Scout Camp Part 3

This is the "final" installment of our camp adventures. Now that I've regaled you with the boys stories, it's time for my own. As you've seen, I got to do a lot of fun things with Nicholas. I didn't spend as much time with Christopher, but he was always off with his buddies doing other things so that was fine. We got to hang out at meals and such so we got some dad and kid time.

My big goal for the week was to ride each day with the cycling merit badge class. I brought my personal mountain bike with me this year (along with my cycling gear). Last year I tried out one of the camp's bikes and while they're good brands, they're not well maintained. And I wanted to see if my bike was up to the challenge. Was it ever!

The merit badge calls for 7 rides for completion: two 10 mile, two 15 mile, two 25 mile, and a 50 mile ride. Given we were supposed to do 7 rides, I was curious on how we would do them in 5 days. The answer, we weren't.

We did a lot of off road riding, but we basically did a ride each day, each progressively longer, that were to add up to the total miles specified by the merit badge requirements. Friday was the 50 mile ride. I wasn't sure I was going to do it or not. It depended on how I felt the other days. We also needed to get our bikes checked Sunday night. I got a big kick out of that. I showed up with my bike (a Gary Fisher Wahoo) and stated I was there to get it inspected. The young counsellor took one look at my bike, tapped another on the shoulder, and said "Do we need to look at that?" The counsellor looked at the bike and me and said "Nope. It's good." It waqs going to be a good week!

The first day was supposed to be a 20 mile ride. Of course, I had my bike computer with me (tells distance, speed, etc). We went through a lot of trails, and my bike held up great in all the terrain. At the end of the ride, I check the milage, and it was about 13 miles. Scratching my head, I asked one of the counsellors what was the deal? He shushed me and said, "No, it's a TWENTY MILE RIDE." Quietly he let me know that since the terrain at camp is hilly (and believe me it was!) that they shave some of the distance off feeling 10 miles through the hills is worth at least 15 on the streets. Far be it from me to argue!

Day two was another 15 (actual) mile ride, followed by a 21 mile ride Wednesday, and a shorter 7 mile ride Thursday. We would have gone longer, but the scout who was taking the merit badge was developmentally challenged and we wanted to make sure he had enough energy for the 50 mile ride the next day. He was keeping up pretty good, but he talked non-stop on our rides and complained quite a bit, though he always came through to finish the ride. Nice kid, 18 years old, maturity of an 11 year old. I was totally psyched for the 50 mile ride Friday but just as I got down to the starting point, it started to rain and we had thunder going on. We had to cancel the ride for safety reasons. Which was disappointing as the midpoint of the ride where we'd stop for lunch was at the base of a waterfall. Oh well, perhaps next year.

Tuesday was the biggest drama of the week. It was a challenging ride off road up and down some tricky hills. We made it through that just fine. The end of the ride was on the road back to camp. Some of the hills we went down were so steep we were hitting 35 miles per hour (yes, you read that right). We were cruising! We were going downhill through a construction zone and the ride leader and an assistant counsellor were ahead of me. We were doing about 25 mph. The assistant counsellor was moving up on the left of the ride leader, who didn't realize he was so close. The ride leader moved left because he thought one of the construction workers was trying to tell him something. I saw it all happen in a flash. The two bikes touched wheels, swerved just a little, and then the ride leader went over the top of his bike. The other bike wiped out. I'm trying to slow down and pull over as I see the ride leader's bike tumbling down the road at me. At all 25 mph on bikes!

Luckily, it appeared everyone was ok. The ride leader landed on his head and literally cracked his helmet. He had a backpack on that took the brunt of the impact. The assistant counsellor was scraped up pretty good and had a sore elbow, but was otherwise fine. The ride leader's front rim was all mangled and the bike was no longer ridable. We were having trouble getting hold of the camp so the construction foreman put the two bikes in his truck and took the two back to camp where they were checked out. Luckily, both were completely fine. The moral of this story, which I will relay to all my scouts every time I teach bike safety is 1) WEAR YOUR HELMET! and 2) ALWAYS announce your self when making a pass. These kinds of accidents are proof of what happens when you don't.

Even though I didn't get to go on the 50 mile ride, I was proud of myselft that I never had to get off of my bike once to walk up a hill. We had some pretty steep ones, and I managed to ride up them all. Beyond all the riding, I got some reading done, some time with the boys, and generally had a pretty good vacation. No pictures of me as I was always behind the camera. By the end of the week, I was ready to come home and it's nice to be back. So ends another scout camp adventure until next year.


Jude said…
That cracked me up! "Shhh it's a TWENTY MILE ride!" hahaha

I'm glad everyone was okay after the wipeout, it surely could have been worse.

No matter where we go or how much fun we're having, it's always nice to get home again to our own beds and loved ones. :-)
sydwynd said…
Jude: I was curious as to how long the 50 mile ride would really be. Alas, perhaps next year. I was REALLY looking forward to my own bed again after a week sleeping on a cot.
Unknown said…
Very cool way to bond with your boy : )
sydwynd said…
Brighton: He was so happy both to get out on a kayak and to earn his archery merit badge. Besides, I got plenty of "me" time and the older one doesn't need as much of my attention.

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