Looking for a new challenge? Try Vision Quest

Bakersfield College English professor Scott Wayland urges students to get involved with his sixth annual Vision Quest. Vision Quest 2014: Ride for the Troops is a 10-day bicycle ride over which the group covers more than 400 miles, traveling about 30-50 miles a day and camping during the night.
Wayland explained that he got the idea for Vision Quest after returning from a 99-day bike ride across the country in 2007.
Wayland, who still rides his recumbent bicycle to school around once a week, said, “I was riding to school and thinking about how much I got out of the experience, how wonderful and rich it was, and I thought I’d really like to share that with people.”
“There’s just something really empowering and exciting about using your own body to cover long distances.”
“So I got the idea of the Vision Quest as a way to kind of pull riders into trying things or get people who haven’t really ridden much at all to experiment with it.”
Wayland has plans for the next Vision Quest to be early June 2014, although he hasn’t set the exact date, and the route will begin and end in Bishop, Calif.
“It’s a really exciting, challenging event,” Wayland said, describing the Vision Quest. “You have to be willing to test yourself. It’s not an easy thing.”
“It’s not just ‘Oh, we’re going to be riding around Hart Park or something,’ this is really a demanding ride,” he said. “It has to appeal to someone who wants that kind of adventure.”
Wayland said he believes the Vision Quest would appeal to someone who would enjoy seeing beautiful country, camping out with a small group of like-minded people, and is really just aiming to see what they’re made of.
“If you regularly engage in a moderately strenuous activity, be it running or soccer or something that kind of gets your aerobic capacity going a little bit, then you’d probably be fine,” Wayland said, describing the base level of fitness needed to be able to safely be involved with Vision Quest. “If you have no base level of fitness at all, this probably isn’t for you.”
Wayland said that it is important that people train before the Vision Quest and he plans to have training rides in Tehachapi and other areas at altitude. “The idea is that you won’t just show up on the day of the Vision Quest and say ‘let’s go.’ We’re going to know each other, we’ll have worked out together, we’ll have done all this practice, and you will know by the time we start that you’re ready to do it.”
Although Wayland tends to keep training rides down to about 20-30 miles, he said that there will be some more challenging rides that he calls “tests” to ensure that the riders are ready.
One ride that Wayland considers a test is a ride through Monitor Pass. Wayland joked that he likes to say, “There’s your life before you climb Monitor Pass, and there’s your life after.”
Wayland said, “You can’t imagine what it’s like until you’ve climbed the summit and then dropped down. It’s just so beautiful.”
Wayland also said that anyone who would like to be involved with the training rides is more than welcome to join, even if they might not want to do the Vision Quest.
Some people mistake the Vision Quest for a race, Wayland stressed the importance that it is not a race. He said that it is really just about getting some good exercise, having a good time, and seeing some beautiful sights.
“The idea is to test ourselves, but also have a good time,” he said.
Although Wayland doesn’t charge anything for his time or to participate, it is required that anyone who wants to be involved donates $100, or more, to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Wayland explained that any other expenses would only be for the riders’ gear. He is also willing to loan extra gear to riders, on a first come, first serve basis.
Wayland encourages anyone who might be interested to reach him by email or phone.
Wayland said, “I can guarantee that the people who make it to it and do it, that it will be a very memorable experience.”
If anyone is interested, more information about it by clicking the link, “Vision Quest 2014: Ride for the Troops,” which can be found on Wayland’s website at http://ww2.bakersfieldcollege.edu/swayland/