Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peace

After nearly three years of training and preparations, the big day is now less than two weeks away. I am now in the tapering phase. The time for long days in the saddle has come to an end. Now it's time to give my body true rest, as it builds up reserves for what will probably prove to be the most taxing ride of my life. I have to confess that there have been moments of doubt, questioning whether or not I should be investing the time, energy, and money into this endeavor. But the Lord has blessed me with some special friends that have helped me through those difficult times.

First, there is my wife, Linda, who has offered more encouragement that I could ever deserve. She has sacrificed a lot during these past three years to support me in this dream. She is my best friend. Linda stepped up to the plate immediately and began to learn the selfless responsibilities of being a support crew member, and has done so with an enthusiasm that sets up an environment for a winning team. She is always there to remind me that with God, all things are possible.

Next, there is my crew chief, Brian Larson, who has been an encouraging confidant as he listened to me express my personal concerns and struggles. Brian and I became friends many years ago, and even then I knew he had a heart of gold that could only be the product of a man who gave his life to Christ. Brian has many years of experience working with bicycle tours and all the gritty details that keep people spinning the pedals and reaching their goals.

The third member of our crew is Judi Zink, someone who also has a Christ-like compassion for people that anyone would be blessed to have on their crew. Judi also has experience with marathon cycling herself, and is very familiar with the strength, both internal and external, that is required to push yourself as a marathon cyclist.

The fourth member who will be joining us is Nick Carver, the official who will be making sure all of us (rider and crew members) obey the rules of the road and the rules set up by the UMCA (Ultra Marathon Cycling Association), the governing body of ultra-marathon cycling events. Nick has the integrity and wisdom that is necessary for such a position. But most of all, he is also a friend of Jesus.

In case you haven't already noticed, everyone involved in this record attempt is a Christian. When I began to search for the right people to fill these rolls, I looked for certain characteristics that would allow each of them to work well together as a team. But the main characteristic, the one above all earthly skills, was that each one had to have given their life to Christ. These people are much more than crew members and official. They are prayer warriors.

Recently, a few people have asked me if I'm getting nervous as the big day approaches. Sometimes while sitting in my office at night, I read through a new chapter or two of a prayer book my wife gave me last month for my birthday, "30 Promises and Prayers of Courage for Men". But truthfully, I haven't really thought about it...being nervous, that is. Sure, there is a certain amount of excitement that I can now feel building up inside. And during the next week and half, as I begin starving my mind and body of it's daily fix for long hours on the road, that nervous energy will get to be a new challenge in itself, as I learn how to wait, in patience, for the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, August 19th.

I want the start of the ride to be here soon, with all the preparation behind me, and all I have to do is focus on the task at hand - riding the bike. But more than anything, I have a sense of peace about it all. You see, I know that the Lord is in control.


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