The usual purpose of this monthly blog is to share my thoughts on the vision and direction of Ellensburg Foursquare Church. Today, I’m co-opting the blog to share an aspect of my personal life — a journey, literally. This Sunday, May 22, at 7:00 a.m., I will embark on a 700-mile mountain bike race across Washington State. The Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route (XWA) will begin with my rear wheel in the Pacific Ocean in La Push, wind through forest service roads, single track, and rail trails and end with a little loop back from the Idaho border into the town of Tekoa, WA.
XWA is a self-supported bike-packing race. Riders can only utilize commercially available resources, such as stores, hotels, bike shops, etc.; no personal support is allowed — even the racers are not allowed to help one another. In other words, I’ll be on my own. My plan is to camp four nights and stay in a hotel twice. I will start with two days of food and then resupply along the way.
I entered this race last year and completed it in 6 days, 10 hours and 45 minutes — a proud accomplishment. So, why am I doing it again? The race is very hard. Crazy hard. So hard, in fact, that I am not 100% certain that I will be able to complete it again. Injuries, mechanical failure, weather, even exhaustion could prevent me from finishing. But I am motivated by something deeper than merely wanting to finish. As Homer wrote, “The journey is the thing.” More than the outer journey, it is the inner journey that calls me. It’s the journey of facing my own fears — the fear of failure and weakness, the fear of suffering and discouragement, the fear of boredom and loneliness. It’s a time and space to explore the intersection between physicality and spirituality. While it would be inaccurate to say that God told me to do this race, it is not a neutral activity; it is a part of my own discipleship. In a very real way, I do not attempt this race alone but with God, and I expect He will use it in one way or another for my own transformation.
I am sharing this for two reasons. First, to open myself up and let anyone who is interested know me from a different vantage point. We all have our own kind of crazy, and I hope this will give you another lens into how God has made me and who He is making me. Second, I hope to inspire others to find their own journey that will stretch them out of their comfort zone. I have a conviction that our modern world leaves us all too comfortable, and we need places that challenge us to live as whole people — body, soul and spirit.
You can follow along. Each rider has a small satellite beacon that uploads their progress (every 10 minutes) to trackleader.com. I also hope to post daily or regular updates to my YouTube channel. This is a difficult challenge to juggle, one I failed miserably at last year, but I really want to do a better job this time. If you are interested in learning about the race in general, visit crosswashington.weebly.com
Safety – This is not incredibly dangerous, but it is also not without risks. The biggest risks are crashing, repetitive use injury (knees, wrists, butt), and automobiles. Most of the time there is little to no traffic, but it only takes contact with one car to change things forever.
Wisdom – Knowing my limits is very important and making good decisions can be hard to do.
Mental and emotional strength – Discouragement is a huge enemy. Pray that God meets me in the grind of it all.