A monster hill and hair-raising descent
July 25, 2022

By Daryl Olson

We rode from Burlington to Montpelier, Vermont, a 57 mile ride with 4,163 feet of elevation gain! There are now only 4 ride days left to complete this adventure. Today’s ride while not that long was challenging to say the least.

We rode over a pass called “Camel’s Hump.” The pitch of the ride kept increasing until we had 15% slopes to overcome. Much of the 4,163 feet of elevation gain came with the climb up and over the hump. For myself, these slopes were about the steepest pitch I could ride without walking my bike. I had my bike in first gear and was often standing up on my pedals.

Descending was a hair-raising situation because it was down 13% slopes with challenging corners and sometimes wet roads. A few times I nearly lost a corner; angels, were with me today! But at the end of the day, I felt good about completing the climb. To add sauce for the “goose” we also had about 4 miles of dirt/gravel road to navigate that was also being graded, so there was soft dirt to avoid.

To help us get through these rides the Fuller Center provides rest stops every 20 miles, we burn extraordinary amounts of calories during these long daily rides and working on all the needed chores. So, we regularly chow down every 20 miles and often build in ice cream stops and eat massive amounts at potlucks, etc.  Needless to say, because of the need to keep the body fueled, it’s my experience that it can be difficult to lose weight while exercising a lot, which is counterintuitive to me. But the muscles certainly get toned, and the heart and lungs made strong.

Tomorrow, we head into New Hampshire, and towards the conclusion of the ride in a few days. The ride and all that it entails has certainly made an impression on my life and there have been lessons learned by putting myself in such a situation. The Bible has many passages that tell us to count trials as blessings because they bring us closer to God and lead us to maturity. Life is certainly full of trials and hardships that we are unable to avoid. Perhaps by testing ourselves with various self-imposed challenging situations, God can use these to help mature us and prepare us for His service and for those unavoidable trials that are certain to come. 

May God bless you and keep you in these uncertain times. Shalom.

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