Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The snake is on the loose

There is certain 50 year-old cyclist who I've had the pleasure to communicate with lately, a pro from days gone by. I knew of him back in the day, but have never actually met him personally. A year or so ago, he felt a calling to make a comeback to the sport. I've only been a laid-back ultra-marathon cyclist at my best, and never even touched the level of cycling that which this man was at his worst. When I heard of his return, I was inspired. Sure, it felt good that I could follow his story and possibly find inspiration as I pursued my own "comeback". But where my inspiration and encouragement lies is far deeper than his return to cycling. You see, this man accepted Christ as his Savior a while back, and it appears he is living his faith in the way he approaches his life and in how he has compassion for others. Like most of us that are children of the living God, we hope to grow more and more like Him as we mature in our faith and grow closer to Him. It's a process, a process that often hurts, especially when there is an opportunity in that process to grow the most.

My brother in Christ has been hurting lately. The world and all Satan's workers are at it again. Just when the evil one sees that someone is growing stronger, he often releases extra efforts to pull us away from the King. He knows what kind of ammo to use to do that, and often uses the very people we love the most to throw that ammo. That's what seems to be happening now. My bother has expressed deep discouragement from his dream to be in the race again. I want to tell him that whatever happens, to not lose his contact with the LORD. That's what I'm praying for tonight, that my brother keep his eyes focused on the King, and not the distractions of discouragement and dispair that are being used to draw him further away. I hope my brother knows he has all the tools he needs to fight this battle, in the Word.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Remembering the good old days...

Since my wife and I were only married a little over three years ago, she never really knew me as an ultra-marathon cyclist back in the '80s. But a couple years ago, she realized that this passion had returned, and has supported me and my dream. At this time, I don't consider myself an ultra-marathon cyclist, as I have yet to do just a double-century in the last 20+ years. And yet, she believes in me, and often speaks of her husband "the ultra-marathon cyclist" when talking about me to her friends. Bless he heart.

Recently, I've been digging up cycling paraphernalia from my past, and showed her the photo below. This was taken halfway through the inaugural "Race Across Wisconsin" in 1984. We had only three riders who wanted to commit to such an insane act of bicycling across Wisconsin in one day, and making it somewhat of a friendly competition...just to keep it interesting!

Those insane by name were, from left to right in the photo: yours truly, Rich, and Brian. Only two of us would actually finish the race that long, hot day in August of 1984. The third one, Rich, had honorably dropped out, and helped in one of our support cars. When the support car approached me later that day just after passing through the Holy Hill area, Rich opened up his car window and proceeded to plant a new seed in my mind when he called out, "We got to get you signed up for the 'John Marino Open'"! (the 700-mile qualifier for Race Across America).

Whatever happens, to God be the glory!

One Day of Sun

This past Sunday, the day of the Milwaukee Roubaix, we were blessed with sunny skies. On either side of that day, both saturday and Monday, we had more snow. I opted out of that particular ride itself, however, and chose to ride on my own. I took a nice, but windy ride up to the outskirts of Sheboygan. The winds were crazy! Gusty with speeds around 25-40 mph. I finished with 85 miles under my belt, and was dog tired when I rolled inot the driveway that afternoon. It was a good ride though, and I'm hoping to do a century within a few weeks. With the upcoming weather forecast though, with more rain and snow on the way this week (it's sleeting/snowing right now), that will be quite the challenge to prepare for.

I just read an interview of Alexi Grewal in the recent issue of VeloNews. It seems he is a minister to the homeless. May the Lord bless him in his new adventures, both on and off the bike. He continues to be an inspiration to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sun, where art thou?

Looking back a year ago, I had just finished the month of March with 500 road miles. And that was while still riding my hybrid! Just about one year ago, I picked up my road bike, a 2005 vintage Felt F65. It was a pleasure to get back on a real road bike, after being away for 20 years. Well, this spring is quite a bit wetter and colder, and it's been a challenge to get consistent road miles in.

My longest ride so far this year has been about 60 miles, but at a touring snail's pace (that's considerably slower than the pace of a racing snail). This Sunday I might accept an invitation to join a few other (much stronger) cyclists on the inaugural "Milwaukee Roubaix", a 100+ mile training ride to Holy Hill and back. For now, I struggle with the decision, not knowing if I will be biting off more than I can chew and thus getting chewed up by the rest of the group. Unfortunately, the weather forecast looks pretty lousy, with cold temps and high possibility of rain. Looks like this is an ideal opportunity for extra prayer!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Still cranking along...

I took a vacation day today. Rain had been in the forecast, but it seems to be taking it's time getting here. Okay by me, as it allowed me to get a good 25-mile ride in. These days I do a lot more than pedal on my rides...thinking, praying, planning, brainstorming, dreaming, etc. I've decided to sell off some of my treasured Leica camera gear. Heck, I rarely use it these days, and I'd like to pick up a new portrait lens for my DSLR to try and make a few extra dollars.

Tomorrow morning I'll go to my Men's Bible Study at 7:00 am, then come back home for some chow before I hop on my bike. I hope to get in a good long ride, 60+ miles, with maybe some hills in the Kettle Moraine area. My new IC3 riding kit should be coming soon!