Not Just Spinning His Wheels

“Not Just Spinning His Wheels,” New Era, July 2009, 46

Not Just Spinning His Wheels

In biking and in life, Peter Johnson rides the high road.

Two hundred and six miles (332 kilometers) is the distance from Logan, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s also the distance Peter Johnson and his friends pedaled to win the relay division of the LOTOJA road cycling race, whizzing through mountain passes and three states in nine hours. LOTOJA (LOgan TO JAckson) is one of the longest single-day races in the United States. It draws some 1,500 cyclists each September, many of them pros. Peter’s relay team is the youngest ever to come in first.

It takes a lot of time and practice to win such a major competition. Why make the effort? For me, things like exercising and working out are fun. When you’re on a tough hill climb, you’re not necessarily thinking about how much fun you’re having. But afterward, there’s an awesome feeling of accomplishment that you only get from working hard. I like that.

Why is being physically active and staying fit important for you? I couldn’t imagine a life that didn’t include some sort of fitness. I love the feeling that I get knowing that even at the end of a long race or a hard soccer game, I could still go longer. Besides, who doesn’t want to be healthy?

You keep pretty busy. How do you balance sports, school, and seminary? Seminary has always been a priority for me. I have had to give up other classes in order to attend seminary, but I know that I am blessed when I do the right thing. A lot of the time school does conflict with sports, but you figure out ways to work through it.

How do you maintain your standards when people at school don’t always make the best choices? Most people at school know I’m an avid follower of my faith. So when it comes to parties, dating, and things like movies, they know where I stand and what they can expect from me. I take pride in living the standards of the Church, and as a result, my peers have come to respect me and my choices.

How has prayer helped you in your life? I have a strong testimony of prayer. The scriptures say to pray about everything (see 2 Nephi 32:9), so I constantly pray for help in school, sports, you name it. When it comes to cycling, I’m pretty sure I’ve never started a race without saying a prayer.

Photograph by John Luke