Written by: Kristine Olsen
Today was a beautiful day for riding through Illinois. It was a sunny day with blue skies and a high of 93 degrees. A part from a few rolling hills, we rode through pretty flat terrain. The only obstacle presented to us was some slight headwinds, but it was nothing we could not handle. We rode from Peoria, IL to Champaign, IL, which was about 94 miles total.
The ride today was one for the books. As a new cyclist, today was the longest ride of my cycling career. I am usually one of the slowest riders, always toward the back of the group. However today was special. Not only was I able to keep up with the crew for most of the ride, but most of us were able to stick together as a team. We formed one long pace line of about 15 riders. It was in this pace line, riding with my buddies, that I felt truly blessed. Today the Lord showed me that I was a part of a team. When I think of a group of cyclists, I think of a race; I think of one person on one bike trying to cross a finish line. Our pace line showed me how wrong I was. We were a chain of riders, pulling each other through headwinds and boring rows of corn and beans, to reach our destination. We were a backbone. Much like each vertebra is crucial to the spine, each rider was crucial to our line. It made me so thankful to God to be a part of something bigger than myself. As demonstrated in our build days, our camaraderie and teamwork was visible from miles away.
Every day I find a new reason to thank God (and my sister) for leading me to join the Fuller Center for Housing Bike Adventure. Today He showed me the joys of riding with my FCBA family. This family works together, pushes each other, and does not leave anyone behind… even when one is cramping up to the point of tears. Today was a tough 94-mile ride, but it was well worth every drop of sweat and every ounce of pain. We made it. Oyee!
Highlights of today:
-Kelly Cho biffed it real nice on a driveway of gravel at our third rest stop. This tough cookie pulled a rock out of her arm and continued to ride the rest of the way.
-Jonathan Falk and Clint Sager held hands while riding their bikes. Awww.
-Mark Smith made a wrong turn and had to stop every 3 miles to use the bathroom.. What else is new?
-Kert Emperado had two flats and refused to let me ride the van for the last 20 miles, which I am thankful for but disliked him greatly at that period in time.
-I forgot to apply sunscreen and got burnt to a crisp L
-Kim Eisenbarth’s wonderful friends cooked us a scrumptious dinner at the Church