He Rebuked The Wind And All Was Calm
I’ve been cycling for over a year. When I first began, I started on the weekends from Seal Beach to Newport. I borrowed a friend’s bike. I averaged thirty miles a week, which was a pretty good start.
I started riding every day. I moved to Diamond Bar and cycled to work. Every morning I woke up forty minutes to an hour early.
The night before I’d check my bike. I’d check the tire pressure and look for punctures. I’d pack a lunch, a change of clothes, and tools for fixing a flat. The ride to work is short, but hilly. The elevation gain is about 250 feet, which is modest for a four-mile trip. To manage elevation gain, you keep your upper body upright. This opens up your lungs and helps with breathing. You relax your hands on the handlebars to avoid over gripping. You focus on your breathing and pedaling. You watch your heart rate. Sometimes you can feel your heart pound like a drum. So you switch to lower gears to spin the crank and it makes the ride easier.
Last April I started doing hundred-mile events. The first was the Tour de Cure for diabetes. I had to learn when and how much food to consume. I remember the wind after sixty miles was hard enough to blow you down. You can prepare for hills, but the wind can come at any time. My riding buddy and I switched being in the lead to take on the headwind. I’d cycle behind him for 3 to 5 minutes and then we’d switch. I’d bear down and take the lead. This way we finished. I think I would have been able to cycle it all alone. But it made it easier to have good company who took the headwind for you.
One time I was training from Carson to Palos Verdes. It’s about thirty-five miles with 3500 feet of elevation. It was morning, and I was planning to be home by noon. I left the house at 8 in the morning. At Wilmington, 3 miles from home, I felt the handlebars jerk and I slowed. I stopped. I saw a nail in my back tire. I was on the side of Main Street and cars were flying by. I pulled to the sidewalk and took out my tools. An old lady walked by and said, “Good thing you know how to fix it.” But when I attached the CO2 canister to inflate the inner tube, I created another hole. I was out of tire patches and CO2 canisters. I was stuck on the side of the road.
I called my brother to come get me.
Cycling gives me a way out — from work, from people, from worries. I get to see things in a way I wouldn’t if I were just driving. I notice things on the side of the road. I experience the road in a different way. For instance, in the San Gabriel Mountains, the mountains are layered in back of each other. I can see where the clouds and the mountain meet.
I plan to cycle till I can’t pedal anymore.
One time I was in Glendora Mountain Road, locally known as GMR. This is a ten-mile route with 2200 feet of elevation. I was going downhill at about 25 to 30 miles per hour. At that speed, you use your body as a counter weight. If there’s a cross wind, you lean towards it. The wind supports you. I approached a turn that led to the right. The crosswind hit me and I leaned forward to make my body small and to lower my center of gravity. You can’t hit the brakes in the middle of a turn. Otherwise you’ll skid or crash. I was able to stay up.
If you’re overconfident taking a turn, you crash. This guy I knew had a crash in Malibu, going downhill. He hit a rock. He broke his collar bone. Another guy didn’t want to give up any mileage for the week. He didn’t want to rest. He took aspirin for muscle pain and went cycling. He was probably tired. He was looking down while he was riding. When he raised his head, it was already too late and he went over a cliff. He was lucky. He broke his arm and totaled his bike. He couldn’t ride for the next three months.
Another friend was riding a fixed gear bike, which doesn’t allow free wheel pedaling. He was going downhill fast and he tried to stop quickly by stepping back on the pedal. He snapped his shin bone.
I plan to ride from San Francisco to LA, which is 545 miles in 7 days. I can get sick, my bike can fail, I could have an accident, there can be bad weather. I’ll be living in tents. I have to prepare physically and mentally. There’s the question of money, too. But I’m stepping out on faith. There’s people in front who can take the headwind if I need; there’s family I can call.
And God has always been watching. He’s been with me this whole time, keeping me from harm.
Luke 8:24 — The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we’re going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.