Thursday, March 26, 2009

Communication is Key

Living in Chicago, it has only been recently that I've been able to start riding and training outside, as its finally starting to warm up. This week, my neighbor suggested that since she's looking to get into better shape, maybe we could ride together. I could not have been happier, as I have been actively looking for a riding partner. Its been a nice change of pace from stationary bikes or spin classes.

This afternoon, we only had about an hour to ride, but any time was better than none! So off we went...

It was a great day to ride, but it came to a quick stop only about 10 minutes in. She was leading as we came up on an intersection, and she called back that it was clear so we were going through. Then she yelled back again, I thought I heard, "Go!" - so I leaned in a bit to catch up the speed I had lost as we we approached the intersection. Unfortunately, in her cap of the story, she had yelled, "No! Stop!" - but I never heard the "stop" part... I was going about 18mph...

As soon as I realized she was stopping, I slammed on my breaks and yelled at her, and before she knew why, I was right behind her, flipping up over my handlebars. On my way down, my right hand got caught in her rear tire. It even tore off my glove, which I was glad to be wearing, for I imagine my hand would otherwise be all cut up. Immediately my hand turned several shades of black and blue, and let me tell you, it was a site to be seen! Instantly my mind flashed to the tour, and one of the first things I said was, "Susie! If I broke my hand I won't be able to train for the tour!" I panicked. I did lots of yelling, clearly in shock, and sat on the ground cupping my arm. We went over our options, and as we were only a few miles from home, decided I could suck it up and we would just ride home slowly.

After stopping home for some ice and anti-inflammatories, we headed to campus for class. A fellow student at my seminary used to be an ER surgeon, so I had her look at my wrist for peace of mind. She's confident nothing is broken and I probably haven't torn any of the muscles, etc, so that was encouraging. My upper chest is pretty sore, too; I imagine I've got some good bruising on my sternum, maybe a rib? Nothing serious, just really uncomfortable.

For a first fall, I thought this was pretty good, right? I was definitely lucky, as it could easily have been more serious. I wish it had been caught on camera; my flip had to look pretty sweet. It was definitely enough for a car nearby to stop and make sure we were ok - she looked far more afraid than I was shocked (and let me tell ya - that was a lot!). Also, I wish we'd had a camera with us, as I would love to be able to show you a picture of said wounds on hand, as it was pretty massive. By now, the ice has brought it down quite a bit, and its just a massive red (slightly) swollen blob where a blood vessel broke.

That was enough adventure for me for today. I thank God it wasn't more serious, and think I'll celebrate that by letting it 'rest' by staying inside for a bit. I'll head back to spin classes at least until the swelling goes down and I can close my hand enough to squeeze my back break again

Monday, March 23, 2009

Summer 2009 Brings Another Epic Adventure

It is past time that I make an announcement here for anyone who may read this, but may still not know.

I AM GOING ON THE RIDE:WELL 2009 BIKE TOUR - as a CYCLIST!!! I was a part of the 2008 tour and it changed my life. I unexpectedly fell in love with bikes, travel adventure, and tying these together with other things I am passionate about, such as providing clean water for people around the world.

The ride is going to be intense, challenging, and rewarding, bringing forth so many emotions, experiences, and relationships. It will last 8 weeks, during which we will cover 3172 miles (traveling from the SW coast in Santa Monica, CA to the NE coast just beyond Baltimore, MA). That is a lot of miles to be covered in not a lot of time, but we're doing it for a cause, and it will absolutely be worth it. I can't wait. and I'm scared out of my mind at the same time.

I have only just begun training for the trip, but most of the time I feel confident about it. I am also trying not to be concerned about the financial aspect. Trips such as these are expensive, and in order to keep as much of the money we raise on the road funneling directly into grassroots-based projects in Africa, each person on the team is required to raise a substantial amount of money. This year, this seems even more trying, as I am very new to cycling and am in need of a great deal of gear as well. I am confident it will work out, though, and have begun writing letters for support, as well as planning events (such as benefit concerts) to help raise the money.

