June 2016 Posts

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 8

 


Jeff Dines

Today, not only did we ride through the Roosevelt National Forest, we hit State Forest State Park, Poudre Canyon, and Horsetooth Reservoir. Whew! On day 8 of Break The Cycle, we biked 82 miles with an elevation gain of 4,042 feet.

What a powerful week it’s been! This has been a very good example of accomplishing goals, not giving up, and believing. When you serve, invite, thank, and trust in God all things are possible. Giving back to the community is an honor and something I am teaching my kids to do. One of the most exciting and fulfilling things on this trip has been being able to connect with God through out each day and taking on the challenges that mother nature gives us. And today was no different.

This ride is not only powerful for myself , but it brings my family closer with belief, trust and commitment. Thank you to all and God bless!

 

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Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 7

Six years ago, President & CEO of Denver Rescue Mission, Brad Meuli, and I were casually talking about a solo cross country bike trip that I made in 1999. Out of that conversation, Break the Cycle was born. It took a few years, several scouting trips, and many meetings over burritos to get the event off the ground, but I’m proud to have been a part of all three rides in some capacity: support driver, “cow bell ringer,” first aid provider, and rider.

 

It’s fitting that my blog post this year comes near the end of this year’s ride, as my time at Denver Rescue Mission is also nearing its end. In the middle of August, the Petrie family will be relocating to Southern California for new opportunities and closer family ties.

 

While this time is exciting, it doesn’t come without some sadness. Working the past nine years with the clients and staff at the Mission has been one of my greatest joys in life. Seeing and sharing in the success of others has been incredibly rewarding, none of which would have been possible without your remarkable support. Thank you.

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 6

As we neared the end of Day 5, having just finished our big climb of the day, and powering through the Yampa Valley at an ungodly pace – we were all beat. Beat because we had ridden 475 miles over 5 days; beat because the heat was only marginally more relentless than the wind; beat because while we had trained for this, nothing could quite prepare us for actually doing it.

Being physically beat impacted each of us emotionally too. We spoke more negatively about the day; about wanting to be done; and wanting to eat; to sleep beyond 4am…We were all “done.”

My family met our motley group at mile 85 with cookies, cold water, signs and cowbells fit for the Tour de France, and some welcome encouragement. Something odd happened after that stop. After seeing my boys, wife and parents there on the side of the road, I was energized. I was more ready to spend the following day off of my bike and with them. I felt a boost in both my spirit and in my legs.

 

There’s something psychological within each of us to power through something when we feel we can’t make it; when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; when we know something better awaits us, just over that next hill.

For many of our guests at the Lawrence Street Community Center, they don’t have anyone cheering them on or reminding them of what lies around the next corner. There’s no welcoming committee waiting with cookies and cold water. They don’t know where the end to their present circumstances lies or where to find it.

Today’s rest day has been awesome. Many of us enjoyed time with family or at least time doing something other than riding our bikes. The Plotinus of today’s rest allowed me to press beyond my limits as yesterday came to an end. What do you focus on when time gets tough? Are you listening to those cheering you on and focused on what still lies ahead? Place yourself in the shoes of our guest at the Lawrence Street Community Center. Who is running alongside them during the home stretch?

While we ride in Break The Cycle to raise money to help end hunger, I ask you to consider ways you might be able to encourage those on their own journey this summer. More than 900 men, women and children visit the Lawrence Street Community Center every day. Our staff works hard to offer them daily hope and encouragement but we could always use more “cheerleaders.” Consider learning more about our volunteer opportunities here and encourage folks whose real lives make my pain on this bike yesterday seem so trivial.

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 5

So, if you have been following our blog posts this week, you are starting to get a pretty good idea of what our days look like: get up way too early, ride bicycles all day, eat, go to bed…

Today was much the same but also very special.

We started the morning cruising along the Colorado River heading out of Glenwood Springs on one of the most amazing bike paths in the world. While we pedaled, the sun came up and lit the canyon in colors that must be experienced, not explained. It was truly magnificent! While we can’t see God, we see the evidence of His existence through His creation.

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As we covered our only stretch of gravel road this week, I noticed a pair of bald eagles watching us. Not only are they magnificent creatures, they are also very symbolic. In Scripture, the eagle is mentioned some twenty-six times as a means of illustration. Among other things, the eagle represents hope and strength. This is demonstrated in Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 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.

IMG_2948When I feel I cannot pedal another stroke, I think of this verse.  It provides me with the stamina and resilience necessary to endure and overcome the difficulties of the long climbs, hot sun and saddle sores.

The road once again turned up. We climbed all morning and into the afternoon before descending into the beautiful Yampa Valley to our finish in Steamboat Springs.  But personally, the best part of this day was getting off my bike and being reunited with my wife and kids after 6 days away from home.  Seeing their eager faces as we pulled in to Steamboat lifted my tired spirit.

Also, we had the pleasure of being treated to dinner by the awesome crew at BOA. It was great to meet just a few of the people who made this trip and our work at Denver Rescue Mission possible. Having such generous partners is invaluable to the Rescue Riders team, the Mission as a whole, and the people we serve. All in all, it was a great day.

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 4

We’ve nearly reached the halfway mark of our 9-day cycling tour through the mountains of Colorado. At this point, I’m EXHAUSTED! Regardless, the alarm will sound tomorrow at 4:00 a.m and our wheels will be rolling by 5:00 a.m.

Day 4 - Nathan blog 4Throughout this ride, it’s become increasingly clear that preparation is everything. To get to this point, a lot of time and effort was spent preparing: long-distance training rides, cycling at the gym, making packing lists, performing tune-ups. Hundreds of miles, countless hours, and gallons of sweat went into preparing for this 750-mile journey.

Those most crucial in our preparation efforts?  Our family members. From early morning to weekend rides, our families were often without us or sweating alongside us.  Their sacrifices and active participation aided us in building the endurance and stamina essential for this challenging ride.  Without their support, this ride would not be possible.

Also, the preparations of our amazing support crew have been key to our success. Huge shout-out to Kevin and Jeremy for getting up early and staying up late preparing and organizing the support vehicles every day.  Their tireless efforts are essential for meeting any need we face on the road: water, fix-a-flat, tow rope, cheese in a can. :-)

 

The practices and people that prepare us, are 90% of the work involved in any challenge. Jesus’ cousin, John, was responsible for preparing the way for the Messiah to do his work. That made a big difference in the way Jesus was received. Time and time again, Jesus slips into the shadows after a miracle, refusing to draw any attention to himself because the stage was not yet set for his climactic work. He was preparing himself and his people for what was yet to come. As we find ourselves between the Advents, we too are being prepared for the grand finale. Preparation matters.

One of the things I love about Denver Rescue Mission is how staff uses the term ‘guest’ for everyone who enters the doors. It’s as if they are saying, “We’re ready for you. We’re prepared for whatever you’ve got.” Preparation makes all the difference. Whether you’re riding your riding a bike or serving a meal at the Mission.

All our preparations have enabled us to take part in this inspiring campaign.  Help us ‘Break the Cycle’ of hunger and poverty in our community and DONATE to the cause.