The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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In Montreal

What a great city.  I’ve never been to Montreal before, but its Old City is similar to Europe in feel.

Everyone went different directions today – some took a bike tour of the city, while others explored on their own.

A few of us utilized the services of a guide for our own walking tour.  The Notre Dame Basilica was striking in its grandeur.   It appeared that a group organists were receiving instruction at the organ.  One played a piece and was very good.  Our guide said she came to the Basilica daily and had never heard the organ before.  I wished Joan Hill was there to play the Widor Tocatta.   We concluded the tour at the farmer’s market, where a couple of us ate lunch and then rode the Metro back to the hotel.

The celebration dinner is tonight and we ride AMTRAK back to Albany tomorrow before loading up the bikes and heading home.  I have more photos to  retrieve from Joe, which I will post soon.

It has been a great trip.  Once again we’ve met wonderful people, seen beautiful parts of our country and experienced things we would not have had we not come.  The ability to walk away from Monday’s accident reminds me how much we depend on God’s providence and how good life is.

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More Photos

My rear wheel

My rear wheel

Dan Greeson prepares for a day's adventure
Dan Greeson prepares for a day’s adventure

 

 

Chris as the first to take a spill Monday.  Here he is back in Columbus in his easy chair.

Chris as the first to take a spill Monday. Here he is back in Columbus in his easy chair.

Ed Hine triumphant after a climb

Ed Hine triumphant after a climb

 

Sunrise at the Trapp Family Lodge.  Wednesday night''s stay

Sunrise at the Trapp Family Lodge. Wednesday night”s stay

 

Tamara sends Jeff and Ed Watters off to the Canadian border from North Hero, VT.  No rain delay on Thursday, just ride.

Tamara sends Jeff and Ed Watters off to the Canadian border from North Hero, VT. No rain delay on Thursday, just ride.

 

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To Montreal

We Left North Hero Thursday morning.  The original plan was to shuttle everyone to the border, then ride the 40 miles to Montreal.  It was raining and the weather unstable, so about half the total group left on bikes from North Hero, in case the weather forced an early end to the day.  I rode in the van with Ed Hine, the Smather’s, and the Burch’s.

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It was still raining at the Canadian border, but Ed and I decided to take the chance.  The roads were the most flat and least traveled ones we had seen.  We hated the thought of not riding in Canada.  It turned out to be a good decision and we  had a great time rolling through cornfields and other rural areas.

Mid morning we came up on a small crash.  John from Ohio, Bill from Texas, and Ken from New Jersey got tangled up on the edge of the road and all three went down,  Ken got the worst of it,  He rode until the morning SAG stop and then got in the van.  The others who were invovled, finished the ride.

All in all today was my favorite day.

We rode the final 40 miles to the outskirts of Montreal and ate lunch.  In order to void the urban traffic Lizardhead then shuttled us to our Hotel, The Nelligan, in Montreal’s old city.  Friday  is a site seeing day.

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Smuggler’s Notch

Above:   Atop Smuggler’s Notch – Joe Takes “Shoeless” Ed Hine’s picture.  Cheryl puts her shoes back on after walking her bike up.  Ed Watters in the shade while guide, John Humphries, watches.

I was back on the bike Wednesday after taking Tuesday off.  Joe Burch made the commitment to watch me on my first day of riding after Monday’s spill.  Thanks, Joe.

Wednesday was the last hard day of the tour.  We rode up Smuggler’s Notch, starting just a few miles from the Trapp Family Lodge where we spent Tuesday night.  No photo can do justice to this climb.  Ed Watters logged 31% grade on the inside of one curve.  There was plenty of road around20%.   I’m not sure how to convey the difficulty of this kind of climb to anyone who doesn’t ride a bike.  Perhaps you should note that most highways warn trucks of a 7% grade or more.  Think 3-4 times steeper than that.

I think Jeff Smathers was the only person from Rome who rode all the way up.  Ed Watters was close, but had to walk his bike a short way.  Many of us walked 1/4 mile or more, some of us in our bare feet.  My camera did not survive Monday, so I’ll have to get photos from others and post them later.

Following the climb we had a long descent to lunch.  I was the most careful person on the way down.

 

Monday was very cool.  Having on multiple layers saved me from additional road rash.  Wednesday, however was brutally hot, particularly for Vermont.  We showed 95 degrees after lunch.  The news reported 90% humidity.  After the only climb of the afternoon, I decided to pack it in.  40 +/- miles following Monday’s events seemed like a good accomplishment to me – and the heat was more than I could handle.

We stayed on the shores of Lake Champlain in North Hero, VT.  Thursday we cross into Canada.  The weather is a little uncertain.  We had a thunderstorm Wednesday night and rain is predicted tonight and in the morning.   We’ll see what the day brings.

Thanks to everyone who has been interested and supportive of the trip.

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Photos from the Tour – updated

Joel, Ed Hine, and Ken Smith (Atlanta) prior to first day

Joel, Ed Hine, and Ken Smith (Atlanta) prior to first day

Jeff and Tamara Smathers, Ed Waters, Joel, Cheryl Burch somewhere in New York

Jeff and Tamara Smathers, Ed Waters, Joel, Cheryl Burch somewhere in New YorkPicture 017

 

Four friends from Atlanta (l-r) David, Ken, Tom, Norris.

Four friends from Atlanta (l-r) David, Ken, Tom, Norris.

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Tamara

Tamara

 

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Accidents Happen, but….

