Posts Tagged ‘Tour De Cox’

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We’re back at work this week and back to work on our fitness goals.  It’s less than 5 months to the Tour de Cox and our vow renewal.

We’ve been enjoying life a lot and not working out nearly as much as we should be.  It’s time to get back on our bikes in earnest.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The drive to Tennessee today was fun and uneventful.  We had a small Christmas this morning with just the two of us before we got on the road.  We opened our stockings (yes, Santa still fills them even with no kids in the house) and exchanged a few gifts.  Even that was part of the restoration tour as we exchanged cycling jerseys we had bought for each other.  The meaning in that gesture was something that only we would understand and it also kept us pointed toward next August’s Tour De Cox, the day we will also renew our vows as the culminating moment of the restoration tour.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The emotional whirlwind continues. So many highs and lows right now and I’m not sure how much of it is my doing, how much is the nature of us trying to adjust to our new reality, and how much is just circumstances. About an hour before my shift was to end last night, Ceecee called me and asked me if I wanted her to get me a headlight for my bike. Just like that. No discussion about earlier in the day, just the question about the bike.

I figured if she was asking, it must mean that she still wanted to go on the Moonlight Ride, she wants there to be peace between us, and she doesn’t want to talk about it. Fine with me, so I just told her yes, that would be great. She said to hurry home after work and she would have our things ready for the ride.

We went and it was really a lot of fun. Since we hadn’t gotten to do the Tour De Cox the day the restoration tour started, I didn’t want this to be something we had to cancel also because of problems and stress in our relationship. It turned out great, though, but that’s only the beginning…

This morning, we went to the gym and Ceecee said that today she was going to try for her goal of swimming two miles. I can’t swim nearly that long, so I said I would start out in the pool with her, but then I would need to go do other things while she continued.

I stayed in the water for about 30 minutes, then asked her about how long she thought it would be. She said two hours total, so I headed off to work in another part of the gym. About an hour later, I was running laps on the upstairs running track, and it has three windows that overlook the pool. Each time I came by, I would look down and see if she was still swimming.

At first she was going steady and strong, but after a while, I could see that she was faltering and I figured she must be exhausted. I went down to the pool and squatted down at the end of her lane. When she made her next turn, she gave me a signal with her hand of five more laps, so I decided to stay until she finished.

Each time, I could see her struggling more and more, so I started saying encouraging things when she approached. She just kept holding up the number of fingers for the laps she had left. Finally, she made it. When she got out of the pool, I felt awkward being in my clothes, but she hugged me and thanked me for encouraging her. She said on Facebook that she couldn’t have done it without me. It was also the first time since we had been back together that she had shown affection toward me at the gym.

So that would have made it a really joyful day right there, but then we went to church. The week before had been a disaster, so I suggested we try somewhere else this week, if she was willing. She said she felt like we should go back to North Point and give it another try. I was pretty surprised, but off to North Point we went.

This time it was completely different. Everything I had hoped for last week happened today, and so much more. It was like everything from the songs to the message were set up specifically for her (and me) to be there! By the second or third song, she started to break, and I could see tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.

I went out to the lobby and got her some tissues, and it was good that I did, because as the message went on, it turned into this amazingly emotional bawl fest for both of us. I’m sure people around us must have been wondering what was wrong with us, but we didn’t care. We were having a healing moment with God and each other. She came back to her faith today and I can’t even begin to tell you how full my heart is and how much I love her.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We’ve been talking about riding our bikes to work sometimes when school starts, so we decided to do a trial run this morning. It’s 18 miles to Ozark, and when Ceecee first said we should ride to work sometimes, I thought she was crazy. I told her, “We can’t do that. It’s too far.”

Then she pointed out that we were going to ride the Tour de Cox and I also thought about the fact that I‘ve been riding 20 mile training rides to get ready for the triathlon, so I guess it didn’t make sense to say that we couldn’t. So this morning we set off with our phones as our GPS system. We got totally lost and had to keep turning around and trying different routes. In the end, I have no idea how many miles we actually rode by the time we got to the school, but we did make it.

Once we were there, we got on a computer and looked at the map to find a way home. The ride home was great and Ceecee gave me a little fist bump at a red light when we were close to home. It’s strange, but our relationship has been amazing when we’re alone together, but things are still a little strained and weird when we’re out and about.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things have been really good and a little weird all at the same time. It’s wonderful to be back together, but we haven’t really talked much about anything and Ceecee keeps saying that she’s not proud of what she did and that she hopes that I can accept her and she never wants to hurt me. I keep telling her that it’s my fault for not loving her and being the man I promised to be, but she’s carrying some kind of guilt or something.

Of course, my mind is all over the place with what that means. I’ve never suspected her of being unfaithful because she promised me she wouldn’t be and a few weeks ago, when I said that it had been three months, she said it had been three months for her too. She also said something weird about not wanting me to be upset, but she had exchanged gifts with this guy who is one of her old boyfriends. He’s been on Facebook and I’ve always suspected that he was interested in her as more than a friend, but he lives in another state.

