Introducing Project Y Subject Athlete #5: Benedict Wheeler
SECTION No1 Introduction
The world will surprise you. It just will. Accept it. If you haven’t yet at your age, in this age, here and now, then either you’re a bona fide psychic or verifiably mentally deficient. Either way, people are going to know and recognize that you’re not operating with the same expectations as the average human. For the rest of us, the best we can do is accept surprise, roll with it, adapt to it. So when we received nearly one hundred (100) applications for Project Y: DK200—a number that far exceeded even our highest expectations—we knew that in order to make that cut, our five Subject-Athletes needed to be something special, something extraordinary.
The vetting process was rigorous and multi-faceted; the attributes considered included Current Perceived Physical Fitness, Athletic and Non-Athletic Palmarès/Awards/Notable Distinctions, Application Creativity & Information Communication, Style, and On-Camera Presence.
The Unexpected Getting to Know Benedict Wheeler
It’s possible you’re already familiar with Benedict’s work. He’s the embodiment and sole purveyor of the wildly successful @ultrarommance franchise, through which he’s made a name for himself as the world’s preeminent casual bikepacker. We’re talking easy-going. We’re talking sunbathing. We’re talking casual ne plus ultra.
It’s no secret that we’ve got history with Be’ne. The Yonder crew has traveled him to New Zealand and down the East Coast. We thought we knew him well, so to say we were surprised when he applied to take part in this project is an understatement. After we picked ourselves back up off the floor, scooped up our jaws, and allowed it to sink in, there was no doubt that he had to be part of this project. We don’t think we’re the only ones in the world interested to see how cycling’s most famous vagabond transforms himself into a highly-disciplined gravel racer. Let the drama unfold.
1) What’s your name? Age? Hometown? Current Residence?
My name is the wind, the sweeping wind of victory. The sound the sky makes when the sun rises. The sound steel makes when tempered by fine wines. Most call me Poppi. I’m 21-38 years of age from Clinton, CT. I live with my parents.
2) Do you have a day job? If so what is it?
I was once a fisherman. It was a noble job for hard-working swamp Yankees. Now I tap away on this very expensive and exclusive iPhone 7+ 256GB as a professional Instagrammer.
3) How did you hear about Project Y? What was the central reason you wanted to be a part of this project? You love gravel? Free Stuff? Fame? Etc.?
I wanna break into the triathlete market. These gravel triathletes have BIG paying day jobs as dental professionals. Most of my audience work at bicycle-themed coffee shops and artisan art things. Their parents’ money can only afford them so much of the goods I develop and sell. I also really believe in a documentary performance art piece directed by Kyle and DAN.
4) You were selected for Project Y in part because you have experience with arduous, endurance-based activities. What has been the single hardest event/activity/pursuit that you’ve engaged in up to this point? Please explain.
The Yonder trudge up whatever that thing was in New Zealand that resulted in helicopter extraction. Never woulda tried it if there had not been a big camera on me… then again there is only one photo of that day, and it’s not of me. Hmmm… well, I will do exceptional things if it’s properly documented. That is my strength.
5) Regarding the four pillars of Why: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, which will be your biggest challenge? Please explain?
It has been well-documented over my lifespan that I am undoubtedly a physical specimen. That has never been an issue for me. I have superior muscles and facial features. For me, the challenge is solely mental. I have the pain tolerance of a gilded Prince of Persia… and said tolerance is reserved primarily for eyebrow shaping.
6) Which pillar are you most comfortable with? Please explain?
Physical. See above.
7) Do you have non-bike, non-athletic related hobbies/interests? If so, what are they?
I rarely do anything off the bicycle aside from watching HBO. I suppose foraging and grocery shopping would qualify. I also enjoy healthy cooking and researching optimal nutrition.
8) Do you have a power animal? If not you should, please assign yourself one? What is it?
The Lion of Kansas.
9) What is your biggest fear?
10) What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done, or thought about doing? Yes, we are going to publish this but that’s not relevant right now. More importantly, this is therapeutic. We’re asking this for your own good. Please take a solid step outside your comfort zone and tell us something you’ve never told anyone before. Trust, reach deep, it’s part of the process. Do it for Science.
Likely selling my body at Oil Can Harry’s, I won amateur night there: $300. That averages a dollar a wiener ‘n’ balls grope, maybe 50 cents. I’ve done a number of things like that…
11) What happens to you if you don’t do this kind of thing? If you don’t exercise regularly, if you don’t push, if you don’t challenge yourself regularly, what goes wrong?
I’ve never really spent much time off the bicycle in all honesty. Injury has set me back a few days here and there, but I’ve always been able to figure out some way to cycle, whether it be a recumbent or hand cycle. Without the sensation of moving under my own power, I struggle. But again, I’ve only let it go a few days. A few days of HBO.
12) If you’re here answering this questionnaire it’s in part because you have exercise disease. Why do you have exercise disease? What happened to you when you were a child?
The bicycle has been with me through all phases of my life. The early days, I was no Lion of Kansas; I was a shell of an overgrown boy under the thumbs of local bullies. I embarrassed myself with ball sports and drifted through my early grade school days as a friendless, socially-dejected special needs student. Then I found mountain biking. My first taste of something cool and my own. All of my friends and my life choices from that point on would revolve around that sacred revolving wheel. And along with that obsession came a deeper obsession: the quest for the perfect body. My body has always been perfect, but physical exertion is a necessary component, nonetheless.
13) Maybe you have a hero all lined up for this question, maybe you don’t. Either way, who is your hero and why? It does NOT need to be an athlete, but it’s okay if it is an athlete.
My hero is Mario Cipollini at his prime. We are talking Aqua Sapone era. I love the panache and unbridled vanity he brought to the cycling world. I’ve always strived to be the Cipo of relaxation cycling. Might even have my own pet white lion some day.
14) What does existential you look like? Please tell us about existential you.
I think existential me would be a 60th floor CEO.