Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kansas City, MO

We've made it to another state! I didn't think Kansas would go by that fast. It's crazy to think we've come so far on this insane adventure and only have 3 weeks left till we roll into D.C.
Friday we pedaled into Kansas City, which we discovered is actually in both Kansas and Missouri. However we were all a little disappointed that there was no Missouri state sign to get a picture with. Needless to say it's a big city. A majority of the ride was spent pedaling through the very hilly city, with lots of stop signs, in ridiculous heat.
What can I say about Kansas? I underestimated it. We were told that it wad flat, boring, nothing to see, there would be a tail wind and it would be hot... turns out that only the hot part was true. The part of Kansas we rode through was mostly rolling hills, we saw the world's biggest ball of twine, met loads of nice people, had some good corn, and encountered almost no wind.
After our ride on Friday we had a fun filled weekend planned for us. Friday night we were thrown a Bash in downtown Kansas City where we all got our dance on and got free massages. We also go to meet NFL Chief's Leonard Pope, who would be working with us on the work site on Saturday.

Blake was pretty excited.
Saturday morning we woke up late (7:30), ate some breakfast and loaded up in the van and went to the work site. The house we worked on was completely gutted and needed a new floor put in. There was also huge piles of dirt and concrete in the front yard that needed to be distributed and spread around the yard. It was a hot job, but we got lots done while having a good time.

After working all morning we went back to the church that was hosting us and participated in cyclists favorite activity...

Saturday night the church we are staying at gave us a great dinner and fun little Christian concert afterwards. The St. Stephen's trio made sure to dance in the very front. After the concert, the three of us were all pleasantly surprised by the bajillion cookies waiting for us! We all got a little excited and started stuffing cookies down our throats, but don't worry, we didn't even put a dent in them. So thank you so much St. Stephens for thinking
of us and sending us such a wonderful care package! The entire team thanks you as well!
Tomorrow we will attend some churches in the area and then perhaps go to a Royal's baseball game!

Oh and I thought the Harry Potter movie was awesome.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Manhattan, KS

So this week has been going by crazy fast.  Kansas has been anything but flat and boring... although some of it has been flat.  Its very quaint out here.  Its nice seeing parts of the country that are untouched by Wal-Mart.  Yesterday we were in a town called Clay Center and something seemed odd to me.  I finally figured it out; I saw a Wendy's.  It had been so long since we passed a fast food joint that it just caught me off guard.  We are definitely nearing more populated areas again.  Its funny how you don't realize how fast the rest of the world is moving when you spend every day going on average 15 mph.
The rides continue to be hot.  This is what a typical day looks like for me.  Wake up at 4, do morning chores, eat breakfast, ride my bike with food breaks, arrive at destination around noonish, collapse on my mat and sleep until dinner, eat dinner, go back to sleep... and repeat.  I literally just eat, bike, and sleep.
With that said, goodnight world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Colorado Springs, CO to Hill City, KS

As we travel further into the middle of America, it becomes increasingly harder to find cell phone service or wifi.  However the people we come across become friendlier and friendlier... an interesting correlation.

I apologize for the recent lack of blog posts.

The three of us had a delightful reunion and day off in Colorado Springs.  We started the day at a bike shop, where we made sure everything was up to date on our mighty steeds and ready to conquer the last half of our journey.  The rest of the day we spent exploring the incredible Garden of the Gods and the Olympic training center.  Both were very impressive and made the whole day extremely intriguing.

Wednesday morning I jumped on my bike for the first time in what felt like forever.  Of the 80 some miles, I only rode 40, but they were the best 40 miles ever.  The terrain is definitely the flattest its ever been on this whole trip.  The temperature has also become much hotter.  That night we arrived in Limon, CO.  There we were greeted by a wonderful church spaghetti dinner.
Thursday was another 80 mile day to Cheyenne Wells, CO, our last stop in Colorado.  The heat was treacherous.  I increased my milage to 60 miles, and felt wonderful about it.  Dehydration was a concern for some riders.  However, once we arrived at our destination, we had a pool option to help us cool down.
Friday, I finally felt strong enough to do the whole ride.  We rode 86 miles to Oakley, KS.  And what an amazing ride it was.  The average for most everyone that day was 20 mph.  We left at 5:30 am to avoid most of blazing heat.  Even with the early rising, we still encountered some pretty brutal heat waves.  With much excitement, we not only crossed another state line, but a time zone change line too.  We are officially on central time.

