34 for 40 Trans-Americas Ride
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POV! oooh, orphan Template:More footnotes
Template:Infobox non-profit The 34 for 40 program was a fundraising effort for the Pat Tillman Foundation. Led by David Gerulski, a technology sales and marketing executive from Atlanta, Georgia, the 34 for 40 ride raised over $100,000 while breaking the previous record for driving a motorcycle from the northernmost point in the Americas to the southernmost.
Origins of the campaign
Gerulski first met Pat Tillman in San Jose, California in 1987. Tillman was a close friend of Gerulski's nephew. After Tillman's death while serving with the US military in Afghanistan, Gerulski decided to create an event that would focus attention on Tillman's life and achievements in support of the Pat Tillman Foundation. Gerulski realized that the world record for driving a motorcycle from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska—the northernmost point in the Americas—to Ushuaia, Argentia—the southernmost point—was 35 days and had not been challenged for some time. He decided to try to break the record for his fundraising effort. "34" refers to the number of days needed to break the record. "40" refers to Pat Tillman's jersey number with the Arizona Cardinals football team.Template:Fact
Gerulski officially started at Prudhoe Bay on September 1, 4:28 A.M. (AKDT). He arrived in Ushuaia on September 28, 5:20 P.M. (Local). The elapsed time for the trip was 27 days, 7 hours and 52 minutes. Gerulski carefully followed the rules set forth by the Guinness World Records organization. Ironically, Guinness World Records no longer encourages or certifies the record due to liability concerns.
The ride covered more than 15,500 miles, meaning that Gerulski had to cover more than 500 miles each day. Gerulski crossed 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. He crossed 16 borders.
The terrain consisted of approximately 500 miles of unpaved roads, with weather ranging from sun to rain, snow and high winds. Sub-freezing temperatures at the start and finish rose as high 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the deserts of Mexico and Chile.
The Guinness World Records rules for the ride were very strict, requiring a signed daily log book and southbound travel on a single motorcycle from start to finish, over every line of latitude. Any time lost in border crossings, repairs, shipping or other down time resulted in additional “recovery miles” traveled in subsequent days. In addition, motorcycle and rider had to detour around the Darien Gap, a rugged, roadless jungle between Panama and Columbia that forced the motorcycle and rider to be shipped from Panama to Columbia. Once in Panama, the bike was crated and then shipped via commercial air to Bogotá, Columbia.
Upon arrival, the motorcycle was uncrated and readied for customs approval. After passing customs, the ride was able to resume, but the rules mandated that Gerulski travel 375 miles north to a point above the latitude at which he last rode in Panama before resuming his southbound trek. The time clock continued to run both during the cartage and during the 750 miles necessary to travel north of Panama City and back again.
Gerulski rode a specially prepared 2005 BMW F650 Dakar off-road motorcycle. He used an in-helmet communications system to communicate with others over a satellite phone. Though it might appear that Gerulski was in constant contact with the world beyond his immediate surroundings, that was not the case. Communications with supporters in the US and elsewhere was limited, at best.
Two riders accompanied Gerulski at the beginning of the ride, but quit after six days. Gerulski finished the ride alone, although he met other riders along the way.
The ride raised approximately $100,000 US for the Pat Tillman Foundation.
- "Updated: New Alaska-Argentina Trans-Americas Record Set On BMW F650," RoadracingWorld.com, 2006-11-30
- Tillman Inspires World Record Attempt," Steven Bohner, ASU Web Devil, 2006-06-26
- Tracy Moss, "For The Record: Westville Native Wants to Set Mark, Raise $1 Million for Old Friend's Foundation," The News-Gazette, July 17, 2006
- "Westville Native Breaks Record on TransAmerica Ride," Tracy Moss, The News-Gazette, 2006-09-30
- Angie Loy, "BMW Sets World Record in Trans-America Endurance Race," Motorcyclist, December 11, 2006
-  34 for 40 website
- Justin Rubner, "Hero Inspires Exec's Record-Setting Bike Ride," Atlanta Business Chronicle," May 28, 2007