Justin Simoni - The Ultra-Endurance Artist - Mountain & Prairie Podcast

Justin Simoni is an ultra-endurance adventurer who is most well known for his self-powered, long-distance tours that combine cycling, mountain running, and climbing. He is currently preparing for the "Highest Hundred” in which he’ll climb Colorado’s 100 highest peaks, accessing them all by bike, in 60 days or less. If he pulls it off (and I’m betting that he will), it will be the first time anyone has linked all of these peaks by bike in a completely self-supported style. • Most people would assume that Justin has been a hardcore cyclist for his entire life, but he actually started riding relatively late. He studied painting in college and worked full time as a professional artist for years, living in an art gallery in downtown Denver. Frustrated with his car that kept breaking down, Justin purchased a bike and began to ride it as his primary mode of transportation. As his rides became longer and longer, he enjoyed it more and more, and pretty soon he was completely committed to long-distance cycling. What followed was a barrage of impressive solo ultra-distance adventures: cycling the Pacific Coast, racing the Tour Divide mountain bike race twice, and completing the Tour 14er, which involved cycling to all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains and climbing them... in just 34 days. • Thanks to his athletic accomplishments, artistic perspective, hilarious sense of humor, and infectious enthusiasm, Justin is truly one of a kind. We had a fun and funny conversation that covered a wide range of topics from his adventures to his time as an artist. We chatted about some of the techniques that he uses to stay upbeat during periods of extreme fatigue or fear, and we discussed how he balances his free-wheeling artist’s mentality with the monk-like discipline required to pull off such serious adventures. As usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and Justin shares the best piece of advice he’s ever received. • I appreciate Justin taking the time to chat during such a hectic period of planning and training. This was a really fun conversation, so I hope you enjoy. ••• http://mountainandprairie.com/justin-simoni/ ••• TOPICS DISCUSSED: 2:40 - How Justin describes his work 4:45 - "Highest Hundred” defined 5:10 - Significance of highest hundred 7:20 - Background of Justin’s self-powered adventures 9:20 - When Justin started seriously riding bikes 10:00 - Growing up in Connecticut 10:45 - His decision to move West 11:50 - Skateboarding and skateboarding advocacy 12:50 - Beginning cycling 14:15 - Pacific Coast bike tour 15:50 - Tour Divide 18:30 - Epic snowfall on the Tour Divide course 20:45 - Justin’s approach to hardcore adventure 21:45 - Positivity versus negativity in ultra-endurance 23:15 - Strategies for overcoming fatigue 24:45 - How he decides when he does need to stop 25:30 - Other techniques for keeping a positive mindset 26:00 - Justin’s ability to invent his own rules and challenges 27:00 - “Everesting” Green Mountain 29:30 - Enjoyment of truly knowing a place 31:30 - Justin’s approach to creating art 32:50 - The hard work involved in athletics and art 35:35 - How much art is a part of Justin’s life currently 36:35 - How adventures changes people 39:00 - Heroes and mentors 42:00 - Overarching goal of sharing these adventures with the public 43:45 - Favorite Books 45:00 - Favorite films 46:50 - Surprising activities 48:40 - Best advice he’s ever received 53:00 - Enlightenment through endurance 56:00 - Most powerful outdoor experience 58:50 - Favorite location in the West 1:01:00 - Justin’s request of the listeners 1:02:00 - Connect with Justin online and follow the adventure!
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