheesecake). And then we biked the final 60 k to camp, on and near empty road that ran along side the St. Lawrence River. The sun was low in the sky and the light was simply amazing; especially with the long shadows it created.

And we laughed today. In the am. we howled as we all sang Beach Boys songs while cycling with the sun in our faces. On the last part of the trip we just about fell off of our bikes as we tried to collectively perform a rendition of Rob’s home made song, ‘Chickens can’t count…’ I did the base, John Meuller did some funky jazz accordion, Terry did some kind of synthesizer drum thing and Rob did the rap like lyrics. Sherry mostly laughed. We were riding in a double pelaton line at the time and almost fell into each other.

Speaking of almost falling… One of the disadvantages of spending over 12 hours on the road, and coming in tired, at dusk, is the fact that sometimes the small things can be missed; like the big chunk of wood that just about took me down 5 minutes from camp. I did a huge wobble, uttered and unearthly groan, and shook for 5 minutes afterward as my pulse raced madly. One little slip and bang you can be down.

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 26 2005 @ 11:22 AM PDT

Call me a John groupie - but like a lot of others I have been pedalling along in mind and spirit with you. You are such an inspiration and source of hope to so many. You are an amazing man with an amazing insight into life. I feel so provileged to share this blog with you. You bring me such light, such hope, such joy when you reflect on life. I am humbled and hope that one day the texture of my life would be as rich as yours clearly is.

A humble admirer


Day 61 – Berthierville to Marc-des Carrieres – 130k

Aug 24, 2005

Quebec. Yes, there definitely are places where no one speaks English. I’ve discovered it twice now, at a roadside convenience store and at a restaurant. It reminded me of the time three years ago in Versailles when I spent 5 minutes trying to communicate my need for a new light bulb to a francophone hotel clerk. I think I ended up telling him that I was a light bulb, wanted to eat an light bulb, and was a few light bulbs short of bright mind. There was this, very naïve, feeling of incredulity at the fact that he did not understand me. I lived in a small world back then and have grown up a little bit since then.
Speaking of growing up, I was talking with a new rider named Konstantin this morning. In the course of our conversation he says, “I think this ride has become a bit of a routine for a lot of you ‘old timers’ (meaning riders who started in Vancouver). You’ve done it all before; been there already.” He thought the newbies were still a lot more excited about the tour. I had to think about that for a moment. Was he right?

We do it in life. Adults grow up and life becomes routine; been there done that. In the course of maturing we lose our immature freshness, bounce, incredulity. Things don’t surprise us any more. We’re not blown away like kids can be blown away by things. We grow old.

Chesterton (and not the bible) once talked about God and being young saying that, “We have grown old and our Father in younger than we…” He was chiding us for losing our wonder. Surely God must be filled with wonder at every sunrise, every new daisy, every human face. Yet we let the ordinary cloud our vision, the regular regulates our responsiveness, and slowly we die.

I recall those feelings early on in the tour when I felt more and more like a young boy again. Let’s see if today’s seaside tour (along the St. Lawrence, which I’ve never seen before by the way) can re-invigorate a bit of youthfulness; immature me; grow me a bit young.

Later that day… Like a kid all day long! We must have taken over 4 hours of breaks and I didn’t feel like I had to rush things at all. When we did ride we went fairly hard, moving at 30-33 kph. Trois Rivieres took up three hours of our break time. We toured some very old cathedrals, had coffee and food twice and also spent some time in old TR.

This morning, before leaving, I asked a few people about how they were feeling about the trip. To my surprise some of the younger contingent were actually feeling kind of tired of the whole endeavor. Week 9 I guess.

At one point during the first 50k of the day I passed a bit of a milestone; 6000k since Vancouver! Normally I celebrate things by talking about them with the others, but this time I just kept quiet and enjoyed the 6000th kilometer. It was cloudy and cool and we were riding on a country road bordered by tall corn crops. The clouds were a steely grey blue, with a few blue patches. When the sun shone through it highlighted the yellow in the corn fields. The road was old asphalt but smooth; very few cars. The draft into the headwind was just right, and all I could do was smile inside. I was alive.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 24 2005 @ 09:37 PM PDT
"Look at the stars...look how they shine for you...and everything you do...they were all yellow"...Coldplay,Van gogh, that's what your pictures and today's blog remind me's all yellow!
thanks for making me feel a part of your journey!

