By Chris Ferreira
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At age 68, Denis Brichet not afraid to take on challenges titanic… For 35 days, from Saturday March 12 to Friday April 15, 2022this man, who lives in Etriché (Maine-et-Loire)went through six US statesat biketo cover more than 2,700 kilometres.
A journey in lonely to which he returns.
He crossed six states
For more than a month with his mountain bike and equipped with a tent, some provisions and a stove, the sexagenarian crossed, alone, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma to finally arrive in Kansas.
No food problem
“Initially, I had a stock of packets of pasta and rice,” he recalls happily.
And when that was not enough, he fed on cereals and fruits he found on his way.
A difficult climate
If the food did not pose the slightest problem, its “main adversaries” were above all the incessant gusts of wind and the climate which varies from state to state. “When I left, it was between 25 and 30°C. »
When I passed through the Rockies, at 2,300 meters above sea level, my bottle had frozen.
Some nights, the thermometer even dropped to -8°C.
Up to 90 kilometers per day…
His days, he started them at 7 a.m. after getting up at 6 a.m.
“In front of me, there was a long and interminable straight line that stretched for several tens of kilometers. It was scary. »
The Etrichean’s goal was to do 80 to 90 a day.
And if that wasn’t enough, he even turned back when there were fires… Without forgetting its inner tubes that he was forced to change or repair when they burst.
“One day, a huge train over two kilometers long was at a standstill; I needed to go to the other side. »
To get around it, he didn’t hesitate for long to climb over it with his non-motorized two-wheeler.
A great adventure for those who greatly appreciated the generosity of Americans whom he describes as “very helpful”…
Of the unforgettable encounters, he had time to do it. The many photos he took along the way and which he proudly shows are there to remind him.
One day, I was leaving a gas station in Arizona to eat when Ben, an American, approached me. He had seen that I was on a bicycle trip.
The man then offered to show him around his city and his federated state. He also showed her the place where he worked. Together, they spent several hours on his ranch.
And their kindness doesn’t stop there. People even gave him 20 dollars each so that he could finance his project…
Unwavering support from his wife
Even though she feared he had a health problemRégine, his wife, has always supported him.
“Of course, he was all alone and didn’t speak a word of English. But when he told me about his project and thehumanitarian aspectI wanted to offer him the possibility of realizing this dream. »
If it had been an arbitrary decision, taken overnight, I would have been worried. But here, that was not the case.
Always keep in touch
Far from each other, this did not prevent them from calling each other regularly.
“He called me almost every day, sometimes even at night, at 2 a.m., because of the jet lag. Anyway, I was not fully asleep, ”she smiles.
A fan of challenges
The Etrichean is not at his first challenge… In the mid-2000s, with his two wheels, he had already left Maine-et-Loire towards Istanbul…
Fifteen years later, while he was on vacation with his family, he came up with the idea of repeating this feat elsewhere… “My initial plan was to join my two children who live there. One resides in Kansas; the second is domiciled in California.
At the service of humanitarian causes
Added to this is the humanitarian aspect that is close to his heart…
Through my action, I also wanted to fund a water fountain worth €6,000. Each kilometer covered allowed me to collect 2.50 €.
Local companies have also helped him finance these sources, the purpose of which is to purify the water of a pond or a river by Africa.
And the sexagenarian says he is ready to repeat this kind of exploits provided that his body allows him to do so. In the meantime, he is resting and he deserved it!
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