The TwoCor staff teaches program youth about being a warrior: a person who despite terrific obstacles manages to be successful. Warriors are often troubled in life but persevere in the end. They work at taking new ground, pushing themselves to achieve goals, and completing the difficult tasks that others shy away from. Warriors take a logical approach to the challenges at hand. While this may lead others to perceive them as arrogant and stubborn, a warrior has a soft center and can be befriended by anyone knowing how to reach it.
Often intelligent, strong, determined and skillful, warriors, despite whatever problems they may have, are perfect in their own way. At TwoCor we show our youth that to a degree they each have traits of a great warrior. Some of these young people have endured abuse, neglect and poverty. They come from broken and/or dysfunctional homes, and have experienced pain and sorrow most of us could not imagine. They may lack motivation, ambition, a sense of self, and a desire to put effort into anything for fear of failure and disappointment. We attempt to make a correlation between what they have experienced in life, the warriors they are, and what they can become.
Now, let's talk about bicycles and what I have learned recently about being a warrior. The Bike Lab that I supervise teaches youth basic work and social skills and builds confidence. The lab needs tools, helmets and other items that allow us to effectively do this. On Friday, June 23, I set off on a 708-mile bike ride to raise money for the lab. I believed I was completely prepared for this adventure. The goal was to ride my bicycle from the front door of TwoCor and head north to Denver/Golden, then west up and over the I-70 corridor. I would pass through Idaho Springs, Vail, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction/Fruita to Green River, Utah, then head north through Provo, Salt Lake City, Ogden and eventually Plymouth, Utah.
I awoke that Friday morning to a crisp 46 degrees. The weather was hot and dry for the previous two weeks and that's what I was anticipating for my trip. I packed a rain jacket expecting rain at some point during this journey, but not day one. I didn't even get out of Colorado Springs before the rain started and completely soaked me. This was only the beginning. During the subsequent days, I developed two saddle sores stemming from riding with wet shorts and some chest congestion (lingering from a sinus infection I had three weeks prior that returned after getting soaked). I experienced a stomach bug and outdoor temperatures 10 degrees hotter than expected for this time of year in the Grand Junction/Fruita area. The heat and stomach issues led to dehydration that stranded me in Fruita for two days. Fruita to Green River is a 105-mile stretch with few opportunities to replenish water. The idea of putting myself out there without support made me nervous and uncomfortable. I also experienced numerous road closures and detours, leading to additional unexpected miles on certain days.
Psychologically, I was dealing with uncertainty and self-doubt. I missed my wife and kids. Our family van started experiencing mechanical issues. I knew that my wife could handle whatever needed to be done, but I couldn't help but feel as though I need to be with them. At times, I wondered if I had taken on more than I could handle. I asked myself why I chose this method to raise money for the Bike Lab. This is hard! Biking 708 miles in 8 days—I’m not 25 anymore! Why not have a bake sale and sell cupcakes instead? I like cupcakes.
I asked myself these questions already knowing the answers. I chose this challenge because I love it. I chose this (and had to remind myself several times) because this draws out the warrior in me. Pushing myself like this and attempting to take personal ground helps me put life in perspective (what's important vs what isn’t). It humbles me, puts me in my place, and reminds me that it's okay to need and ask for help. These are the values and principles we teach at TwoCor.