Anyway, I know that anything’s possible, so maybe she had some inappropriate communication with someone over the internet. Maybe she did have some kind of a fling with someone, although I can’t imagine that. I’ve prayed and asked God, but He won’t tell me anything. Whatever it is, I keep telling her it doesn’t matter. We’re together again and things will never be the way they were and that’s what’s important.

Ceecee and I have been riding our bikes together this week and that’s been really cool. We’re planning on riding in the Tour de Cox this Saturday. It’s a 62 mile ride with a 43 and a 26 mile option. I don’t know that we can do the whole 62 miles. We’ve never ridden that far before.

Tonight, we’re going to Silver Dollar City for “Moonlight Madness.” That’s when they are open at night for just a short time out of the year and you can ride the rides in the dark. Should be fun. We only have one more full week of Summer before we go back to school.

Today, the restoration tour took us by bicycle to the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.  It’s a historical site of a civil war battle that has, in a roundabout way, played a role in our lives ever since we moved to Missouri.

Our first house in Missouri was located on about 80 acres that the landlord ran cattle on.  Just to the north was the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield.  If you walked straight out our back door, you would come to the boundary of the battlefield, where Terrell Creek merges with Wilson’s Creek.  That was the house that was destroyed by the tornado on March 12, 2006.

The history and effects of that tornado have already been documented in this blog, but that event was the single biggest factor in the changes in myself that led to the downfall of our marriage.  The fact that the battlefield was there was incidental, but it did provide the backdrop for many good hours of fishing, hunting, and exploring before the tornado.

When we moved back to Republic in 2007, we always talked about going out to the battlefield some day, but we never did.  Then, last Spring, my wife got into cycling right about the same time we were splitting up.  We also got interested in becoming triathletes and we heard that the trail through the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was a good place to train because of the hills and conditions.

I got my wife her first road bike for her birthday that year, and I also bought her a pink cycling jersey.  This was during the time that we still lived together, but that she no longer thought that she loved me, and things were already in motion to break us apart.  I took her and her bike out to the battlefield so that she could ride the trails while our son and I ran.  We took pictures of her with her bike and her jersey and I tried to be happy for her despite the circumstances.

About a month later, she bought a new bike and moved out.  We only went out to the battlefield a few times together, and I went several times by myself after that.  I still have those pictures, and they’ve always made me kind of sad because of the memories they invoke.

Since we’ve been back together, cycling and fitness have been, once again, a big part of our lives.  We both have nice road bikes now, and during the summer, we practically live at the gym or out on the many trails near our home.  During the school year, it’s not uncommon for us to cycle the 18 miles to work.  This August, on the day of our renewal ceremony, we plan to spend the morning riding the 62 mile Tour De Cox.

Just recently, after much indecision, my wife decided that she does want to compete in the Tiger Tri this August.  Since we really do need to step up our training, we decided that this morning, we would ride out to the battlefield, do some running once we get there, and ride back.  This led to a comedy of errors, thanks to the navigator on our phones and some unmarked country roads that we may or may not have been supposed to have taken.

We did eventually reach the battlefield, and as we rode into the parking lot where we used to unload bikes from the back of the car, I realized that my wife was wearing that same pink jersey from more than a year before.  I hadn’t intended today to be a restoration tour stop.  I just thought it was going to be a long ride and brick workout, but when I saw where we were and the memories came flooding back, I realized that this was a part of our restoration just as much as the planned stops.

Sometimes that’s the way restoration works.  Sometimes you’re just doing work that needs done, and you discover something you didn’t expect.  It could be a color of paint underneath that shows up while scraping.  It could be a discovery of something that was built over, but is still there and can be incorporated back into being part of the house again.  The great thing is, those discoveries happen, and then you get to choose what to do with them.  Whether it’s a house, a life, or a marriage that’s being restored, it will almost always end up being a combination of the things you planned to do and the things you discover along the way.

Waking up that first Saturday together was a miracle on so many fronts.  I have had more than one person tell me, both before and since, that they have never known a couple who has gone to the place we did and come out of it together.  There were times that my best friends made their doubts evident in things they said.  They stood by me and prayed for our marriage, but also said things like to be prepared, “just in case this thing goes badly.”

While the outward miracle of my wife and I moving back in together and re-committing to our marriage was in every sense spectacular, the things taking place on the inside of each of us were even more amazing.  I was literally living the final phrase of the famous “footprints” poem.  I was being carried by my Savior and I knew we were going to be all right.  There was going to be some work left to do, and more that we would need to heal from, but I knew that if He was carrying me, He would carry both of us. 

The most wonderful miracle for me, though, was what I saw in my wife’s eyes that next morning.  There was a transparent honesty, a release from some long-standing fears, and a vulnerability and openness that I hadn’t been sure that I would ever see.  It erased all my doubts about our reconciliation working out.  Her eyes have captivated me since the first time we met, but looking into them that morning, there was a depth and a newness that was more beautiful than I could have even imagined.

It was then that our “new” relationship truly began.  It reminds me of the very final stages in the restoration of a house.  The inside is never completely finished until after the outside is done.  There are always those details on the inside that put the finishing touches on the place and make it completely ready to be lived in. 

