Just Your Average Weekend Warrior
Roger Brucker, 72, has dedicated his life to speleology-- and he's not about to let age stop himBy Allan Donnelly
Men's Fitness Magazine, September, 2001
Talk to Roger Brucker, and he'll have you believe he isn't anything special. Just your typical weekend warrior in search of a good time. Sure. And Tiger Woods is just some guy who happens to club a golf ball around the links every now and then.
The truth is, special is exactly what Brucker is. Next time you find yourself entertaining the idea of skipping your Saturday afternoon workout in favor of watching a Look Who's Talking marathon, think about this: Somewhere, someone as old as your grandfather is spending 24 consecutive hours walking, crawling and sweating through 12 miles of tenebrous twists and turns nestled 350 feet below the ground. Sound fun?
It does to Brucker, one of the country's best-known speleologists. A cave explorer for the past 49 years, the 72-year-old-that's right, 72-Brucker has spent most of the last half-century dedicating his downtime to overseeing the expansion of Kentucky's Mammoth Cave which, at 350 miles, is three times longer than any other cave in the world. Brucker's written four books on the subject-including his latest, Beyond Mammoth Cave-and teaches a weeklong speleology course for Western Kentucky University at Mammoth Cave National Park.
When he's not speleologizing, Brucker, a cancer survivor, can most likely be found spinning the wheels of his tandem bike with his wife, Lynn. Last summer the duo rode 3,200 miles across the country, from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.
For more information on Brucker, Mammoth Cave or speleology, check out Brucker's Web site at www.rogerbrucker.com. (Did we mention he's 72?)
Q: What's the worst caving accident you've been in?
Q: What's the longest amount of time you've spent underground?
Q: From what you've said, most cave explorers are in their 20s and 30s. How
do you stay in shape?
Q: You're 72. How much longer can you keep doing this?
Q: After 23 straight hours in a cave, what's on your mind?