That Which Has Changed

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and forget why I’m here. It would be great to say that every day I need the motivation of the people I ride for. It would not be true, though, to say that I am riding my bike entirely for the cancer-fighting cause. Truth be told, sometimes I forget about all that is important. I just wake up everyday the same, ready to ride my bicycle.

So let me take a step back. Right now I’m listening to the song “The Generous Mr. Lovewell” by MercyMe. Here are the lyrics that hit me:

He wakes up every day the same
Believin’ he’s gonna make a change
Never wonders “if” but “when”
I guarantee he can find a way
To reach out and make somebody’s day
‘Cause someone took the time with him

I have to back up, away from all the hills, wind, pedaling every day to a new location in the United States. How can I make a change today? And in the past 43 days, it been surprising how possible it is to make a change just by riding a bike. I’ve sat in on 6 portraits, heard numerous other stories, and have inspired countless people who heard about our organization. But that’s not all that has changed since the start of the ride; here are a few other things:

– I could have never expected the massive quantities of food I would be eating this summer… Enough for several people!
– My appreciation for how complicated bikes are has increased! But I’m learning a lot.
– Well of course the tan lines have been refined lately with the sun being so intense… And I’m honestly quite proud of them!
– Then there’s my body in general. My legs have become, well, toned. And quite huge honestly but hey that’s okay; I’m getting stronger as a cyclist.
– I am so critical of roads: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
– I actually realized I love hills and mountains. Perhaps it’s simply due to comparison of other cycling obstacles: heat and wind are unforgiving barriers but every mountain has a downhill; I love speed!
– I love me a good chair or couch after all day in the saddle!
– Showers are to be short and appreciated. A shower every two days is decent. Sink showers are a new, important concept.
– Snot rockets while riding… ‘Nuf said!

On a more serious note, one thing that changed during week 2 has taken some getting used to. My best friend is trying to find a new normal after her dad passed away from pancreatic cancer. His memorial service was yesterday. As much as I wish I could have left the ride to go celebrate his life and new life in eternity with Jesus, I know that what I’m doing here is enough. And that’s why every morning I have to return to the real reason I ride: it’s not a vacation or an athletic endeavor. This mission has so many purposes and sources of motivation for each of the riders. When I wake up an hour earlier at 4:45 tomorrow, I hope to refresh my vigor for the cause. In the past few days I’ve tried to have more cancer-related conversations with people. It’s about being open and willing to listen and encourage anyone who has a story to tell.

I have learned a lot since starting the ride. More details about portraits I’ve sat in on coming soon…

Life is full of highs and lows, just like the summits and valleys of the roads we ride.

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