Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 25th Update

America By Bike Group Photo- Astoria, Oregon

America By Bike Group Photo- Astoria, Oregon

Hello to everybody out there!  I have arrived in Prineville, OR.   We are at 2868 feet elevation, from last night when we were at 1038 feet; we did some more significant climbing today.

But before I share with you about my ride today, I want to tell you how incredibly grateful I am for all of you out there who prayed for my dad.  He had his surgery today with Dr. Steiffelman from New York University Medical Center, and he had a most, most significant victory in his operation today.  They were able to get all of the cancer out of his kidney and they were able to save two-thirds of his kidney, which is really amazing.  They went in robotically to take out the cancer and it was extremely successful.   I want to thank everyone who prayed for my dad and mom and all of our family, on behalf of all of them I just want to say thank you so much, it meant everything to me.

For our ride today, we started off a little bit after 7 again from Kahneeta and heading towards Prineville, which is where we are now.   We did have some climbing again today, not quite as much as yesterday, but still plenty of climbing.  I can tell you on my first mountain, I was having a lot of trouble breathing.  I was really huffing and puffing and not doing very well, wondering how in the world I was going to do the rest of my ride.  My legs were really pretty tight, my muscles were sore, and I really could not envision how I was going to get through the rest of the day.  So I just kind of gave that up to God and trusted that I was going to do the best that I could do with His help.  About half an hour down the road of just kind of hard riding, my lung capacity just opened up and I was just completely a different person.  I was able to breathe really, really well and ride incredibly strong.  I got stronger and stronger as the ride went on.  I really ended today the strongest I’ve ever felt in riding my bike, ever, which I’m really, really grateful for.  Thank you all for your encouragement and your thoughts and prayers for me, it really means a lot to me.

One of the scariest things that happened to me today was when we were going up one of those “cliff climbs,” I call them.  It’s where we’re on the highway and we’re going up those things that you see in pictures that are like you’re going up these rounded cliffs where there’s just a guardrail and it just drops off with all kinds of nothingness below with rocks.  It’s really astounding to see but I feel like a little teeny ant in this world climbing up these huge mountains.  A very mean trucker went by and I felt like he was going to slice my skin, he was so close to me.  It scared me so much, I though I was going to die right there in the road, he came so close.  Went he went on up and I saw that he was in the right lane and he could have been in the left lane because there were no cars in the left lane, it was very, very upsetting to see how mean that was for a trucker to do that.  I was very, very angry with him.  I had some real choice words for him, but then I quickly decided to forgive him.  I have to tell you that nothing yet has empowered me as much as that, because as soon as I forgave him I really sensed inside of me an incredible amount of adrenaline, it empowered me.  The whole rest of the ride, as I say, I’ve never ridden stronger.  It just gave me a sense of real power and strength on the road, and a bad thing turned into something really, really good.  I can say that was used to my benefit, it was a blessing in disguise.

So I do want to say to you truckers out there, if you ever would be watching this website or paying any attention, when you see cyclists on the road, please get over as much as you can and don’t go by us as fast as you possibly can, because it’s a wave of air and it just feels like we’re going to fall right over; maybe not as much for the men, but definitely for us women.  It’s very, very scary.  I can say this, whatever company out there that the initials on their trucks are CSX, I have an incredible amount of respect for you because I don’t know which trucker it was today, but he got way over, he went slow when he approached us, and we all gave him the thumbs up.  He was the best trucker we’ve encountered in four days that went by us.  I just want to say thank you to your organization, you are mighty fine and you should be really proud of yourselves for the respect that you have for cyclists on the road.  Thank you very much!

Another thing I want to say about our route today, we had a SAG stop at the 31-mile mark at a small park, and I’m happy to tell you, OLT, that we got some great press coverage at the park.  They interviewed a bunch of us and took pictures of us.  One of the interviewers particularly was very, very happy to see that I was fundraising for our men and women that are deployed and for their families, because she has lots of people in her family that are military.  She took my card and she took an additional picture of me with my OLT shirt that I have on today, and she took a picture of me with some of the other buddies that I ride with.  She really thanked me and thanked all of us with OLT, and I believe that we’re going to get really good press coverage for that today.  So, hey, that is great, great, great!  I was very thankful for that.

The rest of the mileage from 31 miles up until we finished at 61 miles was really good.  About 10 miles before we got in today, my little clicker on the left side of my bike for changing my rings stopped working, which could have been really difficult because I had to keep it in the middle ring.  I couldn’t get it down to the lower ring or the upper ring, which gives me more power, I just had to stay in the middle ring.  Fortunately most of our riding for the rest of those 10 miles was downhill, so that was a real blessing for me too.  So I’m going to have my bike checked for that and get that in gear again.  It couldn’t have really happened at a better time if it was going to happen.

All is well.  I give my love to everyone out there, and I know you’re out there, so it’s really exciting.  I’m very, very glad to have finished the fourth day.  We’re all really grateful as a group of riders that we’re all safe and we’re all doing really well.  I know that God is definitely watching over us.

Tomorrow is a very, very big day.  I have to find out which city we’re going into, but I just know that we are going 117 miles tomorrow, which will be our longest day yet.  I guess it’s not as much climbing and it’s a good time with a lot of flats to catch some mileage tomorrow.

So I’m signing off from Prineville, OR.  Thank you all, it’s been a pleasure.  Take care, God bless you all, and God bless America.

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