Monday, June 27, 2011

DEX-TOOKE: “No more unfinished business!”


Vic Armijo / City Dock, Annapolis, Maryland

June 27, 2011 12:00 Noon, EDT

Sixty-one year old Texan Dex Tooke had a score to settle with America. Last year he tried to cross it, made a courageous effort, but the 3,000 mile width got the better of him and he pulled out of the 2010 Race Across America, in Cumberland, Maryland, just over 200 miles from the finish. But today he made it, crossing the finish line today with a time of 12 days, 19 hours and 46 minutes, averaging 9.71mph in his pedal-powered journey from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.

He was met at the finish by his crew of “Dexans,” made up of friends, family and even some members of the Spinning classes that he teaches. That’s right, along with his normal job in inside sales at Marathon Heaters, this energy dynamo helps other with their fitness at a local fitness gym where he’s been a popular instructor for years, “I enjoy it, it's a hoot,” he said.

But Dex wasn’t always a healthy and vibrant senior citizen. “When I was 28 years old I was a smoker and I was out of shape,” he related, “I went out to a local track in my home town, I was going to run a mile around the track and I couldn't make it one time around. I had to walk the straight-aways and run the curves. That's when I decided that it was time for a life change. It's a matter of life-style and it's a matter of choice."

Dex addressed the crowd at the awards stage with a few brief, but heartfelt sentiments, “In 2010 I had my own challenges I wanted to accomplish. Now I realize that isn’t about the 3,000 miles and it isn’t about the challenge. It’s about hope and courage for everyone—even if they don’t ride a bicycle. I was riding this year not just for me, but for a whole lot of other people. And that made my journey across America just a little bit easier.”

Throughout this 30th annual Race Across America, whenever fans, officials and other racers have discussed how the riders were doing in the ongoing race, the conversation almost always got around to Dex and comments of “How’s he doing?” and “I’m rooting for him.” Thank you Dex! You’ve really have succeeded in more than just a long bike ride—you really have reached and inspired a multitude of people.

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