Upon the return of every mountain bike excursion, I am drawn away from my desk to the cheers of the campers outside, atop the Cheley driveway. This 1-mile strip of pure incline is the last obstacle each mountain biker has to face before their trek is complete. They call it the “Cheley Challenge”. With each group I am always astonished with the physical prowess they display as they ferociously pedal to the top. The quickness some campers have in conquering this hill is equally astounding, some doing in it in less than 6 minutes. However, what is most impressive to me is the camaraderie and support within each one of these groups. All though exhausted after a grueling ride, these riders still has the energy to cheer on their fellow campers until every last biker is to the top. I have seen some campers struggling to stay on their bike, too tired to go on, but with the support of the group, they are rejuvenated and power through to the top.
I am constantly amazed at the encouragement the campers have for one another. Whether it’s biking the Cheley Challenge, summating a peak, or simply playing a game of “knock out”, it is done as a unified and supportive group. The bonds formed at Cheley are deep and the development of lifelong friendships is inevitable.