Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RAAM 2010: Day 1 with Team DurhamCares

Finally, after 40 hours of travel and logistics in beautiful Oceanside, California we were on our way. The camera does not hide our happiness and excitement about embarking on an adventure that had been months in the making. I talked the powers that be into letting me join for all of the first 16 hours of riding though my team was scheduled to sit out the first eight hour segment. My argument was threefold: 1) I might go crazy if I didn't get on the bike. 2) I could help us get up the first steep climb. 3) I could scout the transition patterns and relay that back to my team of four riders (Jenny, Chip, Henry McCoy and myself) so that we could learn from the practices of the first team.
My race began with a transition from Lance and I had two steady miles before I began a 6 or 7% grade climb. I felt alive, fresh, and excited. I knew it was early and I had many hours of riding before my first long break, but I didn't really care. I more or less motored up the hill as fast as I could. The race was still crowded and I enjoyed passing somewhere between five and ten other riders. Jesse was all over the place with his camera and it renewed my spirits to think I might be connected by video to the work happening at home. I couldn't exactly imagine what the front of Tyler's looked like, but I knew Heather Jones and the team would have it set up well. My legs were fried at the summit, but I knew I had ridden well. "Coach" Dave Williams seemed pleased and it was clear to me from then on that he and I would be in "sync," anticipating ideas, supporting other riders. He was such an asset to our progress down the road from the very beginning. By the third day, when things were going rough with all sorts of bumpiness and sleepiness and sloppiness, Dave and I were finishing each others sentences. My guess is this guy and I will work together in the future. In fact, and someone's going to make me choke on this one, I might have him devise a summer swimming program for me. Just for training, of course.

Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

A great article co-authored by one of my teamates, Christopher Gergen.
Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

A great article co-authored by one of my teamates, Christopher Gergen.

Cross-country bike ride benefits DurhamCares - Local/State - NewsObserver.com

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tim James - American English

I rarely post videos like this and I actually happen to like Alabama, but this guy is hilarious. I want to see the outtakes, because it's sheer genius to have survived one of these clips without laughing out loud.
Politics sure are funny. The funniest part is to read some of the comments on Youtube. Of course, some use the comments as a forum to actually bash immigration. Good call. Good call.

Team Bandwidth.com's Pimpin' Ride

They did it in style and when you win, few make fun of going in style.
Congrats to our friends at Bandwith.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


RAAM begins at 2pm, but it is not yet 6am. I've been up since four, trying to be thankful for the five hours of sleep I received. My body is craving more rest, but I get what I get.

Time, time, time...
It's all about time for the 20 of us right now. When will I ride, sleep, eat, be in the minvan, be in the Ark or RV? What's the order of riders? How long will I ride for each time? 30 minutes? Less? More?
We have some plans laid out for each of these questions, but inevitably the plans will bend and flex for every reason imaginable.
I'm knee deep in the 14th verse and following of the Bible.
"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.'. And it was so.

God's time is so simple and if I flow with it, God gives me the commands of when to work and when to rest, to bike, to eat, and where to be. As Nick Drake says in the song Pink Moon, "set me down and give me a place to be."

My place to be is across America the next eight days. Praise to you, creator of the universe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

18 charities

I'm getting ready to RAAM--Race Across AMerica. I am packing my last few things that did not make it on the motor home last weekend. Top among the list is one of my three race kits. It's an amazing kit, and I am scanning the
jersey and thinking how I need to know more about each of these 18 charities. So I emailed myself the "In a Nutshell" blurbs of each of the 18 charities listed below.

Durham Cares Partners

* A Helping Hand
* Achievement Academy
* Big Brothers Big Sisters
* Citizen Schools, Inc.
* Communities in Schools of Durham
* Crayons2Calculators
* Dress for Success
* Durham Eagles
* Durham Rescue Mission
* Durham YMCA
* Habitat for Humanity
* Housing for New Hope
* Kramden Institute
* Pregnancy Support Services
* Project Compassion
* Sales & Service Training Center
* Samaritan Health Center

One of my favorite logos is one I did not recognize: Housing for New Hope.

