Nyanza Lac to Rutana
Total elevation climb: 2070 m (UGH!)
Total Mileage: 96.4 km
Average Speed: 17.3 km/hr
Saddle Time: 5 hrs 34 mins
Top Speed: 80.4 km/hr (whoop!)
Calories Burned: 4189
Wow. That was HARD. Brutal. Today was the toughest thing I’ve done since tearing my ACL, maybe one of the toughest physical and mental challenges I’ve ever faced. I’m glad its over. I literally (pronounced lit-trally by our British friends) passed out after standing up when the ride was complete. Thankfully, I managed to fall into the chair that I had just parted from!
I couldn’t have done today without the support of 9 of the coolest men I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Ranging from the ages of 23 to 58 (!!!!!), with a variety of backgrounds and cycling skill levels, all of which are higher than my own. They really rallied around me today to help give me the strength to finish.
Again, every kilometer for the glory of God, and every meter uphill too!
I sucked today. It was just brutal. Dean, who had a bum knee, two of our esteemed members who are twice my age, and everybody else were leaving me in their dust. Or they could have. There were many occasions where team members would stay with me as I threw myself at these massive climbs.
Since I’ve only been on a real road bicycle about 8 times, I found out today I was doing a number of things wrong that were helping me to suck. Today I learned about high cadence! Everyone was more than generous with their expertise and knowledge, and like I said before, if I had been on my own today, I would have packed it in for sure.
Everyone was also pretty generous with their “tail winds,” myself included. Turns out that eating as much food as we do to compensate for all the calories burned makes for a pretty nasty bit of flatulence. Good times and smells had by all!
Simon did not ride today, and Dean had to bow out at the ⅔ mark today. His right knee was just causing too much pain. It was such a hard decision, but it was the right call, there were was just far too much climbing today for him to risk an injury that could keep him out of the rest of the Tour. Dean spent the majority of his time out of the saddle, which is significantly more difficult than riding on the seat. He proved himself today and was an inspiration to us all. Thankfully, him and Simon will be suiting up tomorrow for our ride to Gitega! Again, continue to pray for the health of all of our team members. We started with 10 leaving Bujumbura, and in a few days time, we’ll be cycling back with 10! To the glory of God!
We are here in Rutana, a town that was significantly affected by Rebel activity during the war. During this time, the Rebels were forcibly recruiting from the area, taking people by gunpoint to join the army. A local pastor here, Juvenile* began to preach against the rebels and this action, saying it wasn’t right. Even though he was from the same ethnic group, the rebels targeted him for death. Time and time again, the sent death squads to kill him. Each time, he miraculously avoided death. After the war, a rebel commander, now part of the government, visited him and said “God surely must be with you, because we tried so many times to kill you, and failed.” The commander then invited Juvenile to preach at a demilitarization camp, where he ended up sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with many of the soldiers who had personally attempted to take his life!
Tomorrow we have a shorter ride, as we head into Gitega, where Burundi Youth for Christ has the Gitega International Academy, which I’ve discussed before. The majority of the funds that the other riders have raised will be going to GIA, which has a vision of taking the smartest students in the country, and teaching them leadership, discipline, integrity and ethic. We have spent tons of time there, and I’m telling you, we have future government workers, doctors, movers and shakers studying at GIA right now. To fight the problems that currently plague the country, the best way is to raise up leaders who can discern right from wrong, who will tell the truth and actively work for the best of this country, not their own wallets.
That’s it for now. Time for me to pass out, this time into a comfy bed! God bless you all, and please share! There are so many people across the world that are finding out about Burundi due to this Tour. Be somebody who shares Burundi with your friends, family or coworkers today!
See you all tomorrow! I’ll be blogging from home (hooray)!
* Name changed for protection.