The riders left Scoutmaster Lemon's house at about 7:00am and headed to Alpine. One rider was lost in the first few miles because his small stature was no match for the wind gusts. The other eight Scouts looked strong and finished the first 12.2 mile leg in under an hour. They left the "refueling" station at Wine's Park on the next leg of the route which took them down Center Street and around south Lehi over to Lindon to the Bus Garage and back. This leg was about 12.8 miles long and became difficult as the boys headed back to Wine's Park. The grade is slightly uphill, the wind was strong and against them, and by the time the last boy got back to the park there was a steady rain.
Since the Cycling Merit Badge requires two 25-mile rides, we all thought that the boys would call it a day and count this ride for a 25-miler, but they surprised us. They were halfway to an amazing accomplishment and they were prepared and excited to continue. One Scout called it a day because his gears were not functioning correctly, but the other 7 headed out on a revised route. Instead of the planned route that included shorter rides that all circled back to the park, the boys headed south towards the Bus Garage, the Lindon Boat Harbor, and on to Vineyard Elementary. At that point we were at about 40 miles completed and the Orem Sports Park has a trail that is 1.16 miles long. The boys all took 9 laps around the park to complete the 50 mile ride.
They were exhausted, but exhilarated! To complete a 50 mile ride in about 6 hours with all the elements against you is a feat to be proud of! What impressed me the most was the positive, encouraging attitude that each of the boys and leaders showed. I loved seeing them riding next to each other and chatting as they rode along. I loved handing out the sandwiches that Sis. Lemon was cranking out as the boys rode by finishing those last 10 miles. I loved taking pictures of them all along the way and handing out the 50-miler buttons when they finished the last lap.
I hope that as these boys continue to grow and turn into men, that they will take the lessons they learned today forward with them. These are some of the lessons that the boys taught me today:
- There are hard things that are worth doing, just for the experience. There were no rewards planned, no immediate recognition, just the satisfaction of knowing that we completed something that we set out to do.
- Life is not about competition. Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses (and different equipment), but what really matters is that we all make it together. This is a Gospel lesson in action.
- We can be encouraging to others and be happy in their success.
- We can share what we have to help others. Brother Price gave up his bike to Parker when Parker got a flat so that he could keep going. Brother Price was able to fix the flat so that it was ready for Parker's last two laps. Then he jumped on his bike and continued. He had to ride three more laps after everyone else was finished, but he didn't mind. And guess who got the biggest cheer when he crossed the finish line? Brother Price!
- We all need a support team. We just can't do it all by ourselves- we need to learn to trust others to help us reach our goals.
- We need to dream and have a vision of where we want to be. Scoutmaster Lemon planned these cycling activities about a year ago. The practice rides began in April with that first downhill 6 mile ride to Willow Park. Little steps get us to big goals.
- There should always be a "what's next." Today Lance should be feeling very happy that seven Scouts met the challenge. But, I bet he is at home wondering what else he needs to do to get the other boys ready for the second attempt that is planned for September 5.
It was a great day.