Tony Drake: From headwinds and crosswinds to tailwinds
June 19, 2021

By Tony Drake

I’m feeling the fatigue from today’s hot century ride and the consistently strong 15-20 mph head and cross winds. After setting my phone alarm for 0415, I retire early. It’ll be a back to back century tomorrow and I want to get as much rest as possible.

As I’m awakened by my phone ring.  I quickly stuff my sleeping bag and deflate my mattress and pillow.  I dress into my cycling clothes and lather on sunscreen.  I glance without recognition at the clocks as I carry out my bags to the trailer. Consistent with some days before, I’m the first to set out my bags and shuffle through the kitchen looking for food. I pause…something seems off!  Nobody else is moving their gear out yet.

I look up again at the clocks…had last night’s storm stopped the clocks? Then the “recognition” as I looked down at my cell phone showing the same time.

The “ringing” was my wife Sharon calling me after getting off work at the hospital in Arizona (which was 3 hours behind Florida at the start of our journey).  I just shook my head in disbelief…only 1 hour had passed! When I returned her call, I could only laugh at myself as I reported “You won’t believe what I just did!”

Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is “a time to be born and a time to die.  “a time…”. Clearly, now is the time for Tony to go back to sleep.

Despite our planned early departure today in anticipation of our first back to back century days, we find ourselves instead huddled together safely under the roof of the West Salem Trinity United Methodist Church in Mt Vernon, IL.. Outside, the clapping sound of lightening, the deep rumbling of thunder and the pounding rain from a fast moving storm system are almost deafening. In scripture, we’re reminded “…peace…be still…have faith…” A short time later, the storm system has passed.

As we start out on our morning adventure, we find that the morning storm system has cooled the temperature and provided us with a pleasant tailwind. As I ride sweep in the rear with Jim today, I’m grateful for the speed of the group’s progress and the promise of a shorter day in the saddle.

At the first rest stop, a man asks about our mission to end poverty housing and offers $25 dollars in cash and before driving off in his car, writes an additional check for $100.

At another rest stop near a Burger King, Michael Barclay offers each of us the choice of any sandwich, which he prepares himself behind the grill.

At the last rest stop at a Culver’s, Diannne Whiting offers each of us either a lemon ice or a custard. Again, scripture reminds us “…I was hungry … you provided me food…” Another example of “faith in action!”

We capture a few pictures at the Saint Louis Arch before completing our century at Lafayette Park (St Louis) UMC.

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