A Pennsylvania native recently cycled the entire 2,451-mile length of Route 66 in 23 days, averaging more than 100 miles a day in the process.
Danielle Girdano reputedly is a world record for cycling Route 66, but I’ve found nothing in any sort of reputable record book, including Guinness, about it. The old record reportedly was by Iris Klein of Germany, who did it in 44 days.
Still, cycling more than 100 miles often is considered an equal to running a marathon. And she did it more than three weeks straight, which is impressive. She started the journey in mid-September and finished Oct. 11.
What makes the feat even more impressive is Girdano’s journey to becoming a record-setting cyclist. Trib Total Media reported:
When Girdano, 38, was in her late 20s, she described herself as “morbidly obese” weighing nearly 400 pounds. She said she smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.
She lost her job at a cigarette company and subsequently was about to lose her health insurance when a trip to see her doctor became a turning point in her life.
“The doctor said, ‘Look, I’m not going to have this conversation again. If you keep going on the path that you are, you’re not going to live to see 35,’ ” Girdano said. “I think everything was out of whack with my body except I didn’t have diabetes. My doctor couldn’t believe I didn’t have diabetes. When you’re in your 20s you don’t contemplate death, and to have that kind of thrown in your face is a wake-up call. So I made a choice. All I knew at the time was move more and eat less, so that’s what I did.”
Girdano started exercising, learned more about nutrition and started losing weight. She was introduced to a spinning class and eventually found her niche with cycling.
Keeping her weight during the Route 66 journey was the least of her worries. She couldn’t eat enough to counteract all the calories she burned.
Girdano tried to do Route 66 last year but suffered an accident. Because first-responders treated her well, she dedicated this year’s ride to them and the cause of battling childhood obesity and bullying.
(Image of Danielle Girdano via Facebook)