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Jill Homer grew up in Sandy, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism in 2000. She began her career working for weekly and daily newspapers in Utah and Idaho. In 2005, she moved to Homer, Alaska, to pursue adventure in the Last Frontier. She never viewed herself as an athlete, but she was searching for a unique kind of outlet that provided both physical and psychological challenges. Endurance cycling fit that description. Two years of (mainly mis)adventures landed her in one of the most difficult endurance races in North America, a 350-mile winter traverse of Alaska wilderness called the Iditarod Trail Invitational. The unforgettable experience was the genesis of her first book, Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime. Her second book, Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide is a continuation of what she views as her ongoing challenge: To drink life by the gallon, every day. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor in Los Altos, California.
on Sep. 02, 2011 :
One woman's challenge to complete the world's longest off-pavement cycling route - The Great Divide Mountain Bike Race, travelling from Banff in Alberta to the Mexican Border; a total of 2,740 miles.
This is a story of sheer endurance and perseverance. Jill Homer describes her journey beautifully, with all of its psychological and physical ups and downs. The writing is elegantly crafted and is an inspiring and motivational tale for anyone, though it will probably have deeper meaning for cyclists, and especially endurance cyclists and mountain bikers.
It is a fairly serious book with not much lightness about it, but it is as gripping a tale as any adventure story, though admittedly there were one or two moments when I became a little bored, but only because I am not a cycling person. There is such a strong underlying theme of human resilience, however, and of random acts of human kindness without it being 'slushy' that anyone can enjoy it. I am so pleased that Jill Homer completed the race and doubly glad she has written this book.
Favourite Quote: "The fact that something is impossible has never been a good reason not to try."
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Aug. 18, 2011 :
Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide is a story of a journey - physical and emotional. Jill Homer is an ultra-cyclist. The Great Tour Divide is an individual race from Canada to the Mexico border - over 2,700 miles. This book is the story of Jill Homer's journey during this race.
I have not followed her blog. Nor am I familiar with the world of ultra-athletes. The story left me in awe of the courage these athletes show and the challenges they choose to face. It is inspiring and amazing. I have no intention of following in her footsteps, but the lessons are there for all of us. To quote the book, "My only real investment in my future were the steps I took toward it - everything else was just a dream, a plan, or a fear."
The book did not get five stars because not really understanding cycling, I did find myself skimming some of the descriptions. Or maybe it was just because I wanted to find out what came next. I wanted her to succeed and couldn't wait to find out if she did.
*** Reviewed for member giveaway ***
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on Aug. 11, 2011 :
A surprisingly really good & inspirational read!! A great book & I will be recommending this to the ladies in my mommy group!!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 04, 2011 :
I had very high expectations of this book having read the author's first book, and then followed her blog for several months before picking it up. Despite this I'm pleased to say thay my expectations were exceeded.
For anyone interested in understanding the internal mental highs and lows of participating in an endurance event like the Great Divide then this book just delivers - chapter after chapter.
I initially downloaded the free 'sampler' just to see what it was like and ended up purchasing the full ebook that afternoon. I couldn't wait for the hard copy version to come out once I'd started reading. Highly recommended.
My only (minor) gripe is the title ... I can understand why it was used, but for me when I got to the chapter where the title derived from, well it just came across as trite and discordant with the rest of the book.
Can't wait for the next book.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on July 01, 2011 :
I will blame many unproductive hours at work on this book. I simply could not pull myself away from it. The descriptive language; Jill's blunt honesty and openness; and the first-hand account of the emotional, physical, and spiritual toil of such a feat make this book one of my top favorites. Whether the reader is an endurance athlete or not, this is a captivating read.
Her honesty and clarity with which she presents the events, her emotions, and the people around her are what impressed me most. We so often tip-toe around people's feelings, hoping to appeal to the shell of what we make of ourselves, but Jill blows that away and writes about herself and the others involved with a tone that sees past the surface and into the reality of who we really are--what we're made of, our weaknesses, and why we do what we do.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on June 15, 2011 :
Jill Homer brings the world alive in her book "Be Brave, Be strong: A journey Across the Great Divide" by using an amazing talent for describing her world of mountain bike racing through a poetic use of words. We are invited to join Jill as she relates the roller coaster of events that occurred to her as she follows her dream to racing 2,740 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide. She gives us a unique view into her views on the people around her and shows us the internal ticking of her mind that strove her forward to a new life perspective at the end of her journey.
I found Jill's view of the world interesting to read, though a couple times I paused thinking she was harsh in the way she judged people, but then I think we all do that. I came to admire her strengths as a person and learned a bit about myself and the world of bike racing as I read her story. I don't think a person couldn't like this tale if they enjoy reading of the experiences of another.
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
on May 22, 2011 :
The story was told simply, without unnecessary details. The reader will endure Jill's struggles with Ultrasport, the possibility of leaving her job as a newspaper editor and her home in Juneau. Her boyfriend of eight years will break off the relationship. The author gives the reader the straight-forward facts, revealing all and hiding nothing. The reader will be impressed that the author is willing to share some tough choices and events in her life. This comprises the first part of the story. The second part is not less emotional. Jill goes to her childhood home in Utah, trains, and builds up her abilities and emotional/mental fortitude to perform in the Tour Divide. Even with bad events and tough choices, Jill is able to ready herself for the race. The reader will enjoy living vicariously through Jill, experiencing the ups and downs and the incredible mental/physical endurance that Jill possesses. This novel is terrific for young adults/adults.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)