Basic Camp (CIET)

Foxtrot Cadet applies perseverance gained from 700-mile bike trek to LTC

Foxtrot Cadet Joseph Potter, seen here at waterborne operations, completed a 700-mile bike trek across Oregon and California at the age of 18. Photo by Rebecca Thompson.

Foxtrot Cadet Joseph Potter, seen here at waterborne operations, completed a 700-mile bike trek across Oregon and California at the age of 18. Photo by Rebecca Thompson.

By Sydney Callis
Leader’s Training Course

Over the rivers and through the national parks, Joseph Potter wasn’t travelling to his grandmother’s house.

Biking more than 700 miles two summers ago from the heart of Oregon to San Francisco, Potter rode his to test himself, his perseverance and his dedication.

“I was looking for a really good challenge,” Potter said. “I was really into cycling, so I thought I’d try something big.”

Potter, currently a Foxtrot Company Cadet at the Leader’s Training Course, faced many obstacles on the 60 to 70 miles he averaged per day. Even with those obstacles, from running out of water, eating Cliff bars each day and unpleasant interactions with unfriendly people and animals, Potter completed the trip.

“I had a lot of terrible breakdowns and met a lot of really cool people, and a lot of really terrible people, but it was really an awesome trip,” said Potter, who attends the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Potter’s parents were somewhat apprehensive about his bike ride when he told them he wanted to tackle the trek.

“Initially, I was afraid he was going along because he might get hurt,” said Gary Potter, Joseph’s father. “If he would have been injured, there wouldn’t really be any way for anyone to know where he was and send assistance.”

Originally, Potter was supposed to be accompanied by two friends, but they backed out. Determined to complete it, Potter set out on his own, with his father able to track him for parts of it.

“I did have that family app feature on my phone so I could track him,” Gary said. “Once he got into the mountain ranges, I lost contact with him.”

Tackling his next challenge of completing the Leader’s Training Course, Potter said the perseverance required during his summer 2011 biking trip is proving helpful in completing the training he is encountering on Fort Knox.

“Riding, I couldn’t really just quit and hop on a bus to go home,” Potter said. “No matter how bored you get of riding your bike every day, you’ve got to just pull through. It’s the same at Leader’s Training Course. No matter how long you stand at attention, you’ve just got to pull through.”

The 11-day trip also emphasized the importance of water to Potter, something stressed at the Fort Knox course.

“I ran out of water one day,” Potter said. “At LTC, they always say ‘drink water, have water.’ Well, I had 70 miles to go that day, and I ran out like 20 miles in through mid-California, where it was about 90 degrees. I still had to go 60 miles, and I didn’t have water.”

Gary said he thinks the journey from Oregon to California also gave his son the opportunity to learn more about himself.

“It gave him the confidence that he could do just about anything he sets his mind out to do and accomplish,” Gary said. “I think he was even wondering a little bit if he could do it. But when he finished, he felt invincible.”

 

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