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Whatever Happened To ... ... the friends who founded a virtual bucket list

Brent Thomas and Lee Briggs biking in Hunt Valley in 2007.
Brent Thomas and Lee Briggs biking in Hunt Valley in 2007. (Dennis Drenner - For The Washington Post)

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By Kris Coronado
Sunday, May 30, 2010

In June 2007, Lee Briggs and Brent Thomas were on the brink of a lofty quest.

The former Wake Forest University roommates, featured then in The Washington Post, were preparing to bike across the country, from Kitty Hawk, N.C., to San Francisco, to raise $20,000 for Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation. It was their way of marking the one-year anniversary of a social networking site they'd created, called eLIFELIST.com, which uses a Facebook-like structure to connect people with similar aspirations.

The pair completed their 3,820-mile journey, arriving in San Francisco on Sept. 5, 2007, with piles of broken bicycle wheel spokes. Despite pedaling through torrential downpours for hours at a time, both marked off goals they'd posted on their own profiles, including cycling to Moab, Utah, and the Grand Canyon. Plus, they raised $11,500 for Livestrong.

"I'd do it all again in a heartbeat," Briggs said recently on a conference call with Thomas from San Francisco. Both men, now 30, moved to the area shortly after the trip. Briggs settled in Marin County with his wife, Melissa, while Thomas ended up in the city.

When eLIFELIST didn't take off as they'd hoped -- it has about 1,440 members today, compared with 600 in 2007 -- the duo invested their creativity elsewhere. Briggs works for Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm, where he has worked on visual effects for films including "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Avatar."

Thomas recently introduced a cycling safety product called Bike Wrappers (Bikewrappers.com). "It's a reflective fabric that you can wrap around your bicycle frame so motorists can see you at night," he said. "Imagine your normal bike reflector on your typical bike. Multiply that by 100."

Briggs named Thomas the godfather of his 1-year-old daughter, Matilda. They also celebrated turning 30 with a physical challenge: Thomas ran 30 miles straight, while Briggs biked for 30 continuous hours. "I told Brent I think running 30 miles scared me more than biking 30 hours, though," Briggs said.

"It's the opposite," Thomas countered. "I think biking 30 hours is a lot harder than running 30 miles."

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY: Two Goal-Oriented Guys, Hitting the Road


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