Pastor John Van Sloten's Blog 2001-2007

John Van Sloten's Blog 2001 - 2007


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Day 38 – Thunder Bay to Nipigon – 129k

Aug 01, 2005


Not feeling too great this am. Not sure why. My back has been bothering me quite a bit over the past 24 hours; first time this trip. Hopefully this will not be too problematic. I’m also finding myself growing a bit impatient with the whole community thing. I once heard a Roman Catholic priest named Henri Nouwen give a lecture on the topic. He started off his talk by saying, (with a positive tone…) “The one thing I love about community is the people, their uniqueness, how close they are… etc… but there is one thing I dislike about community; the people! (this time with a resigned tone)”
He was right, sometimes people can be a bit much, me included. Entering into week six, the feeling shouldn’t be a big surprise I guess. 30k into today’s trip we’ll be having a halfway point celebration at the Terry Fox Memorial. At first I wondered about the juxtaposition of these two events. We celebrate our tour milestone while commemorating another’s inability to continue the race. A good reminder I guess. We get to continue this race! No cancer, in great health for the most part, alive.

Yesterday I spoke to some radio guy about the tour and he asked me why we’re doing this ride. My first words were, “Because we’re alive, and God has given us legs, and an amazing country to live and ride in, and a neat church that’s celebrating it’s 100th birthday, and a great cause in makepovertyhistory, etc…” Today I’m very, two leggedly alive.

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 01 2005 @ 05:32 AM PDT
unfortunately, too often our christian communities do not really help us with the formation of individual christian identity- If we all truely internalized the real message :we are created by God, beloved by God and accepted by God, so that our lack of self-worth was relaced with wholeness., we could be free from the preoccupation with the huge project of 'measuring up'. Such freedom also makes us profoundly egalitarian since if that is true for me it ia also true for everbody else. A community like that would be amazing! Keep writing the reality of what is happening on the trip. You have a gift of honest writing that stimulates my thought. HVL


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Day 37 – Rest Day – Thunder Bay – Ok

July 31, 2005


Getting to know people’s stories on this tour, I’ve noticed a very common theme at play. Transition. Relationally, there are people who are just coming off of a divorce; trying to heal, restore, and get on with the rest of life; others are looking for someone, somebody to love; some people are trying to get to know themselves more, trying to figure out, “Who am I?”. Then there are those who are trying to figure themselves out professionally; “What am I going to study?… what do I want to do with the next phase of my life?... where am I going to go next?”
All of us are on this journey of life, trying to find ourselves; trying to find our way. Where live only as simple as this bike ride. You get up, look at your map and pedal. Point A to point B, take the Trans Canada the whole way, you can’t miss it. For some reason I don’t have to control this ride as much as I do life, making things simpler. For some reason worry has increasingly been left behind; I don’t carry, or look at, a map most days now, trusting in the others on the team. For some reason things seem less scattered, more focused and free, like I said a few days back; clear. Why?

This is why: This morning I woke up thinking my bike was being rained on (forgot to put it away) and discovered that someone else had brought in inside for me. Every day I’ve gotten up and fully expected breakfast to be there for me; not once have I worried about my daily sustenance needs being met; I know the kitchen team will be there. I have total and complete trust in the organizers of this ride, they’ve done an amazing job so far and I’m totally leaving this part of my life in their hands.

Now if I could only do the same thing with the rest of my life, with God as my ride director. How beautifully simple and focused life could be. Total trust… complete freedom.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? One thing this tour has shown me is that I need to write. Getting away from sermon writing after 10 years, I was really looking forward to dropping all the keystrokes for a while. Yeah. I’ve probably done more writing these past five weeks than normal. At 5:00 am in the morning, as soon as my tent is backed, before breakfast, I feel my fingers being drawn to my lap top. It’s the first thing I feel like doing. When I get back from a ride, like last night for example, all I can think of doing is writing. I was sitting around with some friends having a leisurely, well deserved, Merlot; and all I wanted to do was get our of there and get some of my day digitized. If anything, writing is pouring out of me even more. I want to… here goes, dreaming out loud… write a book on seeing God in our world/culture… one for preachers so that they can get their butts in gear and start to relate, another for the rest of us, so that we can have the eyes to see. I’m starting to think that writing via a blog might not be a bad idea for the immediate future. Not only do I want to write the books, I also want to illustrate them; via photographs, or artwork, or through graphic design. They need to be aesthetically beautiful; the medium communicating just as much as the words.

