Sunday, 30 June 2013

Suspended.

Quartzsite, AZ
Well, you must all know by now, but the tour has been temporarily suspended. Tuesday morning we will resume our normal route from Payson, Arizona. The desert southwest is experiencing record temperatures- one expects the desert to be hot, but not THIS hot. It's national news, and those in power decided that it would be best to not continue. Thursday evening Al broke the news to us after supper. The relief in the room was almost palpable. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday many riders found they could not continue. Calls for help ensued and our SAG teams were running all over picking up cyclists and bikes and bringing them into camp. In Quartzsite we were blessed to be allowed to sleep on the floor of the local community centre. We spent much of the afternoon juggling the bikes from one side of the building to the other as the shade migrated. I have lost count of how many tires have exploded from being left in the heat and sun.

Friday morning dawned bright and early. Because we didn't have to ride that day, we tried to sleep in but, having been on the road by 5 am for the last few days, most of us were unable to sleep past 6:00. So, by 8 we had all eaten breakfast, packed our gear into trucks and were sitting around waiting for the time to head out on our journey to Payson. We amused ourselves by playing cards, hoola-hooping, jumping rope, and discovering hidden talents. Without the weight of riding in the heat hanging over our heads, many cyclists relaxed and a real sense of community has developed in the last few days. We loaded our gear bags into the gear truck, filled a bus with cyclists, packed the SAG vehicles, and left for Payson around 10:00. For the next five and a half hours, a few wonderful volunteers gently packed all our bikes into two transport trailers. So, for the last three days we have been relaxing about 4,000 ft higher in altitude and the temperature is only in the low 40s! Saturday morning we were able to participate in a Habitat for Humanity service project. We split into two groups and worked in shifts in the heat. Together we nearly completed the scraping and painting of the exterior of Dave's house. It was so much fun to help others but also so nice to have something to fill our days.

During the afternoons, most of us will find a coffee shop or someplace with air conditioning to hole up out of the heat. Yesterday I bought a day pass at a local gym and lifted weights for a couple of hours. My main reason for going to the gym though was to use the shower. Our camp has no shower facilities so getting clean- especially after scraping paint off a house all morning- is difficult.

Today is Sunday. I went to a Lutheran church this morning and joined them for lunch after the service.  It was wonderful to meet fellow believers and to share with them what Sea to Sea is all about. Tomorrow most of the cyclists are hoping to go on a short ride to keep our muscles working. I will be staying in camp as I have a muscle in my shin acting up. It hurts while walking but thankfully, has not affected my cycling yet. It is an overuse injury in the anterior tibialis. So I'm spending a lot of time with my leg up, wrapped and iced. We have a lot of gimps around camp these days. It's kind of funny to see how many of use are working through some kind of injury. Even if you're not hurt, many have very swollen feet- we think it's the result of the heat. But the attitude of the camp is very positive. So many have stepped up to help out - whether in shuttling us around town or helping make supper. In the last few days the decision to suspend the tour has been affirmed over and over. I am thankful our leaders had the wisdom to take advice.

Please continue to pray for safety, strength and wisdom. Blessings!

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