Oakley, was a wonderful small Kansas town, which I'm assuming was named after Annie Oakley, since they had an Annie Oakley motel.  There we also got the opportunity to swim in a pool.   For dinner the church served us at least 4 different types of food which contained corn... I got the impression corn was a popular food there.
Saturday, our last day of riding for the week, we rode 75 miles to a town called Hill City.  The town was appropriately named, even though I figured out later, it was actually named after a person.  Whoever said that Kansas was flat lied.  The heat only made the rolling hills more difficult.  However, it was a short ride compared to what we are accustomed too, so everyone completed the day just fine.
Today, we got the day off to spend in Hill City.  Its a small town, but the most friendliest place we've stayed yet.  We've had families take us into their homes and out to dinner.  One couple even fixed all three meals at the church we are staying at.  There was a pool, a car museum, I got a massage, some people got to watch the Tour de France, and some people caught up on sleep.  Over all a very successful day off.  Tomorrow we pedal on to Osborne.
Thanks for all your patience and prayers for us.  Four more weeks until we reach D.C. so we will be with you all shortly.  Love to you all!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Friday to Idaho Springs, CO!

A tremendous 5:30am breakfast to finish off the week!  We only had an 80 mile day, which we were all happy about because we just had a 97 mile ride the day before!  We rode the first 20 miles to the rest stop very quickly and easily.  It was mostly a cool downhill fast pace ride.  As we came around one corner we saw a train pass by us on the rode to our left.  It was an awesome sight with the sunrise in the background, really a great morning memory!  After the first strop Ryan (former trip leader) and I stopped in Grandby to say goodbye to Pastor Micheal and to thank him.  He was the pastor at the church we stayed that night, and had volunteered to ride the first 30 miles with us.  While we waited I went to the gas station nearby to purchase a snack.  When I entered I found a DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN!!! I was so excited! I had been craving a double chocolate chip muffin since back in Washington when a church gave us a box of them!  I grabbed the double chocolate chip muffins in pure happiness! ...until a guy came up and took it out of my hand and said I couldn't have it... I was stunned!  then he continued taking all the double chocolate chip muffins off the shelf!   He said that they weren't dated and he couldn't let me buy them... So I bought a twinkie instead.  I was surprised and let down.
After that we thanked Pastor Micheal and headed to the second rest stop.  After the second rest stop is when we started to climb the tallest mountain we will encounter on this trip!  At an elevation of 11,300ft, Bertha Pass was the only thing standing between us and Idaho Falls!

I climbed slowly for a couple hours until I was only about a half mile from the top.  Thats when the sky started to darken!  Then the rain came, then lightning, and the hail started!  I rode hard and fast trying to stay warm and make it to the top!  A jacket would have been nice, but I had left it in the van, to be honest I didn't expect it to hail on me on July 8th.  I finally saw a downhill sign, maybe an indicator that I was indeed at the top.  However, I didn't see the elevation sign or a place to get out of the hail. (apparently there was a shelter off the road everyone else was at)  So I started back down the other side going down the mountain.  After a few miles the rain stopped.  I was still very cold, trying to flex my arms to get the warm blood moving.  I unzipped my shirt to dry it out, but I was still very very cold!  I squeezed my brakes a lot going down hill into the turns on the wet rode.  I couldn't feel my hands after about 5 miles.  I then realized that my best option was to turn around and start climbing back up the mountain to warm up!  After passing two other riders I saw a shop and pulled over hoping that they might have coffee or something hot.  They were closed.  I finally decided my best choice was to call the van to pick me up.  As I brought up my hand to call I couldn't even keep the phone at my ear without shaking it away.  I couldn't get signal on the phone to get in touch with anyone.  I stood there for a little while and the sun started to come out.  I started to do push up after push up to warm myself up.  It was really helping.  Then three other riders saw me and pulled over.  One girl Sarah saw how could I was and told me to take off my wet shirt and put on her rain jacket.  Then she and another girl got on either side and hugged me to warm me up.  I continued to shake all three of us!  The other rider with us was able to signal for a ride and me and Sarah were able to ride down to the bottom of the mountain in a truck.  It was a real nice guy named Kevin who gave us a ride.  We talked for a while and he took us all the way to the church in Idaho Springs.  I was just happy to have the feeling come back in my hands!  We made it to the Baptist Church on the end of town.  I laid down on the cement in the jacket to warm up.  I then walked to the convenient store (which wasn't so convenient, it was over a mile away) and bought gaterade and water to rehydrate.  We then took turns going to shower at the RV park.  The best part of the day was when we had pizza at Beau Jo's!  It was delicious!  One kind of pizza was chicken alfredo!  MMMMmmmmmmmm!  We explored the town all night, I bought an Idaho Falls bumper sticker for my bike.  Then off the bed around 11:00pm!  An adventurous and exiting day!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Good News

