Parker Smith decided to do something memorable between graduating from Georgia and starting medical school: to race nearly 2,800 miles from Canada down the length of the Rocky Mountains and into the New Mexico desert.
When he saw a video for one of the most unusual bicycle races in North America, he found a calling.
Smith recruited his friend and Georgia graduate student Rob Giannini to race nearly 2,800 miles from Canada down the length of the Rocky Mountains and into the New Mexico desert, stopping only to sleep for a few hours — usually outdoors.
"I saw the movie and I thought, ‘I’m not really doing anything the summer before med school and I want to do something cool,’ " Smith said. "I’m about to throw my life away with the books for a while, so I wanted to do something epic. I thought this was it. It was awesome. That’s such a huge test and I wanted to see if I could do it."
Giannini, 28, and Smith, 23, rode in the Tour Divide Race — a 2,745-mile run from Banff, Canada, to a border station near Antelope Wells, New Mexico, down a course that criss-crosses the Continental Divide and totals about 120,000 feet of climbs and descents.