They provide a continuum of care for the most needy of Durham and Orange County citizens through outreach and crisis assistance, transitional housing, and permanent housing.

I've got a lot to do today, or it seems like I do. Saying goodbye to family, running a few errands, but it is good to make time for writing and reading about these charities. I like numbers and it seems fitting--I'm writing on a blog tagged 18 teeth and counting. I turn 35 in a few days, on June 18, a day where we might finish this bike ride or finish the day after. And there are 18 Durham charities that will benefit from this ride. I know a lot about a few of them. I know nothing about a few of them, and I will make it a goal to come to know all of them and their missions over the next ten days, but also in the coming months.

I like the idea of a bike ride from my house that tours the sites of each of these 18 charities. Later I will map out a ride to all of these locations. Will you join me for this ride?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shut up and ride

In the spirit of "shut up and ride," as my sports psychologist reminded me to do, here are the details from my last workout for RAAM, a week ago. Oh yeah, this loop is named after said psychologist.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some of the places I will try to stay awake for during RAAM

Jake North is one of the photographers for RAAM and he's got me thinking about the route and some of the noteworthy places we shall peruse during our little bike ride.

It's all got me thinking about Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming. Written during his "I found Jesus" years, the song is a kind of ode to the Eschaton. I like it.

Henri Desgrange, worthy of consideration

He wrote in L'Equipe article of 1902,
I still feel that varable gears are only for people over forty-five.
Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer?

We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!

He's so right and yet so many other cycling disciplines have their place too. But I'm not going to defend all the other ways to ride a bike just now.

I love my fixey. It makes me want to see to building a velodrome in downtown Durham. It makes me want to junk all other bikes. Even with platform pedals, I feel more connected to the simple machine than I do to one with a freewheel even when I am clipped in. Fixey is so fun. It's so simple. It's tough. I want to try climbing huge mountains on my fixed gear bike. I want to race on the track. I want to descend with my feet off the pedals and tucked up as close to the saddle as possible as the crank arms fly around and around without my feet catching up and finding their place again until we soar through the trough or valley and gravity begins to slow the machine down just enough so I can stand on the pedals and help stomp up the next hill.

RAAM Ready

It's early on Tuesday. Not sleeping too well, but that's normal before a big event. Thursday we fly to California and Saturday we start riding our bikes across America. My understanding is that our total crew will include 20 people. That is an overwhelming number of people for an RV, two mini-vans and an errand car. I know it is going to all workout, but it is tough to imagine a rhythm forming in a 16 hour cycle that includes 30 minutes of biking and 90 minutes off, then repeat four times. That summarizes the eight hours "on" and then eight hours "off" and then repeat that 16 hour cycle over a seven or eight day period. It's pretty daunting when I write it down.

Perhaps I am missing the point of this endeavor. Perhaps the task is to find rhythm in the nonsensical and complicated. Focus on the simple daily acts of prayer and reading. Enjoy the company of others and honor everyone's role in the trip. Focus on recovery and good nutrition. Finally, funnel all of the hard training on the bike and on foot this last year into each effort on the bike. Ride as hard and as fast as can so that God will be glorified by drawing attention to no less than 18 charities in the city of Durham. Be prepared for flexibility and to ride or not ride at a moments notice.

As part of my Road ID reminds me: Ride for Christ.

Below is a video from WRAL where Henry and Chip effectively convey our mission.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dr. John Perkins--Hope for a Reconciled World

I was not able to attend this year's Summers Institute put on by the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. Too much going on in June with Durham Cares/RAAM, but I did happen to cross paths with the group walking to lecture and there I quickly said hello to old friends, Catherine Piwang, David Higgonbotham, and Chris Rice. I desperately wanted to join for worship, but the week just did not permit. One person I did not eye was saint John Perkins, but seeing this image of him at work below reminds me of the way he shapes the things I do and the kind of evangelist I try to be.

He is pictured here in what I can only caricature as his soft and compelling evangelistic style of teaching and preaching.