Several years ago I read a book entitled:  Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales.   My take away from the book was that accidents often happen on the edge of life, where we push just a bit too far.

You are cleaning the gutters on the house while standing on a ladder.  If you could reach another foot, you can finish the job without climbing down, resetting the ladder, and climbing back up.  That extra foot of reach is where an accident is more likely to happen.

You go up into the attic to retrieve Christmas decorations.  Carry a few extra items will get all you need in one load.  Now you are focused on carrying instead of climbing.  It’s much easier to lose control, drop something or fall.

In yesterday’s accidents, 5 mph too much speed may have been the difference between stopping and crashing.

Accidents happen, but we increase the likelihood by stretching safety just an inch too far or 1 mph too fast.  People “survive” accidents by avoiding simple, risky behavior.

Having had  the night to think about yesterday’s accident I realize I violated a personal commitment not to be the guy who reaches to far, carries too much, or goes too fast.  What a reminder.

It’s threatening a storm this morning.  We won’t leave until noon in order to let it pass.  I’m off to buy another helmet.  It will be a good one.

 

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The Thrill of Victory and …

Congratulations to Ed Watters who successfully completed the 4 gap ride today.  Ed rode 109 miles and climbed about 9500 feet.  The guides say it is equivalent to a Tour de France stage on difficulty.  Very few riders ride four gap.  Very few.  Congratulations one more time to Ed.  Dan and Jeff both completed the three gap ride which is also quite an accomplishment.

Those of us riding the two gap ride and difficulty near the end of the day.  Three of us went down on the descent of the last gap in an area where there was 15% downgrade.  The scene was reminiscent of the “agony of defeat” from the old opening from the Wide World of Sports.  It was a chain reaction and I was the last of the three and had the least injuries.  No other riders from Rome were involved.

Chris, a friend we made in Colorado two years ago, was the first to go down and had the most serious injuries, including three broken bones.  Late word is he will be fine, but he was transported to a Burlington Hospital.  David, from Atlanta went down second and injured his shoulder . He also had serious road rash.  The trip is over for Chris and David.

I went down right behind David and was the only one of the three to walk away.  The picture above is my personal radiologist, Joe Burch, giving me the “OK” on my condition at the accident site.

I ride in the van tomorrow and we’ll make an assessment on my seat and figure out if I can get a new wheel and helmet.  Then I’ll determine if I ride Wednesday.

Looking back, today was about good people.  John Brodie from Ohio was  attentive at the accident.    Joe, Cheryl, and Tamara were  kind beyond words.  The guides, Matt and Jessica, were also helpful and concerned. Ed Hine won’t let me lift a finger after arriving back at the hotel.

And it was a day to appreciate the good people of Middlebury, NH.  From the wait staff at the Middlebury Inn to John and Dorothy in ER, I thank you all.

 

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Day One

Today was the first day of our epic cycling adventure.  I’m glad it is over.  For only 60 miles it was a challenging day.

Check out the route here.

Jeff and Ed Watters joined a group that started at our hotel in Saratoga Springs.  They rode about 90 miles.  The rest of us shuttled to Lake George where we began for the day.

It was Speed Week, or the local equivalent in Lake George. There were hot rods and 60’s era muscle cars everywhere  (see the top picture where we are unloading bikes with a great Nova SS parked beside us).   This is not good for cyclists.  The first hour was spent hugging the shoulder and avoiding Corvettes and the RV’s that towed them.  It did not seem to bother the better riders, but some of us found it – shall we say, uncomfortable.  An initial wrong turn by the group put us along the parade route where people were lined up to watch the cars cruise by.  There were many interesting comments about our attire and lack of speed from the crowd.

After looping back and running the parade gauntlet again in the  opposite direction, we eventually ran out of traffic, climbed Tongue Mountain and had lunch by Lake George.  A few in the group took a  bump (rode in the van) to the ferry across Lake Champlain.

Vermont is truly gorgeous.  Arriving here means I have now been in every state east of the Mississippi.

We fought a strong head wind all day, which made today the toughest 60 mile ride I’ve been on.  With a late start, traffic in Lake George and the wind, most of us did not finish until 6:00 to 6:30.  That’s a full day.

After a good dinner at the Middlebury Inn, I’m looking forward to sleep and another challenge tomorrow.

It was a challenging day, but part of the reward is meeting the challenge.  So, while I’m glad the day is over, I am also glad to have completed its challenge.

I’m thankful for the health to be able to do it and friends to share it with.

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Ready to Roll

The bikes arrived first.  Ed Watters and I pulled in to Saratoga Springs on Saturday just after noon with bikes for all eight riders from Rome,  After unloading the SUV and storing the other six bikes we jumped on ours and took a quick ride around Saratoga Springs.  it was great to be out of the car after 14 hours of driving,   It rained later. but we had perfect weather for the ride.

Arrival

When we returned to the Gideon Putnum,  the Smather’s, the Burch’s,  Ed Hine and four of Ed’s friends from Atlanta had arrived from the airport.   Later we meet Chris and John, two riders from Columbus, Ohio who had been on the Red Rocks tour two years ago.

The rest of the day was spent touring the battlefield at Saratoga, and an introduction to UGA football for the rest of the hotel guests provided by Ed Watters and Joe Burch.   Can you imagine that many New Yorkers had never heard fans bark?

Dan Greeson arrived with his daughter and son in law from NYC.  We enjoyed meeting them.

Now it is about time for breakfast.  We roll out at 9:00.

Prayers for John Uldrick who fills the pulpit at FBC today.

 

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