Continuing the Journey
At mile 805, Schlosser stopped. It was 91 degrees, and he was overheated. He ripped off a few layers and pulled out his SAT phone and tried to call his wife. “I just needed some encouragement,” he said.
Schlosser, at a pit stop during the race.
After five tries, he finally got through. He started crying. “This is so hard. It’s harder than I thought it would be. I just can’t do it,” he said.
“Just one more mile,” his wife said. “One more mile. You can do it. You’re almost there.”
The connection dropped, and Schlosser fell to his knees in the dry creek bed and started praying. “I started blubbering like a baby. I mean, I was blowing snot out of my nose. I was praying out loud and I could hardly even talk.
“I was telling Heavenly Father, ‘I do not want to quit, but I truly cannot go one more step,’” Schlosser said. He didn’t want to turn back, but even if he did, there was nowhere to turn back to.
As he prayed, an impression came over him. He realized that God had made him “equal to the task.” He had made his equipment last; He had made him better than his surroundings. And now I'm finally broken, Schlosser thought.
In his mind’s eye, he could see a husband and wife kneeling over a grave on the Mormon pioneer trail. They were spent. They’d been walking for two months and had lost loved ones. The journey was harder than they could have ever imagined.
“This feeling came to me that this is the sacrifice. You had to give all you had, and now, to truly understand what they went through, you have to be broken down of everything you thought you were. And now, if you decide to keep going . . . I will finish the journey for you.”
Schlosser got up, put his stuff on, and straddled his bike. He didn’t feel rejuvenated, but he felt like he could go on. A few miles later he found another Ironman laying on the road, waiting for his crew to come pick him up. As Schlosser passed, he remembered thinking how lucky he was that he had faith in the journey. He knew he would make it.
The Stormin’ Mormon
Schlosser crossed the finish line at 52 hours and 33 minutes. In all, he’d slept for just three 20-minute naps and didn’t change his tires once.
“It’s just not conceivable that one set of tires without repairs could make it that distance,” said Schlosser’s friend Brad Giles. “Most teams on a motorcycle would plan to replace both the front and rear tires multiple times.”
Left: Schlosser holding his finisher's medal. Right: "Stormin' Mormon" painted with Schlosser's race number on the front of his motorcycle.
“I just kept my shoulder to the wheel and kept going,” Schlosser told the interviewer.
“Would I want to do it again?” Schlosser asked himself. “Absolutely not. It was the hardest thing I ever did.”
But, he also wouldn’t trade the experience. He said that in his darkest hour, he knew that Heavenly Father put everything else on hold to listen to his prayer and offer help. He learned what it meant to truly give all he had, to be completely stripped of pride, and then to let God do the rest.
“It was the coolest experience . . . to have Heavenly Father teach you a lesson, and have a way to increase your faith and your relationship with Him. It was the most amazing experience ever.”
You can also watch video footage of Schlosser's race: