Time to breathe

Written by: Tim Bruce

We had our first day off since gathering together as a team on 7th June and Sunday 16th was our first day off to make our own arrangements for breakfast, lunch and dinner and decide how to make use of the hours. In addition, we needed to say farewell to 3 much-loved members of the team over the weekend, having previously lost Ryan Iafigliola when he returned home from Spokane on Friday.
Ryan had led the devotional times before we started off on our rides and shared his passion for the Fuller Center for Housing as part of our times together. Having known Millard Fuller, the founder of both Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing, his insights were both inspirational and authoritative. Since Ryan has left us others from the group have shared their insights and thoughts and it has been both moving and provocative as people have bared their hearts and shared their passions. Making yourself vulnerable can often been seen as being weak but I have to say; No, it is a strength!! Sharing your heart and knowing that you are in a safe place to do so, brings both encouragement to yourself and strength to others as they identify with what you share. In the scriptures, reference is often made to the need for humility, and this again is so that you can gain strength (1 Peter 5:6). Likewise, in the workplace, knowing that you can make a mistake and be free to admit it, brings security to employees so it can be seen as a learning process and not a cause for attributing blame. It strikes me that we could all do with a bit more humility and vulnerability in society. For the group of us cycling across America, it has made us a very cohesive and supportive team!!

I went to church in the morning as it was Sunday but I had to admit that I was very tired and struggled to concentrate at times but it was good to sing some songs I knew and let the vocal cords take the strain, rather than my legs. I also went shopping in a supermarket in Kellogg and discovered the delights of the food stuffs available to American households and there is plenty of choice, particularly when it came to peanut butter!! However, the shop had a different feel to a supermarket in England. In England is all about value for money and finding a bargain, whereas the feel in America is about abundance with the food shouting “Buy Me, I’ll taste fantastic!” In particular, in the fruit and veg section, where there was a chorus of large succulent apples gleaming under the lights and large white, yellow and red
onions playing a hypnotic symphony about how good they would taste in a stew, salad or curry! In England, there are bags or packages of apples or a box of onions to choose from and price will often determine what and how much we buy. Having said this: Well done England for no longer supplying
plastic bags, but America is planning to do this soon too.
Unsurprisingly, I did not walk out of the shop with a lorry-full of food and supplies but I did pick up a
spare pair of reading glasses and some much-needed deodorant!
Back on the bike tomorrow.

Community

Written by: Susan Pratt

Day 9 Superior to Deerlodge 

Leaving Superior was tough for me.  I remember the community at the United Methodist Church there well.   In 2016, I spoke with the church to see if they would host us. They were more than pleased to and were happy to share there gift of cooking….a sausage, carrot, potato dish cooked in a milk jug.  It was amazing.  Then, pancakes in the morning.    I really felt as if I was home! 

First, I must mention that yesterday I woke up in a very bad mood (things going on at home).  God works in mysterious ways.  Not only did he plan to have a deer waiting in the middle of the road (yes, it did finally run off) and two mules which ran up to be pet (and did I ever pet them), but also that Jonathan rode with me to the first rest stop.  He was so delighted to be in front and even more excited to ride in first.  His joy was contagious and helped me to be in the moment and forget about all that was happening at home. 

Today, there were several times when tears welled up in my eyes.  I felt horrible that Tim discovered that one of his spokes was broken.  He is the kindest of gentleman and has put his heart into this trip, both the physical challenge and the sharing of his sweat equity to help eliminate poverty housing.  Every pedal is an effort to help others.  With a broken spoke, he was unable to.  However, God blesses us with gifts that present themselves in the strangest of places.  Bill and Tim changed the spoke as a team.  As each and every spoke on the wheel is vital to make it roll, so is every person on this adventure.  Bill used his expertise in removing disc brakes and cassettes, while Tim changed a spoke for the first time.  With no experience, the two changed Tim’s spoke as if this was an ordinary task.  Phenomenal teamwork.  When I heard he was on the road, yes, those tears started coming!  In the meantime, the sweeps stayed behind, watching and waiting to start the ride.  Way to go.  Tears welling in my eyes again! 

The ride was incredible.  I mostly rode alone because I knew I wanted to take several photos.   Meadows of yellow flowers, tracks, a river and snow capped mountains.  Yes, there is nothing like Montana.  We had to detour because of a mudslide (but some of the riders chose the original route).  Jeff did a remarkable job chalking the change.   Jeff is one of the most gifted cyclist I have ever seen…he is ever so humble and is always in front, but never misses chalking.   

Every single cyclist on this team plays such a huge part on this adventure.  During Jeff’s devotion this morning, he stated that when people spend so much time together, conflicts occur.  But, in this group, I see nothing but encouragement, compassion, passion for helping others, kindness and love.  Thank you all for crossing that threshold, stepping (or shall I say cycling) into the unfamiliar in order to lend a helping hand to those in need.  You are all a special people. 

All Things Are Not What They Seem…especially in Nevada

By Laverne Nakai

Today started out with me thinking, I’ve done century rides before and its “all down hill with a little bump’ here and there, “I can do this!”. The long miles of declines were the best, on the other hand the long inclines felt never ending. From the top of one hill I could see the next hilltop and think, that’s not too bad, until I start my incline from the bottom of the hill, the hilltop starts to move away.

