Monday, 12 August 2013

123 Kilometres of Urban

You could not ask for a better cycling day- cool temperatures, tail wind, full sun, fantastic scenery, an easy distance and the occasional hill thrown in for adventure. Saturday we rode 60 km from Breslau to Ancaster, Ontario. It took a mere 2.5 hours, with a church food stop thrown in! We cyclists took our time getting ready Saturday morning as we knew how easy the day should be. Many took their time over breakfast- myself included, although because I get up early, it doesn't seem so. We had a lot of “day riders” joining us for the ride to Ancaster so the roads buzzed with excitement. Ever since entering Canada, the saying has come true: we truly are “eating our way through Ontario.” It seems that everyone wants to feed us or welcome us or congratulate us. And it is so wonderful!

Staying for the weekend at Redeemer University College was such a blessing. Not only because they truly rolled out the red carpet for us but because it was like coming home for me. The area was all familiar and I still knew many of the staff that worked to settle us in our dorms. I was even housed in my second-year dorm! How crazy is that? Oh, and get this... my bed was MADE for me!! I didn't have to make my own bed all weekend!! Talk about the royal treatment.

The weekend is such a blessing. One learned to appreciate a day off after six days of back to back riding. Don't get me wrong, I love riding, absolutely love it. But the body was built to take only so much. With the number of kilometres we are traveling each day, I don't think our muscles have an appropriate amount of time to recover all the way. Thus I feel I am on a perpetual cycle of exhaustion and partial recovery. Each weekend I am able to give my muscles some time to recover and prepare for the next week's rides. But I never feel quite recovered 100%. Saturday night, after cleaning and lubing my bike, Amanda, Danita and I decided to go our for supper. It was so nice to sit down for a meal with a roof over my head! The next 6 hours were taken up with my American friends' first Tim Hortons experience and ride on a city bus. We then spent some time perusing books in Chapters, capping off our night with a movie.

After a fantastic night's sleep we were treated to a delicious breakfast from Redeemer's Campus Services. Having to eat such large quantities of food in order to maintain my body weight has become exhausting. Those of you who know me know that I love to eat! But the amount of chewing and swallowing I find myself having to do to keep the hole in my stomach full is simply exhausting!

Sunday afternoon was the highlight of the weekend. I spent about an hour and a half puttering around making sure things were set for the celebration that was to take place at 3 AM. I was finally able to meet in person those that I have been emailing these last months. I had been praying for a good turnout and- wow- I was not disappointed. By 3 in the afternoon the auditorium at Redeemer was packed! To the rafters! Walking in with the cyclists, we were overwhelmed at the support of the area churches. Over a 1000 brothers and sisters had come out to celebrate with us. The joy of the Lord overflowed around me the entire service. I found myself near tears many times and cannot help but praise our Lord for his abundant goodness! What a joyful noise we made! The music team was simply phenomenal! We heard from Todd Bender, founder of City Kidz, and his words were truly the words God meant for us to hear.

During peloton that afternoon we officially welcomed 40 new riders who will be joining us for either one or both weeks remaining of the tour. 

Peloton in Breslau. We are doing our small group challenge. The object was to do something creative using noises produced by our bicycle... the creativity of my fellow cyclists was incredible!
Today began week 8. I don't know how the time flies by so fast, but we have only 11 days of cycling left! On August 25 we will be packed up and heading our separate ways!

We rode through Toronto and the GTA today. It was 123 kilometres of dodging fellow cyclists, joggers, vehicles, construction zones, hopping curbs, weaving in and out... and we made it safely about 6 hours later at our camp in Ajax. Yet again we were overwhelmed with local church support. We had three food/drink stops and innumerable groups of friends cheering us on from the sidelines. With two pages of directions to follow and an incredibly complicated section of construction to navigate, I have been surprised at the few number of people who have gotten lost. Two of these lost cyclists found themselves 5 kilometers off route when a passing cyclist showed them where to get back on route- he even accompanied them the entire way! Way to go Canadians!

Not one time today did we leave the "city." We rode from one suburb to the next, from one city to the next. They melded together. The constant stopping and starting at stoplights wore on my knees and I am now working on icing and resting them. The Ajax community centre has allowed us to camp out on their grounds. We are conveniently placed in the middle of all the town's hubbub.

It has been such a blessing to participate in Sea to Sea yet again. As the end comes into sight, I am working to incorporate the lessons I have learned into my daily life- to work hard to not let this experience be forgotten. I encourage you to think of something you have learned through joining with us on this journey across the continent to raise awareness for those in need. How will you ensure that these lessons will not be forgotten when Sea to Sea comes to a close?

It has been great to meet those of you along the route who have been reading my blog! And I am honoured that you would take time out of your busy schedules to read my ramblings. Blessings to you my friends. Your continued prayers and support do not go unnoticed. 


1 comment:

  1. Thoroughly enjoying your perspective on things, Christeena. Also getting the chance to meet you in person in Breslau. Praying for you as you keep on keeping on. God bless you real good.