NOTE: This blog is going up a day late again, as we finished yesterday evening! Jesus come soon, and bring highspeed internet with you!
Distance Travelled: 148.8 km
Saddle Time: 6 hours, 39 minutes
Total Ascent: 2,184 m
Total Descent: 3,193 m
Calories Burned: 4,987
Average Speed: 22.3 km/h
This, the last ride on the tour, was my absolute favourite. It had everything; soaring downhills, the climbs that made you earn those descents, magnificent views, great talks, cold, hot, you name it!
I couldn’t have asked for a better end to what has been an amazing adventure, both on the Tour du Burundi, and over the last two years here in this amazing country.
We took off from Kayanza and headed towards the Rwandan border, and had an absolute blast getting there! It added 50 km to our ride, and more than 900m of climbing, but it was worth it.
Setting off from the Rwandan border, we were about to have the 3rd Annual Tour du Burundi 5km Race, when I decided last minute to join up and throw my helmet in the ring! It was going to be an uphill climb, but the distance had been changed to only 1k, so I thought I might have a chance!
Ready, Get Set, GO! All of the sudden I feel a lashing against my thigh and a loud crack, and I’m not moving anywhere! I look down to see a bike chain in two pieces behind me, and a nice souvenir cut on my leg where it came up and bit me! Talk about power, right? I literally tore apart one of the links. I’ve dubbed myself “Josh Chainbreaker – He Who Breaks Chains.”
What followed was some impromptu chain repair, which we successfully managed after a great deal of grease and some sore fingers. So, up and away we went, hoping that my chain would hold up! It took me back a bit to my first year on the tour, where a failure in my rear wheel meant I couldn’t ride my bike anymore. I’ve done a bit of growing up since then! I don’t think I can really relate to the person I was when Nadine and I first came out here.
I’d like to think that’s what experiences like this are all about. Changing and improving ourselves to be more like our Maker. I’d like to think I’m a little bit wiser, slightly more graceful, a bit stronger (emotionally, mentally, physically), all in addition to being a bit older!
The experiences Nadine and I have gone through over the last two years have changed us and refined us for the better. I know we are better equipped and prepared for the challenges we have ahead of us in Uganda than when we first came out to Burundi. As my past rides on the Tour helped prepared me for this one, I recognized that pushing through the hills, even though they never seem to end, rewards you with a smooth ride back down. When you have an end goal in sight, it means that going through the rocky challenges isn’t necessarily easier, but you know it’s worth it.
Romans 5:3-4 “… because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.”
As I sit here writing this, with achy knees, a sore tush, screaming thighs, and a ulcerated blister on my right heel, I know it’s worth it. Trust me, this adventure is not all fun and games! It’s worth it to share Burundi with a group of incredible men that will know go back to their homes and become true advocates for the work being done here. It’s worth it to be able to raise funds that will help Shammah reach it’s goals for 2015, and continue to make an impact in the beautiful community Nadine and I have called home for two years. It’s worth it to bring glory to God in everything that I do.
We’ve done our best to do that here during our time in Burundi. I know at times I’ve faltered, I know at times I’ve failed to demonstrate grace, failed to live up to the standard God calls me to. But I’m still standing, and I know God is glorified in that. We’ll take the challenges we’ve faced and the lessons we have learned with us into Uganda, recognizing that the “suffering = perseverance = hope” chain will continue there!
That’s a chain I don’t plan on breaking any time soon.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for praying. We are back in Bujumbura, safe and sound, and full of hope! Please continue to pray for us, and for the riders, as God has been moving in the hearts of men this week! Pray for true relationships with God, clear directions for the future, restoration of relationships, perseverance through grief, and spiritual and emotional healing for our team members.
God bless, talk soon.