Ocean came to us during our 2nd week of urban cycling summer camp. He didn’t have much experience riding bikes before camp, just a few miles around town with his friends. He showed up riding a mountain bike that had been ridden heavily and needed a lot of love. During camp we spent the first day doing maintenance and repair on student bikes and got everyone’s bikes working safely and efficiently, including his! From the first day of camp, we could tell that riding bikes was something that Ocean was quickly becoming very excited about even though he didn’t have much the most experience. During our first group ride we conquered 15 miles together, and by the end of the week we had achieved a 27.5 mile ride from East Tacoma to Gig Harbor and back. Ironically enough, Ocean had never been to a beach until our Gig Harbor beach destination ride!
Our summer camp had a few Major Taylor students enlisted as volunteers, so predictably, talk of STP and training rides came up during camp between ride leaders Jim/Shelbi and the MTP students that were there volunteering. Camp took place about 2 weeks before STP, around time of our last training rides. Ocean, having heard us continuously talking about STP and training rides, began to ask if he could join. So Shelbi and Jim got him a waiver and a list of dates / times for training rides, and told him if he could finish a training ride he could most likely finish the STP! On his first training ride, Ocean rode 70 miles from Lincoln High School to the end of the Western Chehalis trail and back. Ocean excelled during the ride - he was surpassing students who had participated in MTP for years and completed several STPs.
Not only did he go on to finish the Seattle to Portland ride, but he did it effortlessly! The evening after finishing STP we all bussed back from Portland to Tacoma, and about a mile from our destination Ocean turned on his bluetooth speaker and blasted “We are the Champions” by Queen, with tears in his eyes.. He was so proud of himself and his peers. Everyone started singing along. When we got off of the bus Ocean’s entire family was there waiting for him. Not only was he proud of himself but his whole family was too. They were there to show it and support all of the effort he and his peers put into STP.
Currently Ocean is spending his summer riding bikes with friends and participating in dance routine choreography for Lincoln High schools Polynesian Club. In addition, he plans to come back to summer camp next year. He also wants to attempt the 1 day STP!