It is nothing short of a miracle that this crew has made it this far. Above is a photo of the team in Yorktown, VA, standing in front of the ever-elusive, finally-here, Atlantic coast. The team has been bathed in prayer and has endured blood, sweat, and tears this whole journey! This final week was a beautiful summation of this cross-country bicycling trip, and I can’t wait to tell you more about! Read on to learn about our final week.
There And Back Again
Years ago, or so it seems to us, we began this journey. This Monday started our last of eleven weeks, with people who started out as barely more than strangers. Encouraged from the notes received the day before, your cyclists braved rain and humidity early in the morning. With rain jackets zipped up, the team set out from Fort Chiswell, cruising along the misty mountains, headed for Catawba, 70 miles away. The ever servant-hearted Krantz duo shuttled the team to Eastgate Nazarene in Roanoke. Our stay coincided with a local ping-pong league, and we were privileged to observe the seasoned players have at it. Perhaps next time we will do Ping-Pong to Plant. However, that doesn’t sound as compelling as a cross-country bicycle journey, in my opinion.
The ride from Catawba to Lexington was riddled with tons of historically intriguing structures. About halfway into our Tuesday morning ride, we stumbled upon a wide spot in the tree grove we were biking through. Off to one side was a rundown pub from years gone by. On the other side was a Bed and Breakfast called the Red Mill Inn, founded in 1740. Check out the picture below of the history that is visible simply in the brick and stone work. After finishing up the 63 miles to our end point, we shuttled to the Rockbridge Community Church for supper. There we had a great time fellowshipping together and with the people gathered that evening. The team stayed at a camper RV park and enjoyed som ice cream from the local “Holy Cow! Ice Cream” shop.
On Wednesday, Gene Schandorff was able to check off a long-standing item on his bucket list. 18 miles after the start of our journey, he joined up with the rest of the team to ride along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. This beautiful pavement is off-limits to commercial thru-traffic. The views are gorgeous and also signify a milestone for the cyclists: the final mountain range! Below is a picture of Shannon and Shawn looking over the last mountain-top experience we will have on bikes before the Atlantic. The ride from Lexington to Crozet, 62 miles, was a beautiful mid-week ride. To finish it off, the team shuttled to Waynesboro Community Church to have an intimate service with the pastor’s family and a few interested congregants. The church has a great heart for children’s ministry and is going to be a huge blessing to the surrounding community.
With over 20 cyclists biking a total of 30,000+ miles this summer, Thursday was our first crash. While Shawn White took a little tumble over his handle bars earlier this month, he escaped with little more than a scraped pinky finger. On the way to Charlottesville, Nate Roskam came speeding down a hill, with Michael Wheatley close on his tail. As Nate looked up to scan for signs, he clenched his brakes, realizing he was going too fast to make the turn. A pothole in the road sent him flying, with Michael screeching around the falling donor development officer. Considering their speeds and the potential for severity, they both escaped relatively unharmed. We have been blessed with the protective hand of God this whole trip, this being one small example. We finished out the 71-mile ride from Crozet to Mineral, ending with a shuttle to Huntington Community Fellowship. This small but mighty congregation was certainly tuned to the generous movement of the Spirit. We were blessed with their potluck and their financial investment into the mission of Pedal to Plant. Brian Tibbs, CEO of Extreme Nazarene, flew in from Germany to join up with the team to finish out the remainder of the journey.
Desiring to experience the entirety of Pedal to Plant, Brian jumped on a bike on Friday to ride the 83 miles from Mineral to Glendale. Although Brian claims to not be a cyclist, he certainly fooled us! Although his Crossfit at 10,000 ft elevation in Quito, Ecuador might have something to do with his preparation. The ride was beautiful, boasting covered groves of luscious trees and charming homes from the colonial days. The team rode to the Varina Church of the Nazarene, under a drizzling and overcast sky. The team was warmly welcomed by Pastor Joyce and the church family there; another potluck of Nazarene proportions. To top it off, Mike and Sherrill Roskam celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary!
