What's the Story?

Why are we riding across the country on bicycles? While I’ve been pedaling this week, I’ve had lots of time to think about this. And I think there are different answers, different stories which are unfolding as we go. Some of the joys of this week have been the consummation of those different stories; some of the tensions have been the clash of competing stories.

Story 1. DurhamCares. We’re riding to raise awareness, in Durham and on a national stage, for the city where we live. Our T-shirst say it well, succinctly: Give. Volunteer. If our riding increases those things, we will have succeeded. We might not even have had to finish this race to tell that story well. We hear that we’re approaching $100K in fundraising for the charities that DurhamCares represents.

Story 2. Team. This was about bringing a diverse group of folks together, all from Durham, representing different sectors of Durham’s community. We have a college student. We have entrepreneurs. We have a pastor. We have a professor and a Headmaster. We have a twentysometing, thirtysomethings (Happy Birthday, George Linney, on June 18!), fourtysometings, and a fiftysomething. We have some very experienced cyclists and some novices. And then there’s the crew, a ragtag bunch of volunteers, many of whom had never met each other until this week. To bring all these together and have us develop into a team has been a real challenge, but I’ve been very pleased to see that happen.

Story 3. The Ride. The chance to see this great country and pedal all the way across is amazing. But I learned pretty early on that this is not a ride. It’s a race. So I’ve seen some amazing sights, from the Arizona desserts, to the Colorado peaks, to the Kansas cornfields, to the hamlets of Ohio, to the mountains of West Virginia. I’ve seen sunrises in Arizona, Utah, Kansas, and Indiana. I’ve sunsets in Arizona and Ohio. I’ve crossed the Mississippi and caught a glimpse of the Rio Grande. But for much of this amazing journey, I’ve been pedaling in the dark, focused on a pool of light in front of me hoping not to hit a pothole, under a dark sky. Or sleeping on an RV.

Story 4. The Race. This is what many who are riding with us are all about. And it’s been very tempting for us to make this our main story. We’ve actually done pretty well, especially for a bunch of duffers (with apologies to the few on our team who are really elite riders). Even as I write, on Friday night, we’re battling it out with another team. According to the website, we just passed them on the last stage, and part of the reason we’re taking six riders along for the last three stages is to hammer it and try to bring in the best time we can. We can be really proud of our time, I think. I hope we can celebrate our finish without fretting over whether we could have come in faster.

God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. I expect that what he’s up to may be weaving these different stories into one Great Tale.


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