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The People Who Make Things Possible

By Fred Smoak

I enjoy riding my bike – most of the time. Today was a day (104 miles through the desert with 3,600 feet of climbing) that I was VERY glad to see the end of the ride. Still, it was what I signed up to did, and the experience of being on the ride continues to be one of the high points of my year.

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Perspective of a returning rider

Written By: Bill Turner 
 
Bog 6-18-19 Seattle to DC 
 
Hello to all!! 463 miles done, 23,445ft of climbing in 7 days, ugh, I am tired just writing it. However, all done for a wonderful cause and fun at least 80% of the time. We have been riding for over a week, the scenic beauty has been wonderful even in the Seattle area. No rain until yesterday, when thunder, wind and a down-poor caught many of us without rain gear and needing to find safe shelter till the storm left. Pretty amazing to see the storm on a smart phone and have a good idea of what is going on and when you might get a break. It is now hot most days with above average temperatures, however it is predicted that we are in for a big change when we get to West Yellowstone this coming weekend, with a chance or rain or snow showers. I have not parted with my warm base layer wool cloths yet so they may come in handy in three days. I am again having a wonderful time riding with a few friends from previous Fuller Rides and making many new ones of various ages and from various areas of he USA and one rider from England. Riding with a team remains a real joy. I am starting some new friendships on this trip. If you would like to read an interesting blog go toWWW.timbrucemusic.com and click on his blog page. Tim is from England and this ride is his retirement present to himself. His humor and language is fun to experience in person or in print. We have several other antique riders like myself or older and a mix of others from the youngest of 23.
 
I have not swept with this group yet, however God and I did 2 short morning devotion sessions that appeared to go reasonably well. Riding with the team has been a joy, the chore groups have worked well and we have been fed by churches a lot and had a few wonderful meals when we were not being hosted by a church for a meal.
 
It is exciting to again be a part of a FCBA team of riders that will likely raise in the range of $300,000 to $400,000 to support hand-up improvements to poverty housing in the USA and Globally. Thank you all who support this effort. With a bit of blessing from the Lord, I was notified yesterday there will soon be a Fuller Center Covenant Partner in the Windham, Maine area. You can visit my fundraising page at FullerCenter.DonorPages.com/2019BikeAdventure/WilliamTurner19
Thanks for reading, Bill Turner.

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The Donner Party

By Peter Asmuth
 
In 1847, a group of ill-prepared pioneers were trapped by snowfall and had to spend the winter snowbound in the Sierras. Barely half of the 87 members survived the ordeal and some resorted to cannibalism. The FCBA foray to Yosemite had an eerie similarity, although no one was eaten.
The campers set out in two cars and a 12 passenger van, towing a large trailer, which carried their tents and sleeping bags. The nearest pass was closed due to snow, so the intrepid cyclists took a 4 hour detour through the Sonora Pass and made it to Yosemite by early afternoon. The Sonora Pass is extremely steep, with switchbacks, no guardrails and challenges in the best of conditions. They made it to the park by early afternoon and had a great time enjoying the natural beauty that Yosemite is famous for, along with the many, many other summer visitors.
 
 
The next day they all headed back to the church, where I stayed, in Bridgeport. The cars had no trouble, but the trailer-towing-van got a later start and headed up the pass after the weather took a turn for the worse. Soon they were seeing cars coming down the mountain covered in snow and concerned drivers waving at them to turn back, before it was too late.
They pulled into an outfitter’s ranch and waited out the storm while they ate dinner and discussed camping there for the night. By this time they had been on the road for 7 hours.

Eventually, the storm passed and they cleared the snow and opened the pass to traffic. Our Great Leader, Connor and another brave soul, Dan, took the trailer over the mountain and then returned to pick up the campers. I wasn’t there, so it would be unfair for me to describe the crossing, but the next time you’re on a steep road, take note of the grade and then try to imagine a 26% grade, no guardrail, on a dark, winding road. Some stuff.
Pic: I’ve been accused of exaggerating, before. 
 
They got to the church at 10:30 pm, said their prayers and went straight to bed, grateful for their delivery.

The next morning we packed up and left the Sierras in our rearview mirror and headed into the high desert of Nevada.

A Real Adventure

By Bill Black 

It is impossible to overstate the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite National Park.  Seeing it for the first time is an experience like no other.  As a first time visitor, my expectations were high.  Growing up on the east coast, I was certainly aware of Yosemite.  I knew it was beautiful.  But I really didn’t know what was there.  In fact, I merged Yosemite and Yellowstone in my head and wasn’t sure which one had Old Faithful.  I think I learned more about Yellowstone recently from the movie Free Solo, about the rock climber who climbed El Capitan without a rope, than I did in my while live previously.

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Slow and Steady

By Brandon Gotha

This past week has been a fun and challenging one. We have had a lot of up hill climbing. Earlier in the week I posted to my facebook friends when I realized there were a couple different ways to get up a hill, one being slow and steady, and two being a sprint-and-rest method. However, the hills out here are way too big for that option. The third option that came to mind would be wait at the bottom for a person in a car to pick you up. I came to this theory when we were looking at two straight days of climbing with relatively little down hill. It is called the parks and peaks ride not the parks and peaks down hill tour. The climbing can’t be avoided. I went for the slow and steady option.

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Becoming a family

Written by: Larry Cooper

It’s been a week since we met in Seattle to commence our FCBA Seattle to Washington D.C. cross-country bike ride. Most of the 35 support staff and riders had never before met, and for many, this was their first FCBA Ride. Continue reading