5433km done- into the middle third

5433 km done, the dreaded middle third syndrome is about to begin.
Things have gone well so far. Just finished my second day in a row in under 12 hours.  11h, 59 min and 11h, 57min, averaging 28.2km and 28.4km/hour, with only 13 min off bike time each day.
However…… things are changing mentally.
Entering the second third of any event, no matter how long, can become a huge mental challenge. I wake up at 3:45AM, and my first thought is; “What was I thinking cycling 15,000km?” I am too far in to quit, but riding another 10,000km seems inconceivable.  This is also when you start to doubt all kinds of things. These kids  rescued by MCF are not my responsibility, I don’t need to do this, etc. The middle third can easily turn into an emotional roller coaster, and the slightest thing to go wrong can become very challenging.
The middle third builds character.
I am very much aware of this mental struggle and quite well prepared (I hope) but I would appreciate your prayers for me to stay mentally strong.
There is an end to every day, that is very good.

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Father’s Day and a Flag of Inspiration


Our son Paul and his family took us to Half Moon for Father’s Day. Three generations of Loewen men. We are so blessed. For a change, I was able to enjoy the ‘scenic’ Henderson Highway from the passenger seat of a van, instead of the seat of a bike. Thank you guys for this special outing.
On our way back we stopped to take a very special photo. This is the future home of the so-called ‘Mully house’. Our friends from the Riverbend Hutterite Colony are RTM home builders. They sold a house that is presently under construction, to the owners of this property on Henderson Highway. 
Many of the sub-contractors and suppliers are either giving huge discounts or in some cases even free service/products. Riverbend Colony is donating all the labour, etc. In other words, all proceeds from the sale of this home will go to Mully Children’s Family. It it is becoming a huge fundraising initiative. There will be a celebration and home dedication/fundraising event at the Riverbend Colony on August 10th. We will bring our Kenyan friends to Riverbend to help celebrate MCF’s 30 year anniversary, Charles Mulli’s 70th birthday year, the 15,000 children (now adults) that have graduated from MCF and the completion of my 15,000 km ride and our 15th year of extreme cycling events on behalf of MCF.
The plan, Lord-willing, is to move the house into place on (Henderson Hwy) on August 12th.
Beginning tomorrow morning at 5 am, I will pass the flag 24x/day. The MCF flag on the side of the road will serve as constant reminder of why I am doing this. It will be a huge encouragement for me. Thank you Michael Maendel and Riverbend Colony for partnering with us and MCF in such a powerful way. Blessings on you. God is good.

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I missed my bike too much


When I take some time off the bike for a number of days, especially before a big  event, sometimes I wonder if I still even know how to ride.

 I think some runners experience the same feeling before a marathon.


So I decided to go for a fast (for me) 100km today. I managed to ride 100km in 3:07, or 32km/hour average speed. For an old guy, I was pretty happy about that. Having this week off, going camping and catching up with our grand kids has been wonderful. Two more days and the real work begins again.

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4,000 km done

4000 km done
By now I am quite familiar with the cracks (and there are plenty) on the road on Henderson Highway.

So far, for the most part I have been able to direct the potentially mind- numbing boredom of riding the same ‘loop’ 12 times a day, into an opportunity for growth; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I carry a miniature pocket radio, using the right earbud only. There are a LOT of choices of ‘talk’ radio, music and inspirational programs.


My daily goal is simple, ride 333 km before coming home.


Executing this goal requires perseverance, courage and dedication to complete. I believe that these are character traits that can be developed further. We are NOT limited by what we are born with.


Romans 5:3-4; Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character  produces hope.


While God calls us to persevere in our faith, (a lot more important than cycling 15,000km), the lessons learned on Henderson Highway can play a significant role towards that ultimate goal. 
I believe that it is good to plan a deliberate (controlled) activity that helps  shape the person God wants us to become. For me, this summer it is Henderson Highway.
But boy, I am so excited for this planned week off.  Sitting around a campfire without my legs going round and round, will be great.

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I am off the bike for 36 hours! Hurray!