Ok, enough introspection. What’s up for today. Well, last night Frank and Irene (my best friends with the motorhome) threw me the keys for the Jeep and said, “Have it for the day!” Freedom!!! Gonna do some laundry, run some errands, wear sun glasses and drive with my arm out of the window, and get a whole lot more push from my pedal.

ps. talked with a few riders today and we're all dropping the music for a week.

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 05:05 PM PDT
You mentioned seeing God in the world/culture. I for one am seeing and would like to see more of God modeled and displayed prophetically through you as representatives and extensions of us, the church, on this tour. True humility, loving trust and submission is demonstrated in living life; modelled in all our interactions. Respect, love, care, mutual concern,and perserverance, all ,produces character and a hope that doesn't disappoint and models Christ sometimes louder than any words could be preached or written.


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Day 35 – Quetico Provincial Park to Thunder Bay – 150k

July 30, 2005


Get that Canadiana wilderness song in your head (the one with the flute), then picture yourself sleeping in a tent right near the lake’s edge, resting peacefully in the quiet of the night, the wind gently rustling through the leaves, all in the world is as it should be… except for that bloody Loon trying to find a date at 4:30 am!!!!


Today we go for a bit of a longer run. Sky was blood red this am. Might be a tougher day. Time will inevitably tell.

Safety continues to be and oft discussed topic in the camp. Seems everyone has a different definition of what’s appropriate. Some want to go whole hog with vests, flags, lights, small fire works displays and a pace car; others figure all they need it a brightly coloured jersey. Some ride in a double or triple pace line and others are strictly single file. Some have a strong aversion to risk and others not. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever determine an acceptable standard for all. Seems to me that everything we do in life has risks. If we really wanted to be totally safe we’d never leave our beds, yet there is wisdom.

For me I’ll probably err on the safety side of things, being an old fart and all.
Right now (7:30 am) it’s coming down hard, and everyone’s tents are packed. People’s faces are as grey as the sky.

Later that day… err on the side of safety eh? Today was grueling. Rain, cold, head winds, hills and distance. Our group splintered early on and I didn’t get any draft for the first 100k. By 120k I was as close as I’d ever been to packing it in for the day. Nothing left. I power gelled and that didn’t help. Ipoded up and still no gas. And then I made a very big mistake.

While riding on a very busy stretch with no shoulders I rode on the traffic side of the white line while my (new) group was on the right hand side. My music was up so loud that I couldn’t hear their screaming. The transport missed me by 12 inches, and I didn’t even know what was happening until he’d passed me. I could have killed myself.

At the next pit stop 10 k up I asked one of our team how she was doing. She started sobbing, uncontrollably heaving. She went and sat in one of the SAG wagons and totally lost it. It was then that I realized that she was behind me when the truck thing happened… I went up to the car window to talk to her and she was furious… gave me the bird twice and then screamed at me through her tears. “How dare to ride that way… put the Damn IPOD away…” For a few minutes she was inconsolable. I was at a loss myself. I kept saying, “Sorry,” but she would have none of it. I kept thinking of my wife Fran, and how she would be reacting if she had witnessed this event. How could I have been so dumb? Fatigue? Stupidity.

Eventually we talked it all through and I rode by the book for the last 35k. Got to see a most beautiful waterfalls… Kakabeki Falls… as impressive as Niagara in my mind. All I could think as I was standing there was, “I sure am glad I’m here to see this.”

New music rules are in the works for Monday.

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, July 31 2005 @ 10:50 AM PDT
Lesson learned JVS. For all the value, protection, friendships and community you have treas ured thus far, please harnass your independent spirit so as not to experient again. There may not be a next time.
Many are praying for ALL of your safety, you dont need to be out of the box...ripple effects to one action. We are glad you are all safe and well. .


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Day 35 – Mine Centre to Quetico Provincial Park -120k

July 29, 2005


It’s by far the coldest morning of the trip… must be 5 or 6 degrees out. Everyone’s scrambling for gloves. I actually had to put on a pair of socks! My hands froze as I packed up my igloo. I’m nice and warm because I’m sitting in the “media centre” (a very gracious motor home with a place for me to write and make calls). I have nothing to write, but that doesn’t matter. So how’s the weather out your way? The kids, how are they doing?
Ok, I’ve thought of something… over the past few days I’ve been trying to think about my future; professionally. I often wonder if I wonder about these things too much, but here we go again. A couple of days back, while on a midday break, I noticed a bumble bee doing its thing; flitting around from bloom to bloom collecting nectar. But at the same time it’s doing the cross-pollenization thing, right? So the bee gets something and it gives something. The thought that crossed my mind was that this was what I need to be doing. Not sticking my proboscis into a wild flower per se, but getting myself out into out churches, with other leaders, spreading the ‘new kind of preaching’ vision that God’s grown recently at New Hope. It’s already been happening with all the preaching workshops this spring, and Lord knows how sweet those events have been for me.

