- Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 18:29
- Published on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 18:29
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King George resident Adam Grieco has fulfilled his life’s dream of seeing America’s heartland. Using only his cell phone for communication and navigational purposes, the 40-year-old endurance athlete traveled more than 7,000 miles on a cross-country ultra-marathon trip.
The most perplexing question that continues to haunt the minds of the many curious townsfolk he encountered on his quest for enlightenment, is why did he do it?
“I’ve been asked that question about a thousand times,” Grieco said. “Honestly, the reason I did it is because I simply really wanted to see the country. I felt if I didn’t do it, I would be a failure in life.”
From the coast to coast — King George to Pueblo, Colo. and back— stopping in towns like Bend, Ore., and many places in
between, Grieco saw the face of America’s heartland. Saddled with pannier bags on his 10-speed bicycle, he left on his journey this spring, on April 17, and returned to his home county Aug. 19.
“Some may call it a spiritual journey, but when it comes down to it, it was the act of riding the bike over the mountains and camping out in parks, while figuring out where my next meal would come from,” Grieco said. “I was transformed into a survival mode.”
Along the way, he ventured off his chartered route through Flagstaff, Ariz., to bike 70 miles off the beaten path to the majestic seventh wonder of the natural world known as the Grand Canyon.
He also enriched his cultural awareness by spending three days on a Native American reservation. Regardless of their impoverished living conditions, Grieco was determined to see the world from their perspective, instead of reading about it from a book.
The venture to see America is not for the faint of heart. Often times, due to limited funds for lodging, Grieco would seek shelter behind gas stations, state parks, camp grounds, deserts and wherever he could find a clear, open grass spot to rest in.
After traveling 100 miles a day, he became a byproduct of the environment he sought to understand.
“I felt like the movie folk hero Forest Gump,” Greico said. “I would ride until it was dark, with the focus of trying to get to the next town before the sun went down.”
According to Grieco, half of the proceeds donated to him will be eventually given to Hunter Pitts. Pitts, a graduate of King George, and former standout baseball player for King George High School was injured during his junior year in a motocross accident. Grieco befriended Pitts and his family while attending Gateway Community Church.
Passionate about the combination of physical fitness and the freedom associated with bicycling, Grieco prefers to ride 15 miles to work rather than use his truck. His professional dream is to own a home improvement business.
His bond with bicycling began during his college years at Virginia Commonwealth University. Instead of relying on public transportation or a ride from friends, he enjoyed his independence by riding through the streets of Richmond. He later graduated from VCU with a bachelor’s degree in art education.
Is he satisfied with his accomplishment to travel on the wheels of a bicycle where few people dare to attempt? The answer to this vexing question may soon be answered in the not too distant future.
“If I had the financial resources to do it again, yes — and I would rather ride with a group of people, instead of riding alone,” Grieco said. “I want to learn from this venture and return to making a living.”