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Cycling To Work (and back home) in DFW!

I have officed in Las Colinas for about two years. Before then the B. H. Carroll Theological Institute offices were in downtown Arlington. Living in Plano, I assumed I could never commute on my bike to work. The distance and with city streets 99% of the way, it would be too risky and the traffic would be horrendous at rush hours.

Thanks to my friend, Jeff Holder, who cycles to his office frequently, I experienced a relatively safe route to work on my bike; 100% pedaling with no public transit assistance.

My ride to the office (minus the ride from my house to where I met Jeff) began at 0500 at my house. I have a Urban500 bike headlight, and it worked well. Only drawback was it has a 1.5 hour rechargeable battery that lasted until daylight but would not be helpful beyond that time limit.

Traffic was light (surprise!) until we got close to the Valley View/635 interchange about 0645 or so. But even then Jeff had steered the path through parking lots and less-traveled roads to get me to m…
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Gene's Urban Adventure

I recently watched the documentary Cars vs Bikes on Netflix. I used to compute sometimes to the church on my bike, and now I take the DART Rail Orange Line occasionally to the B. H. Carroll's offices in Las Colinas. So when my riding buddies said they were riding Gravelthon! on the levees of the Trinity River and the subtitle of the event was "adventure in the heart of the city," I thought I'd join them and add to the adventure by seeing if I could go from my home in Plano to the event in West Dallas and back riding only a bike and public transportation. 


The adventure began when I rode my bike from my house to the first bus stop. My last post told about the gravel grinder that turned into a cycling tough mudder. The road crud clogged up my freehub, and the cassette would not engage with the axle. Basically, you spin your pedals forward like you would if you were peddling backwards. Since a little WD-40 had loosened the pins enough to ride after this happened last t…

Iceman's Challenge 2016

My last scheduled event of 2016 was the Iceman's Challenge outside China Springs, TX. You could not have asked for a better course or worse conditions. On ride day, it was raining, 45 degrees, and a northerly wind at about 20 mph. Depending on your perspective, it was either ideal or the worst conditions ever for a gravel ginder. I ride to be with friends and for the adventure, so this definitely ranked high on both meters.

We had all registered for longer distances, but when we woke up in Waco and it was pouring rain and we saw the conditions as we rode to the starting line, we all opted for the shortest 31-mile distance. That was plenty on a day like this. 

Riding was difficult, as you can imagine, but everyone took the conditions in stride and laughed our way through the hills, mud, wind, and rain. You really get to know people when you are on the road with them in these conditions and fun turns to survival as the day goes on. I rode with a quality group of people. This was Grah…

Devotion

Robert Frost began a poem about devotion with these words:

The heart can think of no devotion Greater than being shore to the ocean. 
I read these words while my father and I camped out together between my graduation from college and my wedding day. As we set on the shore of Red Hills Lake in East Texas, I thought maybe Robert Frost was right. Shores lay stuck to oceans,
Holding the curve of one position Counting an endless repetition.
This endless repetition surely had to be the clearest picture of devotion. 
Then it hit me I was about to get married.

Shores have no choice in their devotion. They are cemented to their ocean partner without the freedom to leave the relationship. Oceans, too, hopelessly pound their boundaries with no other options. A greater devotion, I thought, had to be having the choice not to be devoted to someone but dedicating yourself to that one person with all the other options still out there. Surely marriage was a better picture of devotion than "being s…

Four Lessons from My Tough Mudder Experience

A little over a year ago I completed my first and only Tough Mudder event. On May 2, 2015, I joined 14 other members of the Dirty Dozen team led by Paul Wilson, TM vet and Pastor. Paul's and my friend, Doug Miller, chided me to join the team and to get dirty. 

I like a challenge, and I had never attempted one of the muddy obstacle events like Tough Mudder or Spartan Race or Battlefrog. So, I signed up and began to train with the Plano contingent. You can watch videos of the events (ours was a 10.2-mile-18-military-style-obstacles course), so I won't bore you with my wordy descriptions. I want to tell you four lessons I learned from the event that stick with me a year later. (They also continue to apply to every obstacle-filled effort I seek to do.)
1. Teamwork is the only way to accomplish anything outside your own capabilities. I can run and cycle a long way for my age, but I am a weakling in my upper body. Without the help of multiple team members I would have stood helplessly…

Church Around the Table

One weekend our LifeGroup gathered at the lake house that belonged to one of the members. Not everyone in the group could make it, and it was winter, but water sports and 100% attendance were not our goals.

We just wanted to be together.

Sunday morning we gathered around the table for breakfast. We enjoyed the cooking of our hosts and the warmth of the fireplace on a cold January morning. All the surface talk had been used up in the time we already had together walking, playing table games and watching football. Our guards were down, and we were relaxed to be ourselves.

My wife jumped into some story about our grandchildren and told of a podcast she liked where the host always ended her episode by asking her guests, "What are three things that make you happy now." She thought that would be fun for us to do. (Being an introvert married to an extrovert I have come to expect these conversational invasions into free-flowing conversations I can sit back and enjoy without particip…

A Conversation with Robert Sterling

I recently had an online conversation with Robert Sterling, choral composer, producer, Dove Award Winner (six, if you are counting), and friend. 

We mused over the nature of worship music in the church these days. I came at the topic from that of a Pastor/Theologian. He approached it from a composer/practitioner. 

We pretty much offend everyone, so don't be upset if we talk about your preferred style of musical worship. We were just being honest about what we believe.

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