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This Race by Perry Stone
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 11/11/2002
This Race by Perry Stone

Editor's Note: Special guest columnist Perry Stone begins his solo ride around Australia on Wednesday morning. Having been in touch with Perry on a daily basis the past several weeks, I now have an idea of the magnitude of what he will do, and it is staggering. No matter the planning (which has been extensive), there is a great deal that can only be left to chance out there, and for that alone this will be an extraordinary journey. But there is another side to this challenge, and this is what it really means, from his heart.

This Race by Perry Stone

In some instances, this race, even to me is beyond comprehension. But at other times, most of the times it is the ultimate challenge in my ultra cycling and I got to like that. You heard all the adages before and there are some I hold dear but this race goes far beyond 14,000klms of riding, far beyond the perimeter of Australia. This race, this adventure, this challenge is a catalyst for the rest of my life.

It is about crossing wobbled bridges and finding strength, about trusting myself, about believing in self worth and going beyond survival and charging unabashed into the satisfaction of accomplishment. One of my favorite authors, Ayn Rand, once wrote:

"It is not in the nature of man Ė nor of any living entity Ė to start out by giving up, by spitting in oneís own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that the fire is not to be betrayed."

I am proud to say that I have done my best to remember these words in times of turmoil and have lived my life, day by day, holding these principles true to heart. To race unescorted through the vast and desolated, heat-stricken, drought-plagued lands of Australia on a "pushbike" would not be possible without this focus - this drive to complete. It is my belief that the way I live my life, and the way I ride my bike, will be forged together forever as a result of this effort and that all of my goals and aspirations will be sought so devoutly and so sincerely. I can assure everyone, and especially myself, there is no turning back, that quitting is not an option. No matter what happens, if it is in any way, shape or form within my power to control or get past it, I will. Please do not interpret these as words of bravado; they are, in fact, thoughts I have innately stored in me, and they are the beliefs that will see me circumnavigate this majestic country of Australia behind the bars of my bicycle.

Our world has been turned upside down, and there isnít much I can do about that by myself. But by working with others, friends and strangers, we can take the power back and grant freedom. We can stop the insanity and help our brothers and sisters. In the United States, in Bali and in far too many places in our world, a new disease is gaining a stronghold, and like a cancer, it must be cut out and destroyed.

Being a citizen of Canada, I was mortified by September 11th, and as a resident of Australia, I was forced to grasp very dearly to the wisdom of Ms. Randís words. I can no longer be a pacifist. I can no longer wait for others to solve the mystery of these great tragedies. When young people are simply exercising their rights to merely enjoy their lives and are murdered for it, I must do whatever I can to put things right. If everyone did just a little bit, the mostly just and good 6 billion people that share our planet could easily eliminate the cancer of terrorism.

It is with this in mind that I dedicate this race around Australia to the victims of Bali, the fallen, their loved ones and the unfortunate souls whose lives have been forever altered. I think it is fitting that the first thing we do is help to heal our wounds. Those that are stricken have no option, they canít quit. They fight and strive every minute of everyday just to attain "normal." If all cyclists clicked on the link provided and donated the price of a drink or beer, we would go a long, long way in helping our family, our unknown friends in far away places along their path.

At 9am November 13th, 2002 local time when I begin my challenge, I will be leaving "normal," and I cannot quit. But for me, it was a choice, not the result of brutal and callous force. At the end of the race, I will rejoin "normal," but it is a long hard fought battle with unforeseen and incalculable adversity with a definite conclusion. For victims lying in hospital beds and those left behind, with their children, lovers and friends perished from their lives, the road remains the same. There is no turning back.

Australian Red Cross Bali Appeal

Contact Perry Stone

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The Man Behind the Plan - A Race Around the Land Down Under
14,200 km - All Alone Across Australia...
14,200 Kilometers Across Australia: Part Two

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