Monthly Archives: April 2012

Bike Out Hunger Update 4

So, I know this is Update 4, but today is actually Day 5. We are all in after a day of rrrrrrrrrrroooooouugh roads and some strong wind. I'll be brief.

The day started with us all heading south into a killer wind. The distance from our day's start to finish point was only 35 miles, but hey, you do what you gotta do to get a respectable number of miles in, so we detoured south before heading up to Ft. Worth.

You should know that yesterday we did actually have a rider go down. She clipped the wheel of the rider in front of her and ended up with a good bit of road rash, but was able to keep riding and has been in good spirits. This morning brought a few muscle aches, but the young lady rode through them and will be fine. Thanks for all your prayers for safety and your encouragement. I'll continue to share videos on fb as they're posted.

What else is important enough to go into a quick post? Oh! It's no too late to give! Donations are still coming in and will be accepted after the ride is completed (in case you were thinking you didn't want to give if i didn't finish :-) ).

I'll continue to share vids on fb as they're posted, so keep following there. Thanks for following and for praying and for giving! Now I've got to go meet up to head to University Baptist Church for dinner (Kudos to all the churches that have fed us and provided rest stops!).

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

Bike Out Hunger Update 3

What a day! I mean that in any sense you could take it. The forecast for today was in the 100s. While it didn't get quite that hot while the teams were riding, the combination of heat and pollen made my face swell up like a balloon. I had bumps on my cheeks and my neck, as well as scattered ones on my arms and legs. My lips swelled around a cut that I got while putting on my jersey this morning and my face was just plain puffy. I shied from pictures and turned down an interview because I couldn't stand the thought of how I looked. Thankfully a cold shower and (probably more importantly) a good dose of loratadine has helped out a good bit and I should be back to normal by tomorrow.

IMG_0767-400x300On the flip side, we had a rest stop in Dublin this morning. I don't know if you followed the news surrounding Dublin Bottling Works, but they're the folks that used to make Dublin Dr Pepper. I'd been a fan for years and stopped by Doc's Soda Shop before, but today was special. Today was the first time I'd been to Dublin since the change, and I'd been seriously bummed for the town — which initially lost 14 jobs, though 2 have been rehired — and for the loss of such wonderful nostalgia. But as my pace group was standing in front of the shop taking pictures and talking about what used to be, the owner, Jeff Koster, came out and greeted us! That's me with him in the picture to the right. He asked about BOH and shared that he had a board meeting in a little while and that he would love to give to our cause! Jeff, it turns out, is an avid cyclist and lives in Austin when he's not in Dublin. He offered us a quick tour, though we declined for time's sake. We did talk, however, for probably 15 minutes about the history of the company and where it's headed. Jeff shared about his grandfather's (the man whose statue stands in front of the DBW building) dreams for the company, the new museum opening across the street, and some of the company's sodas.

Jeff said the DBW is stronger than it's ever been and he's excited about the freedom it now has, despite tearing up at the thought of the layoffs they had to make. He's a sincere and carrying man, and he's passionate about quality and service — just like his grandfather. Hat tip to you, Jeff Koster. If you ever get a chance to visit Dublin, don't pass it up for thinking the town has lost something. The truth is that Dr Pepper has lost something very special and Jeff is right. Dr Pepper's decision to ditch Dublin will make history as one of the great marketing mistakes. Think on the scale of the New Coke. It's that big. So go to Dublin. You'll have just as much fun as you would have before all the changes, and view the opportunity to "stick it to the man!"

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

Bike Out Hunger Update 2

IMG_0758_0-400x300Today, the group rode though the town of Priddy, TX. Here's what you need to know about Priddy. There is one school in the town with a total attendance of 107 students. 63 of those students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Yeah, that's more than half! We stopped at the school, where the entire student body was out to greet us, and it was the best welcome anyone could ever ask for. Students had drawn posters to encourage us, calling us rockstars and telling how great we are. The young ones asked for autographs, which we were more than willing to provide.

The school in Priddy doesn't have a football team or cheerleaders and one of the teachers credited that as the reason that all of the students got along so well. No one was too cool to talk to any other; even age wasn't a dividing factor. The town is safe. The school thrives in athletics, especially cross country. When you put these things together without knowing the stats, things look pretty bright for the children of Priddy.

While I was refilling my water bottle a girl in maybe the 8th or 9th grade — seeming a little distant — walked up to me, pointed across the street, and said "I live over there."

"Oh," I replied, "So you don't have to wait for the bus. You get to walk to school!"

She nodded. The girl next to her, a year or two older, smiled and told me, "I live there, too. That's our foster home."

