Days off in Denver

What does one do with three days off in Denver?

I suppose a normal person would go see the sights. Maybe I’ll do that, but for now I’m content with reposing on the bed, popping pez candies and catching up on work. I’ve done some calculating and that’s what requires the least amount of effort.

This has been a glorious 24 hours of doing pretty much nothing at the home of Steve and Debbie Salmon in Denver, CO.

And I still have 48 hours to go.

I will have to resume riding Thursday, but while I’m waiting for my Finish Well Ride crew to show up, I’m going to make sure I do as little as possible.

While I’m reposing, I guess I could share a little summary of what’s happened so far:

I’ve ridden 760 miles, had two flats (though the team has had more), spoken at several stops between Oklahoma City and here, been in four states (including the present) and changed time zones about a zillion times back and forth between Central and Mountain Time Zone because western Kansas counties back in the day got to choose their time zone. Some chose central and some chose mountain.

From here on out I’ll be in Mountain Time Zone.

As for fundraising, I can’t put an exact amount on it because I haven’t seen the final amounts received by CMML, but I think we’re at about $31,000 of the $75,000 total goal – just less than half of what I’m trying to raise.

Considering I’m 11 days in on a 50-day journey, that’s not bad.

I do want to give a shout out to some special people who took it upon themselves to do a little fundraising for the cause. Let me just say that everyone who has given to the Finish Well Ride deserves a shout out. Giving has been great! But these two fundraising efforts were especially sweet.

And both are from my hometown of Crescent, OK.


Sage Smith raised money for Bet Shalom selling snow cones.

Sage Smith was one of them. If I remember correctly she’s eight years old. She’s a little athlete (she rode a bike with her mom 50 miles in the HHH in Wichita Falls, TX) and she owns her own snow cone stand. The evening we arrived in Crescent she was open for business in the First Baptist Church parking lot and all proceeds from that evening were going to the Finish Well Ride and Bet Shalom.

Big thanks to this special little girl.

Then there were Trey and Josie. They’re actually newbies in Crescent, but they hit the ground running to support the cause. They’d only been in town three weeks and in the church two weeks, but opened a lemonade stand for three days to raise money for Bet Shalom.

Never mind that they think I’m building it. Details… They know it’s for senior adults and they know what it’s like to have an elderly loved one who needs extra care.

Way to go, Josie and Trey!

I’m just touched that such young people took the initiative to help out.

Sweet, sweet kids!

From Goodland, KS

I think we’re finally getting into a routine. Up before dawn, ride until we drop, then eat enough for about three people each.

My bicycle computer says I’m burning about 5,000 calories on the 100-mile days. And yes, I said “days” because we’ve now ridden two of them. Yesterday we put in an 111-mile day so that we could reach Peggy’s brother’s home. Peggy is my sister-in-law and her family is from the Goodland, KS area and she’s our sag wagon driver right now. Yay for Peggy!

So we had a target (Levant, KS) but it was 111 miles away and the forecast was wind out of the west. Did I mention we were heading west?


This is how James takes a break during our 111-mile ride.

Even when we got up at 4:30 a.m. the wind was roaring from out of the west.

I hate riding against the wind. I hate it more than snakes. More than menudo. Lots more than riding up hills.

I wasn’t particularly happy at 5 a.m. when we were getting loaded up and ready to go.

But like someone told me when I said I wanted to see the northern lights in Canada, they said, “Ask the Father.”

So we asked the Father for a windless day.

I spent the first 60 miles being completely amazed that we were having a windless ride. It just died. And not only windless, but cloudy and 76 degrees.

It didn’t stay windless though. The next 40 miles were brutal with a crazy crosswind that forced us to learn how to ride a peloton, taking five-minute turns at the head, breaking the wind.

If wonder was the theme of the first 60 miles, teamwork was the theme of the next 40. By the time we were on our last 11 I think we were all just thankful it was close to being over.

Today was short and sweet by comparison. Just 62.8 miles.


Time zone change. I’m in Mountain Time Zone. Cynthia’s in Central Time Zone.

Our stopping point was Goodland, KS, but we rode a few miles extra because we have to get to Ft. Collins by Sunday because most of the team is either flying home or renting a car and heading home. We rode to St. Francis, KS, 30 miles beyond Goodland, and left our bikes at the small airport there and came back to Goodland to stay with Peggy’s parents.

Tomorrow was supposed to be a full-fledged rest day…BUT we’ll travel to St. Francis by car and pick up where we left off. Cynthia and I will come back once more to Goodland after we finish riding because I’m speaking at an event Friday night while the rest of the team camps. It’s not the best scenario, but the best we can do without having to ride 150 miles in a day to get to Ft. Collins on schedule.


