This past weekend marked the sixth year in a row my wife and I have participated in the BikeMS Chairity bike ride. The benefit ride takes place over two days where participants cover 100-150 miles and help raise money to fund MS research.

This year, we elected to do the 150 mile option which consisted of a 107 mile ride on Saturday and a 43 mile ride on Sunday. This is the third time we have completed this particular course, so we somewhat knew what to expect going in to the event. Our training had not been as consistent as we would have liked, but we did feel that our riding base was sufficient enough to tackle the challenge.

Many people ask me what the most important aspects of training are before an event like this. I generally tell them, apart from spending time on your bicycle, the second most important aspect is nutrition/hydration. Without proper fueling at the beginning of the ride, you will most likely hit a wall and be unable to take in the calories you need to catch up later in the ride. Following up on last week’s post about consistency, the principles of eating and drinking regularly apply here as well.

Things were going pretty well for the majority of the ride on day one. Despite the inevitable muscle fatigue, I felt pretty well and was eating/drinking to stay fueled. We had made the turn onto the coast to finish the last several miles and I worked my way towards the front to take a pull and help the pack down the home stretch.

Into a head wind…

My legs started to die. I had no more strength after about 15 minutes on the front of the group and I dropped back in the pack to try and get a draft and recover. This is when I saw another one of our teammates struggling worse than I was. Tears were running out from underneath her sunglasses, a sign that she was in agony, just trying to finish.

My wife looked at me and we both took charge to help our teammate. Julie got in front of her to shelter the wind from the front, and I rode beside her to shelter her from the side wind. We made it our mission to help her finish.

A funny thing happens when you switch your focus from the pain you are feeling to help others that are in pain. While the aches are still there, you tend to not feel them as much. For the last five miles of the ride, I didn’t think about my own struggles but instead I worked hard to support my hurting teammate and help her reach the finish line.

Afterwards my wife and I talked about how much pain we were in before taking on the task of helping out our friend. We both agreed that perhaps the third most important aspect to finishing a ride like that is friendship. Without the support of those around you, the pain may just get the better of you.

What in your life hurts right now? Are you fueling up with God’s Word when the miles seem easy? Are you training your body and mind to be more Christlike? Are you connected to a body of believers that will get you to the finish line? Are you so focused on your own pain that you fail to see the pain in the people around you?

Where is your focus?

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1 Timothy 4:7-13
…train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

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