by John Hebert

We had a great breakfast this morning, sausage, eggs, pancakes, etc. Today we rode only 36 miles to the next town of Helena, Montana. It’s the shortest ride of the whole trip, it should be a piece of cake! Out on the road at 8:00 AM, 30 mph wind in our faces so strong we had to pedal to go down hill. As a car passed me I heard a crash and pieces of plastic flew around my wheels. A deer was hit by a car right behind me, it was a close call for me. We pedaled on all morning trying to go at least 10 mph. It was too windy to talk, not much fun today. It is an adventure, we never know what a day brings forth.
by Greg Zeroun

7-23 Bike Day 34, Harlowton MT to Townsend MT (94 miles 3,600ft elevation gain)

This past Sunday I stumbled on a scripture that has really stuck with me; it's from The Message translation of the bible. It was awesome to me not only because it had deep meaning but because it had to do with building a home, and that is our mission after all:

Ephesians 2:19-22  "You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He's using us all--irrespective of how we got here--in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day--a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home."
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.