by Joe Ergle

It’s easy to lose sight, especially on a bike. Easy to lose sight of your surroundings, of the beautiful scenery we’re passing by, our goals, and our purpose. It’s hard at times to focus on anything but the wheel in front of you.

Today was my first time ever riding as a ‘sweep’ on an FCBA ride, and I learned a lot as a product of having ample time to think and absorb. I was able to enjoy the presence of the riders around me, who have all become my friends over the past week. I was graced with the ability to embrace the scenery as the Rockies beckoned us into Harlowton. I was gifted with time to consider our goals -- why we’re here, what we are really trying to accomplish out in the West on our loyal two wheeled stallions. I thought a great deal about our purpose. Not just on paper, but how every mile translates to our humanitarian cause and our conviction to help. Every pedal stroke is a push for change, a strain of muscle and bone for the greater good. Torque on crank arms for our neighbors in need, kilowatts for strangers who on an essential and existential level are our friends and brothers. Blood, at times, spilled for those without homes at all. It’s so very easy to lose sight of this.
by Mark Major

Billings, Montana was our rest stop at the end of week six. Having joined the ride in Chicago this was my third. Prior to joining the ride I hadn’t trained adequately; my cumulative miles for the year were exceeded in week 4. Weeks four and five were extraordinarily long, the shortest being 80 miles, one of which included demoralizing headwinds in excess of 20 mph. This intensive riding made up for my lack of training. Having been a “whole way rider” in 2013 I knew what I lacked in ability and inspiration would be provided by the experience participating in this group. Upon my arrival I reunited with members I rode with last year so I felt right at home. Then there is the delight of meeting new family, which has grown, for the popularity of this Adventure is increasing. In that setting my potential, the potential of others, and the mission are compounded.

My name is John Zassick. I joined the ride in Rapid City, South Dakota and will ride to the Pacific coast. Here are a few observations after my first two days riding with the group.

To reduce weight, the bike seats we use are very small. So small, in fact, that the area of contact between the seat and the rider's, uh...., area of contact, is reduced to something about the size of pencil eraser. This means that the full weight of an attractive, well marbled rider such as myself, is concentrated on that teensy, tiny point. After many hours of riding and pressure, that area can really start to get angry. To combat this, a friction reducing product is used. It has the appearance and consistency of cream cheese. Coincidentally, you use an amount equal to that typically loaded onto a healthy sized bagel. This is troweled into your bike shorts, directly into the contact area. Any excess that squirts out is simply squeegeed away.
by Dani Schenk

Hey y’all, Dani here! For those of you that don’t know, I am a whole way rider this year. Iin fact, this is the second time I am biking all the way across the country with the Fuller Center. My first ride was way back in 2008, the inaugural trip!

Today as I pedaled my way across another state border with a group of nine other riders I had some time to think about the ways this trip is the same and also ways in which it has changed since that first ride. The most glaring difference is the sheer number of riders we have this year! On the first trip we only had eight people making the cross country journey and we never had more than two segment riders at a time. This year we have at least 30 people at a time! Besides the fact that the group has grown, it is also better organized (no offense, Ryan!). I still remember the days, on my first trip, when our fearless leader would be on the phone that day with churches in the town we were headed to, searching for a place for us to sleep! Not to mention the time we accidentally stayed in the wrong church, or the time we ended up in a cow pasture. Gone are the days of hand-drawn maps photocopied and passed out to riders; in are the days of iPhones and receiving the route via email the night before!
by John Fender

Sometimes when you sign up to ride for a few weeks across the country you know what you are getting yourself into. And, other times, you don’t. Today was one of those days filled with many surprises that I never counted on happening on this journey. We are in Wyoming, filled with big skies, miles of prairie, and just the right amount of hills to allow your legs to tingle. This ride marked the longest of the voyage: 108 miles. Miles like that separate the training wheels from the clip ins. Being on one road for 102 of that century plus 8 miles started out intimidating, however, it turned into a day filled with pace lines, rides in the back of a truck, and breath taking views of mountains.