As if to prove that Two-Heel Drive is at the forefront of all things that truly matter in the hiking world, I’ve discovered that today is the last day of Ted Keizer’s challenge to hike 50 kilometers in 50 states in 50 days. If his schedule held, he started his last hike in the Adirondacks of New York about an hour ago. An article about his adventure is in the local rag in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Keizer is a phenom in the world of extreme adventure. He holds six records, most of which involve climbing up mountains really fast. In 2003, he climbed 40 of the Southern Appalachians’ 6,000-foot and above peaks in four days, 23 hours and 28 minutes. To do so, he covered 60 miles a day, often bushwhacking at night through the rain and fog.

He has also climbed the 46 peaks of the Adirondacks in three days, 18 hours. His first foray into competitive mountaineering was in 2000, when he climbed all 55 peaks above 14,000 feet in Colorado in 10 days, 20 hours and 26 minutes.

And you were so proud of yourself for taking the stairs instead of the escalator.

Wow, I got into hiking thinking it was the one physical activity that was of no interest to super-jocks who go around setting world records. I’m having an Andy Rooney moment: picture the crusty old coot, enunciating certain syllables in that Andy Rooney voice: “Why do people have to turn ordinary activities into competitions?” (May as well ask why there are are farting contests at chili cook-offs).

Actually, I think the people most likely to denounce Ted Keiser are the ones who are least likely to challenge his records. Sort of a corollary to my theory that the people most preoccupied with artists selling out are those who will never get the chance themselves.

Even though I’m appalled, as all right-thinking people would be, at the concept of “competitive mountaining” (it’s you vs. gravity, what else is there?), I still wish the world had a lot more Ted Keisers in it. Here’s a guy who goes around setting really high standards for other people to live up to. Having your name in the record books is one way of saying “I was here, I did something with my life.”

(Another way is to have a really cool blog, so get going on yours today!)