Today was the most arduous day of the ride. We knew this coming in: the organizers I worked with probably wrestled over the route for today more than any other on the whole journey. From Stirling to Millbrook, we had to traverse the Oak Ridges Moraine, among other topographical phenomena, and the hills were steep and numerous – really numerous. Our riders were ready, however, and they met the task well. I had more company in the “sag wagon” (the vehicle with the bike trailer at the back of the pack) than usual, but with the heat, humidity, and hills, some riders just needed a break. (One of our young riders managed to sleep at some length on the floor of my van, which is testimony to how tired he really was!)
A Roman Catholic youth group hosted us in the canal-side park in Campbellford. This was a helpful break for the riders, and a chance to learn that the design of the original Toonie (Canada’s two-dollar coin) was created by someone from Campbellford.
We visited Roseneath United Church for lunch, and were blessed with their hospitality – they even had balloons out for us! Shortly after lunch, we took some colourable Scripture selections and stories to the Child Care Centre at the Alderville First Nation. The children sang a song with us, and we had a good laugh together. These two stops were a welcome break from the hills!
Other than the loss of a cell phone at the Bewdley waterfront (on the west shore of Rice Lake) on our afternoon break, the day was uneventful. I was struck, however, at the use of the spiritual gift of encouragement among our riders. From the back of the pack, I saw stronger riders come back to help the slower ones by riding alongside them, pushing their backs so that they can get that extra little burst of energy. It was truly moving. (See the fuzzy cell phone photo above.)
We are being billeted tonight; several families from the churches of the town of Millbrook are hosting us. It began with a pot luck supper at Millbrook Christian Assembly, the local Pentecostal Church. (As a Calvinist, the only kind of ‘luck’ in which I believe is ‘pot luck’, and these folks made sure I remain a believer!) One particularly hospitable family opened up part of their fence so that our motor home could be parked on the back lawn! And thanks to another neighbour who chooses not to secure his or her router, I am able to blog tonight before bedding down.
The gifts of encouragement and hospitality have been evident in huge ways this week. God has been, and is, so good.
Tomorrow, we head for Bobcaygeon, via the Peterborough Lift Lock and Lakefield. We look forward to a somewhat ‘flatter’ day!