The Happiness Project Part III

6:37 PM Spence 2 Comments

I have an amazingly supportive family. I have incredible friends. So why do I always insist that I have to bear my burdens alone?

Last year I decided to ride the Salt Lake Century with my parents. It's a 100-mile bike ride that takes place in the Greater Salt Lake area (obviously). I've always wanted to do a ride like that, but let's be honest, I've never been the most coordinated or athletic person. Since I've been in my twenties, I have tried really hard to expand my interests and be more involved in physical activities in which I find interest. Among those activities are running and biking.

I had never ridden 100 miles before this ride so I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting myself into. Those of you who know my parents know that they are in extremely good shape. They could kick all of our butts in a race any day. In fact, my dad just completed a one-day ride from Seattle to Portland (over 200 miles) for the ump-teenth time. So naturally, when I went into this 100-miler, I was pretty nervous. 

This must have been before the ride because we all still look somewhat decent.
The weather was beautiful that day. It couldn't have been better for our ride. The first 20 miles were a piece of cake. I had my perfect playlist going, we had a good pace and I had eaten just the right amount of food. The next 20 miles were a breeze, and I began to get a little cocky. Forty miles and the worst thing that happened was that I really needed to pee. After that was taken care of, we were golden. Twenty more miles were no problem for me. I was waiting for this "wall" that everyone kept telling me about.

(This story relates to my topic, I promise).

You think I'm going to go another 20 miles before I get on with the story, don't you? Well, I'm not. At about mile 63, I hit "the wall." And holy cow, it was a wall. I was breathing fine, but I thought my legs were going to fall off. And yes, I mean that literally.

I began to panic that I might not be able to complete my goal of 100 miles after all. It was actually quite depressing. And then the worst part came... A hill. It seemed monstrous at the time, but you'll probably chuckle at me when I tell you it was just a freeway overpass. At the time, however, it may as well have been Mount Everest.

I really wanted to finish this ride. I needed to prove to myself that I could do something hard and unexpected. I had to finish. So I did the only thing I could think of while slowly pedaling along, I prayed. I prayed for strength to get over the overpass. I prayed for the strength to finish the ride. I prayed for whatever help I could get. Then, I began the ascension up the mountain ahead of me.

That's when I felt it. It was as if someone placed their hand on my back and began to push me up the hill. I know what you're thinking... did God really send Spencer an angel to push him? The answer is yes, He did.

I turned to look over my shoulder to see how on earth I was making it up that hill and to my surprise, I saw my dad. His hand was planted on my back and he was pushing both of us up that hill. I didn't have the energy to choke back the tears that came to my eyes. In that moment, in the two minutes it took him to get us to the top, my perspective on the ride and on my life had completely changed. I am so blessed.

I am blessed to have the family I do. I am blessed to have the four of them who love and support me, even during my roughest hours. I am blessed to have parents who carry me when I am weak and hold me up when I can't stand. I am blessed to have friends that say the right things at the right times and will never leave me stranded. I am blessed to have all these angels that I have been sent.

When we reached the top of Everest, my dad pushed me ahead of him and yelled up, "Keep going, I'm heading back down to get your mom."

The truth is, I coasted for a little bit after that. With tears streaming down my face, I offered one more prayer, but this time, I didn't ask for anything. The only think going through my mind was, "Thank you."

Since that ride, I have gone through many personal trials. I have had ups and downs and admittedly, some crazy moments. But every time, every single time, my parents, siblings and friends have been there for me. There isn't a single time where I have been left alone or felt misunderstood. As I look at the freeway overpass directly ahead of me, I still see Mount Everest. I have no idea how I'm going to get up there, but the one thing I know is that I'm not doing it alone.

100.51 miles that I didn't finish alone.


  1. Go Spencer! Congratulations!

  2. Thank you for such inspiring words! I am touched by your words and testimony! Thank you for sharing.. unscripted. :)