Something a little light-hearted, OK? I’m not a “bike racer” but I have been riding my Handcycle for fun and fitness for the last dozen or so years. And, yes, there’s been some “competition” involved, although that can be a bit of a stretch, since generally I am competing against myself and by PBT (personal best time). More importantly to me right now, it is an aspect of my life that signals returning to normal. That’s why even though we were all pedaling and going “nowhere” the truth for me, is that we were headed “somewhere,” which is up and about and business as usual!
For the last 10 years of so, I’ve competed in the annual El Tour de Tucson bike race here in Tucson. Depending on the time I’m able to invest in training, I’ve done the 111-mile portion three times, the 82-mile twice, the 67-mile segment two times, and the 41-mile event three times. This year, because I will still just three and a half weeks post-amputation, it seemed like the streak would be broken. I just happened to talk to Beverly Blohme at the PBAA office who sponsors El Tour every year and she informed me about the “Indoor El Tour” event. Essentially this means riding your bike on a trainer, making you stationary, and instead of racing 111 miles, you do 111 minutes or whatever time amount you desire. I just rounded it off to a nice 120 minutes, or two hours. Anyone who’s ever trained on a resistance trainer knows it can be terribly boring, but the PBAA people were very gracious and allowed us to set up right at the finish line area at Armory Park on S. 6th Avenue and 13th Street. - Special thanks to Michele Wyatt for helping us with this facet.
This is what added to “Team Victory” the sports side of things, to go along with the medical and support side. I want to thank those who “rode” with me yesterday for the two hours. My wife, Doug Marcotte who rode my other handcycle, Paul Arbo, Manny Montoya, Mike Hauri, Bill Neil, Lucia Villalba, McKenzie Breckenridge, Larry Priest, and Rick and Susan Surber who came down from Phoenix to participate. It was good time of fellowship and camaraderie.
“Team Victory” was chosen, first, because it emphasizes that true and lasting victory will always involve a “team” effort or dimension. The other part is to highlight God’s fantastic promise of victory, not just as an ultimate goal but a present possession as we “press toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Listen to Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2Cor.2:14) Through Christ, we are part of his great victory parade! It is here that he diffuses the fragrance of his knowledge, or the difference he makes in people’s lives, in every place and in every life situation! Yes, there are battles and they can be very intense, but as Christians we hold to the promise of victory in the midst of them all! When talking about the reality and implications of the resurrection for every Christ-follower, Paul erupts in praise and declares “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor.15:57) Then, you have the Apostle John picking up on the same theme and talking about how God is making us all overcomers (can’t be an overcomer without something to overcome). “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1John 5:4,5) I like this because the secret to victory is not our incredible strength; no, it is simple faith in Jesus Christ. Faith connects us to a resurrected and victorious Savior and Lord, and that promise is open to everyone who will believe and put their faith in Jesus, God’s only Son!
In any event, there’s something about the finish line that creates a surge of adrenaline through your system. While we did not do the entire 111-mile event, we did what we could at the time, and so the final picture of celebration is fitting.
Just try to imagine the thrill and relief of finishing victoriously in Christ. You can almost taste it, and one day it will be a glorious reality for all of us who walk with Him. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2Tim.4:4,5) Not to be outdone is (1Corinthians 9:24-27) NLT “Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” SO, DEAR ONES, KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT, KEEP RUNNING THE RACE, AND KEEP HOLDING ON TO YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST, AS HE HOLDS ON TO YOU!