Adventurer. Explorer. Pathfinder. A Tiny Bit Crazy.

by | Sep 3, 2023 | Travel Adventure, Uncategorized

When I opened the August 2023 issue of Adventure Cyclist, a magazine for cycling enthusiasts published by the Adventure Cycling Association, and saw the article “Double the TransAm, Double the Fun,” I was immediately drawn in.

There are a lot of ‘crazies’ who tackle some wildly outlandish feats.

The article described German ultra-athlete Jonas Deichmann’s treks across America. In his native country, he’s known as the “German Forrest Gump”. After finishing a run across North America in 2021, he’s now attempting to accomplish an even more significant milestone: crossing the United States twice. On June 30, 2023, he set off from New York, cycling across the country. Arriving in Santa Monica CA on July 26, 2023, the next day, he turned east and began jogging to New York. As of Sept 3, he is in Colorado approaching Pueblo. Click to follow his journey across America.

Crazies come in all shapes and sizes and from different continents.

I’ve been a magnet following the exploits of super-elite adventure seekers since returning home to New Jersey in 2019 after finishing the 4,200-mile TransAm Bike Race from Oregon to Virginia. 2019 TransAm winner Abdullah Zeinab, who also won the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, a bike race across Australia in 2018 finished the TransAm in a little over 16 days. Do the math. That’s 250 miles per day-unsupported! Yours truly had just arrived at a campground in Riverside, Wyoming, near the Colorado border, less than halfway across the country when Zeinab arrived at the finish line – the Yorktown Victory Monument.

Dot Watcher Chatting with Zeinab.

Not one to settle, in 2022, Zeinab went on to win “The Rhino Run,” a 1,700-mile mixed gravel/dirt/paved race from South Africa to Namibia. The “Don’t Look Back – The Rhino Run Story” video is a must-see. The finish is gripping. Click link above.

Six years earlier, it was another incredible race finish that inspired me to hop back on the saddle. Searching online one afternoon, I stumbled upon the story of Lael Wilcox and read about her come-from-behind victory in the 2016 TransAm Bike Race. It all happened near Bumpass, Virginia. The race leader, at the time, woke up after a catnap with less than a 50 mile lead on Lael and started riding west due to sleep deprivation. Lael, who rode the last 400 miles with limited sleep as well, met her competitor in Bumpass. He realized his error and turned east and began cycling with Lael. After a while, he says to Lael, “Let’s finish this thing together.” Lael’s reply, “This is a race,” and pulled ahead winning by about two hours. The first American and first woman to win the race, I remember thinking, “I want to race just like Lael!”

Click on the link below to read more about Lael’s incredible victory.

In 2017, a friend and former work colleague, Jeff Peterson, walked the Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine) and posted daily updates. I was hooked from the first day to the last and could not wait to read his daily blog. Every morning, with coffee and the sense of anticipation I immersed myself in Jeff’s universe for a few minutes and soaked up his story word by word. In 2021 he hopped on a bike and rode from Anacortes, Washington to Key West, Florida. Jeff wrote a book about his thru – hike on the Appalachian Trail. Check it out. Click on the link below to learn more about Jeff the explorer.

I was, and still am, a dreamer, and I have always had a habit of acting on my dreams.

Excerpt From Suit to Saddle: Cycling to Self-Discovery on the Southern Tier

I am fulfilled to have followed my heart and set aside returning to work immediately after getting laid off from a job I had held for many years. I didn’t know what to do at the time, but I knew I wanted to do something. Entering the TransAm Bike Race seemed like a cool thing to do. So that’s what I did. To be completely honest, sometimes I do wonder what the hell I was thinking at the time. As I reflect, I do think a lot about the countless people I’ve met during my talks who are genuinely interested in hearing my story and sharing theirs with me. Or the strangers who have contacted me to let me know they’ve read my books and wanted to share a personal story of their own. Pretty cool stuff. The two year anniversary of the publication of my first book – Suit to Saddle: Cycling to Self-Discovery on the Southern Tier is right around the corner-Sept 22, 2021. Thank you to the folks who have read the book (s) and special thanks to those who have left a review. The more reviews the more likely the books show up in searches. Click below to view pictures, videos, and book buy links.

Have a great Labor Day 2023!