Jonathan (Jock) Boyer stood on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City today with his bicycle, his acupuncturist and his dietician-masseur, praising all three for helping him win the Race Across America in a record 9 days 2 hours 6 minutes.
"I've driven nonstop across the country in my car, so, hell, why not ride it nonstop on my bike? . . . The scenery was beautiful," a relaxed Boyer -- his face covered with a slight stubble and dusty grit -- told journalists and a crowd of seashore gamblers outside the Golden Nugget Casino-Hotel.
Boyer, who went two days without any sleep and yesterday had only two catnaps of less than an hour, said "sleep deprivation, aching knees and joints" were his major problems. The acupuncturist, who he said helped him to place 12th in the Tour de France two years ago, helped his aching knees average almost 350 miles a day during the 3,120-mile race.
Boyer, who won a $5,000 first prize, said his longest pre-race training ride was only 105 miles and his hardest day was the first in 110-degree heat in the Mojave Desert. "But I feel stronger now than I did at the start of the race," he said.
Boyer and his crew of half a dozen, which followed in a motor home and truck, drank distilled water and ate a largely vegetarian diet. Despite good diet, clean living and stopping at every traffic light and stop sign across America, Boyer's record pace came to a sudden halt at 3 a.m. Tuesday when a Maryland State trooper stopped the caravan and threatened to arrest Boyer for not riding on the road shoulder.
"We'd been stopped 12-15 times by police, and I told him I was in the Race Across America, that I obeyed all the laws and was going to Atlantic City," said Boyer. " 'You're not going to Atlantic City tonight,' the trooper told me . . . but then somehow I was riding again, on the road shoulder. He followed for a while and then disappeared. Then we got lost a couple times."
Boyer's closest competitor, marathon cyclist Michael Secrest, finished four hours behind him. Boyer and Secrest both bettered the record transcontinental bike time of 9 days 13 hours 13 minutes set in last year's race. Boyer's time was, in effect, almost a full day faster over this year's 73-mile longer course.
Secrest was neck-and-neck with Boyer for most of the race until they hit the Blue Ridge mountains Monday in southern Virginia, where a haggard Secrest pulled to the side of the road and slept for 8 hours in a motor home. During that time, he fell 160 miles behind.
"I was discouraged and I stopped," said Secrest. "I was not getting proper food and water because of the dangerous two-lane roads on the side of mountains . . . and later we hit fog with zero visibility and I was traveling only two miles an hour."