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Penn High School teacher Races Across America

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:02 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - Approximately three days into the 2022 Race Across America, Les Crooks is on the leaderboard.

“At the starting line it was just like pinch me I can’t believe I’m here; we’ve been planning it for so long,” says Crooks, a teacher at Penn High School.

Crooks turned 50-years-old this past October, and with his long-time love for biking, and a desire to bike across the country while he still can, it was only fitting he compete in the 2022 Race Across America.

The Race Across America requires a lot of preparation. Crooks says it isn’t something you can just go into “cold turkey.” Which is why he biked 7000-miles before the race even began.

“And I’d ride in the rain, I’d ride in the wind. You know, you can’t simulate Race Across America, but you sure can build some endurance by putting yourself in some situations that make it tough,” Crooks says.

Along with him for the ride, are his wife and three kids, as well as his 11 other crew members, and mobile support system.

Travelling close behind to ensure his safety and enjoy the adventure with him.

“I’m probably going to get choked up. Just a complete inspiration. I couldn’t be more proud of him and it’s really neat to see him set a goal and he has worked so hard,” says Nikki Crooks, Les’ wife.

The 3000-mile race, spanning 12 states and 170,000 vertical feet of elevation, needs to be completed in 12 days or less, and challenges both professional, and amateur bike riders physically as well as mentally.

Crooks says Podcasts, Facebook Lives, and phone calls cheering him on have helped him to stay motivated.

“Whatever you have to do to keep your mind occupied because this is the tough part. It’s such a mental, it’s a mental race more than it is a physical race,” Crooks says. “I have people that set their alarm n the middle of the night like yeah I get up at two in the morning just to see where you’re at.”

If you’d like to follow Les’ Race Across America Journey and see where he is on the route, you can click here.

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