Early on the morning of April 18, Young Men in the teachers and priests quorums and their leaders from the Gilbert 6th Ward, Gilbert Highland West Stake, gathered their bicycles, helmets, water bottles and backpacks of supplies to set out on an adventure that had been weeks in the making.
The bikes were delivered to the Phoenix Temple parking lot at 7 a.m., where they began their journey. They passed by several landmarks, including the Grand Canal, Papago Park, Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue Bridge, before taking their ride through the Heritage District in Mesa and arriving at the Mesa Temple. There, the group enjoyed a brief rest and short devotional before continuing on the last leg, ultimately ending at the Gilbert Temple—having completed a 53-mile bike ride.
Support vehicles followed the riders and provided much-needed service, including fixing flat tires, supplying snacks and water, documenting the event with photos and cheering on the riders. Other than a few cuts and bruises, sore muscles and sunburns, the group fared well.
“Before our training rides, most of the Young Men hadn’t ridden a bike longer than a mile or two, so it was a great achievement for them to complete the 50+ mile ride,” says Bishop Brent Priday.
Toward the ride’s end, the group passed by their ward building where several Young Women and their leaders, members of the deacons quorum and some Primary children joined in for the last six miles to Discovery Park, across the street from the Gilbert Temple.
“We wanted as many as possible to enjoy coming to the temple,” Bishop Priday explains..
Cade Camac, a teacher, says the hardest part of the ride was “the last few miles. I just pushed through and kept thinking about how much I wanted to make it to the temple.”
McKay Menden, a priest, says, “We quite literally were fighting … to get to the temple, turning inward and upward for strength.”
When the riders arrived at Discovery Park, they were greeted by family and ward members as they crossed the finish line. Together, they concluded the day’s event with a ward BBQ and celebration.
Blake Patterson, a priest, says, going into it, “I was excited for the ride because I always love to see the temple.” He adds that successfully completing the taught him that he can do hard things when he sets his mind to it.
The theme for the event “And They Were Men” came from Alma 53:20, “And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this is not all, they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.”
Young Men’s president, Todd Brady, concludes, “When we began training the boys struggled. They would fall behind and ask to ride in the support vehicles. As they trained, they grew both physically and mentally. They all completed what was asked of them. It was wonderful to see these boys grow so much.”