But, there’s still more. Gonna think about that today. (oh, and yes, Frank (from the motor home) did just make me a very good, hot, strong coffee!)

Later that day… didn’t get much thinking in on my future/life today. Too busy riding. We did it pretty much by the book; broke it up into 4 – 30 km legs, short breaks, and drafted the whole way. And the Canadian Shield, well it was the Canadian Shield – beautiful mile after mile. Some of the hills were a bit longer and steeper than yesterday, and while they are not a big problem, there is still room for improvement.

About 5k before the end of the ride today we had another one of those, ‘This is why I love this ride!’ times. About 6 of us stopped at a café and walked in to grab a snack. Strawberry shortcake ice cream bar for me, and other snacks for the rest. We just sat around some tables eating our junk food and talking. Awesome community. Ended up having a half hour discussion on the mysteries of prayer; how do you ask God for things while still praying that his will be done? It was a great discussion. Then we ordered coffees. And then we ordered 2 large plates of fries to share. And then we decided we better ride into camp. The whole way in was pretty much a descent, and then you see the Provincial park sign, hang a right and find even more descent all the way into the campsite. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. Everything was so clear, the true blue dream of a sky, my mind, life. We get to do this; to ride a bike across Canada; to see all of these amazing places and faces. It all seems so amazingly real and alive. I can’t think of a better place to be right now. I’m being changed; and I have no idea where I’ll end up. Cool.

Gotta go check out this amazing provincial park now.



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Day 34 – later that day…

July 28, 2005


I spent most of breakfast just watching people walking around. All of them totally oblivious to the miracles that were playing out beneath them. Big legs, small legs, mostly muscular legs all around. There is so much in life that we take for granted; physiologically and otherwise. Our legs; they really are amazing.
A symphony of systems all working in tandem with one another; billions of muscle fibroids in sync, cardio-pulmonary systems all racing to keep up, immune systems all go, cooling systems in place, call down to engineering and you’ll discover a skeletal system of compression and tension that far surpasses any Golden Gate bridge. The list could go on and on… (only I’m not a doctor, so this is my limit!)

God is an artist, engineer, designer, creator extraordinaire. Thanks for coming up with the idea of legs. Today mine surprised even me. Tons of energy and strength. Did the last 20k at around 40kph average; I was flying up and down the rolling Canadian Shield hills all the way into camp. I don’t think I’ve ever felt stronger as a cyclist.

I think I also took a very cool picture of a cyclist behind me, through my side view mirror… I’ll look for it and try to post it.

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 29 2005 @ 05:50 AM PDT
I've cycled this bit of the TransCanada and the logging trucks and RVs can be scary. I'd put the Ipod headphones away... I get worried when I see in the photos how many of you ride with headphones - not safe! Hope you guys make it this stretch without any accidents.


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Day 34 – Emo to Mine Centre – 103k

July 28, 2005


I can’t seem to put her out of my mind. If I think about it too much I’ll start to cry. I’m talking about the Ontario woman who was hit by a truck while training for our ride. She now lies permanently paralyzed from the waist down and is just coming out of a coma. How will she be able to hear the news? Will her husband have to tell her? Will her teenaged kids be standing in the hospital room at the time? How will she ever be able to handle it? Training for the ride of her life, fitter than she’s ever been, in the prime of life; all severed.
“Dear God have mercy on her, on them. Be close; so close that the circumstance pales in comparison to your presence. Surround them with a divine peace. Let them see your tears and in your face find hope.”

The days this week are filled with shoulderless roads. Yesterday, north of Emo, a trucker decided we were a nuisance to him and didn’t give us a very wide birth. Heart rate up. Wobble. Sigh of relief. In the snap of a finger, with one small mistake on a riding fatigued day, it could be my turn; any one of our turns.

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 28 2005 @ 08:59 AM PDT
John,
Get a mountain bike and ride off-road! It's much safer, really!

