Same Distance. Much More Difficult!

EncompassRide2ohio-1All of the miles put in on our bikes in preparation for the BIG RIDE were done. It was time to either put up or shut up (sort of speak). Our brand new Encompass Nutrients jerseys were unveiled and handed out to the riders early Friday morning at 6:10 a.m. We had three new riders joining the Waggoners who rode last year; Rob Ganger, Joshua Weiland, and Mike Marshall. Unfortunately, before we ever left the parking lot, we were already minus one rider. I won’t mention names, but someone brought the wrong pair of bike cleats for their road bike, loaded their stuff back in their car, and drove back home.

So, the six of us that remained hit the road at exactly 6:37 a.m. from Shipshewana, IN. It was still mostly dark, but it was cool, and we were already noticing that southeasterly wind. We rode mostly in pairs for the first leg enjoying conversation and getting acquainted with one another. 34 miles later, we were at our first designated rest area in Angola, IN. We had breakfast together and said “goodbye” to Josh who only had time to do the first leg of the journey with us. We were down to five.

We didn’t have a driver to bring us all back from Ohio at the end of the journey this year, so Terry came up with an ingenious plan to “leapfrog” his truck all the way to our destination. For example, after we snapped a photo at the coffeehouse in photo 2Angola, Dan and Tanya loaded their bikes and drove to the next designated stop we were to take. Then, they got on their bikes and road towards the rest of the group that had continued on from the coffee shop. This usually got us pretty close to the same miles, and if we didn’t meet up at the exact halfway point, the riders would make up their miles then or at the next stop.
EncompassRide2ohio-3Short of one flat, and a slight detour that ended up taking us through a covered bridge and down a beautiful and winding scenic road, there weren’t too many hiccups in the first three legs of the trip. I’m not sure which was the bigger disappointment at the halfway mark; the fact that the wind was still blowing steady out of the south/southeast at 7mph or that EncompassRide2ohio 6 copyour designated rest area of Nafziger’s ice cream was closed. So sad.

The next two legs proved to be the toughest of the entire journey! They were long, flat, and wide open with EncompassRide2ohio 4not much protection from the sun and wind. We were all beginning to feel the fatigue, soreness, and achey-ness setting in. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in Whitehouse, OH the heat and fatigue had gotten the better of one of our team. Rob was a little woozy and there simply comes a time when you have to listen to your body and let wisdom win out in knowing when it’s time to stop.

We continued on after finally getting that ice cream we missed out on 27 miles earlier. Now, with Rob giving his body a break, he volunteered to drive the truck all of the way to Fremont. He even checked on us a couple of times along the way so we could replenish our water bottles and grab some energy in the form of bananas, nuts, and protein bars. After getting through the two toughest sections (mentally and physically), we were at Woodville, OH where we mustered up the energy we EncompassRide2ohio 7had left to complete what we set out to do. This was my favorite stretch of the ride. It had beautiful scenery as we pedaled along the Portage River, 10 miles on the North Coast Inland Trail (giving our minds a break from constantly thinking of traffic), and a route through Fremont that included historic and beautiful homes.

After Rob had made it to Fremont, he decided to get back on his bike and ride our direction and ended up meeting up with us in order to finish out the last 10 miles together. We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way (short of having Mike and Josh there wish us too). We rolled into Fremont Cycle & Fitness just shy of 8:30 after the sun had already set, but there was just enough light to catch one last photo of the trip. It took us about 2 hours longer to complete the same route as last year because of that pesky wind. When it was all said and done, we spent 10 hours and 44 minutes of riding time using nothing but our own muscles and bicycles to get from Shipshewana, IN to Fremont, OH.

EncompassRide2ohio-5I know for a fact that it was easier for some than others, but we finished as a team! We also had other outside forces propelling us towards our goal. If you read our blog from a few weeks ago, we told you we would be riding for a reason this year. We each rode our bikes to raise money for a cause that was dear to our hearts. Terry had told me that he was very close to stopping at Whitehouse, OH, but he kept thinking of the kids in Ethiopia he was raising money for, and it was the thought of them that propelled him on to finish strong.

If you’d like to donate to any of the causes we rode for, you still can! Just click on the corresponding links to make a donation!

Aaron rode for Brian & Bekah Farber, missionaries in Ayutthaya, Thailand. His goal is to raise $2,000 which will allow them to purchase a projector/screen to show movies that will open up doors to share Jesus Christ with the Thai people in their area. Aaron recently adopted his son from this same region and can attest to the need for the gospel message to be heard there! Please click on THIS LINK to learn more and donate!

Dan rode to raise money for Bibles to be sent to Africa. http://www.gbchapel.org/donate.html. Ten dollars will buy a Bible in the language of their choice. When you click on the link to give, please specify you’d like the money to go towards “bibles for africa”.

Rob rode to raise money for a special type of dog than can alert their owner when they are getting low on blood sugar. These dogs aren’t cheap to raise/train, but they save lives! Would you consider giving to help this young girl out? Just click on THIS LINK to learn more and donate!

Terry rode to raise money for the ZAT project in Ethiopia. This project has done so much for the lives of children in Ethiopia, but they are still on mission to do even more and need donors to do it! You can learn more about this project and give through this THIS LINK!

Tanya rode for Fellowship Missions homeless Shelter in Warsaw, IN serving those in need in her local community by providing foot and shelter. If you feel led to give to this non-profit, please click on THIS LINK to do so.

I’m so thankful to be a part of such an amazing company like Encompass Nutrients who sponsored this ride! Not only were our products instrumental in providing the nutrients our bodies needed for a ride of this caliber, but the support of this ride provided the opportunity for so much money to be raised for 5 different amazing causes! We’ll give you the total dollar amount raised in another week or so once the donation windows have ended. We’ll look forward to seeing you next year for our 3rd annual ride to Ohio!