Connect for the CURE

Friday, July 23, 2010

2 days, 1 crash, 12,991 vertical feet.

We began our day pretty late, as we just couldn’t seem to get ourselves out of bed before eight. The physical exhaustion from yesterday’s 7,600+ climb left us tired, sore, and longing for New York. Within the first two miles of our ride we had our 2nd crash of the trip. As we where cruising downhill around 30 mph, Christian hit a bump that popped his hands off the handle bars, threw his chest where his hands should be, and sent him rolling across the pavement; thankfully all the people driving where paying attention. Everyone stopped, got out of their cars and helped us out. After the clean up (video below) we began the ride again. In my short life, I have been able to experience some amazing opportunities. Anyone who has been blessed with parents that love them and provide every opportunity for their child to succeed is a blessing beyond words. We as a group are truly blessed to be on this trip. But today was a different experience than the rest. Today wasn’t a day that was handed to us or we just magically made it to the next city. Today was a self-actualization day; a day that some people call “gut check time.” Right from the start we where met with huge climbs, never ending rolling hills that hit you one after another like being caught in an over-powering surf in the ocean. Today we climbed to the summit of five peaks, climbing 5,372 vertical feet with grades ranging from 6%-15%. Bringing our two-day total to 12,991 ft with 11 summits. It’s hard to explain the feeling when you have only gone 10 miles, your body aching from head to toe and your legs feel like they are on fire. The best part is that you know what is still ahead of you…. It starts with your feet. Cyclists call it “hot feet” when your pushing on the pedals so hard that they begin to feel numb and hot. It then creeps up to your calves and quads and hamstrings; never mind the fact that your knees hurt from riding everyday and your shin is literally tearing from the bone. Ya, today is “gut check day”. As you finally summit one mountain your mentality is crushed by the sight of another mountain just ahead. So you continue, one burning pedal after another. The grade is so steep that you can no longer sit in the saddle; you have to stand and “attack” the mountain. The bike shifts violently back and forth as your body twists in agony, and the pain only gets worse. Then you look down only to see the pavement crawl by, like honey out of a cold jar. You look down at your once black shorts and they are stained with salt, the sweat pours down your face into your eyes and down the frame of your bike. Only to meet another turn where this daunting task continues. Then your mind wanders and you suddenly feel yourself doing things you don’t normally do or thinking of obscure things. I have heard cyclists describe this when you’re completely exhausted; you have maxed out your lactic threshold and you might be in heat exhaustion. I think it’s just because you want to think of anything else besides that mountain ahead. But you keep on pushing; the motivation feels far away, but you keep on pedaling. It’s a lonely feeling where it is just you, the bike, and what seems like endless feet of pavement. Yet you keep on pushing one stroke after another until finally you have reached your mark. We may not know a whole lot about life and the struggles of raising a family and providing for them, but today I would like to think that we became men just a little more; something no one can take away. So I ask you, what is your mountain? What is something in your life you have been avoiding or putting off making excuses? Maybe it’s a physical goal, or a spiritual matter, or a relationship that needs mending. When will it be time to “get on your bike and push over that mountain?” Was it hard? The most physically demanding 2 days of my life. But I would not go back and change it for anything. Of course we couldn’t have done it alone, the strength from Christ is the sole reason we have made it this far. But today was “gut check day” and we took it head on and overcame. Take on that mountain, and overcome. There is no better day than today to start that climb and when you get to the top you know its done and you can have that feeling forever.


N8s Pop said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom, they are a blessing! A sermon in the making:)

Anonymous said...

Not only what you are doing is amazing but your blogs are amazing! Very inspiring and thought provoking. The emotion of this blog is incredible and it really makes me have even more understanding what an accomplishment this will be for you all. God is your rock and he has been holding your hands throughout this entire journey. Keep going strong, only a few more days!

Chris said...

Men...We are praying for you!!!

Ryan thank you for the powerful blog today!!!

Christian take care of those war wounds!!!

See you MEN in a couple of days!!!

Valerie said...

Yikes! I'm sorry, Christian, that looks really painful. Geez Matt, you couldn't be a slightly gentler nurse?

Aleta said...

"Of course we couldn’t have done it alone, the strength from Christ is the sole reason we have made it this far".
How can anyone live w/o Christ?

He is OUR SOLE REASON we have all made it through this far in life.

Thank you for those words from your heart!