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And so Eruç must brace for the unknown. And according to Groom, Eruç will have to do it with 10 percent of the skill that full-fledged rower has. There just isn't enough time to master everything. "He's going to be the tortoise plugging along day-in, day-out, and in the long run making progress," Groom said. For now, Eruç must juggle training with other preparations. In January, his boat was unfinished. Communication systems needed to be installed and tested. Supplies had to be gathered. He would need plenty of food. And of course there was his treasured iPod, which will play critical role in breaking the voyage's monotony. He's packing language tapes, too. "I plan on knowing Spanish by the time I reach South America," he said.

Eruç may not know everything, but according to Kossev and Groom, he has enough of the fundamentals and mental capacity to survive. "He's going to be able to do it," Groom said confidently. "There's no question."

Rewind few months to 2004. Cycling somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, Eruç ignores the fatigue and takes in the scene around him. Pine trees tower over him in majestic silence. No one is around, and yet Eruç hardly feels alone. Someone or something is out there. He can feel it.

That's when the bald eagle reappears, launching from limb and flying high above the trees. Immediately the memory of Kropp resurfaces. Only this time it isn't shrouded in grief or guilt. The monotony of riding alone, the burning thighs, the tightness in his hamstrings and lower back, the throbbing heart pumping hard from the altitude - they all cede to the refreshing reminder that Kropp is with him.


This is for you, Goran.

Eruç during a recent training row at Seattle's Pocock Rowing Center. Though he's not built for speed, if he's to survive at sea he'll have to be built to last


Eruç tows more than 200 pounds of supplies but presses on with renewed spirit. His cadence remains steady. Every pedal stroke brings him closer to Miami, one step closer to his maiden voyage through Latin America. When he reaches Miami, he will fly back to Seattle and train at the Pocock Center, waiting for the hurricane season to come and go. Eruç had just left the Pocock Rowing Center a couple weeks earlier, and he would return months later. Every day, there are people monitoring his progress. His wife is one. Kossev and Groom are, too. Other Pocock members are curiously tracking "the funny rower" as well. Teachers in Seattle are using Eruç as human geography lesson, and grade-school children in Miami are waiting for him to arrive.

Eruç's human-powered journey is as human as it gets. He never forgets that. He has invested so much time and yet his journey is just beginning. Now, after leaving his job and devoting his energy to his journey, so is his life. Goran Kropp would be proud

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