This is an advertisement for our event on the local cable “roll around.” Pray that it goes well. The group of 4 became a group of 5 after Wichita.

I’m looking forward to a three-day rest in Denver.

We’ve been seeing signs for it since yesterday. I think that’s when it hit me that we’re really on a trip.

Up to then it just seemed like an extended ride through my neighborhood.


The First Six Days

This is Day 6 of the Finish Well Ride and I’m just now writing my first blog from the road.

Partly it’s because every stop so far has been packed with activity and fundraising opportunities.

And partly it’s because any free time has been spent passed out from exhaustion.

The mileage has increased gradually from 50 miles (Day 1), to 73 miles (Day 2), to 82 miles (Day 3) to 109 miles (Day 5) and today we are back down to 89 miles.

We took a day off on Sunday, July 23, to speak in churches and boy, did we enjoy not riding that day.

The mileage itself would be challenging, especially because I didn’t ride the last 10 days before we started July 20, but what is making these first fews days especially hard is the heat.

We knew we were going to bake our first day because the kickoff was a “Lunch and Launch,” operative word being “lunch.”


A quick stop in Liebenthal, KS for some beef jerky!

The ride started midday in the middle of July.

So when we got started by 8 a.m. the following day, we thought we were doing well.

But the last 10 miles of that day I felt like a chicken on a spit. The heat radiating from the asphalt put the temperature registered on my bike computer at 116. Another rider’s app put it at 120.

By Day 3 we were off before 7.

Day 5 it was 5 a.m. At this rate we’ll be riding at night soon.

Yesterday was our first day of more than 100 miles. At 100 we stopped on the highway and took a photo. It was the first century ride ever for three of the five riders.

Now, today, we actually saw 89 miles as a short (-ish) ride.

Very slowly we’re getting in shape.

I know that this ride would be a lot closer to impossible if it weren’t for my riding team James and Kellie Wynn, Cynthia Lopez and Paul Friese (since yesterday). Suffering together is a lot easier than suffering alone.

I also know that the fundraising events over the first few days of the trip have been very encouraging. From the kick-off in Oklahoma City on Thursday to the Sunday visit in Wichita, Kansas, I know we raised at least $9,000 U.S. because we sent that amount in ourselves from money we received. But the churches where we visited also had other amounts they would be sending to CMML, Inc., the missions organization that is handling our donations for us.

The fact that we already have at least $30,000 raised makes the hot days and long miles just a tad bit easier.

Then there’s the hospitality we’ve experienced. Just last night we stayed near Great Bend, Kansas with the family of our support driver’s old high school friend. Talk about Kansas hospitality. Good food, great sleep, enjoyable company! And they were up at 4:30 a.m. working out the best route for us and fixing breakfast burritos so we wouldn’t start off hungry. The Anshutz family was truly wonderful.

As have been my folks in Crescent, OK; Cindy Smith in Medford, OK and Mark and Linda Borofsky and Kelly and Jamie Randolph in Wichita, KS.

The latter are old friends and they took good care of us on our day off. We needed that day. Just want to say thanks to all of them and to Pastor Todd Bohrer of the First Baptist Church of Plainville, KS for letting us crash on the church floor tonight.

So far we haven’t had to pitch the tents and we probably haven’t lost any weight.

I also want to thank all those who have been praying for safety and a south wind. So far we’ve had just what we’ve needed.

Tomorrow might be different. We’re headed west and hope to make it to Levant, KS. We make it to Levant and we stay with a family. We don’t and we have to camp.

Levant is just over 100 miles and the weather forecast is talking about a wind from the west.

Maybe a 4 a.m. start to get there before the wind gets ferocious?

Contentment is on the way

To be honest, this last week I was feeling a bit discouraged.

I found out a delicately balanced trip itinerary with a lot of moving pieces will have to be readjusted because some of my team has to return earlier than expected.

Also, I haven’t been able to train that much and when I did this last week I blew a tire and/or had a flat.

I was feeling undertrained and overwhelmed by all the different tasks I have to get done to get ready for the Finish Well Ride. It starts in 14 days, but 10 of those I’m either traveling or working with a group.

Then I found a slide show presentation from the first ride like this that I ever did.

It was to raise money for the seminary where I work. I look at the photos and just chuckle. We didn’t have cycling gear. We didn’t have money. We had no idea what we were doing and somehow we got from San Jeronimito, Gro. to Wichita, Kansas  (about 2,000 miles) in 40 days.

