They made a grueling 3,000-foot climb out of Utah’s southwest desert, endured a blinding rainstorm, dodged livestock on a country road illuminated only by moonlight, heard impatient drivers honk their horns when forced to slow behind them and — finally — navigated the busy streets of the Wasatch Front.
Twenty-four members of a nonprofit organization called Razor Crusaders took a tour of Utah during the last three days — starting in St. George and finishing amid a carnival-like celebration at Davis High School in Kaysville on Saturday.
Riding kick scooters — which don’t have motors — the Razor Crusaders relay-raced their way across 380 miles to raise money from corporate and individual sponsors for diabetes awareness.
"You feel accomplished," said Connor Moody, co-founder of the group. "You think of all the lives you’ve been able to touch. ... The message is a person might have diabetes, but it doesn’t have to limit them."
According to Moody, most of the participants in the Ride for Diabetes are among the estimated 30 million Americans dealing with the metabolic disease, which creates high blood-sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. Left untreated, complications can include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers and eye damage.
Along with Moody, Clayton Jenkins was a co-founder of the Razor Crusaders. He was a Type 1 diabetic who died unexpectedly in 2012. This year’s ride was dedicated to him.
"He accomplished in his life what a person 60 or 70 might accomplish in theirs," Moody said. "He was someone everyone looked up to."
Fellow rider Spencer Klein agreed: "More than anything, this is about supporting your friends — being there for each other. We were all friends of Clayton and this is a nice way to keep his memory going.
"He was just a simple, down-to-earth kid who liked to have fun. ... He was just a nice kid — a happy kid. He got along with everybody he met."
The Razor Crusaders, who believe this ride set a world record for a non-motorized scooter relay, have spent months organizing the event.
Klein remembers telling family members and friends about his plan to participate.
"You could see a funny look on a lot of people’s faces," he said. "A lot of them were like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ "
The ride began with the steep climb from St. George to Cedar City. Along the way, a fierce thunderstorm struck.
"We actually wore our sunglasses just to block out the rain," Moody said. "Along with going uphill, that made it a little difficult."
With two RVs following behind the alternating groups of riders, the Razor Crusaders spent Thursday night on the remote back roads north of Cedar City.
"It was nice — in the 60s," said Moody, a recent BYU graduate who is getting married in August. "The only bad thing was the cows in the road and only having the moonlight to see them."
The Razor Crusaders reached Provo late Friday afternoon after 37 hours on the road, but four hours ahead of schedule. They spent the night in a hotel before finishing the ride Saturday.
"We had some interesting times," said Klein, a recent accounting graduate at the University of Utah. "Going uphill to Cedar City was a little tough. ... But it wasn’t as hot as we thought it might be."
Asked how he planned to finish his weekend, Klein said, "I think the knees and thighs are going to be a little sore Sunday morning."
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