I'm a counselor for the (Boy Scout) Cycling Merit Badge, and have been for a number of years... although I've never awarded one.
It's not an easy badge for a casual cyclist to earn... the final requirement is to plan and complete a ride of 50 miles in 8 hours or less.
I probably haven't gone on a 50-mile ride in 2+ years. And riding 50 miles is not the same as riding 25 miles except double the time. The last 25 miles are a lot tougher than the first 25!
Before the 50-mile ride can be undertaken, the candidates have to ride 2 rides of 10 miles, 2 rides of 15 miles, and 2 rides of 25 miles. The 25-mile rides usually weed out the pretenders, and the uncommitted.
I'm currently working with a half-dozen or so boys who want to earn the badge. We're doing our first 25 miler on Saturday, most likely out to Sandy Point (Lucky Peak) and back.
Many years ago, I took a group of boys on that same route. It was in the springtime - maybe April - before the water was turned on at Sandy Point, and several years before there was a "Shakespeare Restroom" enroute. They were guzzlin' their water like there was no tomorrow on the way out, despite my warnings that they'd likely not be able to refill. And the older, stronger boys were sprinting way ahead, despite my admonitions that they should "pace" themselves.
Well, you probably know the rest of the story... on the way back, they were out of water and pooped out... and you could hear their weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth from a great distance.
We're discussing possible locations for the 50-miler... right now the sentiment is for starting at Celebration Park (south of Melba on the Snake River) and taking a rather roundabout way back to Boise. I'd prefer starting 10 or 15 miles above Lowman on Highway 21, and then riding down to Lowman, and continuing on down through Garden Valley to Banks. (My thinking is... probably 80% gradual downhill... who doesn't love riding downhill?!!) The main problem with the Garden Valley route is... we'll be into mid-to-late October by the time we're ready, and the weather starts getting unpredictable by that late in the year. We shall see...