Tour de Meals 2015

Tony is already planning his next ride!

It’s tentatively scheduled for July 22, 2015, departing from Fort Collins, Colorado after Cru Staff Conference. And he’ll be joined by other riders to help raise awareness and money for the world’s hungry.

Proposed Route 1

Many details to be ironed out and the route will be revised and refined many times, but we’re already getting excited.

To get facts for an article, or to arrange sponsorship, advertising, promotions, etc., contact:

Mark W. Gaither

Director of Marketing and Communications,

Global Aid Network

mark.gaither@gainusa.org

(214) 457-5418

In the meantime, the Tour de Meals donation page remains active, and all money given there will continue to send food to the hungry!

https://www.gainusa.org/tourdemeals/

 

Cycle of the Day – July 30

Day 27 – Assessment

Tony (1024x683)Crossing the finish line should have brought a sense of relief and accomplishment. It didn’t. While training for this ride, occasionally I tried to picture what it would feel like to complete the last few miles. Each push of the pedal produced a rush of excitement. Approaching the goal was like nearing the top of Mount Everest. The sweat of training became the sweet smell of success. But today’s reality produced no such outcomes. Reason: the finish line is also the start line. Part of me was ecstatic, part humbled by the realism that another mountain lies ahead.

Greeted by a host of friends and family, I was rewarded beyond imagination. DSCN5487In addition, many well-wishers not able to be present sent their regards. What could be better motivation to initiate plans for the next adventure. Since the work needs to continue, a quick assessment revealed potential riders, possible routes, and even a possible time frame.

Of course all of this was filed under “to be continued” as we celebrated the moment. Ice cream and toppings cemented our resolve to keep pursuing our goal of awareness and participation.  If well begun is half done, this project has a grand future. Stay tuned.

Addendum

To everyone who has pledged by the mile I am happy to report that I rode 1507 miles in 27 days of riding, averaging 55.8 miles per day. I spent 109 hours “in the saddle” for an average speed of 13.8 mph.

But the most important number is 17,051 – the number of meals which will be provided as a result of contributions of those who supported this effort. This means that more than 500 children will receive one substantial meal a day for a month. Thanks so much for your support. The journey will continue.

welcome (1024x683)

Cycle of the Day – July 29

Day 26 – Hello, Again

Three miles into today’s journey I entered Pennsylvania… again, the last time for this trip. Contemplating the end of the trail, I relished once more the seemingly endless fields of grain set against the backdrop of rolling hills and the Appalachian Mountains. Seventeen miles north to Chambersburg and then east on Route 30 to Gettysburg would place us in a prime position for tomorrow’s finale.

Rick Lown has graciously agreed to accompany me on the last leg. Perhaps this “commencement” will be just that: the end of this event and the beginning of many more. I would encourage each of you to go to the GAiN website (gainusa.org) and read Al Goff’s latest account of the conditions in northern Iraq earlier this July. His account paints an accurate picture of why we do what we do at GAiN: bringing hope to the hopeless.

There will be a great time of celebration tomorrow at 2 pm at 1506 Quarry Rd., Mt. Joy, PA. Join us if you can. Your presence will help send the message that we care. You might even make it on TV!

Blessings.

Cycle of the Day – July 28

Day 25 – Last Day on the Tow Path

Unfortunately, Jenny didn’t have opportunity to ride the tow path.  Stagnant pools and standing water are the breeding grounds for a plethora of organisms creating a biologist’s heaven. Even though I observed no one studying along the way, there were plenty other enthusiasts enjoying the phenomenon. towpath picJoe, whose three-year old great nephew has leukemia, is riding for a cause. Jared, a middle school science teacher is just in it for the adventure. Mike and Monique from Ontario want to give their children, Julia and Darin, a broader the perspective of the world as well as a safe place to ride. And then there was Bill, or at least he looked like a Bill, who relishes working to maintain the trail as an employee of the National Park Service. Interspersed in all of this were long stretches of pathway with an abundance of serenity and awe.

Twenty-five miles seemed far too short a journey, despite being smattered with grit from a drenched surface not having absorbed all of last night’s deluge. Even though the trek has been arduous at times, scary at others, hot, wearisome, and dangerous in some cases, the rewards have far outweighed the hardships. And I am already ruing the fact that is it almost at an end. Two more days, God willing, and we will cross the end line. Hope to see you there. Pray that the “end line” is just the beginning of increased awareness for providing physical and spiritual hope for those in want.

