Justin Simoni is an ultra-endurance adventurer who is most well known for his self-powered, long-distance tours that combine cycling, mountain running, and climbing. He is currently preparing for the “Highest Hundred” in which he’ll climb Colorado’s 100 highest peaks, accessing them all by bike, in 60 days or less. If he pulls it off (and I’m betting that he will), it will be the first time anyone has linked all of these peaks by bike in a completely self-supported style.
Most people would assume that Justin has been a hardcore cyclist for his entire life, but he actually started riding relatively late. He studied painting in college and worked full time as a professional artist for years, living in an art gallery in downtown Denver. Frustrated with his car that kept breaking down, Justin purchased a bike and began to ride it as his primary mode of transportation. As his rides became longer and longer, he enjoyed it more and more, and pretty soon he was completely committed to long-distance cycling. What followed was a barrage of impressive solo ultra-distance adventures: cycling the Pacific Coast, racing the Tour Divide mountain bike race twice, and completing the Tour 14er, which involved cycling to all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains and climbing them… in just 34 days.
Thanks to his athletic accomplishments, artistic perspective, hilarious sense of humor, and infectious enthusiasm, Justin is truly one of a kind. We had a fun and funny conversation that covered a wide range of topics from his adventures to his time as an artist. We chatted about some of the techniques that he uses to stay upbeat during periods of extreme fatigue or fear, and we discussed how he balances his free-wheeling artist’s mentality with the monk-like discipline required to pull off such serious adventures. As usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and Justin shares the best piece of advice he’s ever received.
I appreciate Justin taking the time to chat during such a hectic period of planning and training. Also, thanks to the sponsors who are helping to make the Highest Hundred possible: Ultimate Direction, Surly Bikes, Colorado Mountain Club, OR, Sierra Designs, and La Sportiva.
This was a really fun conversation, so I hope you enjoy!
Photos courtesy of Justin Simoni
- Justin Simoni
- Justin on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Highest Hundred
- Colorado Centennials
- Colorado 14ers
- Tour Divide
- Tour 14er
- Ride the Divide
- “Everesting” Green Mountain
- Green Mountain
- Bill Briggs (interview)
- Bill Wright (blog)
- Anton Krupicka
- Joe Grant
- M&P podcast with Joe Grant
- Edward Abbey
- Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
- Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
- All the Wild that Remains by David Gessner
- The Holy Mountain
- John Cage
- Taiko Drumming
- The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei
- Sri Chnmoy Self-Trancendence 3,100-Mile Race
- Longs Peak
- Ultimate Direction
- Surly Bikes
- Colorado Mountain Club
- Sierra Designs
- La Sportiva