Posted by Miles Arbour
Words and photos courtesy of Jonas Deichmann
The Munich adventurer Jonas Deichmann started on August 19, 2018, in Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska in an attempt to set a new world record. The goal: to reach Ushuaia, at the southern tip of South America, in less than 100 days by bike and without a support vehicle. The previous world record for the Pan-American by bike and without support was 125 days.
On November 24, 2018, Jonas arrived in Ushuaia after 97 days, 21 hours, and 10 minutes. He covered 23,112 km and 195,800 meters of elevation, crossed 14 countries, 5 time zones, and all climatic zones. Jonas needed 44 days to cross South America from North to South. The previous world record for this section, also unsupported, was 58 days.
Without a support vehicle means that Jonas was on his own during the entire route. He had to carry his own gear, including his tent, clothing, and food. Managing his diet was especially challenging, because the daily requirement of 10,000 calories had to be covered in the wilds of the north and in the deserts of Peru, where there are often huge distances between villages.
The Pan-American led Jonas through the endless wilderness of Alaska and Canada, over the Rocky Mountains and the North American plains, through Mexico and Central America, over the Andes in Ecuador and the Atacama desert in Peru, up to 4,800 meters on Andean passes, and through the vastness of the Argentine pampas.
Ninety-seven days without interruption, with an average of 236 km and just under 2,000 vertical meters per day, whatever the weather and climate. Jonas experienced the cold and daylong rains in Alaska and Canada, the eternal headwinds in the prairie, over 40 degrees Celsius in the tropics and desert belts in Peru, the lack of oxygen at high altitude sections in the Andes, and powerful storms in Patagonia.
“The conditions were extreme, especially in South America, where I had either high mountains or strong headwinds every day. I’m just happy to have fulfilled my big dream,” said Jonas after his finish. The Panamericana Solo is Jonas Deichmann’s third world record. In 2017, he crossed Eurasia, also unsupported, from Cabo da Roca in Portugal to Vladivostok in eastern Siberia, riding 14,331 km in 64 days.
What’s next? Now it’s time for Jonas to relax on the beach in Brazil. In March, he returns to Germany on a lecture tour and prepares for the next world record project.