Come back to us in one piece OK.

Gary


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Day 33 – Sioux Narrows to Emo – 112 wet, wet k.

July 27, 2005


It’s 7:30 am and pouring buckets outside. My tent is still up; so are my spirits. Looks like this might be our first real heavy duty, industrial strength, two by two my human zoo they’ll be coming for to run, coming for to run out of the rain day. Ontario wet.
So far I continue to love being on this trip. All systems seem to be faring well; physically I’ve got no pain, psychologically I’m quite encouraged (and also addicted to endorphins I’m sure), spiritually things are strong. I do feel somewhat hygienically challenged though; two days without showering and going strong. Thank goodness for the rain.

Later that day… We decided that since it was going to rain all day we’d pretend we were biking in Great Britain. Also had a guy named Clare (which sort of sounds English), who joined us for the morning. Clare also had a big ‘handlebar-ish’ kind of moustache; the kind Sherlock Holmes’ Watson sported. We were all set to go.

Sadly, shortly after leaving camp the skies cleared and we had great weather most of the way. Britain was put on hold. The ride was fairly uneventful for the most part, except for one large grey cloud. 15 k from our destination we could see it on the horizon, moving fast. 10k out it was upon us; torrential. We quickly Gortexed™ up and prepared for the onslaught; heavy duty rain… water everywhere… cows were floating by.

We were so happy to finally have some British weather. We spoke with accents all the way in (mine was real bad, sort of like the pathetic one Dick Van Dyke had in Mary Poppins). Then, it got even more Anglicized; we discovered that the local church was serving fish and chips for dinner. Top shelf! And at the very gracious home that opened their doors for me to shower (oh and what a shower it was… 4 times bigger than my tent… all the amenities… it was beautiful… I took a picture!), there was even some shampoo that was imported from the Island. It all just came together so nicely (yeah, alright… I did use the family’s shampoo instead of my own!)

A short, but very English kind of day. Should be a great evening. And only 103k tomorrow. Cheerio.



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Day 32 – Falcon Lake to Sioux Falls – 142k

July 26, 2005


Ah… the 3:30 am camping pee. Nothing like it. At first you try to deny the inevitable, but eventually you give in. Unzipping my nice warm sleeping bag, and my tent flap, I headed out into the darkness.
It was absolutely amazing. I haven’t felt this way for a long time. It’s been years since I had this kind of experience. Back in my twenties they were more frequent, but lately less so. Perhaps it’s the busyness of life, or the fact that I’m getting older, I’m not sure. Who cares. Last night it finally happened again and it was so worth getting up for. It was the stars; they were absolutely amazing.

I just stood there looking straight up into the sky for 5 minutes (old age alowed for time for that too!). Gazing heavenward I couldn’t help be reminded of another Van Gogh painting; Starry night. In it, he paints the stars with an inordinately large aura of light around them. Last night’s stars looked like that. And far too many to count; more than the sand on a thousand sea shores. I also notice a huge beam of white light cascading right down the middle of the camp site. At first I thought it was a camp security light, then I noticed it was the moon. God’s faithful witness in the sky; his security light.

The scene was worth getting up for; worth painting… but alas I was freezing my feet off. And so I headed back into a another dream world for a few hours.

Much, much later that day… The dream continues. We were on the road today from 8:30 until 7:30. Absolutely awesome. First 80k were non-eventful and mostly into head winds, but then we headed south just past Kenora and things sunnied up nicely. We decided to stop at Rushing River Provincial Park. Unbelievably beautiful. I slept on a rock beside the rushing waters for about an hour. Then we hit the road and did a killer one kilometer stretch to get to the general store and some New York Cherry Cheesecake ice cream. After that strain, we booked it for about an hour. It must have been the lactose or something but I was averaging 38kph. I ended up quite a bit ahead of the others, so I stopped and climbed a big rock face. Sitting on top I waited to take my team mates’ pictures as they drove by. Soon they were on top of the rock as well. It was then that Sherry discovered blueberries! Whoo hoo. We must have picked and ate for an hour. Knowing Rob was easy pickings on this prompt, I suggested we pretend we were bears. He went first, and uttered some very warped and guttural grunts. Soon we all tried it; on all fours, using our mouths to eat the berries right off of the plant. Great gritty fun.

On the way home the light was amazing. We hadn’t ridden this late in the day before and it was spectacular. A setting sun in the land of lakes. Glimmers of yellow everywhere. God, once agian, smiling down on us.