I know it was hard. I’m sure it was. It had to have been. But I don’t remember the hard stuff. I just remember the adventure.

I remember our longest day for that trip was just about 100 miles, from Matehuala, Mexico to the middle of nowhere. It was getting dark and we were looking for a place to stop when we came to a cluster of houses along the highway in the middle of the desert.

That was about it. No restaurants. No stores. No nothing.

We were tired and hungry so we knocked at the first house and made a deal with the woman: you cook us some eggs and tortillas and we’ll pay.

We had bought some homemade cheese along the highway earlier that day and bought a 2 lt bottle of Coke from somewhere. So eggs and homemade flour tortillas, cheese and Coke.

After 100 miles it felt like the best meal I’d ever had in my life.

Then it was bed time. No shower. I think I just washed my face and changed out of my cycling clothes, but that’s about it.

As I lay there in the tent, in the two minutes it took me to go to sleep, I remember thinking: “I’m content. All I really need is food, drink and somewhere to rest my weary head. Everything else is luxury.”

I hope I get to experience something like that again on this trip.

I know the promotional video, the website, the media contacts and planning the speaking engagements has to be done because there’s a $75,000 goal to be reached for a worthy ministry that I’m proud to be a part of, BUT I hope once I’m out there riding, maybe somewhere in the Colorado Rockies, about the time I’m getting in shape, the stress will melt away and contentment will take its place.

El contentamiento viene en camino…

Para ser honesta, la semana pasada me sentía un poco desanimada. Supe que un itinerario de viaje que me había costado tanto coordinar entre paradas y cambios de choferes del vehículo de apoyo se vino abajo por la decisión de algunos en regresar una semana antes de lo planeado. 

Además, no he podido entrenar tanto en las últimas semanas y cuando lo hice esta semana, se reventó la llanta en una ocasión y se ponchó la cámara en dos. 

Me estaba sintiendo no preparada físicamente y abrumada por todas las diferentes tareas que tengo que terminar para estar lista y salir en 16 días en Finish Well Ride; 12 de los cuales estaré viajando o trabajando con un grupo. 

Ah, y murió mi refrigerador.

Pero ayer encontré una presentación de fotos del primer viaje que hice en bicicleta. 

Fue para recaudar fondos para el seminario donde trabajo. Veo las fotos y me rio. No tuvimos nada de equipo de ciclismo, nada de ropa apropiada, nada de dinero. No teníamos ninguna idea de lo que estábamos haciendo, pero de algún modo llegamos en bici de San Jeronimito, Gro. a Wichita, Kansas, E.U. (unos 3,200 km) en 40 días. 

Y fue una gran aventura. Yo sé que fue difícil. Estoy segura que fue difícil. Tuvo que haber sido. Pero no me acuerdo de lo difícil. Solo me acuerdo de la aventura. 

Y del contentamiento. 

Recuerdo que nuestro día más largo de ese viaje era de unos 160 km, desde Matehuala hasta en medio de la nada. Ya estaba oscureciendo y estábamos buscando donde pararnos cuando llegamos a un grupo de casas en medio del desierto. 

No hubo mucho más. No hubo restaurantes. Ni tiendas visibles. Nada. 

Estábamos cansados y hambrientos, entonces tocamos la puerta de la primera casa e hicimos trato con la señora: Usted prepárenos unos huevos y tortillas y le pagaremos. Añadimos a nuestra cena una Coca de dos litros y un queso casero que compramos en la carretera en la mañana. 

Después de 160 km, huevos, tortillas, queso casero y Coca era una de las mejores cenas que jamás había comido. 

Después era hora de dormir. No hubo donde bañarnos. Creo que solo me lavé la cara y cambié la ropa en que estaba rodando por otra. Pero eso fue todo.

Ahí estaba acostada en la casa de campaña y en los dos minutos que tardé en dormirme, recuerdo que pensaba: “Estoy contenta. Solo realmente necesito comida, bebida y donde poner mi cabeza cansada. Todo lo demás es lujo.”

Espero que pueda experimentar algo similar en este viaje.

Yo sé que el video promocional, los contactos con los medios y la planeación de los eventos donde voy a hablar se debe hacer, porque hay una meta de $75,000 dólares que se tiene que alcanzar para un ministerio digno del cual estoy orgullosa de ser parte, pero espero que una vez que este por ahí rodando, tal vez en algún lado en las Rocosas de Colorado, tal vez cuando ya estoy agarrando condición, se derretirá el estrés y el contentamiento tomará su lugar.