6 days of 200km/day went really well. I have been able to stay on the bike with next to NO off bike time, other than a flat. If you are interested, visit Arvid’s stats for the detailed info.
Thanks to Ken and his friend and Nicole who came out to provide some km of drafting this week. Much appreciated.
Thanks to the Friesens, Loewens and a few others who came out to cheer me on. For many years I have been so privileged to hear, “Go Grandpa Go” shouted out of a passing van.
Paul even followed me on his electric Unicycle for a few km. That thing can do 30km/hour.  I don’t think I will ever try it, as it is enough of a challenge  to stay upright on two wheels, never mind one.

Monday at 5am the real work begins with 333km/day.

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A Perfect day

 
It was fairly calm and the temps reached the mid-twenties. I had to think of how blessed I am to be able to do this and I thanked God for my health/strength at age 62. I  reached  10% (1500km) today. That means celebrating the first 1500 lives of former destitute kids, whose lives and direction has been changed by Mully Children’s Family.
I am very pleased with my cycling results thus far. Besides the two flats, I am off the bike for only 2-3min/day so far. That of course will change significantly when I begin the 333km/day next week. I can only carry food and liquid to fuel me 100-150km on my bike, so I will need to replenish a few times a day.
I have had 2 sub 7 hour times for 200km unsupported this week so far. I have not done that in years. 
I am so thrilled for the 20+ solos/family units who have let me know that  they are participating in the 1000km challenge. There may be others that I don’t know about yet. It is NOT too late to join the team of difference makers. Simply email me at loewen.arvid@gmail.com. As you ride 1km at a time, remember that it represents 1 transformed life.
The funds you raise/donate will help transform the next 15,000 lives.

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Showers of Blessings


Yesterday I had a discussion with a few Hutterite friends. They were all excited about the rain that was in the forecast for today. Their freshly seeded crops were in need of the moisture. If I am honest, I did not share  their enthusiasm about today’s weather. 
Then I was reminded of our first visit to MCF in 2016. While touring the facilities, Ruth and I got a bit frustrated with the rain and all the clay sticking to our shoes.  Angela, our host, did not make any apologies. She simply said: “Around here we call the rain showers of blessing and we thank God for them.”
So today, as I cycled in the rain, I thanked God for the showers of blessings. I was still cold, but I was NOT miserable.  

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In spite of wind and rain …

Arvid pedals on and on and on. Today is Day 5.

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Day One

1% done. 99% to go.

The weather was rather pleasant with sunshine and a very moderate wind, for a change. The best biking weather I have had this year.

I was very pleased with My first day efforts as I am trying to ease in to it.

150 km

Start 9am, finish 2:07pm

Total time 5h 7m, riding time 5h 4m, off bike time 3m

Average riding speed 29.5km/hr

I was surprised by a visit from our friends and former support crew Ernie & Fritz. They began their 1000km Challenge with a quick photo on the side of the road. Thank you for joining our efforts on behalf of MCF.   

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GrandpasCan 2019 has begun!

The first kilometre in honour of the first child rescued by MCF 30 years ago.

Only 14,999 more to go!

Looks like a nice day for a bike ride.

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A Rollercoaster of Emotions; the ride begins tomorrow, May 20, 2019


The last week leading up to an event is usually an emotional rollercoaster. The awareness of what lies ahead  becomes clearer and stronger with each passing hour. The anticipation is both exhilarating and downright scary. 
There are times when I am consumed with extreme doubt that I can do this. There are times when I am totally confident. 
For me, each ultra-marathon cycling event is a classroom for life.  Within a very defined time-frame, May 20 – Aug 8, I will experience physically, mentally, emotionally  and even spiritually, the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. In order to have success, I must be willing to accept adversity as teacher and even as friend. The benefit only comes if I am willing to apply the lessons learnt in real life where it matters. For me, real life is being a relentless ambassador for children who have been abandoned by society, but not by God. 

 I was reminded of my 9000 km journey from Deadhorse, Alaska,  (Arctic Ocean) to Key West, Fl. (Gulf of Mexico). It began in 2015 and was completed triumphantly only in 2018. The mud/rain on the Dalton Highway, the crash resulting in 5 broken ribs brought about an abrupt end to my ride in 2015. The photo covered in mud is symbolic of the adversity we encountered along the way.  In 2018 I was able to finish what I started, celebrating overcoming the adversity by lifting my bike in triumph at the Gulf of Mexico.
I included a video link from 2015 made by our friend and support crew member, Matt Pearson. Warning: it does include footage of the crash. 
http://grandpascan.com/video-grandpas-can-2015/

You see, ‘When Quitting is Not an Option’ destitute children’s lives will be saved and transformed forever. Sometimes it requires a whole lot of perseverance, effort and maybe even personal sacrifice. The Mully family continues to make those sacrifices each and every day. That is why we are celebrating 15,000 changed lives.
Each km I ride represents the precious life of a FORMER destitute child. Please pray that I will remember that when it gets though this time around.

www.grandpascan.com will have my daily riding stats.