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 27 2005 @ 09:07 AM PDT
Great shots John, I love the open sky too. Must be genetics.
Love ya.
SHaron

Day 32 – Falcon Lake to Sioux Falls – 142k
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 27 2005 @ 03:08 PM PDT
Great pictures John, are you taking these?? I'm jealous of you having the time and space to see what you're seeing, and the opportunity to take some great shots!


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Day 31 – Winnipeg to Falcon Lake – 150k

July 26, 2005


Week five. 150k day. Sunny. Tail wind. Sweep.


Yeah, today I sweep with the sweep crew. I haven’t had to do it yet because of the extra work I’ve been doing with the media, but today I’ll stick with my riding team (who are assigned to the role today) and try it out. What’s sweeping? Basically you are the last group of riders that make sure that all the straggling riders get in on time. It can sometimes be a patience imbuing thing I hear. Especially for the longer days. We’ll see how it goes.

Woke up this am and the first thing that crossed my mind was that I get to go biking today! I really do love it. Today we leave the prairies and head into new climes, and then tomorrow Ontario. For some reason I’m really excited about biking there. Spending most of my early life in Mississauga it will, most likely, always feel like home.


Later that day… What a wonderful ride. Winds did die down again but the 150k seemed quite easy. Sweeping is a very relaxed way to ride. Best part of the day was an unscheduled stop on the side of the Trans Canada. There was nothing special about the location. We just sat on the gravel shoulder and played around a bit. First off Terry found a couple of 14 inch long fence post cut offs; he promptly called them castanets! Seeing an opportunity to get Rob to do some kind of road side dance, I pulled out my camera and then goaded him on. Ended up with a very funny 25 second video (funny to us).

Click here to watch video (windows media format)


I’ll try to get our techie guy to link it to the blog. Terry then set the one post on the other, creating what looked like a ‘T’, and then we all started taking artistic photos using the prop. Again, I’ll try and attach mine. After that, feeling the producer director in me growing in confidence, I filmed a 20 second video, which I’ve now entitled, Losing Ground. It’s very profound. Sherrie and Rob watched it and they were frightened; Blair Witch Project scared. Another young gal thought is was deep.


We must have sat on the side of the road for 25 minutes… no rush whatsoever. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so carefree. Seeing as we were coming in late, we decided to grab a quick dinner in town. It was fabulous; Portabello Mushroom with Brie on Foccacia, Smoked Salmon wrap, libations; it all went down wonderfully. I’m hoping that my wife Fran doesn’t kill me for spending to much.


I can’t imagine that she would because she is the most patient, gracious, forgiving, merciful, fun loving, forgiving, kind, spousally generous, forgiving person I know.


Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:33 PM PDT
Aug 14, tried video clip before reading text, thought I recognized that
chanting. too bad my mac wouldn't let me see video. It would have been
neat.
Chris




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Day 30 – a little bit later in the day…

July 24, 2005


Went to church this am and for some strange reason I didn’t have to get up and speak. No one came up to me after the service and needed to talk. And for the first time in a long time I didn’t have a post speaking adrenaline crash (PSAC). So this is what Sunday’s are like; what they used to be like.


The service was a fairly traditional one, much like the church I grew up in. Singing the old hymns was holy encouraging. There’s a memory that comes with these old ditties along with a tear or two. The lyrics of one of the songs spoke of Christ’s death on a cross; defining it as a ransom that needed to be paid to God for humanity’s sins. Increasingly this narrow view of the atonement (theological talk for what happened via the crucifixion) had fallen short for me. It seemed so much like a mathematical equation; paying a price to a capricious God. A + B = C. As I sat there I wondered if there was another (of many other) way(s) to view this seminal event. Maybe it’s all about how messed up humanity is (enough to kill their own maker) and how loving God is (enough to not fight back). Seems to me that the love of God is huge as is displays itself in it’s reticence to strike back. God kept on taking it. Laying down his life for his friends, Christ turned the other cheek in a most profound and otherworldly way.

I’m thinking that the immensity of God’s love is seen in this. Sort of like when a father or mother chooses to let their child rant at them and not respond harshly. What allows that to happen is a parental love with a longer view. God sees the bigger relationship as more important than short term justice or retribution. Love waits.

Wow, this is a lot of theology for a biking blog… but it does connect.

