Across America – Kirra’s endurance ride

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Kirra Dyer is racing a non-stop clock in Tour Divide 2019, a gruelling 4,418km mountain bike race from Canada to New Mexico.

The Ramingining teacher is fundraising for research into Parkinson’s disease — the neural degenerative disorder afflicting her mother.

The adventure racer has been building for the event since January 2018, varying her training regimen from big rides during the school holidays, to six-days each week during school terms.

The Arnhem Land resident has mixed indoor and outdoor training, including Saturday rides of 50 to 110 kilometres, to better condition her heart, lungs and legs.

Kirra said she had been distracted by a “thousand other adventures” since first seeing the race in a mountain bike magazine when she was 25 years old.

“I’ve been eyeing it for almost two decades…and I’ve been talking about getting into adventure racing since my mid-20s, but one of the hurdles has been the entry fees,” she said.

“In this race there is no official finishers’ medal and no entry fee, so the money can be donated to Parkinson’s research instead.

“I love that the race isn’t about fame and fortune. It’s simply about getting from point A to point B as fast as one possibly can, and enjoying the journey.”

Parkinson’s disease restricted her mother’s movements, spurring Kirra to travel while she is young.

“I guess the most inspiring thing my Mum has inadvertently done is to inspire me to travel and have adventures now,” she said.

“My parents worked hard their whole lives and saved for retirement. They were saving their money for a big year off to travel the world when they retired, except Mum was diagnosed and began having problems with travelling long distances a few years prior to retirement age.

“It has inspired me to get out and see more of the world while I am younger, prioritising my own adventures rather than working and saving.

“Some people might think I am crazy because I sold my house and decided that, although I have to earn a living, work is not even close to the top of my list.

“It is simply a means to have more adventures. I love being a teacher, but it's not who I am. I am a traveller, an explorer, a friendship sharer, a nature lover and adventurer.”

Tour Divide 2019 began on Friday 14 June. Visit Kirra’s fundraising page and live track her progress.

Kirra Dyer

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