I first encountered the man as the overarching hand of influence in Grace Matters written by Chris Rice and John Perkins' late son, Spencer Perkins. Years later, I met him through a friendship with John Blake brought about through shared ministry at the Durham Nativity School. John Blake and I arranged for John Perkins to speak to the middle school students at one of the weekly chapel sessions. They were awestruck by his story of salvation, his boyhood hatred of whites, his conversion through the witness of his son, Spencer, who had come to know Jesus through Good News Clubs of Mississippi decades ago.

I was sorry to miss the witness of saint John Perkins this week at Duke, but I am so pleased that others heard some of how he follows Jesus Christ.

He said in an interview: *On the Church as community: “We are called to die to ourselves and have new life, and we live out that life in the Beloved Community. The church was supposed to be a neighborhood and we’ve made it into an institution.”

Here I am on a Sunday morning writing in the quiet of my office when guilt and obligation say I should be with some church, some people, worshiping the Lord. And I would like to be, but I am too tired and too determined to be where God is calling me. And my Lord has me right here, right now, trying to envision a beloved community that is less institutional, and more about neighborhood.

Some of us, thanks to Durham Cares, are taking this neighborhood on the road by bikes in six days beginning in Oceanside, California and ending in Annapolis, Maryland--this neighborhood we call Durham, North Carolina. I feel like in so doing, I am a minister to the city, and yet I struggle with that because it is so conceptual and abstract. I am formed as most Christians are formed that the first place church is--is inside a building at 11:00am on Sunday morning. And I am not there. What would John Perkins say?

I'm open to hearing that I am just plain lazy, or miss-prioritized, or vain because I don't particularly want to go somewhere where I am not leading worship.

But I am hopeful that these conclusions are incorrect, and God help me if I am wrong. I think God is telling me to lead on the American Tobacco Trail in every weird creative way imaginable. I think I was leading God's church at the front of 700 person bike race yesterday morning. I think I was leading in the form of coaching 12 runners in the NO BULL training clinic these last nine weeks. All of these are weird ways to lead. I didn't have a robe or a stole on. There was no altar present. And I take those symbols very seriously for my mentor in five of the last six years has been Timothy Kimbrough, an anglo-Catholic who taught me so much about the traditional gestures of Christian worship.

But perhaps Jesus asks us to part with those symbols from time to time, because a stole would get caught in the chain of a bike or a heavy wooden altar just isn't all that mobile.

The Israelites really struggled to move the Tabernacle all through the desert. Maybe they were in a season of minimalism and they should have left the altar because their mission was mobility, to travel, to move. I'm not looking to move very far, just around Durham, but I can't take brick and mortar of a church building, or the elements of communion, or an altar to every corner of Durham on a bike without at the least a car or even the help of the Army Corps of Engineers and somehow that defeats the purpose of the manner in which I should travel--quieter and more sustainably.

Paul says to the Ephesians, "as shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace." The word whatever indicates to me that it will be different shoes or modes of transportation in different seasons to different audiences, worn by different evangelists. I'm grappling with what I know in my heart is true, there is not one right way to worship the Lord, at least not now, before he reveals himself again.

The church has its institutional place and identity, but it cannot be just that. It must be neighborhoods again. It must be mobile. It must not fear change and humiliation, and that at times for this community it will be difficult to articulate what and where this community is. Jesus was nothing if not misunderstood. If our present day Beloved Communities are at first, unintelligible to the world, that might just be a sign that we are on to something.

Pray for this endeavor and learn more at: http://tobaccotrailchurch.web.officelive.com/aboutus.aspx

*Image and quote taken from Chris Rice's blog: http://reconcilers.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First time on P4 by monklinney at Garmin Connect - Details

First time on P4 by monklinney at Garmin Connect - Details

This was my first time practicing with the Time Trial bike that I will use on flat stretches during RAAM. It was very windy and I was comfortable in the aero position as much as I would have liked, but it was good to get some time on the bike.

Split 3

3 00:02:05 (Time) 0.81 (Distance) 23.4 (Average Speed)