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I Ran Out of Road

I ran out of road, so I had to stop.

When things go better than hoped for.

GrandpasCan 2018 was my 14th year of using one big cycling event per year as my main platform from which to raise funds for MCF and create awareness about Mully Children’s Family.

These are never ordinary events and certainly the cycling outcome is far from certain. I have often said that I only have a 51% of accomplishing my cycling goal, but I have a 100% chance of making a difference to former destitute children. I am always good with that.

This was no different. I however tried an approach that would not work in my GWR rides and definitely not in RAAM. I was planning for an ‘end to my riding day’ around 10pm and a firm 5am start. After a shower and meal, I was asleep by 11pm and I woke up at 4am to coffee and a triple portion of oatmeal and a cream- cheese-loaded bagel. This gave me 5 hours of sleep, at least 2x as much as in RAAM or my 3 GWR record rides across Canada. What a difference that made.

On my drive up, I became rather concerned with the severity of the climbs, the poor to nonexistent shoulders, but mostly the packed down shale stones that seem to have become the standard for the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway. To call it pavement would be generous.

Most of our 3000 km drive up north was done into strong swirling winds, gusting up to 80km/hour. Not a condition to be riding a bike in on a highway where every other vehicle seemed to be a large RV. I was nervous. No, I was scared.

When I started roding, the wind was calm and we began our journey south in a northern heat wave. Daytime highs were 28-30C and a nighttime low of 10-12C. Nearly perfect. Paul and Rick, my two-man support crew figured out a sustainable routine for them. They looked after me as good as I could have hoped for.
I needed to be at the Acadia Colony, 50 km west of Brandon, MB by 3pm, 7 days and 12 hours after I started. After cycling 3000km, I got there at 3:01, 1 minute late.

After 4 successful fundraising events in two days in MB, while still cycling about 200km, I changed crews. My wife Ruth and my nephew Juergen and his 14-year-old son Luke took over from Paul and Rick at 5am on Monday morning. The routine continued and worked flawless.

The US was embedded in a severe heat wave. The humidex reached the mid-forties.
When I was standing on the pavement at a red light, it was almost unbearable. There were times I thought I would pass out. Under the intense heat, my bike computer turned completely black one time.

The Appalachians created a new challenge, as the grades became very steep. The further south we went, the more traffic we encountered. At times the shoulders were virtually nonexistent and I had to keep a perfectly straight line on the edge of the pavement. We got through it.

The last day, riding the Florida Keys, I had a nice tailwind, making it most enjoyable. I even stopped and treated my crew to a relaxed breakfast.

I reached the buoy in Florida (the furthest point south of North America) at 4:56pm on July 5, a full 24 hours ahead of my best case scenario. In 2015, I had started this 9000 km journey in Deadhorse, Alaska, the furthest point north. After 2000km I crashed and broke 5 ribs. It felt fantastic to be able to finish what I had started.

I cycled 7000km in 19.5 days (about 360km/day) plus one day off in-between to speak at four events in MB. I felt great physically and mentally right after. I ran out of road before I ran out energy. If it was not for the Gulf of Mexico, maybe I would be at the southern tip of Argentina by now. (Just kidding).

Amazing what an extra 2.5 hours of sleep per night can do.