Currently I (Martha) am in Colorado Springs catching a little R&R with my brother and his wife this weekend.  This also provided time to go see a doctor and have my flesh wound looked at.  After a very nervous half hour of sitting in the doctor's office, I received some tremendous news; my leg has healed enough to the point where the doc didn't see any objections for me to start riding again.  Praise be to God!  I don't think I have been more ecstatic this whole summer than in this moment!  In less than two weeks my leg has closed up without any infection or other complication.
It was a long week and a half leading up to this point.  I definitely learned a lot about patience and humility.  And once again, I am just humbled and in awe of the power of prayer.  I am so grateful that God has let me continue this incredible experience.  I am so grateful to all you, who are keeping track of my progress and praying for my quick recovery.  And I am so so so so thankful for my other FCBA team members who have done nothing but given me positive support with their smiling faces and eagerness to assist me, even when they themselves are tired from long days of biking.
A passage that has meant a lot to me these past couple days is Psalm 84 and I highly recommend it to those who might be struggling with anything.  It's such a good reminder of where our hearts should be in times of confusion.
I will be spending the remainder of the weekend here in Colorado Springs with my brother and his wife, and will rejoin the group on Tuesday on their day off here.  I will start biking Wednesday morning.  Right now I'm thinking I will probably start off slowly by just biking portions of the day, but I'm hoping a week from now, Lord willing, I will be back in full force.  Continued prayer is as always much appreciated.
In other news, everyone should be impressed with the Smith boys.  They have moved mountains this week... or moved over them would be more accurate.  It was no easy task.  The air has once again gotten thin and the climbs a steep and long... and they don't even make up half the day.  Today they will be reaching Idaho Springs, CO and tomorrow they will be in Denver where they get a day off... I will do my best into getting one of them to blog so you can hear more in depth stories about their adventures.
Love to all!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Craig, CO

We're finally in Colorado!!! It's crazy how fast this is going for us. I wish that it was one of the boys was updating this instead of me since my riding has consisted of lots and lots of van time; however I'll give you the best update I can.
Utah was very dry for the most part. We saw a little bit of desert and some amazing landscape.

Yesterday we stayed in the small small town of Dinosaur, CO, population: 335. The road to Dinosaur was littered with intense prairie dog road kill and very high temperatures. It was a pretty extinct looking town, except for an awesome homemade ice-cream place next to a gas station (which Blake visited 3 times in one day). I'm pretty sure the only thing the kids from this town learn about is dinosaurs. We celebrated the July 4th with hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, sparklers, and a few fireworks provided by the town. Over all a success.
View from Dinosaur, CO
Today the cyclists traveled over 80 miles to Craig, CO. This is much more lively than Dinosaur... but that doesn't take much. The weather was over cast for most of the day and there were a few light rain showers. This was probably a nice break from the intense heat we have been experiencing lately. Tomorrow, we will have our second build day here in Craig. Any day off the saddle of the bike is welcomed... unless its multiple days... in which case you would give your right leg to get back on... wait a second... that's what got me into this mess to begin with ;).
Injury update is... well it's not infected which I am very grateful for. I was hoping to get my stitches out here in Craig, but I still don't believe its quite ready. I'm doing my best to keep my head up. I got the two best boys in the world giving me all their support, along with a very awesome team. Continued prayer is much appreciative. I am off the crutches, but a little over eager to start using my leg. Patience is definitely one of the lessons coming away from this.
We are so thrilled with what the three of us have already accomplished. We are loving seeing this beautiful country and amazed at how tough we actually are, mentally and physically.

Boys after 100 miler day

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Salt Lake City, UT

Unfortunately I don't have any super interesting bike news to report lately. There have been some long bike days for the riders though. Thursday afternoon we arrived in Salt Lake City and enjoyed a relaxing evening just chilling out and enjoying each others company. The next day we were given the day off, so the boys and I decided to explore a little bit of the city. We didn't really think that one through, seeing as I only has one functioning leg. We took the city's metro system down town and started walking/crutching around.
Our first stop was the Mormon temple square. I found it interesting from a history perspective. Mostly I was just grateful they had a wheel chair I could use. Then we went to lunch. After that we wondered around the mall for a little. It was a good relaxing day... For me. Because one can only travel so fast by by crutches, Blake and Patrick ended up carrying me around a lot. Blake actually carried me on his shoulders for several blocks. So I owe him a spa day when we get back. We were quite a scene.
Hopefully I will be able to put a fun video together of our experience that day soon.
The next pic is dedicated to pastor Jeff ;)