Nearly half of the registered 8500 entrants of the famous Tour de Tucson bike race decided to drop out of this year’s race held on November 17, 2013, due to uncharacteristic heavy rains. But 75 determined teenage young men and women and their leaders from the Tucson North Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn’t let the rains and mud stop them from participating in one of their favorite annual community service activities.
Somewhat protected under pop-up tents and umbrellas, the youth clad in the familiar yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests, served up 12 large platters of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to famished and soaked bike riders at the Thornydale/Moore Road aid station.
For the past 9 years, the Tucson North Stake youth have manned this station at the “30-miles to the finish line,” which has become known as the PBJ Station and the Mormon Stand by veteran bikers of the Tour de Tucson.
The PBJ’s provide a substantive nourishment to the bikers who look forward to arriving at this unique station after receiving only fruit at earlier stations. The youth also served the bikers by filling their water bottles, bringing food to them, holding their bikes while they make a pit stop and give the bikers words of encouragement.
Jaymie Durrant from the Catalina Ward shared comments from one rider: “I feel like I’m at home. Church of Jesus Christ, right on!” all said while he was scarfing down PBJ’s. Another biker commented, “You guys have the best aid station.”