Let me share a few stats from our ride across Texas 2014 in comparison to 2013’s ride, and then a life-lesson application that I trust will encourage your heart and life with whatever you may be struggling or battling with right now.
865 Total Mileage 865
10 Days of Riding 10
3 Through-Riders 3
2 Celebration Riders 4
11 Flats/Tire Repairs 9
1 Wrecks 2
0 Broken Spokes 1
6000 Avg. Calories / Day 6000
12.5 Avg. moving speed (mph) 17.5
69.2 Hours in saddle 49.4
$1500 Scholarship $ Raised $8000
Both rides resulted in true growth in each participant’s physical, emotional and spiritual life. That alone, for me, equates success – to see lives drawn closer to God and see His working in each of us as we labor, suffer, laugh and celebrate together for 10 days of adventure and challenge. Those moments and that bond cannot be fully communicated.
I want to draw your attention to the hours in the saddle. Twenty hours less this year sitting on the narrow, brutally hard, tool of torture referred to a seat or saddle.
What made the difference this year? A couple of factors:
2) Teamwork / Riding together (less solo riding compared to the 1st year)
3) Change of perspective in regards to hills and pain.
It is #3 that illustrates a life-lesson for me. In both cases we finished the challenge. The first year though I approached the hills quite different, I do not remember every standing up on the pedals and just “crushing the ascents”. But this year I did. My philosophy changed. I knew that I could get to the top of every hill and I knew that I could finish the task, but why suffer longer than necessary. If I put a little more effort into the up hills I could get off of that seat sooner at the end of the day.
I suffered much less this year by taking this approach than I did last year, by taking the hills slow and easy. I wasn’t afraid to breathe hard this time or to have my legs burning at that top of the hills. I knew there was plenty of down hill and road ahead to recuperate.
I think life is like that also. I am so afraid some times of just facing a challenge or difficult time in my life head on and attacking it. I would rather try to find some way to get through it without hurting. Bottom line is that there will always be pain, no matter how you choose to face your challenges, battles, conflicts and problems.
The difference is this, my life-lesson application, when I do not shy away from the challenge, but rather attack it, the pain I endure is for a much reduced period of time and results in me becoming stronger rather than weakening me and causing further discomfit and discouragement.
Over-extending my time on the hill challenges just depleted me of energy, caused me undue exposure to the heat, wind, friction etc. Rather than strengthening me, the hills that were casually addressed weakened and disheartened me. The hills attacked, when I stood up in the pedals and felt my heart pounding, those moments were exhilarating and I felt myself getting stronger every day, and with every hill.
I want to face my life’s problems and challenges with that same resolve – I will stand up in the pedals. Don’t be naïve, this takes practice and is not as easy as it sounds. But you will get better at it with each hill, each challenge and up hill in life, just as you will on the road, cycling.
Here is a biblical principle associated with my thoughts, notice the payoffs for suffering:
1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Attack the hills in your life – learn to let them bring out the life, passion and heart of who God has created you to be. Great rewards are ahead – maturity, stability, strength, peace.
Live the adventure, travel a new path – a new life in Jesus Christ, it is worth it all!