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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Braving the race


Philosophy professor Jose Bermudez is competing in the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska, a 1,000-mile bike race which started on Feb. 24.

For most Aggies, biking across campus is a feat in and of itself. But for philosophy professor Jose Bermudez, only the brutal conditions of the Iditarod Trail Invitational are enough to quench his thirst for adventure.
The Iditarod Race is an intensive 1,000-mile race that forces the individual to rely on their own abilities for survival. Participants must be prepared to face circumstances ranging from aggressive wildlife to unpredictable weather that may force them to push their bike for miles on end. Started at Knick Lake, Alaska on Feb. 24, the race can last up to 30 days for Bermudez, or until he reaches Nome, Alaska.
For Bermudez, this race is a chance to test his abilities and raise money for three charities — Habitat for Humanity in Bryan-College Station, Ranch Critters Equine Rescue and JoyRide Therapeutic Equestrian Center.
“I am a great supporter of Habitat for Humanity’s mission of providing affordable housing,” Bermudez said. “They have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of people in the Brazos Valley, and I am proud to be raising funds for them for the fourth time. And as I am a keen equestrian, it’s great for me to be able to support two local charities who do great work. Ranch Critters is a sanctuary for horses, and the JoyRide center offers therapeutic riding for adults and children with special needs.”
Bermudez’s personal trainer Janice Tower said someone who would embark on such a journey needs to be more than just well-prepared.
“For Jose, it’s a sense of adventure and personal accomplishment,” Tower said. “These ultra-distance events are really three-dimensional. There’s so much that goes beyond just training and being fit. You have to be mentally prepared to do this; you have to be mentally tough. You have to have a pretty strong character and self-confidence to be able to succeed.”
Even though this race requires a lot of physical and mental energy, co-race director Kathi Merchant said the reason people keep doing it is because of the event’s distinct culture.
“I think people are looking for adventure,” Merchant said. “People are also trying to disconnect from our everyday busy life that is run by social media and ringing cell phones. People will look for extreme adventures, and I think what a really big trend with this event is that they find a culture and a camaraderie on the trail and a way of life that doesn’t exist in our modern world, and I think it draws them back year after year.”
For information on Bermudez’s race, visit

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