I hope to update this regularly as things continue to come together. Words of support, encouragement, or advice are always welcome! For more information, please contact me directly or check out our website: - or you can go directly to my profile at (If you are interested in supporting me financially, you can do so via the website as well.)

08 Ride:Well Reunion #1

Until now, whenever I would hear the word "reunion," I would think of one of two things: high school, or unlikely. High school is obvious, and unlikely because - honestly - how often have we been a part of circles that have vowed to stay in touch and plan a reunion, and then never did? Or maybe you did, but the group was so out of context it was awkward and forced, as the part of your lives you shared and had in common have come and gone...

That latter was something I feared a bit when the 2008 Ride:Well Tour ended. I didn't think it would happen, and that was devastating. Then when it looked like it might, I was a bit afraid that it would be awkward since we didn't have the Mother Falcon, and no one would be riding their bicycle all day, every day. Fortunately, this turned out to be as far from the truth as possible.

This past week, 15 of the 18 members of our 2008 Ride:Well Tour traveled to a neutral location: Boone, North Carolina. We stayed in beautiful mountain homes donated to us for the weekend. Homes that allowed us adventures from games we played at camp to time around a circle as we took time to update on each others' lives. We ate and slept and hiked and biked and laughed and cried together. The staple that holds this group so close: we prayed together.

Ride:Well 2009 Reunion is far beyond words I can express on a page, but I can say I am blown away by how incredible this group works together, even under differing circumstances. One teammate even said, "I'm so glad I still like you guys when we're not on bikes!" Hilarious and true!

This weekend also left me thinking 24/7 about the 2009 tour. As 1 of 2 from the 08 R:W Team going with the 09 R:W team, I began to think logistically about the tour this weekend. I need a better bike, gear, time to train and fundraise, etc. The list is endless, and I am incredible thankful for the thoughts and advice the 08 tour has been able to share with me as I prepare for this incredible journey. That, and it gave me something to look forward to when several mentioned heading to Red Oak, Texas to meet the entire 09 team. I can't wait!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Small but Important Steps

Exciting progression in the world of the unknown future that lies ahead.

I am not sure I have mentioned it here before, but a large part of my anxiety about post-graduation plans has come from a long period of waiting. Waiting is not always an easy thing to do. After praying about it for several months, at the end of last year, I put in an application to The United Methodist Churchs' General Board of Global Ministries Mission Intern Program. (How's that for a mouthful?) You can read more about the program here, but the short of it is that it is a 3-year commitment during which I will be placed to engage in full-time ministry in a mission setting. The first half of the program will be spent abroad, the second half in a setting within the United States.

Since the application was completed, I have been anxious for a word on it. After dates being changed and pushed back, their budgets reviewed and facing losses, and my own anxiety and uncertainty moving from one end of the spectrum to the other, I have landed back in the place I was when I excitedly began the application process: it feels overwhelmingly perfect, and just the transition I am looking for beyond completion of school in May.

So. It has been a long and painful few months of waiting for any word on their review of applications. FINALLY, it is moving along. I have been invited to attend a weekend of young adult interviews in New York City. I couldn't be happier or more relieved for the word that I've made it through the first filtering of applicants, though I must also confess that even this brings more restlessness. The interview weekend will take place the third weekend in April: April 17-20. While I am excited (and a bit nervous) about this weekend of interviews, I am also a bit weary about how late it is! As the interviews will take place near the end of April, it will likely be May until I know whether or not I am accepted into the program... which means I'll be within weeks (or days) of graduation before I know whether or not I have a plan for ministry post-graduation. If it works out - PERFECT and AMAZING and I'll have a few months to prepare!!! If not... I'll be walking across the stage with no idea what lies ahead. eek!

Everything about this feels right, though, and I have always been one to trust my instinct. Even if I'm two months from the next step, I'm excited to be on to what is "next," and trying to let the excitement be the overwhelming factor rather than the anxiety or fear of the unknown!
(now... on to decide on summer plans...)