Rudy Becker Biking Route 66 to Raise Money for Nepal
By Debra Lordan
Kula resident Rudy Becker will leave on Monday, June 1, to begin a fundraising bike ride for Nepal on Route 66.
“Route 66 is 3,940 [2,448 miles] kilometers long,” said Becker, a Czechoslovakia native who moved to Maui in 2005 to satisfy his passion for kite boarding.
“My goal is to raise at least $1 per kilometer while I am on the route,” Becker said. “I would like to raise money for Nepal and the victims of the two major earthquakes there.”
The idea of helping Nepal came to Becker after listening to the news from the Czech Republic.
“Back in Europe, people are really trying to help one of the poorest country in the world,” said Becker. “The way its been described of what is going on there… the suffering… we have sent several donations right after the earthquake, but if there is something more that could be done, why not do it?”
His original plan was to go for the Race Across America, one of the most grueling bike courses in the US, crossing 12 states, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Rockies, with a total climb of 170,000 feet.
“But I simply couldn’t afford it,” said Becker. “And then my mother-in-law send me a book about two older men from the Czech Republic who biked Route 66 for their 66th birthdays. It was huge inspiration for me. I changed my mind quickly, and with the support of my wife, Daniela, I started planning.”
His passion for endurance sports started in 2009, when he saw his first XTERRA World Championship on Maui, a triathlon that includes swimming, mountain biking and trail running.
“To see people finishing–disabled athletes and people who were double my age–with huge smiles and awesome energy–I knew right away that is what I wanted to do,” said Becker. “I made a bet with my friends that I would do the race next year.”
But Becker had one issue back then that may have caused him to lose that bet.
“At that time, I didn’t know how to swim,” Becker said. “I mean, I could swim one lap, but not long distance–not even freestyle.”
He began to train the day after the bet, and has not stopped. He has finished several XTERRAs on Maui as well as IRONMAN races and marathons. In 2013, he was the only person from Maui to finish two world championships within one month–the IRONMAN in Kona and the XTERRA World Championship, Becker said, “the dream of every triathlete.” Last year, he finished a very busy race season with the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship race in Canada.
“I am leaving tomorrow for the IRONMAN race on the Big Island, where I would love to qualify for the World Championship IRONMAN 70.3 in Austria. ” said Becker. The IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAII includes a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.
Becker will leave the Big Island after the race on Sunday evening, and on Monday, he will fly to Los Angeles to begin his ride from Santa Monica Pier, a terminus of Route 66.
“I would like to finish the trip in 20 days, but it all depends on the weather and health conditions,” said Becker.
“I hope to meet many people on my trip, see new places and share my passion for biking,” said Becker. “I printed T-shirts with the “Biking Route66 for Nepal” logo, which I will be wearing on the trip. I will also be riding with a Czech and Hawaiian flag to represent my roots and my new home, as well.”
Becker is starting the trip as a solo rider, but he said he will be meeting his first coach and friend, Jason Andrus, in Flagstaff, Arizona, who will join him on the ride for six days.
“I will be camping, or depending the weather conditions, staying in motels or hostels along the way,” said Becker. “I will be carrying all my gear with me on the bike–over 55 pounds.”
Becker is paying all the expenses for the trip himself. So far, he said, no one has come forward as a sponsor.
“I approached a few local bike shops, but received a passive response,” said Becker. “But it is not important. I will do it because I love to bike and I will be helping somebody else as well. I want to spread the joy and great energy.”
“Anybody who is interested, including my friends and family, can visit our Facebook page to see my progress and maybe even bring me a cold beer or sandwich,” said Becker. “But another reason I will be posting every day is for those who might like the idea of joining me–maybe for a day or even a few hours.”
“I am fulfilling my big dream,” said “Ironman” Becker, with unrelenting enthusiasm and indomitable altruism. “It won’t be all fun–I am sure there will be plenty of dark moments, yet I will do it not simply for the joy, but I will try to inspire others and help people in need.”
As for future plans, Becker said, “Nepal has been in my bucket list for long time…”
Follow Becker’s progress on his Facebook page, “Ride with the Rude-dude: Route66 for Nepal.”
To donate to Becker’s campaign for Nepal, go online.
“Every little donation helps and counts!” said Becker. “Thank you so very much for your support!”