scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: Cycling Merit Badge
Mick Cole (MicCCole@AOL.COM
Mon Aug 21 2000 - 11:55:54 CDT
In a message dated Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:52:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Jan Mussler <mussler@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU> writes <in part>:
<< For those of you who counsel this merit badge, how do you interpret the 50
mile ride in 8 hours? Do you eliminate a lunch break? Must the hours be
We have the problem around where we live of terrain.
I recently rode the 50 mile ride with a group of counselors and scouts at Massaweepie Scout Reservation in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate NY. While the mountains aren't as high as those in Colorado, the terrain is extremely rugged. We completed the ride, with stops, in well under 8 (consecutive) hours. We were all on mountain bikes, riding a variety of road and trail surfaces, including a good deal of single-track. Some sections of the road were so sandy that at least a few of us walked both uphill and downhill. There was very little level terrain. Uphills generally required use of the lowest gear available. Downhills frequently required contant standing and braking to maintain control. There was one section of paved road near the lunch stop--also extremely steep, requiring extreme caution downhill and extreme exertion uphill.
Because of the demanding nature of completing the MB at Massaweepie, scouts were required to be 13 years old to enroll in the class. In addition, there was a 25-mile ride early in the week over the most demanding terrain possible, to check the fitness and skill of all riders.
It seems to me that if a 56-year old Scoutmaster who is not nearly as fit as he would like to be can complete the 50-miler, any reasonably fit scout should be able to do so as well. Some coaching and encouragement may be in order. I coached two scouts from my unit through the MB class. During the first ride, both were extremely discouraged at being the last to the top of each hill. I encouraged them to look inside themselves for the mental strength to continue. By the second or third ride, they rose to the occasion and were leaving me in the dust.
A very challenging MB, but one that is all the more meaningful because of the challenge.
SM, Troop 62