‘Bookin’ Down the Highway…’

    San Marino Jeweler Steve Gilmore Is In Good Health and Great Spirits Midway Through His Cross-Country Ride

    It has all the makings of a bad country music song. Halfway across the country – Bucklin, Kansas, to be exact – on a transcontinental charity bike ride, Steve Gilmore is sitting in the vehicle driven by good friend Gary Cox that accompanies his every mile.

    “It feels like the Indiana Jones ride is inside my camper,” says Gilmore, the sounds of a good old-fashioned gullywasher transmitted over the phone line to San Marino, California. He says he has never experienced anything like the thunderstorm that rages outside and buffets the shell of the camper, this from a man who just for the heck of it decided to hop on a bike and ride it 3,033 miles in 26 days.

    When we speak, Gilmore is almost halfway to his destination, the mountainous part of the journey behind him. An altimeter in the pace car indicates he climbed 48,000 miles during the first 1,300 miles of the journey – one summit of Mt. Everest and the better part of a second. But talking to Gilmore, it sounds as though he hasn’t yet passed Santa Anita Race Track.

    “It’s unreal,” he said. “I’m just bookin’ down the highway. We are making great time. Obviously, I built up strength going through the mountains and have been lucky most days to have a tail wind. I am getting into much flatter terrain, too, so that helps.”

    Gilmore’s progress is monitored by equipment in the van. He has been averaging about 19 miles per hour for each day since he left the mountain ranges and is still right on schedule. He makes a conscious effort to keep his heart rate at 120 beats per minute, which he says indicates that his body is burning fat and not muscle. He is careful to stay hydrated and is eating healthy foods along the way.

    Many of Gilmore’s social media posts come from Subway restaurants.

    “It’s my sandwich of choice,” he said. “My friends think I should have approached them for a sponsorship.”

    One factor that has delayed Gilmore, but not derailed his progress is the 8 flat tires he endured while on Interstate 40.

    “There are a lot of blown tires on that road and the wire punctures bicycle tires,” he said.

    Last Sunday, Gilmore called a bicycle shop owner in Oklahoma and asked him to come into the shop so he could stock up on tubes. He has since left the 40 and with it, the blowouts.

    Without jinxing the remainder of the trip, Gilmore said he feels better and stronger than he would have expected and credited “excellent weather, very mild afternoon temperatures” for his solid physical state.

    He did acknowledge that it gets lonely out on the road.

    “If you look up ahead, you get depressed,” he said. “There is so much road and so much land up ahead it can feel like you will never make it. I just keep my head down and look 2 feet ahead of me. That seems to work pretty well.”

    The ride isn’t just for kicks and giggles. Gilmore is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He is carrying ribbons in memory of his family members who have been lost to cancer including his sister, Gail Zotovich, who lost her battle with the deadly disease in 2001. He was invited to dinner with some leukemia survivors in Wichita who heard of his efforts.

    Gilmore has raised $44,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society but donations are still more than welcome. He received a gift from a family in New Mexico who just pulled over to the side of the highway and handed him a few bills.

    Go to coast2coast4acure.com or contact Kraemer Jewelry in San Marino if you would like to help out. Gilmore invites the community to friend him on Facebook at Steve Gilmore.

    His relentlessly positive attitude in itself deserves some love.

    “The outpouring of support and the encouragement has made it so much easier,’ Gilmore said. “I am so pumped up every day. Things have gone so smooth. I knock on wood every day.”