I started riding a bicycle because of the “Arab Oil Embargo” of 1974. In 1983, a dedicated commuter and sport rider, I decided to do the “Arizona Challenge” an event covering 325 miles and 18,000 feet of elevation change in 24 hours. Paul, the bike shop owner supported me as I covered about 180 miles of the course in 15 hours, exceeding 7,000 feet elevation twice. I stopped as I topped Mingus Mt. with most of the climbing done, but no hope of finishing in the allotted 24 hours.
The next year I was more prepared and trained up to 400 miles a week. I finished in 23 hours and 45 minutes. What memories and lessons learned in that one year of preparation and work. Each one of you exemplifies some of the lessons I learned there. Certainly with a Bishop who knows ‘Fartlek” means “speed play” in Swedish I am inspired to ride again. As my body has not kept magically in shape I am now just an infrequent sport rider, but one with the confidence that I can do hard things and endure physically, emotionally and spiritually in this daily struggle called life.
L. Tom Perry, Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, spoke on this in April 2008:
“How do we endure to the end? Enduring to the end requires faithfulness to the end, as in the case of Paul, who told Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Obviously, this is not an easy task. It is intended to be difficult, challenging, and, ultimately, refining as we prepare to return to live with our Father in Heaven and receive eternal blessings.”
“Enduring to the end is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. First, it requires the Savior’s redemptive power. We cannot return to our Heavenly Father’s presence unless we are clean, and so we must continue to repent. Ideally, we repent moment by moment, but we also attend sacrament meeting each week to partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants. Second, enduring to the end requires the Holy Ghost, who will both guide and sanctify us. Third, we must be an integral part of a community of Saints, serving and receiving service from our brothers and sisters in the gospel. With baptism we become part of the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:11–13); each of us has a role to play, each of us is important, but in order to succeed we must be unified in our Savior. Fourth, we must share the gospel with others. The promises of bringing even one soul unto the Lord are profound and eternal (see D&C 18:15). Moreover, the gospel takes deeper root in those who share it frequently. Finally, we must always maintain faith and hope in Christ to endure to the end, and among the many ways we do this are praying, fasting, and reading the scriptures. These practices will fortify us against the subtle schemes and fiery darts of the adversary.”