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 24 2005 @ 05:32 PM PDT
Yes, shouldn't we all be glad to be alive...really alive when we have
Christ within us. Yes, we do become old too soon in our attitudes. Not
everyone can or will take the time to bike across our land but we can or
should be able to take time to see things through the eyes of a child...
even our almost 34 year old child. Thank you for taking time to share
each day "the wonder," may it continue into September, October and
January and the rest of your days..
Rob's mum

Day 61 – Berthierville to Marc-des Carrieres – 130k
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 25 2005 @ 06:51 AM PDT
John; a wonderful book that speaks of that very issue of how as humans, as we grow older we lose our ecitment and wonder about all things. "Dangerous Wonder" by Mike Yaconelli. Another one of his books "Messy Spirituality" is just as good. Blessings to you and all on the ride. Congrats on reaching such an amazing milestone.


Day 61 – LaChute to Berthierville – 130k

Aug 23, 2005

Yesterday, as we were cruising along some meandering Ontario country road at 33kph, Sherry and I talked about how cool it was that we were about to enter in Quebec, specifically about how our ‘not all that elite athlete, mere human bodies’, have been miraculously capable of bringing us this far.

Who’d have ever thought we could do such a thing? I wondered if there was even more that this physiology of mine could do. (Lord knows the 70 yr old riders offer huge inspiration on this front!)

There was a point yesterday afternoon where I was ahead of my team and had a chance to stop and talk to a horse… at first I tried whispering but he… she?... I’m not sure… he didn’t listen; so I talked louder. As we were talking I noticed his muscle mass. Talk about a monster! Built for performance, a taut, lean, touring machine; a truly beautiful creation of God! For a second, and yes, the male ego is frail, and yes, I am bit embarrassed to think about it now… for a second I thought I was becoming a bit more equine in my muscle mass proportions. Not that I was becoming a horse, but certainly that I was becoming as strong as one. Yeah. Thank goodness my team showed up and ended my little mental fantasy.

Yesterday’s Citizen article caused me a bit of discomfort, for the first time this tour. When they took the pics they ended up putting me in the foreground quite a bit. Since I was the one they spoke to for the piece I guess they figured I needed to be prominent in the image. It felt a bit awkward in the taking of the photo (in front of the whole Ottawa church crowd Sunday just before the service), and in reading the article. I worry about it less now than when I was younger, but my pride is always such a big concern for me. I’ve often asked why God would use such an ego prone dude like me to go out and do this, sometimes, very public stuff. I’ve always thought he could have chosen a stronger person in this regard.

Anyways, I had to laugh and cry as I read the next of a series of Psalms I’m reading from the bible this tour, this am.

“His pleasure is not in the strength of a horse,
nor His delight in the legs of a man:
The Lord delights in those who fear him,
Who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 146:10-11

Not ‘fear’ in the scared sense… biblically the word ‘fear’ equates with ‘truly know’ or ‘really understand’ or ‘have faith in God.’ That horse is God’s horse, my legs are God’s legs… and I truly do fear him with all my heart. It’s all from God, its all for God. Nothing else matters.

Ok, now its time to ride…

Later that day… bit of a long slow day today. Nothing all that interesting to report. Think I’ll leave early and bike hard for the 130k tomorrow just to mix things up a bit.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 24 2005 @ 05:16 AM PDT
John, remember that Moses felt inadequate and hesitant in taking the spotlight but he led a whole nation to the promised land under God's instruction and guiding hand! My wife and I love your articles and the humour you display. We organized the fund-raising for Meghan Reitsma and are intensely interested in the progress of the tour. Our thoughts and prayers are with you every pedal-push of the way.

Henk and Rita Van Tuyl


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