Biker breaks Guinness record on Trace

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2000

Sarah Homeier of Tupelo stood under the shade of a large oak tree beside the end of the Natchez Trace shading her eyes against the sun and looking for her husband.

&uot;Here he is,&uot; Homeier shouted as she spotted Dirk, just seconds before he finished his non-stop, 442-mile bicycle trip.

As the Tupelo pastor pedaled his way past the National Park Service sign designating the beginning of the Natchez Trace, he broke through a hastily constructed finish line made of toilet paper and broke a Guiness World Record.

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The record – for the longest continuous bike ride – had been 350 miles. As Dirk Homeier stopped abruptly after crossing the finish line, he bowed his head against the handle bars in prayer – some 31 hours, 46 minutes and 55 seconds after he began the trip.

&uot;I will never do that again,&uot; he said later after being doused with a bucket of water by a few friends. &uot;This is the worst thing you can do to yourself.&uot;

But, he added, &uot;Young Life is that important.&uot;

Homeier had subejected his body to the torture of more than 31 hours of contiunuos pedaling to raise money for Young Life, a non-denominational Christian organization dedicated to teaching adolescents about God.

Homeier’s trip started at 6:09 a.m. Tuesday in Nashville and ended shortly before 2 p.m Wednesday in Natchez. Somewhere in the middle of the trip it almost ended.

&uot;Last night the stars were out and I kept thinking about people saying you can do anything if you put your mind to it – that is wrong,&uot; Homeier said. &uot;Last night everything shut down.&uot;

Homeier said he was falling asleep during the trip, but God kept him awake and pushed him on. &uot;It’s not my mind that kept me awake,&uot; he said. &uot;It was letting God go before me.&uot;

Homeier, who celebrated his 30th birthday Wednesday, has been making long-distance rides since he graduated from college.

When he graduated from a Christian college in Orlando, Fla., a few years ago, he hopped on his bike and rode across the United States. He rode from Orlando to New York and then to California. From California he rode back home to Illinois, a total of about 10,000 miles.

But this was his first non-stop long-distance ride, and his motivation was helping the Young Life organization.

Homeier raised about $2,000 for Young Life which, according to Young Life representative Danielle Kahlo, will be used to send children to Young Life summer camps.