The former University of Wisconsin–Stout cross-country and track and field standout, Jessop Keene (Sr, Ellsworth, Wis.), had several adventures over the summer. This included a cross country bicycle trip, a 24-hour bicycle race and a daily ride to work on his bicycle from Ellsworth to his summer internship in downtown St. Paul, Minn.
On August 1 Keene attempted to set a record riding his bicycle across the state of Wisconsin from Prescott to Marinette.
Over Independence Day weekend, Keene drove his proposed route to Marinette and back to check out the terrain.
“I discovered that the route would be more hilly than I had anticipated, but it was very beautiful,” Keene said.
Beginning around 5 a.m. Keene road from Prescott to Menomonie, then zig-zagged up to State Highway 64 for the majority of the route.
Keene, who finished second to teammate Patrick Jenkins at the 2013 WIAC Cross Country Championship, has been preparing for the trip for quite some time. He first learned of the Wisconsin record 4 years ago.
Keene opened the summer with a cross-country bicycle trip, starting in San Diego, Calif., and three weeks later finished in Boston, Mass. Owning no GPS system or smart phone, Keene navigated the trip by using a 1997 atlas.
Keene’s inspiration for the cross-country trip was his father, Cub Keene, who did a similar cross country trip when he was about the same age as Jessop is now, aged 23. The elder Keene, who passed away 9 years ago when Jessop was in middle school, took three months to complete the trip that was along a northern route.
“My father is one of the biggest inspirations in my life, now more than ever,” Keene said. “I have the same adventure bug that he had.
“He has been gone 9 years this week and over the years I have looked through a lot of his stuff – tons and tons of pictures, journals and news clipping of all of his adventures. Seeing those make me want to keep pursuing my goals and adventures. It’s in my blood.”
According to the UMCA website, the old west to east Wisconsin state record was held by David Meridith of Hartland, Wis. who made a 307 mile trip in 16-hours, 33-minutes in July, 2014. Keene ended up shattering the previous record with a time of 12-hours, 10-minutes. Keene averaged approximately 23.5 miles an hour on the trip.
Inspired by his father, Keene hopes to be an inspiration to others.
“One thing that inspires me throughout my life is the thought that what I do might inspire other people to strive to be better or do better,” Keene said. “I have never been afraid of hard work because good outcomes have always resulted from them.”