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Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide Paperback – May 25, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Be Brave, Be Strong" is a book both simple and enormously complex, a story both nuanced and quick-reading, and an adventure narrative of both personal and cultural significance. Most of all, it elevates the joy of suffering on a bike to high intrapersonal art. -- David Chenault, Bedrock and Paradox

We're given fascinating views into the internal struggle and psychological influences that allow some people to push their mind and body to the edge and actually achieve heightened awareness and ability that forever creates in them a craving to experience it again and again. -- "Flying With Red Haircrow"

I am in awe of this woman... not only can she write a good yarn, but her story is amazing. I mean how many of us would ride a mountain bike from Canada to Mexico in rain and over 11,000 foot mountains in just 24 days? With only two outfits and a bag of junk food and a sleeping bag? -- Tara Chevrestt, "Book Babe"

Another great adventure story from Jill. If you enjoy adventure and cycling, you'll enjoy this book. And be careful because you might just develop dreams of one day riding the Tour Divide yourself. -- Andy Amick

Jill Homer grants us plenty of personal insights into the background to her Tour Divide ride, and her feelings during the ride itself. This is a very open, female perspective on what I assume is normally the predominantly macho and insular world of extreme bike racing, and means the book is never just a dry account of a bike ride. -- Jim Speakman

About the Author

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 her ongoing adventures. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor in Los Altos, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (May 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1463533136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463533137
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If I've learned one thing from my ongoing and mostly disappointing quest for good adventure documentaries and literature, it's that maps and distances and images usually tell stories better than we do. In the face of incredible beauty and incredible hardship, our words fall flat and collapse into painful habits. But Jill's don't. They bring to life what alone stands as a fantastic journey. It's hard to imagine pushing oneself to one's mental and physical limit every day for three or maybe even four weeks. It's hard to imagine being able to do this if one were in a perfect state of mental and physical readiness leading up to the race. But I can't imagine what it takes to pull this kind of effort out of shambles and devastation. I loved this story for the exhausted, snowy night-time slogs, for the quiet moments of mountain exaltation, for the confusing relationships, and even more for the revelation that comes from it all: that this race was not something to finish before starting anew, but rather that the race itself was a new beginning - of something brave and strong. So here's to hoping that a third one's on its way!
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Format: Paperback
With terrific photos of the beauty of landscape and individual and group determination to succeed in their goals, "Be Brave, Be Strong" is a moving work of one women's tremendous journey to complete a dream after heartbreak. Although a memoir of sorts and a detailing of her experiences, I appreciated the flowing style that reminded me of the storytelling tradition of my people, not just someone telling their story. We're given fascinating views into the internal struggle and psychological influences that allow some people to push their mind and body to the edge and actually achieve heightened awareness and ability that forever creates in them a craving to experience it again and again.

I especially enjoy biographic books on adventure and exploration, so this was a special treat for me, especially in that the author's skill makes you feel like you're there in the moment. Even if you are not actually participating then at least you're watching and cheering them on. Vivid images of the people and situations encountered are both profound and simple, just like life's own mysteries and realities. Courageous and astonishing, I believe this is one of the best personal testaments of its kind that I've read.
[...]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great blind buy. I had never heard of Jill Homer but it turns out she is a pretty incredible cyclist with the heart of a lion. I like how unassuming she is and has none of the typical cyclist pretensions. I am fascinated by the endurance bike race known as the Tour Divide because I believe it to be one of the greatest tests of human endurance. I am a cyclist also and one day I hope to complete the Tour. It's such an amazing feat that I can't help but think it would be a life-changing experience. It seems incredibly difficult but aren't most endeavors that are rewarding? Jill has wonderful thoughts on human kindness and gives examples of people helping her along the route. I never would've expected people to be so kind to random cyclists but it goes to show that there are still good people out there.
The book does start slowly and it seems to get bogged down in her relationship troubles but this background does ultimately serve as a juxtaposition to her struggles and ultimately, her achievement.
Jill's writing places you right there riding along with her. After finishing the book, I had a sense of travel and accomplishment myself. I want to shake her hand! Jill details her ups and downs in this well-written adventure story. It reminded me of a cycling version of the sublime Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner She also has a good sense of humor amid all the toil and strife she faces.
I only wish that she included more photos of her journey in the book.
(One other caveat: the Kindle version includes a lot of typos) Not sure if they are in the paperback version or not.

If you're at all interested in adventure-cycling, the outdoors, or self-discovery, you'll want to check out this excellent book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book does a really nice job of painting a picture of what motivates someone to chase a huge physical challenge and what goes on in the mind, the body and the scenery of an epic adventure. A Very fun read, it took me back a few decades as I recalled the joy of adventure trips with college team mates. Her story touched on many of the places I lived or worked, and she did such a good job of describing them that I could visualize everything that much more clearly. Her story motivated me to start planning my next bike tour, however mine will feature a lot more sleep, I'll let Jill describe toughing it out in graphic detail ;-) while I stick to easier stuff myself. All three of her books were fun to read, although the re-use of some of the stories in one of the books had me skimming through that one. I hope that she continues adventuring and continues writing, I'll do my part and continue reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked the story and the vibrant storytelling. Personally I liked the background leading up to the Tour Divide with Geoff and her life in Alaska. What I really wanted to read is what happened when she returned to Alaska and how she de-tangled her life with Geoff when she returned. I was amazed at her determination in the face of environmental, social and physical challenges.
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