Be Brave, Be Strong by Jill Homer
Be Brave, Be Strong by Jill Homer

A Journey Across the Great Divide
Purchase a signed copy of Jill Homer''s memoir about the 2009 Tour Divide, a candid story of heartbreak, determination, and true adventure amid "The World''s Toughest Mountain Bike Race".

Short description:
Jill Homer, a newspaper editor in Alaska, has an outlandish ambition: a 2,740-mile mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico along the rugged Continental Divide. But in the tradition of best-laid plans, Jill’s dream starts to unravel the minute she sets it in motion. An accident during a race on the Iditarod Trail results in serious frostbite. As she struggles with painful recovery and uncertainties about leaving a good job to pursue a seemingly impossible pipe dream, her employer hands down “an offer she can’t refuse.” Just two days before their departure date, her boyfriend ends their eight-year relationship. This final blow dismantles everything Jill thought she knew about life, love and her own identity.

“Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide” is the story of an adventure driven relentlessly forward as foundations crumble. During her record-breaking ride in the 2009 Tour Divide, Jill battles a torrent of self-doubt, anger, fatigue, loneliness, pain, grief, bicycle failures, crashes, violent storms, and hopelessness. Each night, she collapses under the crushing effort of this savage new way of life. And every morning, she picks up the pieces and strikes out anew in an ongoing journey to discover what lies on the other side of the Great Divide: astonishing beauty, unconditional kindness, and boundless strength.

Be Brave and Ghost Trails
Be Brave and Ghost Trails

Purchase signed copies of "Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide" and "Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime" together and save on both the list price and shipping.

The next project

Fans of the long-running adventure blog “Jill Outside” (formerly known as “Up in Alaska”) will be pleased to learn that we’re finally compiling a best-of-blog — more than six years of adventure stories and essays from Alaska, Utah, Montana, Canada, Nepal, and more. The collection includes harrowing race reports, personal reflections, and stories of outdoor ambitions gone awry. “Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure Stories from Alaska and Beyond” will be available as an eBook for Kindle, iPad, Nook, and other e-Readers by the end of March 2012. The paperback will be released in April. Stay turned for news on the release date as well as more upcoming projects.

“Be Brave, Be Strong” released

Well, summer has officially arrived, which means most of you are probably outdoors doing something exciting and fun rather than curling up on the couch with a good book. Still, even at the height of the sun season, it’s important to engage in some rest and relaxation as you gear up for new adventures. If you’re looking to whisk yourself away on your next big armchair adventure, you should check out “Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide,” Jill Homer’s candid memoir about her 2,740-mile mountain bike journey in the 2009 Tour Divide. Here’s what reviewers are saying about the book so far:

“On the surface, this is a book about the amazing ability of humans to persevere and a stark reminder that our limits are much greater than most of us allow ourselves to believe. On a deeper level this is a poignant and deeply personal portrait of human nature. This book is griping and fun to read, but also thought provoking and invites deep and searching introspection.”
— Chris Wightman

“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.”
— Appliquetion

“Jill brings the strong heroine to a higher level in this book. She fights the pain, sadness, weakness of being human and wins. This book is captivating, thrilling, emotional, comedic and inspiring. I could hardly put it down and and am trying to get every adventurer I know to read it so we can dissect and savor each word she has written.”
— Lydia Larson

“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. As a sequel to “Ghost Trails” it is both a spellbinding continuation of Jill’s development as a cyclist and as a person, as well as a major step forward in the integrity of her craft. Most of all, it elevates the joy of suffering on a bike to high intrapersonal art. Be warned, if you have any inclination towards long searching bike rides that idea will have been sunk much deeper by the time you finish this book.
— David Chenault

“Life is a wheel, a journey that comes full circle. You fall apart just to put things back together the way you want them. In the end this is what makes you, you. And Jill portrays her personal journey in this book which in turn enriches its readers with new perspectives and the ultimate inspiration.”
— Bill Martin

Signed copies of “Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide” will become available starting June 28. You can purchase your book or books today and receive them by the first week of July.

Purchase your signed copy of “Be Brave, Be Strong” for $15 plus $4.95 shipping at this link.

If you are interested in bulk orders of the book, either as gifts or available for resell at bike shops, book stores and other businesses, you can purchase bundles of five books for $55 including shipping at this link.

Purchase signed copies of Jill Homer’s first book, “Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime” and “Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide” together to save on listing price and shipping, for a total savings of $11.90, at this link.

Anthology of the Great Divide

From editor Eric A. Bruntjen:

The Cordillera Volume 2 is finished and available for purchase. The Cordillera is an anthology of Great Divide Mountain Bike Route art, literature and poetry, featuring work by Jon Billman (Outside Magazine), Paul Howard (Two Wheels on my Wagon / Eat, Sleep, Ride), Dan Koeppell (New York Times), Eddie Clark (Mountain Flyer) and many others. We also have pictures from Aaron Teasdale and original artwork by Trevor Browne in this year’s book.

