“When the cops pull you over and tell you that you shouldn’t be riding alone in that area of Texas, well, then I knew things were getting creepy.”
Leann, on the jetty in Ocean Beach. About 20 minutes after arriving from her epic journey, SOLO, across the US…on her mountain bike.
I could’ve spent another 2 hours with Leann that afternoon on the jetty at Ocean Beach, California. Her harrowing stories of cycling through Lousiana, then West Texas, gave me goose-bumps.
And she told them one right after the other – while she grazed (not wolfed, as I would’ve imagined) on her ginormous cheeseburger and onion rings.
She had a few main points she wanted to tell me throughout our conversation; about women, sports, empowerment and more. But one she was particularly proud of was talking about her little girl. She did this journey, largely, to show her 10 year old daughter that, with someone’s belief in you, you could do anything. Period. Anything. And what she told me about her daughter makes me believe her little girl doesn’t need any more convincing.
Leann’s little girl has logged more hours on her mountain bike than most people I know (doing 50 milers with her mom) and smoked more boys (and all the girls) in her age group on 5K run races than her mom can count. Plus, she plays three musical instruments and impresses all her teachers with her talent, smarts and fun can-do attitude.
When Leann decided to take on this epic adventure it was her daughter who said to her “I believe you can!” and has been cheering her on the whole way.
Lean, sporting her new GOTRIbal visor and eating a well-deserved burger and onion rings, post epic journey.
That didn’t prevent Leann from taking a few precautions for protection; most notably, her 9mm gun. Yes siree – this chick means business. But to talk with her, and see the flowers poking out of her bento box on her well-used carbon frame mountain bike, you’d never think this girl was packin some heat. She admitted to actually bringing it out of its hiding, and into her bike jersey pocket, during her trip through Lousiana….but said that was the only time it nestled so closely to her bod.
My entire visit with her was filled with smiles and more harrowing story-telling as Leann’s life and beliefs about sport spilled out one after the other.
Stay tuned here for more photos, quotes, and Leann’s thoughts about fighting through loneliness as she crossed 80+ miles without a person to talk to, or see, in the barren west Texas landscape.