Written by: Ryan Iafigliola
Today’s number: 107. That’s degrees Fahrenheit. 107 degrees of what they call “dry heat,” which just means that it feels more like an oven than a swimming pool. Heat collects and billows off the pavement, making the air temperature for cyclists even hotter.
But it’s the painful, challenging experiences like this that break down our natural barriers and pull us together. It forces us to rely on each other and work together as a team to overcome a common obstacle. Without a sense of team, how else can you survive 3am beat-the-heat wake-ups like we had this morning?
Team — community — is what this ride is all about. It’s what makes our cyclists turn back to help another even when tired, mark the turns for others even when hot, or go out and buy the groceries for the whole team when they don’t have to. And it’s what we feel when we’re with our amazing hosts, day after day. It’s precisely why so many of our riders return again and again, year after year.
I have traveled to many places where heat or other inclement weather takes a heavy toll on the people, especially those who lack a good home. The houses flood or collapse every time it rains, or the heat inside their tent-house becomes unbearable. The thing is, in this world God has given us all the resources we need to house everyone — the materials, the technology and know-how. Millard Fuller taught us that we lack only one thing: the will to do it. If we on a larger scale can work together as a team, we can do more than bike across the country, we can help everyone have at least a simple, decent place to live.
The local Fuller Center covenant partner here in Rancho Mirage is doing just that. They not only generously give of their time and resources to serve the local community, today they offered us an oasis (a hotel with a pool!) and a delicious dinner. Tomorrow we will try to do our part by helping improve several properties in a local trailer park.
But we need more members of the team here, and in other places. We need you. Consider signing up for one of our builds, donating, biking with us next time, or praying for us. Whether giving $107 dollars, riding through 107 degrees, or pounding 107 nails, it all moves us towards the goal of ending poverty housing. Join us!
Ryan Iafigliola is the founder of the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure and overseas the Fuller Center’s international operations. A sucker for punishment, this year he is riding the desert segment from the start to Phoenix.