We have a great story and interview of Kurt Refsnider that details the incredible discovery he made on Baffin Island of the bikes and gear left by Divide bicycling pioneers Mike and Dan Moe. It’s a story that you’ll never forget and there’s more information about it in the Cordillera than anywhere else.

The Cordillera is a non-profit effort. All proceeds benefit worthy bikepacking causes and last year we raised over $1,000 for Adventure Cycling Association. This year all proceeds go directly to the college savings plan for Linnaea Blumenthal. Linnaea is the 4-year-old daughter of Dave Blumenthal who died after a crash in the 2010 Tour Divide race. Purchasing a copy of the Cordillera is a great and tangible way for the bike-packing community to show support for a fallen racer’s daughter.

If you are making a run down the Divide this year please consider buying a copy and recommending it to your friends/family as well. There’s no better way to vicariously race the Divide than through the Cordillera. It would make a terrific gift.

The Cordillera will be available on Amazon.com next month but if you purchase it directly from the printer you’ll get it in a few days and twice as much money will be donated to Linnaea’s college fund. Click here.

Author spotlight

We’re preparing to release Jill Homer’s second book in June.

Title: “Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide”
Author: Jill Homer
ISBN: 978-1-257-65858-9
Page count: 308
Genre: Adventure memoir
Price: $17.95 hardcopy, $8.95 eBook

Author Bio:
I grew up in Sandy, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism in 2000. I started my career working at weekly and daily newspapers in Utah and Idaho. In 2005, I moved to Homer, Alaska, to pursue adventure in the Last Frontier. I never viewed myself as an athlete, but I 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 led me to 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 my first book, Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime. I’ve lived in Juneau, Anchorage and Missoula, Montana, and currently work as a freelance writer and editor in Los Altos, California.

Tell us about your book:
Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide is the detailed and honest account of my attempt to break the women’s record in an event that has been described as “the toughest mountain bike race in the world.” The Tour Divide travels 2,740 miles from Canada to Mexico along the rugged spine of the Rocky Mountains, in a race that’s entirely self-supported. I started this race in the summer of 2009 under less than ideal circumstances, and the storyline follows a journey toward personal growth alongside a thrilling adventure narrative.

How long did it take to write the book?
The actually writing of the book took place from December 2009 to March 2010. Working up the courage to release these personal and often painful experiences into the public realm took quite a bit longer.

Riding the Great Divide Mountain BIke Route in Montana

What inspired you to write the book?
It’s become a cliche thing for authors, especially memoirists to say, but I feel I had no choice but to write this book. I tend to have a strong and vivid memory, and I feel I can’t fully process experiences until I write them down, thereby releasing them to a place outside myself where I can step back and reflect. I write for selfish reasons, but at the same time believe that readers can gain their own perspective and strength from the experiences I write about.


Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
During the race, I wrote down a few journal entries and also had race reports from which I could glean details. As I was writing, I kept the race maps nearby. Seeing the depiction of the course, as well as the names of landmarks and places, helped jog my memory and reconstruct the experience.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
As with my first book, I hope they finish with a strong desire to succeed at a goal that before seemed outlandish, overly challenging, or outright impossible. As an adventure writer, I believe I stand apart in my willingness to be unflinchingly honest, and not gloss over the mishaps, the mistakes, and the outright humiliations that come with overcoming difficult challenges. My intent is to not only bring readers into the depth of the adventure, but also to emphasize that ordinary people, with ordinary human failings, have the ability to do something extraordinary. Doubt should never be a limiting factor.

Where can we go to buy your book?
Beginning June 15, the book will be released and available for sale at www.arcticglasspress.com. Digital eBooks will also be available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Visit my blog at arcticglass.blogspot.com.

Excerpt from book:
More hours passed this way — climbs so sticky and steep I could barely walk up them, followed by descents so steep and slathered in wheel-grabbing mud that they were only navigable with intense focus and a Zen-like shutdown of natural fear. The torrent continued to fall with duration and volume I scarcely thought possible in the desert. The sheer amount of rain seemed to match the wettest storms I had encountered while riding through the rainforests of Juneau. It pushed me deep into the hopelessness those gray rides often instill — a certainty that it will never stop raining, ever, throughout the span of the rest of eternity.
As I trudged up another thousand-foot climb, the thick aroma of the forest air started to permeate my consciousness. It was a singularly unique fragrance — a savory and spicy blend of cedar and sage with hints of charcoal and wood smoke — remnants of long-snuffed forest fires, perhaps. Infused with the fresh sweetness of the rain and the pungent oils of pinion nuts, the scent swirled around my nose with overwhelming intensity. As soon as I noticed it, I became wholly immersed in its charred, sugary, juniper-imbibed perfume, until I started to feel physically ill. I knew I would never forget that smell, and that it would always haunt me in sickness and pain, the way I always recalled a vanilla air freshener that once hung in my parents’ car whenever I came down with motion sickness. Just as that artificial vanilla had become, the smell of the Gila was permeated in repulsiveness so vile that it evoked a hundred memories of suffering. The smell of the Gila was a hate smell. For as beautiful and wild as the landscape was, I hated the Gila.”