Reality hit hard and fast. I didn't know what to say. Sometimes we think that if everything looks normal around us that all is well, healthy, and good. I hope you take the time today to think and pray for those around you that might be in need. Realize that your nice end of town isn’t the end of the world, and don’t emotionally isolate yourself from the needy.

I also want to tell you of some folks that are making a difference in that little town of Priddy. There are 3 teachers there that have masters degrees in education, trying to give the students every academic advantage that they can. Pray for the good work these educators are doing.

Thanks for your support as I and the others ride.

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

MS150 and Bike Out Hunger Update 1

It's Tuesday and this was my fourth straight day of riding.

Saturday and Sunday, I rode in the BP (the oils spill people sponsor this one) MS150, a ride that raises money for the National MS Society. The ride Saturday was 100mi from the west side of Houston to La Grange, Texas. This was my first "century" ride ever and it couldn't have been a worse day for it! There was a 20mph head wind that kept things  SUPER SLOW. I had pains that I'd never had before and kind of doubted my decision to line up all this riding. Fortunately, Sunday was beautiful and I felt like gold riding 70mi. I met some great folks including someone that not only knew about Bike Out Hunger, but knew one of the guys riding in it. Not only that, but the guy she knew is the guy I've been pacing with aaaaand Don's a really cool guy.

So, today was the second day of Bike Out Hunger. We started yesterday in San Antonio with a police escort taking us up Hwy 281 and wandered up to Dripping Springs where we stayed the night. Today we had a sweet tailwind and moved really fast up to Lampassas, beating a lot of volunteers to our rest stops. Today's ride was beautiful, taking us by vinyards, olive groves, and spring-fed creeks lined with cypress. It's hard to imagine a more picturesque ride and it doesn't hurt that we on one 23mi leg of the ride my pace group's average speed was in the upper 20's. Between that and the media and communications van driving by with doors open and video cameras handing out and mounted on top, we really felt like pros!

Volunteers from local churches have been amazing, feeding us at night and bringing us food and drinks at stops along the way and I could not be more thankful! Kudos to all of ya'll!

Last night the group learned about one of the ministries that is supported by the money we raise. Exodus Ministries helps ex-criminals get on their feet and become independent. It's a life-changing organization and part of the money Bike Out Hunger raises goes to stock the pantries of apartments provided as these ladies start back in the world with nothing. What a feeling to be play a small part in this!

Oh, and some advice in Proverbs 31 that you might not be familiar with comes in verse 8 & 9 and applies to everyone, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

More stories to come (you can ask me about the scare I had today since I'm not posting it) and in case you're keeping track, distances for the past 4 days have been 100 & 70 (MS150), and 80 & 88 (Bike Out Hunger).

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron

P.S., It's not too late to give to Bike Out Hunger or the MS150 ;-)
Updates on FB and BikeOutHunger.org

LCO Spring Concert in Port Arthur

The Lamar Civic Orchestra had its first of 2 spring concerts this Tuesday. The performance was exciting and fun, featuring Dr. Dyess soloing on trombone. I wouldn't say it was our absolutely best work, but the group had been struggling in places, so it was a relief when things came together finally during the dress rehearsal on Monday (when these photos were taken). We were honored to have Chelsea Tipton II, of the Symphony of Southeast Texas in attendance and a good sized and appreciative audience. The crowd in Port Arthur is always a delight to play for, and the theatre at LSCPA is exceptional. On the program was Shostakovich's "Gadfly Suite" and "Maxim Suite" (from the Maxim film trilogy) along with lighter fair, "Lassus Trombone" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." We'll be giving a reprise of the performance in Beaumont in 2 weeks, which I'm particularly excited about, now having performed it once.

IMG_0707-300x225To be honest, I was really enthused by our strings pulling together a really tough section in Shostakovich that had been causing problems up to a week ago. Serious props, ya'll, for putting the work in and sounding great! I'm so blessed to have a place like this to play being out of school. With just a few more dedicated players, this group would be exceptional for a volunteer group. As it is, we keep growing together and really enjoy ourselves. Perhaps one of these days we could have a meeting outside the practice hall to kick back… I wonder if anyone else would be up for a picnic. Eh, maybe I'll do some planning when we hit our 5th anniversary in a year.

I was also blessed over Easter to play again at the First United Methodist Church in Nederland. They were gracious enough to let me join in communion with them and are truly a loving group of brothers and sisters.

So that's what's going on musically.

Things have been busy the past few weeks — the good busy, thankfully. And the summer should be all fun and games. This is a good year, I can tell.

Blessings and Shalom,
Aaron