Across the forests of Montana, mountains of Idaho, rangelands of Wyoming, plateaus of Utah and deserts of Arizona, adventurer Erik Schlimmer became the first to ride the "new, longest, most grueling mountain bike route in the United States," a pathway dubbed the Western States Mountain Bike Route. Traveling from August 15th to October 5th of this year, it was a trip of extremes with temperatures ranging from 26 to 101 degrees in terrain varying between 11,000-foot-high snowfields and broiling Borderland deserts. Self-supported and camping out each night, Schlimmer traveled 2,720 miles across the most striking landscapes of North America.
A professional adventurer, motivational speaker and author of McGraw Hill's "Thru Hiker's Guide to America," Schlimmer possesses a healthy list of long-distance and mountaineering accomplishments, particularly in the Northeast. But he states this ride was "absolutely the hardest thing" he has ever done, exceeding his past adventures, which include a 2,250-mile ride across the perilous U.S.-Mexico border and a stint in the military as an U.S. Army paratrooper, among other challenges.
Chris Leibman, sponsorship manager for Jamis Bicycles, one of Schlimmer's primary sponsors, feels this accomplishment is an extreme, even for the progressive culture of mountain biking. "It's very impressive to see someone push himself to the edge, look over the side and come back in one piece to tell the tale- and to do it all not because he had to, but because he wanted to," said Leibman. More edgy moments during the expedition included outrunning and hiding from a barrage of lightening storms, camping alone through 1,000 miles of grizzly bear country, crossing the waterless Sonoran Desert in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and ascending approximately 170,000 vertical feet end-to-end (the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest from sea level six times).
After finally peeling himself off his well-worn bike, Schlimmer's work was not yet done. Using his degrees in both leadership and speech communication, the author is now peddling a motivational film-and-slide presentation from venue-to-venue. This thrilling account- featured on Thruhikersguide.com- is designed to promote people to discover the vast potential each of us possess.
For more information or to book Schlimmer to a speaking engagement, visit www.thruhikersguide.com