Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
DNF-W: A Cycling Story with a Spiritual Application
11/20/2010 - James WhiteIt looks like the complete route. To the right is the GPS map of my ride today. Those who have ridden El Tour de Tucson will recognize it as the full 109 mile race, the "big one." Since I got back on the bike in 2005 I have not done the full race, only the 80 mile portion. But this year was different. I have gone full-bore back into cycling as my primary means of getting "fit by fifty," and while I never dreamed I would ride long distances again when I climbed back on the bike in 2005 at 244 pounds, as of today I am down to 176, and that is definitely "long distance cycling" weight. So I signed up for the whole enchilada for the first time since the late 90s.
Now, let's go with the positives first. I rode the fastest 105 miles I have ever ridden in a race. Ever. My entire life. Now realize, back in the 90s I was a "hammer head." I once did a 24 mile ride at 25.64 mph average speed. I would regularly do metric centuries (62.1 miles/100km) at 22mph average speeds. And I weighed just a little less than I do now (about 172). So to clock the best time over 105 miles ever is really encouraging. El Tour has a decent amount of climbing (3255 ft. according to my cycling computer today) too, which makes keeping a good average speed difficult. And, of course, El Tour de Tucson has two dry river bed crossings, too, each of which takes a full 0.3 off your average speed. As a result, the nearly 19 mph average speed I managed (taking the river crossings out) is great news for someone soon to turn 48 years of age.
Next, I climbed like a madman today. I was almost never passed on the climbs, and passed entire groups on ascents. It was amazing, and I think my time in Flagstaff Monday and Tuesday had a lot to do with that.
Further, there was a major problem with today's ride: WIND. 20 mph right in our faces at the worst part of the race, the last 25 miles. It was really blowing. Flags were standing straight out, dust blowing, tumble weeds….tumbling, the whole nine yards. I got hit with a dust devil that made me feel like someone had hit me with a sand blaster. So, to post that great speed with that wind blowing in my face at the end of the race, was amazing. I was passing entire groups toward the end who were struggling badly with the wind.
My goal had been to finally finish El Tour de Tucson in less than six hours, and get a coveted gold medal. There are professionals who ride "platinum," who do it even faster than that, but I am a mere human being. I ride to live, not live to ride. But I have always wanted a gold medal. I got one in El Tour de Phoenix in 1995, when it was still over 100 miles (it is now 72 miles, and as was announced by the mayor of Mesa, Arizona today at the start of the race, it will now be called El Tour de Mesa, as of next April---same race, different name). But I have never gotten one in El Tour de Tucson, which is one of the largest races in the United States (well over 9,000 riders out there today). The one year I had the best shot at it (1996) I crashed along with about twenty other folks eight miles into the race (that's a very dangerous time in El Tour). And by my calculations, I would have crossed the finish line in just a shade under six hours today. If only…. ...
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Two Video Clips from Lima
11/04/2010 - James WhiteI didn't know Brad White had posted these. Short, but they give you a flavor of the presentations:
Ministry in Lima, Peru
11/04/2010 - James WhiteHalf way through my time here in Lima. So far we have covered sola scriptura, the biblical form of the church (plurality of elders), the transmission of the text of the New Testament, and in the Q&A times---just about everything. Yes, speaking with translation is always a challenge, but so far so good. Surviving culture shock as best as a stodgy Scotsman can. Appreciate Brad White and the brothers who are helping me along. Here are a couple of pictures from the presentations.