Steamboat cyclist completes 5,000 miles across 50 states

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Gary Gianetti cruises toward Steamboat Springs on Sept. 25. Gianetti recently completed a 100-mile ride in each of the 50 states in 50 consecutive days.

— Gary Gianetti boarded the flight from Montana to Las Vegas in his self-described "Ozzy Osbourne-like zombie mode."

He was a little weary after riding 4,800 miles over 48 straight days across the continental United States and Alaska.

When the flight attendant asked about the Freeburger family in row 18, Gianetti's mind jumped and his furnace of a stomach - accustomed to burning 5,000 calories a day - growled.

"Will there be free fries in row 19?" Gianetti asked.

Since Aug. 18, Gianetti has crossed the country one day and one 100-mile bike ride at a time. His goal: ride 5,000 miles across all 50 states in 50 consecutive days to raise money and awareness for cancer research and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

On Saturday, he reached mile 5,000 by completing the 112-mile Ironman Triathlon World Championship bike course in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

On Wednesday, he calmly enjoyed lunch in Honolulu. The meals are back to normal human portions, but Gianetti still wakes before dawn, not fully readjusted from the journey's hectic schedule.

"I was still nervous that something could go wrong until I was actually doing the last ride, and then I kind of felt better afterward," Gianetti said. "Since then, I've tried to have the 'hang loose' attitude here."

The final week proved to be the most trying, with a schedule that even Gianetti doubted he could complete - fly to Portland, Ore., ride, fly to Anchorage, Alaska, go back to Seattle to knock off Washington, Idaho and Montana, and fly to Las Vegas to drive to California in time to make it to Hawaii.

But it wasn't the logistics that bogged him down.

"The weather was unbearable - it started in Portland with four inches of rain during the ride where I got hypothermia three times," Gianetti said. The subsequent flight to Alaska didn't arrive until 1:30 a.m., just a few hours away from another 100-miler.

The rain continued and followed him back to Seattle.

"With the flights and all the time changes, by that point, I was just going on autopilot and it was a matter of getting the rides done," Gianetti said. "We had days that were great and days that were tough, and I made a lot of great sacrifices, but we had so much support and positive people that were involved that made it work."

Gianetti plans to write about the experience, and he's already thinking about how he will continue "to raise awareness that people can be physically active."

His first stop when he returns from surfing in Hawaii is the Oct. 21 Moab Half Marathon.

For more details on Gianetti's trip, visit www.healthyaltitudes.com.

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