You can spend a few hours on a plane or a few days in a car to get from one end of the United States to the other. Or you’re a hardcore athlete who doesn’t need a motor, but only needs four months.
German Jonas Deichmann rode his bicycle from New York to Los Angeles at the beginning of last July, then returned on foot. The 36-year-old has come to know the United States like very few people before him. He says he now understands the country better.
Deichmann told the German News Agency after arriving in New York on Saturday that the distance of more than 10,000 kilometers does not represent a major problem from a financial standpoint. He had just walked the last few kilometers through Manhattan, through Central Park, through Times Square. Now he stands on the edge of the East River, with the horizon behind him. He has a long beard, his hair is disheveled under his red hat, and his face is weather-beaten. In fact, he’s very reminiscent of the main character in his favorite movie, Forrest Gump, who played a similar role in the Oscar-winning masterpiece.
Unusual breadth – and great differences in the USA
Like Gump, Dishman ran through Arizona’s stunning Monument Valley, through Utah’s incomparable landscape, jumped into the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica Beach and sweated in 50-degree temperatures in California’s Mojave Desert. What became clear to Dishman during the weeks he spent alone on the street, he says, was the vastness and vast differences in the United States.
He now understands better why the superpower is so divided exactly one year before the fateful presidential election. Dishman ran through affluent areas where “everything works” — and through “extremely neglected” areas whose residents are deeply frustrated. “It’s a land of unlimited possibilities, but it’s not for everyone.”
Deichmann’s favorite means of transportation is actually the bicycle, with which he entered the Guinness Book of World Records in recent years: in 64 days, he covered 16,000 kilometers from Portugal to Vladivostok in Russia. This was followed by tours from Alaska to Patagonia and from North Cape in Norway to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
With the “Around the World Triathlon” – from September 2020 to November 2021, he biked, swam and ran for more than 400 days – Deichmann received international attention. His 120 consecutive Ironman distances have inspired athletes around the world. In contrast, Dishman’s adventure in the USA seemed almost relaxed, covering about 200 kilometers on bike or more than 50 kilometers on foot every day.
“Sometimes I call someone”
But the more than 2,000-kilometre route through Midwestern cornfields that always looked the same was mentally demanding, says the Stuttgart native. “The main thing is to distract yourself.” Then he listens to podcasts, music, and audiobooks. “Sometimes, when it’s been too monotonous all day, I’ll call someone.”
Dishman usually did not have a team with him on his tour, but instead transported his minimal luggage, which weighed only a few kilograms, on a bicycle or in a cart that he pulled behind him while he ran. In the last distance in the United States, he participated on Sunday in the famous New York Marathon along with thousands of other people, as shown in the photos posted on Instagram. Then it’s back to Europe, where Dishman particularly looks forward to his favorite dish: cheese spaetzle.
And then, new adventures await again. The extreme athlete says he will start his next project in May. What it is will not be revealed at this time. Just that much: it will be “a little bit harder” than the USA Tour. “No one has done that before.”
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