Monday, July 31, 2012

Well, days do not always finish as they start out do they?


The day started out in Marston, MO, which is a few miles south of New Madrid. You may have heard of this place as it was here in 2011 that they deliberately blew up some of the Mississippi Levy in order to relieve some of the flooding further down stream. The hotel we stayed in had been sandbagged with a 10 foot high wall of bags. Sorry, bird walk… back to our day.


As we were loading the bikes there was a furious downpour.  We both thought, “O great!” Ron actually climbed back in his bed and tried to check the weather channel.  I went to my phone to check the weather apps I have. Neither looked good and it appeared we were going to be riding in the rain for quite some time. We proceeded to put on our rain gear and head out the door. No rain! Yes, lots of puddles but no longer raining. We rode for 8 to 10 miles in rain gear. Now, I don’t know how many of you have ridden in rain gear when it isn’t raining, but by the time we stopped we were as wet under our gear as if we hadn’t had any on and it had been raining. Never understood why it works that way.


Anyway, we had a good tail wind, and made good time. At one point on the flat we hit 22 MPH. We stopped again at McDonald’s for a parfait, and a coffee for me, and pressed on. Still having  tail winds we made 60 miles before lunch stop. We stopped at a grocery store in Jackson for lunch,  whopping $6.86 cents for the two of us. But we both felt like we had eaten too much!


It was after lunch that the ride sort of turned on us. It was hilly, short down, long up, short down and it was getting hot! 103 heat index when I checked once. Ug…


Hill after hill, heat, and now we had lost our tail wind. Yup! That’s right, the wind shifted and we were now riding into the wind. We rode up and down hills for 5 to 7 miles, take a break, and ride up and down for 5 to 7 miles for the next 25 miles or so. We did have some tree trimmers offer and give us some cold water. People have been very nice the entire trip. Not surprising as I knew God would provide us the care and comfort we needed.


It was going up one of these hills that I discovered or rediscovered the art of physics of  just how a bicycle works. With good balance  if the rider keeps in motion, no matter how slow, the bike will remain upright. It is when the bike stops moving that gravity takes over and you immediately fall to one side or the other.


During one of my many shifting of the gears to go up the hill it appears my chain broke. It happened to break at the wrong spot and caused the rear derailleur to be forced into the rear wheel causing the bicycle to come to an immediate and abrupt stop. (Again think physics) I fell quickly to the right.


Come to find out that the bike was unmovable: it was then that I said, “O great! How am I going to fix this?” And also wondered how to get in touch with Ron who was ahead of me. I tried to flag down a car just so they would let him know that I was okay and would be on my way as soon as possible.


I made the decision that the derailleur needed to come off and come apart in order for me to be blessed to even move the bike via the wheels.  I took the derailleur off and discovered just how badly the bike was broken. Pieces fell into my hand…


Okay, now what? I knew Perryville was at lest 14/15 miles away. Can I walk? No! Can I flag down a car? Not likely as I had been unable to flag anyone down just to tell Ron I would be along soon.


Okay, break the chain and make the bike a fixed gear bike, at least I would be able to pedal. So that is what I did. I made the bike a fixed gear bike and rode the last 15 miles in a single fixed gear. Up and down the hills, up and down the hills, and away I would go.


About a mile up the road, I found that Ron had waited for me. He thought I had just rested at the top of the last hill, or had a flat. O how that would have been nice!


As it were, when I got to the hotel 2 hours later and posted on Facebook that I had trouble, God worked through all sorts of people and I had acquired a ride to St Louis, and found a connection to two bike shops. News had traveled and God was taking care of us.


The irony of the day was, in the morning we saw a marquee on a church,  it said, “For every setback, God has a comeback planned!” Well, I had a setback and God planned a marvelous comeback. I just dropped the bike off at Maplewood Bike shop and it will be repaired and ready to go by 4 pm tonight so I will be on the road once again at 5:30 tomorrow morning!


And what I learned is that when your wife says, “are you sure that you need to do that?” Maybe it’s a good idea to listen to her…


Pastor David Sperstad

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First Lutheran Church
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Little Falls MN 56345
320-632-1050 fax

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