Saturday was the beginning of the end. The final day to ride. The team woke up to see the window panes dripping with rain, coming down in sheets. However, by the time the riders were clipped in and ready to go, the rain subsided. The ride from Glendale to Yorktown was trickier than expeceted. Our cyclists, the young bucks in particular, who have been biking for 4,200 miles got lost several times in Williamsburg. However, the group found their way to the Colonial Parkway, and rode in on the river rock conglomerate parkway. LaRita and Gene had the privilege of leading the crew to the monument, growing in anticipation with each pedal stroke. With shouts of joy, the support crew cheered your cyclists down to the waterfront. With looks of disbelief the riders slowly walked their bikes along the warm sand and dipped their front tires into the Atlantic ocean. With celebrations that continued into the night, the joyous conversation of the crew could be heard up and down the Yorktown boardwalk. Together, we also celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary of Ed and Rosie Krantz.
Celebrations continued into Sunday at Virginia Beach CotN, where CEO Brian Tibbs powerfully brought the Word from the mission field. He encouraged us to be completely open to the movement of God’s call on our life, over and above the calls clammoring for our attention in the crowd of our culture. Sunday night the team gathered for the final service with the full band and Gene Schandorff taking one last swing at his powerhouse sermon. It shall here be recorded that on the eleventh week, Gene remembered to switch on his microphone before speaking. The Zone Rally service brought together members from four churches and began friendships that we anticipate to last longer than a lifetime.
One of our favorite anecdotes from the trip comes from a climb we did coming out of the Painted Hills in Wyoming. A TransAmerica cyclist crested a hill as we waited to regroup with our team. Putting words to the sentiment shared by us all, he bluntly pointed out that “hills are dumb.” Furthermore, he continued to encourage us, saying ” a great theologian, Bilbo Baggins, once said “sometimes there will be hills you cannot go around or through, but you simply must climb right over.” For this trip, nothing could ring more true. We have embarked on a special calling that we feel God placed on our lives. We have been uniquely positioned to accept that calling and believe that this is not simply about us, or even about Extreme. It is about the grand narrative that God is ecumenically weaving throughout all the world. We simply have been given the opportunity to take it a few bicycle pedals further this summer. Thank you for being part of this trip by reading, praying, supporting, and journeying alongside us. We could not have done it without you and the countless others who are praying for us daily.
Now as we have gone there, we are headed back again. Back again to normal lives, but with extrordinary experiences. Please keep us in your prayers as the team disbands, leaving the family that has formed over the past three months. However, the ongoing journey does not stop here! Extreme Nazarene is doing amazing work all across the world, and Pedal to Plant is simply one of the things we are exploring. Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected about what is happening around the world, and how you can partner with us! Thank you again, and God bless. If you are interested in donating money to help get us to our fundraising goal, click the link below!
Churches who’ve hosted us; Churches visited this week are below in bold
- East Gate Nazarene, Roanoke, VA
- Rockbridge Community Church, Lexington, VA
- Waynesboro Community Church, Crozet, VA
- Huntington Community Fellowship, Mineral, VA
- Varina Church of the Nazarene, VA
- Virginia BEach Church of the Nazarene, VA
- Liberty Bible of Vancouver, WA
- Hilltop Church of Astoria, OR
- Tillamook Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Lincoln City Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Church on the Hill of McMinnville, OR
- Eugene Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Sisters Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Mission Church of Bend, OR
- John Day Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Baker City Church of the Nazarene, OR
- McCall Church of the Nazarene, ID
- Grangeville Church of the Nazarene, ID
- Missoula First Church of the Nazarene, MT
- Bitterroot Valley Church of the Nazarene, MT
- St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Dubois, WY
- Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene, Kinnear, WY
- Riverton Church of the Nazarene, WY
- Jeffrey City Community Church, WY
- St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rawlins, WY
- St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Granby, CO
- High Country Church of the Nazarene, Buena Vista, CO
- Lincoln Park Church of the Nazarene, CO
- Garden City Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Larned New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Indian Hills Church of the Nazarene, Wichita, KS
- Hutchinson First Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Newton First Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Jefferson Street Baptist Church, Eureka, KS
- Severy Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Church of the Nazarene, Chanute, KS
- Living Faith Church of the Nazarene, Girard, KS
- Carthage Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Marshfield Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Mountain Grove Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Redford Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Farmington Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Murphysboro Church of the Nazarene, IL
- United Methodist Church, Glendale, IL
- Paducah Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Owensboro Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Elizabethtown Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Farmdale Church of the Nazarene, Louisville, KY
- Eastland Park Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Waco Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Hindman United Methodist Church, VA
- Abingdon Church of the Nazarene, VA
- New Life Church of the Nazarene, Pulaski, VA