I’m thinking that this kind of view is what I need to take on when I get dropped by the peloton, or left behind without shoes. For the sake of other people I can choose to not strike back in anger; to not try and exact short term justice even if it feels justified. For the sake of a larger love, a longer view, I can turn the other cheek (hang in there troops!)

Hmmm… got to think that through some more.

Also met a 13 year old deaf girl and a 13 year old Down Syndrome girl at church this am. The Downy girl was named Kayla. She’s a teenager!!!

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 25 2005 @ 07:08 AM PDT
John - so appreciate your candidness, your out-loud thoughts and experiences that go beyond the seat and pedals. Been riding with all of you vicariously ,checking web and your blogs daily. in prayer for you all as you're are shaped by the winds of the Spirit - in heart, in community - mind and body. Cheers !!! Melody


Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, July 24 2005 @ 11:57 PM PDT
Love is also sacrificial. A friend shared that with me not too long ago. Many things are done in the name of love, but the real loving actions often involve sacrifice.
God sacrificed His Son on the cross so I (we) can one day be with him, because He loves us.

Praise God for you all, Sea to Sea riders, for your loving sacrifices (home comforts, away from family, aching and often injured body parts).

I just started reading your blog today -- thanks for your frank sharing. I kinda feel like I'm riding along (minus the aches and pains of course).

My prayers are with you all as you travel. Be Well.
Chris A


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Day 30 – Rest day in Winnipeg – 0 k

July 24, 2005


Got to sleep in til 6:00 am this morning. Felt great. I’m billeting at the home of Bill and Linda Tuininga (along with a couple of other cyclists). Great place, and once again I’m blown away by people’s generousity.

A good place to rest.
Rest. One thing this adventure has done for me is redefine what it means to take a day off; a sabbath. Right now my body is tired. Muscles are feeling a bit like lead. They’re already past the point of screaming, “What in the world are you doing to us?” Instead they seem to be feeling a bit resignation; on a slow burn, hoping against hope for more than a mere 24 hour respite. I won’t dash their hopes, but as their leader I know what lies ahead; that we will be engaging the battle again soon; that this furlough won’t last long. Tomorrow, the battle rages on, another 150k day to Falcon Lake.

I just hope I can keep the troops in order. Right now most of them are at a stage of fatigue, minor fatigue in my estimation. Those on the front (quads, joints, feet) seem to be doing the best; no big worries here. But for those in the rear I have more concern. There seems to be a high degree of soreness in the ranks. And it seems to be growing. You try to quell the uprising with whatever balm you can find, but to no end. I’m not sure what to do. Part of me thinks that I should just leave the glutes alone, let them work things out for themselves. Another part of me wants to take leadership and nip this problem in the butt. It’s here were the leader stands alone. It’s here were the leader must rise up (literally). It’s here where a decision must be made. Need wisdom.

Rest may be the only antidote. But will 24 hours be enough?



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more day 29...

July 23, 2005


Absolutely the toughest headwind I’ve ever biked in… I loved it! Ended up pulling for a large portion of the day. And felt like I had energy to spare. Good thing because when I was about 30k outside of Winnipeg I realized that the speed of my group was not going to get me there in time for the press conference.
I needed to up the ante a bit, so I caught the next bus. The ‘Mark and Andrew’ express bus that is. The two of them just whizzed by me at 30 plus kph (into the wind!), and once I caught up to them I asked it I could ride their bus into town to make the media gig. Seems they both felt a sense of mission in this request and gladly obliged. One guy in front of me, one at the side, we boogied along at a very fine speed and I had virtually no head wind. Ecstacy.

But the story was not as rosy for many other riders. Some got killed by the breeze… oh, and the heat! (38 degrees with the humidex) When people arrived at the end they were dead. If it wasn’t for the community, few of us would have made it. Throughout the day we traveled in fairly large packs, drafting our way in. In a time of great trial we had no choice. Sort of like life again. The toughness of the circumstance forced us into more intimate community. And today that community suffered a bit together… and laughed.

At one point of the ride we all stopped at a small café/trailer in Marquette. It was no more that 30 feet by 20 feet and it was filled with cyclists; a sea of sea to sea purple. The feeling in the room was electric. Everyone was smiling and drinking and eating. We were all packed into small booths, sharing our food and conversation. It was so wonderful and no one really wanted to leave all that soon. The wind deepened community continued right into that rest stop place. We loved each other there… our mutual need and respect had a bit of momentum, carrying over and filling that tiny room. Again I found myself feeling so happy.

One of the best memories of the trip.



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