Thanks for your interest and support and prayers. Everything turned out better than I had hoped for.
17

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Reflecting on God’s leading during GrandpasCan 2018

Sometimes I just marvel at how God brings things together. So I need to ask myself; ‘Why do I even worry or why am I anxious that things will work out?’
Check out God’s timing and leading throughout Grandpascan 2018.
1. On  February 12 Ruth suffered a nasty spiral fracture on her tibia plateau, requiring surgery. On a scale of 1-6, (6 being as bad as could be) the doctor rated it a 6. Ruth is always an integral part of my support crew in all of the events. We were very concerned about recovering in time. After 11 weeks of no weight- bearing, then physio, she was totally fine 4.5 months afterthe break. The doctor and the physiotherapist both said that she was  ‘off the typical chart’ as far as recovery time and complete healing was concerned. Only God can do that.
2.  Two weeks before my event, I still had no vehicle to use, and I had no funds to rent one. Triple E out of Morden stepped up to supply a very suitable RV. I have never even met the owners.
3. I wanted to bring Ndondo Mulli and a ‘child mother’ from the MCF Yatta Girls program to Manitoba for 4 major events as I cycled through MB.  The problem was, none of the suitable young ladies had a passport. After months of waiting, Faith, one of two possible candidates received her passport on June 6.
4. For various reasons, the necessary visas only got issued on June 20. Ndondo and Faith needed to be here at the first event on June 22. Their plane arrived 3 hours before they were expected at Acadia Colony, a two hour drive from Winnipeg. Just in time, in God’s time.
5. On our drive up to the Yukon, we encountered winds gusting 90 km/hour. It would not have been possible to be on the bike. Riding my bike, I experienced mostly calm to light winds, both favourable and unfavourable directions.
6. The northern heat wave  of 28-32 degrees Celsius was perfect conditioning for the southern heat wave with a humidex in the mid-40’s.
7. I experienced virtually no fluid retention, never even using my compression stockings once.
8. I needed to arrive at my first event in Acadia at 3 pm. After cycling 3000 km, I got there exactly at 3pm.
9. The four events in MB went flawless. While we had planned them, the final details needed to happen when I was somewhere up north and Ruth was getting ready to join the support crew in Brandon. Thank you to friends who stepped up big time.
10. I had 6 flats, 3 in the north and 3 in the south. Each time the support crew came to my rescue at exactly the right time. (Due to the traffic and the size of the RV, direct follow was seldom possible, yet they were there when I needed them).
11. No one got sick in 21 days on the road. That in itself is a miracle.
12. The roads up north had some less than ideal gravel surfaces. We heard a number of stories of motorcycles going down. I stayed upright the whole time.
13. The traffic in the south was significant and the shoulders were at times nonexistent. God gave me the peace I needed to keep a straight line, even though trucks were coming very close at times.
14. We made a few wrong turns but we never got lost.
15. We encountered many helpful and friendly people. We experienced no hostility towards us on the whole journey.  On the contrary, without fail, every time we set out the lawn chairs to eat a meal we had several vehicles stop to see if we were okay or if there was anything we needed. (even an invitation to come cool off in a backyard pool!)
Sometimes I wonder why I worried at all. God is in control all the time anyway. Many people prayed for us. Thank you. We sure felt  the peace of God throughout all aspects of GrandpasCan 2018.
In Philipians 4:6-7, it says;
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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Key West

Arvid has arrived at the end of his 2018 journey, successfully completing his north to south he started in 2015. He completed 7000 km this year, starting 120 west of Watson Lake, YT, and trekking to the southernmost point in the US (Key West, Florida). This means he has connected all NA oceans with each other, (Pacific with Atlantic and Arctic with the Gulf of Mexico).

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We have arrived!!

We have arrived safely at Key West, Florida at 4:56pm local time.

Thank you for your prayers.

More photos to come shortly.

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Project Description

To read the full project description, download the PDF.

Participate

To participate by riding your bike in support of MCF, download the PDF.

Arvid's Stats

Arvid's stats are updated daily in an online spreadsheet. Click here.

Prayer Requests

May 20: As the ride begins, pray that we will have strength equal to the task ahead!

Video

About MCF

Charles Mulli is a former street child from the slums of Kenya. He became extremely successful in business, but then God called him to give it all up and care for the orphaned and abandoned children still on the streets in Kenya. Charles Mulli is the founder and CEO of Mully Children's Family. To learn more about MCF, click here.

Arvid's Role

God has called me (Arvid) to be an ambassador for Mully Children's Family. I have chosen to use ultramarathon cycling as my platform from which to fulfill this calling. You can follow my ride, here, at www.grandpascan.com/ride. To read more about me and my story, click here.

Donate

I am asking you to help. I am trying to raise funds for the ongoing and capital expenses for the child mothers program at MCF. This program provides the critical life skills the young mothers need. To learn more about donating, click here.

Media Contact

Click here.