For the neighbors, and for people driving by, the outside being finished is the signal that it’s ready.  They see it looking done on the outside, and they want to see the inside, or they wonder why no one has moved in yet.  The people doing the restoration know that it isn’t finished, and they know what still needs to be done to make it just the way they want it. 

Some people live in the house during the restoration process.  Others move into temporary housing and then come back when it’s done and ready.  We always stayed in the houses while we worked on them, no matter how big the job was.  It was difficult and beyond inconvenient (think bathrooms and plumbing here) at times.  Often it was very tedious and seemed like little or no real progress was being made.  Other times, though, a lot came together at once and you could see the transformation happen. 

Once such moment is a favorite story of ours, when a friend, who generally didn’t knock, opened the front door and suddenly backed away.  She looked around in confusion, as though she’d gone to the wrong house and didn’t know where she was.  What had happened was she had stepped right into one of those moments where a lot had changed seemingly overnight.  It really didn’t happen that quickly, there was just a lot of work that had gone on unseen before the visible part appeared.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians contains the line, “I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion.”  The work in our marriage wasn’t finished, but the outcome was no longer in doubt.  My wife and I were both being transformed on the inside, and those changes were going to make our future so much different from our past. 

The plan for the restoration tour began to form in my mind almost immediately.  Nothing could be done about missing the bike ride, but I knew that it was an annual event and, much like I had set the Tiger Triathlon in my mind as the time that we would get back together, so I began to envision a year of restoration leading up to the next Tour De Cox.  We had a year to heal, to grow, and to repair our past mistakes.  Where I had been working on restoring our marriage alone, we would now spend a year of restoring together, ending with our renewal ceremony after the 2011 Tour De Cox.

I have to confess.  When I left Macy’s the following Monday, my thoughts were running wild with the reception I would receive on my first night “home.”  I imagined my wife waiting for me, breathless with anticipation.  I pictured her taking hold of my tie, pulling me close, and leading me upstairs.  Even though we had been together for more than 15 years,  I was as nervous as a new boyfriend. 

When I got to the loft, absolutely nothing happened.  No joyful reunion.  No passionate encounter.  Nothing that suggested that this was anything other than the most ordinary night in the most ordinary of marriages.  I was confused and let down.  It was all very surreal after Saturday morning.  I had no idea what to think, but it was infinitely better than being separated, so I decided to take it as it came and let it develop.

As the week went on, things became increasingly awkward between us.  There wasn’t nearly enough communication, and we were tiptoeing around each other, unsure what to say or do, or what our roles were to be.  We took some bike rides together and went to the gym, and we were getting along well, but there was an uncomfortable feeling to it all.  It was as if we just stepped from one life into another with no transition or adjustment period.

For me, there was the obvious adjustment of moving “my stuff” into “her place” and trying to not completely disrupt everything that she had worked so hard to accomplish.  I wasn’t sure what the boundaries were.  She would casually say, “It’s our place now,” as if it was all completely natural and expected, and for her, it may have been.  I wanted to make sure that my moving in would be a blessing to her and not a major disruption. 

For her, the issues were less clear, but I could tell she was dealing with some fallout from the separation.  I didn’t want to push her to talk about things she didn’t want to, and I kept trying to reassure her that we were going forward into our future, not back into the past.  We both had some fears and doubts after what we had been through, but I had no intention of letting anything stand in our way now that we were living together and committed to one another again.

The Tour De Cox, a 62 mile annual bike ride, was scheduled for the upcoming Saturday and we were planning to participate.  It was to be the first organized cycling event that we would ride in as a couple.  By Friday, the tension was nearly unbearable for me.  I had moved in and there were way too many elephants in the room to ignore for much longer.  At some point, we needed to talk.

I prayed a lot throughout the day that Friday, asking God what was going on and what to do.  I wasn’t getting any answer, so I figured I must already know. I was listening to Flyleaf’s second CD and the song that was playing contained the line, “We’ll cry tonight, but in the morning we are new,” and I took it as a sign.  When I got home, my wife was sick to her stomach.  I almost changed my mind and decided to let it go, but I had resolved that we needed to get this taken care of, so I told her we needed to talk. 

I told her that I needed to know why she had called me and asked me to move back in.  I needed to know what had happened and why she had left me and now had come back to me.  I needed to know what was going on in her head and her heart and her life.  We simply had never talked it through and we needed to.  I felt really bad because she was feeling so sick and I suspected that this would keep us up for too much of the night to be able to make the bike ride in the morning, but once I asked the questions, there was no backing out.

We talked everything out, and we did cry together, just like the song said, over the pain we had caused each other and the choices we wished we could take back.  After a time, my wife was able to fall asleep.  I held her for a while, then went downstairs and sat by the window.  I spent some time praying and meditating and looking ahead to the future that I could foresee.  I finally came to bed for good around 3AM, knowing that the bike ride was out, but that we had needed to do this.

In the morning (also just like the song said), it was if we had somehow hit a “reset” button during the night.  The air was clear and everything looked new and beautiful, like it was the first day of a brand new marriage.  It was then that the restoration tour truly began.