Will you consider riding in the Agony Ride this year, and bring a friend with you? We’re shooting for 100 riders, and we’re already one fourth of the way there! Need a little push to get back in the saddle? Maybe returning rider Don Spittler’s reflections will do just that.
Name: Don Spittler
Number of rides: 4
Most miles ridden in one ride: 266
What keeps you coming back?
I love the ministry of CEM. The first year I rode, I saw so many sweet Christians living out their faith. I saw this in the CEM staff; I saw it in the countless volunteers using their gifts to support the Agony Ride. I was humbled by the love that was there for the students and the support I received as a rider. It truly touched my heart and made it clear that I would continue to ride as long as I am able.
When is it time to get really serious about training? What does that look like for you?
I ride year round as I commute to work on my bike. As winter fades, I up my mileage from about 120+ miles a week to 250+ by late spring. Living in Sacramento allows me to ride the Sacramento River Trail to the American River Parkway. My home to Folsom Lake and back is 86 miles so I do this ride several times a month as well as several 50- 65 mile rides each week.
Describe a significant experience at the Agony.
Because of the (previous) need to have a riding partner during the night, each year I have found myself riding with someone I had not known before the ride. By evening it becomes obvious who is riding at the same pace and you just naturally team up. I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing people during the night rides. The intensity of the ride creates a real comradery that is amazing. By then you have established a goal that is obtainable. You encourage and support each other at finishing the ride and reaching that goal. It’s what has carried me through when my energy level is waning and fatigue is setting in through the last hours of the ride.
What’s your favorite thing about the Agony?
There are many things, but I suppose it would be the enthusiasm of the students that greet you at each SAG. As you approach each station, you hear them cheering in the distance. That encouragement is what draws that last bit of energy I need to make it in.
If there’s one food/drink item you could request to be at the SAGs this year, what would it be?
Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
We’re excited to welcome Tom Griffith this month as our new Director of Counseling as John Cox transitions out.
Tom has been a resident of Nevada County for over 25 years, serving youth and adolescents in the mental health field in Sacramento and Nevada counties since 2001. Tom worked at a secular counseling agency for 14 years, often with children in CPS cases and in the foster care system. During this time, he also opened his own private practice in Grass Valley, enabling him to integrate his faith with his therapy for individuals and families.
On landing at CEM, Tom says, “My preferred population is who we have right here. The population God has prepared me for is right here.”
“I was my parents’ first kid - I was not expected... [My mom] got married shortly after she got pregnant. I lived with my dad and my mom until my mom got pregnant with my sister; she wasn’t my dad’s kid. They split up.”
Thus began Kalani’s early years. She and her father moved into his grandparents’ home after the divorce where they would live for a few years before her father would remarry. “I was his whole world - me and him together.” With a new mom came new siblings and new grandparents. Kalani’s step-grandfather pastored a humble church gathering in their home where Kalani would attend Sunday School. As she grew up, Kalani’s church attendance was dictated by the venue of her step-grandfather’s preaching.
When Kalani reached middle school, she continued to attend youth group, but also was drawn to the free-spirited lifestyle embodied by many of her peers. “[A friend] opened my eyes to everything this culture thinks is right.” Though her parents continued to draw clear boundaries for her, Kalani found new ways to evade and to violate them.