October 5, Day 95 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
After two consecutive rest days, the weather had turned particularly cold. It almost felt like we skipped fall this year, with morning temps in the low 40s and feel-like readings in the 30s. It was a test. We know we can handle heat, but what about riding in cold weather? Frankly, the prospect had us intimidated, so today’s test was pivotal. With cooler weather ahead as we march deeper into fall, could we handle riding in the cold temperatures?
I can remember playing basketball outside in subzero weather as a kid…and without mittens or gloves. You couldn’t control the ball as well with those on. Then there were the many days of walking a mile to and from school in subzero weather…or blizzards. It was simply part of life in Houlton, Maine. And I didn’t mind it a bit.
Well, I no longer tolerate the cold as well. And losing some body weight on this bicycle trip seems to make me more susceptible to cold temperatures. Even my hot-blooded wife was a bit concerned about how we would adapt to the cooler temperatures. When you bicycle, you create wind on your exposed skin. That air flow translates to wind chill. If you’re cycling into a headwind, you’ve just increased the speed of the wind, and its chilling effect.
So, we didn’t sleep too well last night. For, we had been glued to the weather forecasts and were dreading the biting cold predicted for our early morning ride to church, and the afternoon ride in well below seasonable temperatures.
I was as determined not to get cold today as I am to finish this bicycle tour. I packed on six layers up top and four down bottom. With Debbie’s naturally warm tendencies, she got by with much less, although an impromptu visit to Century Cycles in Peninsula helped bail out her cold toes. She made a strategic purchase of a pair of shoe coverings from the bargain bin.
These measures worked remarkably well. I even felt overheated at times. We felt liberated and justified to cycle to our hearts’ content even while the mercury struggled to touch 50 degrees in the “heat of the afternoon.” Today was a confidence booster. Passing a test is always a good feeling. We needn’t be intimidated by cold-weather riding any longer. The next test may come tomorrow when rain may be added to the mix.
After explaining our mission, we were immediately directed to the youth pastor, who invited us to later share a brief plug for TheHopeLine to his senior high group. In the meantime, we attended a small group exploring the book of Philippians, where we were again invited to share our mission with the class. Our visit to the youth group exposed us to a guest speaker’s presentation about how God is moving in Pakistan. After the talk, the group heard our two-minute spiel. Debbie bailed me out when I blanked out on TheHopeLine’s 1-800-394-4673 phone number. She turned around so I could read the phone number on the back of her T-shirt. I love those T-shirts!
It’s not often that you can celebrate a mileage milestone in a day when you cycle only 34 miles, but today was one of those days. We’ve now logged over 4,000 miles on TheHopeLine Tour of 2014. This milestone is particularly satisfying because it achieves a goal set at the start of our tour: to cycle over 4,000 miles. Now if we can log 800 more miles, we’ll really celebrate!