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.”

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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?

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