COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Testing the mind and the body to cross the finish line.
This summer, one local cyclist set out on a mission to bike across the country in the Trans Am Bike Race.
One year ago, Brooke Barney watched a documentary about the national race and felt inspired to pick up cycling for the first time.
While it seems pedaling more than 4,000 miles over 30 days could only be accomplished by a professional cyclist, Barney just started training last year to challenge herself to complete the grueling ride from coast to coast.
“Why bike across Ohio when you can bike across the country?”
That was the question Barney asked her friend after watching the documentary.
“We had grown up playing sports and so we were kind of looking for something just to challenge ourselves and train for,” Barney said.
They started to train, biking along the trails throughout Columbus and riding 50 to 100 miles on weekends to prepare for the race.
“Started in Astoria, Oregon, and then went to Yorktown, Virginia, so it was 4,176 miles,” Barney said.
Due to an injury, Barney’s friend withdrew from the competition, but she pressed on.
“So that was hard, losing my best friend along the way, but she was actually there at the finish line, so that was really awesome,” Barney said.
Out of the 42 cyclists who started the self-supported race, Barney was the only female to complete the journey across the finish line.
“I think the mental aspect was harder than the physical, just having to wake up every day and think I’m going to pedal for 14-16 hours is a little daunting and you’ve got rain, thunderstorms, we got hailed on at one point,” she said.
After riding for 30 days and 12 hours, Barney was surrounded by family and friends when she completed the cross-country race. By documenting her journey on social media, she hopes to inspire other first-time cyclists.
“Just go out and have fun, don’t worry about the miles or the time,” she said. “Just find somewhere you enjoy riding and it’s such a great way to ease your mind and enjoy nature.”
Upon achieving her goal, Barney made a powerful revelation.
“If I can bike across the country, I can do anything in life,” she said.
Barney finished the race in 13th place, adding that the winners finished in 16 days. She said she’s just grateful for the support she received along the way.