Day 27: 'Meyers Grade' and Deep Breaths

Oh man. Hi guys. It’s Lizzie, this is my first blog on the trip. Honestly, I’ve been avoiding it because it takes a lot for me to share in the form of writing. BUT here I am. Today, day 27, July 13th, was, HARD. SO HARD. Hardest day yet, I have literally said that every day for the last week, and I have meant it every time.

Something that I have been reluctant to face has been the anxiety I have been wrestling with on this trip. It’s the car that passes just a little too close, the sound in the middle of the night, the inability to control my surroundings. The uneasiness I have been handling has weighed me down every day in one way or another and I haven’t faced it. Anxiety is something I have always struggled with and I suppose I thought this trip would be some kind of exposure therapy. I was hoping that facing things that scare me might allow resolution of uneasiness.

While I can’t say whether it’s working or not, I feel myself getting mentally, physically and emotionally stronger every day. Doing something that exhausts me every day has pushed me so far in so many ways and stretching my abilities in such a unique way is refreshing.

However, today we had an 18% grade downhill (usually 5%-7% is a fast downhill) called Meyers Grade, apparently infamous in California. I mean this thing was a MONSTER. We were absolutely soaring and I was white knuckling my brakes down this hill, probably 40 or 45 MPH (sorry mom&dad, ignore that number..). I started to smell something funny and first, felt my brakes working less and less, and immediately after felt my heart racing and head fogging up with fear. Still flying down this hill, cars behind me, team far ahead, I had to stop completely and take a minute to conquer the panic attack I felt coming on. I walked my bike down the hill (a rare and shameful feat..), took some deep breaths, shed a few tears, and caught up to my team, upset and shaken up, but I rode another 20 miles and made it.

The point of this story isn’t to scare my family or make readers feel bad for me. The point of this story is the end, I rode another 20 miles and made it. I made it. Our team has made it, we have made it 975 miles down the West Coast. No crashes, no (big) injuries (hopefully @harli), nothing stolen, no one trying to harm us. We are victorious to have made it this far. We have been shielded, protected and guided in ways we cannot even comprehend. People have cared for and poured into us more times than we can count and we will be forever grateful for that. I thank God every morning to wake up able to ride another day and thank him every night for having survived another day.

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It is such a basic and primitive thing to be thankful for every day, physical safety. We have all taken it for granted in one way or another to have all of our needs met and exceeded. Each day we ride, we are praying safety and protection over the girls who will be living at The Refuge Ranch starting August 1st. We are so blessed and lucky to be showered in prayers and support, but we keep riding every day for the girls who never have been. We face the fear and anxiety and bottles thrown and noises in the woods for the girls at The Refuge. Every scare and bad day is worth it to have conversations about the issue we are at war with. We want you to join us in fighting every day by starting conversations and spreading awareness in your day to day life.

Anyways, continue praying for security and protection because we need it, and thank you to all who read the blogs and support in any way. We couldn’t do this without you.

-Lizzie