100 miles featured

One of the most challenging things I’ve ever done was on an Overland trip. On Canadian Rockies & Montana in 2016, I biked over 100 miles on a century day in northern Montana.

If you’re reading this as someone who has also completed a century, you know what it involves: an early morning, a too-hot afternoon, moments of frustration and of relief (but also “did I really just do that?” accomplishment) upon completion. On a teen adventure trip, it also involves the company and support of eleven other students and two incredible leaders.

Inspiring View of the Canadian Rockies

If you haven’t completed a century day, you may have doubts in your ability to do so. I sure did. I remember lying awake in my tent, not able to fall asleep with nerves and doubts. Would it be as hard as I imagined? Would I be too slow and hold the group up? Would I even make it all the way?

The next day, as the miles passed, however, I realized that there were a few factors that I hadn’t considered in my moments of doubt.

First, I was ready. Deep down, I knew that I was ready. As the miles passed — 10, 20, 30 — it became clear that my training and the first week of my Overland trip had left me more than prepared to crush miles and push into the afternoon.

Canadian Rockies & Montana Dessert Circle

More importantly, however, were the people behind me. At Overland, the group comes first. Yes, this often means putting the group before yourself. But it also means that meaningful relationships — nurtured and strengthened immensely even in short amounts of time — encourage everyone to do their best. They even push you to do things you didn’t know you could do. As I kept pedaling — 40, 60, 80 miles — I knew that the people I had come to rely on (and who, in turn, relied on me) were behind me. I wasn’t going to let them down. They kept me going.

When we arrived to camp, exhausted but excited, the sense of accomplishment that we all shared was palpable. Inexplicably energized, we laughed, hugged, jumped in a lake and shared a meal. As we had relied on each other throughout the ride, we celebrated together, too. My group, many of whom are now fellow Overland leaders, pushed and challenged me so that I always felt supported. That dynamic is the heart of any Overland trip.

Owen and his 2016 Canadian Rockies & Montana group

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