Blessings.

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The Finish Line

Tony Fritz is on target to arrive at the GAiN Distribution Center in Mount Joy, PA, this Wednesday, July 30 at 2:00pm. This will be the end of his 1,500+ mile bike ride to raise money for meals needed desperately around the world. Please join us to cheer Tony on as he rides into the parking lot at 2:00! We have invited news media, so we hope they can join us too. We will have snacks and a display showing more about the food program. We will try to get a total of funds raised to announce on that day. So if you would like to join Tony on this mission, please give for meals today by clicking here.

We will have the Tour de Meals t-shirts available for pick up at the GAiN Distribution Center, 1506 Quarry Road, Mount Joy, PA 17552, or we can mail it to you. Will we see you there?

May06 @ PA Warehouse Parking Lot 2

Cycle of the Day – July 26

Day 24 – A Biker’s On-Board Computer

Today was my first attempt at the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath. It was just as advertised: rough, when compared to the finely graded GAP rail trail. In my 28-mile journey to Hancock, MD, I began to marvel at how quickly the brain responds to a multitude of inputs almost simultaneously. For a rider, just like a tight-rope walker, there are more decisions than steering and balancing. Because the trail is not uniform, many of the following factors come into play. One must constantly be on the lookout for obstacles of all varieties. Even a 3/4 inch stone can be a serious impediment, while a 2″ – 3″ inch stone can throw you. Navigating these can feel like flying the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid belt. Add to these factors such as ruts formed by dried tracks of prior riders, tree roots of various sizes, branches, twigs, imbedded rocks, depressions, standing water, loose gravel, and a ride-able path less than a foot wide, and you have some idea of only the external variables which must be processed instantaneously to avoid a calamity. This, of course, does not include a host of factors like balance, riders in your path, choosing to ride in the opposite lane to avoid some of the above mentioned negatives, or a precipitous bank on either side awaiting a mis-turn. Obviously, not every miscue has a severe consequence. Perhaps it results in only a sudden jarring or sending that 1” stone careening off a guide-rail 30′ across the roadway. The point is that the marvelous brain can assimilate, process, and produce amazingly accurate results in a fraction of a second. For this I am extremely thankful.

Jenny met me in Paw Paw and we were able to hike through the lightless, six-tenth mile long tow path tunnel.DSCN5466 For most people artificial lighting is required to transverse the four-foot wide path mottled with holes and lined with a railing preventing a fall into the old canal. The arched ceiling may be 25′ above the water surface, while the path is about ten feet from the water.

Naturally, the math teacher part of me wanted to pose the question: how many bricks are lining the inside surface. Any takers? Didn’t think so.

While riding some extra miles on the Western Maryland Rail Trail, I had three deer sightings on an eleven-mile path. And to my surprise on the third sighting I was able to raise my weapon, aim, and click. Finally, the proof of at least one report can be seencando 1.

After riding, Weaver’s Restaurant, the only one in town discounting Hardee’s and Sheetz, proved a delightful ending to a good day. Tomorrow could be a washout. Nevertheless, Wednesday’s finish is still in sight. Keep on praying. Thanks.

Cycle of the Day – July 25

Day 23 – Crossing the Divide

After pedaling uphill for 50 miles today I reached the Eastern Continental Divide, elevation 2392′. This point is near Mt. Davis which holds claim to the highest spot in Pennsylvania at 3213′. Of course it was long sleeves again with a 52-degree start. Even after the thermometer claimed high 60 readings I still kept it on because the canopy made it feel much cooler.

I had a few more deer sightings again but as usual I was too slow on the camera. There seemed to be many more through bikers today loaded with gear. In addition, there were tourists, lot’s of locals getting on the trail at their favorite access point, and a number of families just out for fun trying to reach popular viewing areas. The trail hosts numerous viaducts overlooking highways, rivers, and gorges and offers spectacular views of thepic1 corresponding landscapes. My favorite was the former train trestle over route 219 (Flight 93 Memorial Highway) near Meyersdale, PA. Spanning nearly half a mile, high above the roadway, the structure itself is incredible and the panorama it yields even more so.

After a tasteful lunch at Missy’s Cafe, the final 30 miles were mostly downhill. In fact, for the last 15 miles from Frostburg to Cumberland I spent nearly as much time breaking as pedaling. Tomorrow will be a short day to Paw Paw where Jenny plans to hike through the tunnel with me.

