New Path Adventures’ 2015 plans for its annual ride across Texas are quickly falling into place. We have made some logistical changes for this year’s ride which should allow for more riders to participate and experience this incredible adventure, an adventure that will not only change the rider’s life, but the life of an at-risk youth as well.
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:
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!
If you have ever participated in any distance running or just about any sport training at all, you know the value and use of mantras. They are an important part of the mental discipline it takes to complete the challenge. In this post I just want to share the evolution of my new mantra, not only to be used in my running life, but also in my spiritual life as I strive to be a follower of Christ, transformed by Him and His Word, and on mission with Him.
It has been about a year since I ran anything significant and the last 2 days I have begun again. I took the time off because of severe knee pain and what sounds like bone grinding on bone whenever I move. I hated giving up running but I decided to save my knees for another passion of mine, leading backpacking trips into the mountains for at-risk teens. I figured the abuse of the weight of a pack combined with the ascents and descents would be more than enough trauma on my already abused knees.
I once tried to estimate how many running miles that I have on my knees and that sort of brought the pain and grinding sounds into focus. We will wear out.
Well backpacking did something for me and to me. It strengthened my knees. Stairs were no longer as painful and I could almost go up and down them in a normal manner rather than with the halted movements that I had employed.
So slowly the idea of returning to running began playing in my head. I have fought it for a long time; reminding myself to save what movement I have left for the mountains and the young people. But when the weight gain followed, frustration and a near desperation ensued. I am going to be in pain whether I run or not. The older I get the more aches and pains I experience from just rolling out of bed.
So here I go again. I will run with caution. I will probably never put in the mileage that I once was able to accomplish, but I will run again. Some may comment that I am no longer running but more like shuffling, but it is positive forward motion beyond a walk.
As I begin this adventure anew, I found myself sore, and suffering as if I were running for the first time in my life. Mantras of old began to roll off my lips but they were for another time and another pursuit, and they just were not helping.
I began this ultra-marathon pursuit out of a quest for discipline in my spiritual life; it did not have much to do with the physical challenges. I believe that our physical life is a reflection of what is going on in our hearts, the spiritual level of our lives. I wanted to be disciplined in my spiritual life, and my walk with God. I wanted to be committed and willing to pay whatever price was necessary to finish the course that He has laid out for my life. That was the motivation for running.
As I began running again I had to revisit that purpose, and as I remembered that, a new mantra was formed that drew my meditations back to the Bible in the book of Isaiah.
I was chanting – “run when you do not feel like it, walk when you have to, stop when you can’t, quit when He (God) can’t.”
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I may get tired. I may stop for a while, but I can never quit if I believe in God, His promises and His divine nature. I stopped running for a year. I did not want to run today, I hurt too much, but I did not quit. And as I ran God reminded me of these truths. He reminded me of His character and His promises. I choose to believe in the promises and not be controlled by the pain.
You and I may stop in our walks with God, but may I encourage you to not quit on Him, He will never quit on you. He never gets tired of loving us, forgiving us, helping us, guiding us, restoring us. He has His strength waiting for those who trust in Him. And even when you just don’t feel like it, just keep moving closer to Him. Pray. Read that Bible in your home. Call a friend who loves the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Visit that church near your home.
I am running again, not just physically, but in my spiritual life too. Even the young man faints and becomes weary and falls, but those who wait on the LORD, trusting Him and His promises, their strength will be renewed and they shall run again. Trust Him. Believe Him. Live in His promises and not in the pain. Let Him transform your pain into victory and something beautiful.
Continue to run when you don’t want to, walk if you have to, stop if you can’t, quit only when God can’t do any more.
July 4 – August 12, 2013 – NPA’s first year of wilderness adventure for at-risk teens. 66.8 miles hiked by participants. Two attempts at Mount Shavano – 14,229′. Being our first year, it was decided to keep the numbers low and manageable as we put to test this model of ministry. We wanted to offer the best and safest experience to these young people possible without treating them as our trail “guinea pigs”.
Our program staff was made up of myself, 4 veterans of the trail and 1 newbie. We all had a learning curve to pass as we applied concepts, dynamics, philosophy, and practice with real lives and varied personalities. Success! We saw great results in the lives of our guests on the trail as well as the staff itself.
We will take this year’s experiences and make improvements and adjustments as we have already begun working for 2014’s season. As part of next year’s plans, 5 of our program staff spent another 12 days hiking segments of the Colorado Trail. This trip was designed to be a survey trip and a time of vision casting as a team for the future of NPA.
This survey trip was originally planned to be a thru-hike attempt of the CT (486 miles) in 15 days. Let me just say this, everything looks flat and easy on a piece of paper. We were unable to complete the entire trail because of weather and physical challenges that ate away our small window for completing this monumental challenge. A shortage of finances later kept us from being able to stay out the full 15 days with the necessary support. But God used the time and exposure that we enjoyed, to give us a clearer direction and a greater passion for the future of New Path Adventures.
In all, 175.4 miles (10 Segments) and 14 miles of side trips were realized. We are pretty confident that we have chosen the right area of the CT for NPA’s activities and will now be working to find a base camp for this ministry near our chosen segments. Our staff desires to pick up the segments that we were not able to backpack this year and will include those in future plans for staff training/development.
I would like to share 2 moments on the trail from this survey trip that illustrate the heart and passion of this young staff for this ministry model:
1) segment 6 – a 32.9 mile segment completed by the survey team in 1 day (4:30am – 10:00pm) with the last 1o miles in the dark and pouring rain.
2) 27 hours of backpacking in rain,sleet, drizzle or thick cloud banks, always wet; all without a complaint or ever hearing the word “quit”. We used the words “crazy & insane” quite a bit, but never a negative word.
None of this could have been realized without a great support crew that included family members, Elevare International, Grimm Construction, TheMET, and many faithful individual supporters and church supporters.
Pray with us as we work hard to realize the goals and growth for this ministry that we have adopted as a result of this first year of ministry and our recently concluded survey trip.
If you are interested in partnering with us to help extend NPA’s reach and impact, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments that you might have. We trust that you have found a new path in your life that has led you to a restored and personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You can view the rest of our pictures from this year on our Facebook page or by CLICKING HERE.