Distance Traveled: 68.5 km
Average Speed: 20.6 km/h
Total Distance: 670.5 km
Total Calories Burned: 27,484
Total Ascent: 9961m
Total Saddle Time: 36hrs, 39 min
Team Total Raised to Date: $90,000
“I knew this would be a win, win, win, win, win, win, win, all across the board. Unless someone died.”
- Simon Guillebaud – Tour Organizer, Great Lakes Outreach
“You think you are just riding your bikes. But for us, you’re part of healing our country.”
- Freddy Tuyizere – National Director, Burundi Youth for Christ
We finished. We finished strong. I had a hard day yesterday, and a hard night. It was tough to crawl out of bed this morning.
The thing is, this ride wouldn’t be that difficult for any experienced rider. Challenging at speed, but not so much at our pace. The only problem is that I’ve been the owner of a road bike for about three weeks and have ridden it a total of 10 times. Training wasn’t an option for me, but having faith was.
My bike didn’t make it, but I did today. Praise God.
Paul Smith led devotion this morning, and God gave him exactly the right message for the team and I. Finish the race strong. Finish admirably. God does not care what came before now, what happened yesterday, that is what forgiveness does for us. Today is a new day, and we can finish with excellence.
Guess what? 10/10. A perfect score. We all pulled into Bujumbura at lunchtime today, safe, healthy, and happy to see our loved ones and friendly faces. Dean rode with one leg for a good chunk of the day. Unreal. Simon finished with strength, ready to resume his training for an IronMan this summer. Wow!
Ask either one of them how they finished the Tour, and they’ll tell you God gave them the strength. I can say the same. I was inadequate when measured. I finished the ride out with a bike too small for me, with knees that ached with every pedal turn, and hands that were numb as can be. This was a task that should have been beyond me.
Who do you look to? Where do you seek strength, who do you praise for success and blessings in your life?
In our team debrief, it was clear that everyone of us found a renewed reliance on God, and on each other as brothers. One of us wisely said, “I could probably do this on my own, but it will never be as good as if I did it with others.”
Irregardless of the ups and downs that we individually had, everyone on the Tour could say today that they were proud of what they had done, and that we had formed memories that will last for a lifetime. My prayer is that out of this, will burst life-changing revolution that will define each one of us for the rest of our lives. Let this be the time, the moment of our renewal in Christ, and the action of our faith.
We had some fun today as well. A 5 km race between our four frontrunners, complete with odds-on favorites and everything. We had Ladd (age 23), Andrew (29), James (32) and Matt (29). We picked our winners, and let them go at it. James came through with a dominant performance, although we did have cries of foul play! We won’t get into that here.
This time last year, I was hearing about the Tour du Burundi for the first time. I was also awaiting an MRI for my right knee, to be followed by a second surgery on my ACL. I didn’t think that this was possible, I couldn’t have dreamt it would be. I still am sitting here in a haze thinking about how I was able to accomplish everything over the past week.
It wasn’t me. It was God, through me, strengthening me when I was weak, providing solace and comfort through those around me. It was my lovely wife, who encoura-told me to do this! It was my parents, Mom & Dad Guenther, and Mom & Dad Ross back home, offering encouragement and support, and my bike! It was Dean & Melissa Edwards, who sacrificed so much to come to Burundi, bringing supplies with them, and Dean for taking up this challenge with me. It was the drawing from my cousins Talia and Hudson of me biking past straw huts!
I would like to also thank United Cycle, a local sports shop in Edmonton, Alberta. Click HERE for their website. I wrote them with a list of supplies I would need to be brought out here, asking for a simple discount when I would be sending someone to purchase them, and they just gave me everything on the list, asking for nothing in return.
I have been blown away by the generosity and support of so many of you. I could not have done this ride without any of you. Praise God!
Well, here the ride ends, but the journey through Burundi continues. We’ll be updating soon, showing you all of the hard work that has been done at the clinic, and telling you more about our upcoming plans.
The funds raised by the entire team will be used by Burundi Youth For Christ. The money that you’ve donated, through Dean and myself, will go towards equipping the Shammah Medical Clinic. The rest of the riders’ funds will go towards Gitega International Academy, BYFC’s secondary school.
I’m taking this last moment to issue a challenge. Who wants in for next year? I promise, on Day Seven, we’ll have another time trial just like today, and I plan on being the front-runner. If you want to be stretched beyond the physical, if you want to make an impact in one of the poorest countries on this planet, if you want to make a change in your life, then why not make it here?
God bless you all, and you have my complete gratitude and thankfulness for your reading, comments, and sharing. Please, keep it up! That’s it for the Tour du Burundi 2013, you’ll have to wait until May 2014 for the next one!
Talk to you soon,