Luke and I are back for another adventure with The Fuller Center! We joined the group in North Bend, OR and by the end of our ride today, we have successfully made it to Redway, CA, about 200 miles from San Francisco. This morning started like any other FCBA morning: hot coffee (yes!), cereal, oatmeal, bananas, air pump hisses, and the clip-clopping of bike shoes on asphalt.
At circle up, Connor read The Rag Man, a story about a man who trades old pieces of cloth, from people in need, for new ones. He then takes the old rags for himself—a beautiful depiction of how Christ takes our sin from us and makes us new. Connor then passed around a cloth from Nigeria that Sara Dobbs, an FCBA veteran, brought home with her when she was there on a service trip. It’s a tradition for the Fuller Center rides that we all tear strips from the same cloth and then find someone to tie it on them. Many tend to put them on their helmets or bike seat packs; some tie them around their ankles. It’s a beautiful reminder as we ride.
The first part of our ride was rough, to say the least. Within the first 20 miles, we had a BIG hill to climb with a 13% grade. We kept thinking we were at the end, but since we were on a winding road, it kept going and going. I walked at one point, but then got back on when I saw Luke waiting for me around one of the bends. He stayed by me the whole way, working with me slowly up the hill, encouraging me to keep going, and providing spectacular tunes like “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder. Somehow, the end came, which led us to The Avenue of the Giants.
By the time we got to the second rest stop, many of the riders were taking photos with the trees, so we went off-road a bit and explored. There were several other points of interest along the way including the Immortal Tree, a tree that split in half on either side of the road, and another that was entirely uprooted. The trees themselves were spectacular—there are no words to describe nor pictures that could be taken to show how gigantic or awe-inspiring they were.
The last ten miles of the ride seemed to go by slowly. We knew to anticipate a really steep hill right before we arrived at our church, but I felt so physically spent that I could barely start up it! I did, though, and with the help of three incredible cheerleaders, Luke, Lauryn, and Kristen, I made it up.
I heard one of the riders today say, “it’s incredible we’ve only known each other for just a couple of weeks; who knew we’d get to be so close so fast?” That’s the Fuller Center Ride. You live and eat together in community, and exert physical energy you never thought you’d be capable of doing. Relationships that are formed on this trip are life-long and sustaining. I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to return to the FCBA for one more week with my Bike Adventure family.