Ben Houston Ride for Freedom Day 3

Oct 9 2013

Distance: 101 km*
Average Speed: 31.0 km
Max H/R: 187bpm
Average H/R: 140bpm
Ascent: 611
Calories: 1557
Total Distance: 320 km

Today was Day 3 of our A21 Freedom Challenge and we rode from Belgrade to Novi Sad in Serbia. Let me just say it was an eventful day!

Ben Houston A21 Freedom Challenge: Hillsong Collected

Belgrade is an amazing city. So much of what you would expect in any major city around the world, but with its own unique distinctions. All types of people, cobblestone streets with beautiful restaurants, picturesque architecture, a combination of modern and 'not so modern' in a typical Eastern European way.

But then there are also the bombed buildings that once stood tall, and now attempt to stand half demolished, a stark reminder of the war that tore through this city not too long ago.

Ben Houston A21 Freedom Challenge: Hillsong Collected
Ben Houston A21 Freedom Challenge: Hillsong Collected

In some ways it resembled the battle of this Freedom Challenge and the eventful ride that took place today. It seemed to be one of those days that started with the best of intention, yet did not exactly go the way we planned.

Today's stage was pegged as being one of our best, one to look forward to. A balance of beauty and challenge as we rode through cities, farmland, small towns, old churches, ruins and mountain climbs.

But within just a few minutes it all went downhill. Belgrade was chaotic with every imaginable vehicle bearing down on us. From trams to trucks and busses to tractors and horses, to Optimus Prime – it was all going on! We had bike malfunctions, flat tyres, tweaked knees, and a bit of love from the road and a guardrail for one of the riders. I won't embarrass him by saying who it was, but his new album is great!

I am pretty sure we made half the city well aware of our presence due to the traffic jams we created. Anything to raise awareness for A21 right?! So the result was the need to get in the vehicles and drive out of the chaos, shortening the ride*. I know that my thighs and backside were extremely grateful for this!

The ride was very beautiful though and we did our first major climb. A few kilometres with long sections at a grade of 12%. The team got through it well, but it definitely got my heart pumping and made my legs feel like they were full of lead.

Dropping down the other side was incredible though. It was steep and fast with a combination of sharp and sweeping turns.

In Novi Sad we left half the team to do a press conference while the rest of us transferred on to Budapest. It's my first time here and I am in awe of this city! It is enormous and absolutely incredible.

Ben Houston A21 Freedom Challenge: Hillsong Collected

Myself and Lindz went to an event put on by our Hillsong Connect Group here in Budapest. A stack of people also came from other churches to rally against human trafficking. I spoke for a while and Lindz lit the place up with his music and sharing.

It was a GREAT night and hopefully a catalyst to see The Church in Hungary to rise up to fight human trafficking in this region. According to the head of the Baptist aid there is an estimated 60,000 people a year exploited & trafficked in Hungary alone…. Insane!

Much love


For more information and to support Ben on the A21 Freedom Challenge, please