Cycle of the Day – July 24

Day 22 – Uphill, Against the Wind

Sounds like this would be a bad day for riding, right? Well, the against the wind part could be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was certainly not a helping breeze. And for the uphill part, let’s just say that this is mostly true. The real headline should read, “Solitude and Splendor at its Finest”. The grade I alluded to was noticeable at worst and imperceptible at best. Old railroad beds have a tendency to do that. The breeze simply added to the already cool morning and the remainder of the conditions could not have been more ideal. With an overhanging forest on my right and tree-lined river bank on my left,DSCN5447 the canopy left in little sunlight. But my constant comrade was the mighty Youghiogheny. Even though I was a south-going duck beside a north going river, we got along famously. When the air was too serene, with cascading music he would let me know he was there. And because he could accommodate many, a host of people eventually caught sight of the many ways to enjoy this slice of creation. There were rafters, cyclists, walkers, and those who just watched trying to take it all in.

For 56 miles, the Youghiogheny departed my side only briefly, usually in inhabitable areas. Initially I was, perhaps, 10 or 15 feet above the water’s surface. But as the day progressed it seemed like 100 feet of altitude separated us. Tomorrow I will trade partners as the Casselman River becomes my companion for part of the day.

I wish you were all here to enjoy the spectacle. From the trail there is almost no way to capture it photographically. Hopefully these words have helped. For those who like statistics, we have been in the saddle for all but 89 hours covering 1242 miles. Tomorrow the journey continues with our destination of Cumberland, MD. Continue to pray for those who lack basic necessities, and thanks for following.

Cycle of the Day – July 23

Day 21 – Hello Pennsylvania

Leaving Ohio I was greeted with a two-mile hill as I started the day in West Virginia. With sweat pouring out of me, Jenny observed me just after I had reached the summit. Assuring her I was fine, we agreed to meet at the start of the Panhandle Trail, the one-hundredth dedicated DSCN5448rail trail in Pennsylvania.

(Many times in these first six miles both Jenny and I felt that we were back in Kentucky where we served as summer volunteers for more than a decade. It is here that I became comfortable with hills. Route 1850 on route 66 near Red Bird Mission has a wonderful five-mile climb that gets steeper the closer you get to the top.)

Starting the trail I suddenly realized that I was in Pennsylvania. Feeling like I was “home” made numerous anxieties of the day disappear. The obstacles ahead seemed far less threatening. In addition I found great solitude for several hours. In the first 12 miles, for example, I saw more deer than humans. As I transferred to the Montour Trail I began to find the path dotted with an increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists, all looking for a great place to exercise. Since the rail trail was “interrupted” at several junctures, I found myself negotiating a few highways before I reached our destination in Sutersville. It is here we will begin the Great Allegheny Passage tomorrow.

DSCN5441A Wendy’s supper, McDonald’s senior coffees, and a few episodes of Duck Dynasty completed our day. After yesterday’s mega planning session we think we are set for tomorrow which promises fair skies and cool temperatures.

Cycle of the Day – July 21

Day 20 – Extremes

Today had a similar beginning and ending: four-lane highways with a wide berm. The traffic was bearable. Truckers, as usual, were gracious, moving to the outside lane even though I was at least four feet inside the inner lane on the berm. The major differences between Ohio route 22 west of Steubenville and an interstate are the volume of traffic and some exits are intersections which allow cross traffic. Between these bookends was a delightful excursion on the Conotton Creek Trail. In eleven miles I met only one cyclist and two pedestrians, a woman and her young daughter. My chief disappointment was not capturing a doe and her two offspring. I was able to grab my Iphone, turn it on, and wildly snap three pics. Unfortunately in my haste I did not see that it was set for selfies. By the time I stopped and reset it, my prizes were bounding ahead of me soon to vanish in the verdure to the right. (I guess you can tell I’m using my thesaurus ).

Additionally I was interviewed by Shannon of Channel 11 News, Blue Ridge Cable in the Ephrata area. It’s always a treat to know that others are genuinely enthusiastic about our goal and willing pass the word along. Since this clip will probably air tonight (Monday, July 21), you may not see this post in time. Also, Greg Barton from WDAC-FM will highlight our venture both this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Thanks to both of these newscasters.

We have completed the Ohio segment of our journey. Much of the remainder will be spent on trails beginning with the Pan Handle Trail. Tomorrow is a rest day. Look for our next post on Wednesday.