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On the surface, it might seem like we’re simply two middle-aged men looking for the next adrenalin rush. But the Race Across America Bicycle Race is the culmination of a lifelong pursuit of pushing ourselves and showing people that we can. That they can. That YOU can.

The Why Behind Dave and Team Speedy Turtle

I am incredibly lucky to have a family who ALWAYS encouraged me to dream and stretch the possibilities. When I was randomly offered a chance to drop out of college and tune pianos in Iceland, my Mom said, “That’s just out there enough that it might happen.” When I wanted to move to New York City from rural Arkansas via Greyhound and start school at NYU, my folks were fine with it as long as I could figure out the details (including the finances). 


I’m not saying I always got what I wanted because I didn’t. But I achieved what I have because I figured out how to take it from a dream into reality. My parents taught my siblings and me that if we wanted something, we might be able to get it – if we worked incredibly hard. That combination of dreaming and work ethic has made all sorts of things fall into place. 

Dave Wilkinson wearing sunglasses upside down against green background

This has nothing to do with me being blind, except that it was essential for me to understand from an early age that I was going to have to grind it out even more than sighted people if I’m going to get what I want. And I want to experience EVERYTHING!

Physical fitness keeps me grounded. It gives me an outlet for frustration and, well, life. It lets me eat all the sugar I want, which became crazy important after I quit drinking 20 years ago. If I don’t work out, I’ll gain a zillion freaking pounds, driving me deep into a (large) hole where I’ll hide and sulk and mope about body image issues.

My wife Dawn would probably prefer I chill at home for a while. I’ve had plenty of experiences to last several lifetimes. My adventures have included Ironman, tons of marathons, jumping out of planes, living in a country where I couldn’t speak the language, walking on fire, etc., but that’s just who I am. Fear pisses me off. I’m petrified of being afraid, so I fight back, which has served me well.

We’re ready for this challenge.

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A Little About Jim

I have always been a bicyclist by nature and I just love to travel that way. From that ride across MIchigan, I progressed to a ride across the country and then a ride around the world. Stops have included Helsinki, Paris, Cape Town and Hanoi.

I completed RAAM when I was 35. I tried again in 2021, but I DNF’d (did not finish) at mile 2500 of 3000. My body was shutting down and I knew it was time to quit. I don’t see DNFs as failures, although it was tough for me and the crew. But we have another chance to do it again.

I’m excited for a new challenge. Tandem definitely amps up the regular Race Across America. It’s another level. But it sounds so much fun at the same time, we’re just going to go do it. 

Dave and I are both here for a common goal and we have similar personalities. We just love life and we’re just going to go for it.

Julian Valier-Harris with a smile against black background

Our Support Team

And, of course, we couldn’t do what we do without the rest of our amazing team. These are the people who have tirelessly supported us and believe in Team Speedy Turtle. We are very proud to work beside you and appreciate the work you do:
Profile photo of Dawn Wilkinson with library book shelves background


Dave's Biggest Cheerleader & Simultaneously his "Voice of Reason"
Profile photo of Sara Allen, woman with glasses and blond hair agains the blue sky background


Crew, Chief & Fearless Leader
Erica Oliver - Team Speedy Turtle Support Crew


Crew, Team Engineer

Jill Robb - Registered Nurse for Team Speedy Turtle


Crew, Team Registered Nurse

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Josh Profile Photo


Profile Photo of Shamus Trout


Profile photo of Oscar Trout


Angie Snow Profle


Some FAQ’s

Right now, you might have a few questions  

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We’d be very happy to present our journey to your organization. Please contact us at and let’s chat!


Envision Logo

Envision empowers people who are blind or have low vision to access everyday visual information for themselves. Because it isn’t just information. It’s knowledge, independence and possibility. For more information, visit

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NanoPac has been dedicated to enhancing lives through innovative assistive technology solutions since 1987. With a wide array of over 100 products, we are here to help support and find the perfect product to meet our customers needs.  For more information, visit


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Thank you Hilton, the number one place to work, for providing crew
accommodations, visit


Aira Logo

Much like a video relay interpreter for members of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community, our team of expertly-trained Visual Interpreters provide on-demand visual information for the blind and low vision community.  Because we believe that access to information is a human right. Visit

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Braille eMotion. Go with that feeling!  For more information, visit


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