I can’t even tell you how much stereotypical Texas stuff I saw today. I tried to take pictures of a lot of it:

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Today I rode for Cath Frank. She was a friend of my 8th grade Social Studies Teacher Mrs. Atwell who now lives in Texas!

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Here is an excerpt describing why I rode for her today:

“Catherine was born in Perth Australia. Cath illuminated life and love. She was a driven, hard worker and always grateful for life’s blessings and opportunities. She traveled several times to the states and ultimately moved here, to the west coast when a job opportunity became available. She fell in love with one of our Navy men and married. They were just starting their lives together. Having been married just about a yr, they were excited about the prospects of building a house on his family land and starting a family. They moved to Baytown Tx where his family was and Cath began working for the City of Baytown in Human Resources. She was so excited for the adventures that awaited her. She excelled at everything she worked at. She was determined. When Cath found out she had cancer it was like any normal day. It was the end of October and she was getting ready for bed when her hip broke just while standing. In the hospital she was ultimately diagnosed with Sarcoma. By time it was diagnosed it was in her liver, lungs, and bone. She successfully had surgery for her hip and started into therapy. It wasn’t long before the cancer had affected her spine and left her paralyzed from the waist down and in great pain. She went through chemo and radiation with grace and dignity. She was kind and patient despite her pain and dependency on everyone for assistance. She was apologetic when she rarely became frustrated. She continued to pray and have faith that God had a plan for her. When the medical team told her that the cancer was not responding to the treatments and that particular treatment was the best they had she simply said “your best isn’t good enough. Try something else.” I very clearly remember the day she looked me in the eye with fierce determination and said “something will work. I’m not done yet. I have lots to do in my life.” Cath’s parents, siblings, nieces and nephew were still in Australia. Her husband had to continue to work as he carried the health insurance that was paying for her medical treatments. She was alone in a hospital. Her parents were able to stay 30 days at a time on their visa. The visitors from work and her church groups where overwhelming. Some friends even flew out from Australia even though they could only stay for 48 hrs. It was remarkable the people who came. It was clear how Cath touched everyone she came in contact with. From simple city workers she had instructed in training classes, to hospital staff and town councilmen…they all loved and respected her. Cath’s battle with Sarcoma lasted less than 5 months. With her Mom, Dad, and husband at her bedside-she left us. They gave her permission to let go and her last words were whispered. “no fight” was heard one last time as the last breath crossed her lips. I remember how helpless I felt sitting by her bedside during those weeks. I was weak when she was strong. Her faith was steadfast and relentless while I filled with anger and resentment. Her grace and gratitude in the worst circumstance shone through while I tried hard for patience and understanding. I learned so much from her in those final weeks. Mostly of forgiveness, acceptance, and especially that life was worth living well and fighting for.”

Today we departed Navasota and made our way to LaGrange. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear one ZZ Top song today. Not a single one. Fail. We had a 65 mile ride ahead of us and we finished it a tad slower than yesterday. We still made excellent time and arrived at the host pretty early. It’s really hot out, but the humidity is low compared to Louisiana. It’s around 60%. This means that I drip sweat while standing still, but while riding, the wind evaporates it all. In a few days I’m told the humidity will dro pto 20% but it will be about 10 degrees hotter. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, we are still climbing slowly. There were some nice hills today and I could definitely feel my legs burning. Here’s the GPS route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/534042869.

I didn’t get a good picture of my ride group, but I rode with Brad, Heather, Allison, and Taylor. We didn’t have any mechanical problems today, but Heather rode the last few miles on a slowly-going-flat front tire. We also had to ride over about 4 miles of gravel:

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So that was fun. NOT. Whatever. We made it. The ride was pretty scenic and we saw a lot of cattle, big houses, and antiques. We also saw these gas prices:

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Unfortunately they ran out of gas like 15 years ago. Today I had a lot of fun. Brad and Heather are always entertaining and we were moving along at a nice pace. I felt terrible in the morning like I sometimes do, but so long as I eat and drink plenty at the first water stop I usually feel a lot better.

We arrived at First United Methodist Church in LaGrange, TX and ate the lunch that the food van got for us. Since the past two days we’ve been riding pretty fast, we’ve been waiting to have lunch until we get to the host. We went to shower at a local gym where I took a great nap along with some others:

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That’s Danny waiting for his turn in the shower. After we were done with that, I took another nap at our host while others went out grocery shopping. We don’t have dinner provided for us tonight, but we did get $120 in donations for food today, so we bought potatoes, stuffing, asparagus, broccoli, and rotisserie chickens! We did our own cooking in the church’s kitchen and dinner was incredible! I don’t think I’ve had veggies, meat, and a starch for a while! After dinner I noticed I was pretty tan so I took another coppertone picture:

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Looks like I’ll be returning home brown instead of tan. This church has a really nice grand piano, so I played a little while Simon accompanied me on the guitar. While we did this, the rest of the team went to Walmart to prep for the 4th of July tomorrow! I’m not sure what they bought, but I did get this picture of our finest Americans:

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That’s Kirk, Danny, Kenny, Kevin, and Aaron sporting the hottest new trend in 4th of July outfitting. If you have any questions about their availability for modeling, please don’t bother asking because they’re busy biking across the country.

I think that’s it for today. I want to go back to a few days ago because my mom just posted a bunch of pictures she and my dad took while they were visiting us! I never realized how much like my dad I am until I saw these pictures:

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I always knew I look a lot like my mom, but I guess I act like my dad. In other news, I wanted to share with you pictures of my three adorable cats that my mom sent me. This is Mugsy, Jasper (and my little sister Talya!), and Bobert:

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Bobert and Jasper are siblings about 4 years old, and Mugsy is less than a year old! I guess I’ll leave it at that for now. Remember to comment!

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