We put this question to Jerry Holl, a stock broker-turned-adventurer who cycled 5,800 kilometres from Alaska to Mexico. He didn’t train for it—but he did write a book about his ride called Downhills Don’t Come Free.
“I was in good overall shape [and] I knew that in the distance I’d be pedalling, I’d ride myself into shape along the way,” Holl says. “Your body is pretty resilient, and you get better as you go.” On a Surly touring bike, he camped, pedalled, worked out, and pedalled more until it became a journey.
Yet as physically gruelling as it was, it was tougher mentally. “My only rule was: give an honest effort and see where the day takes you,” he says. “My attitude was that my worst day on the bike was better than many ill, injured or disadvantaged people’s best day. Go now. Just start. Just pedal. You’ll quickly discover your immense capabilities.”