Shelton resident Neil Mandel is no stranger to challenging himself, whether it\u2019s to run a marathon in every state (he\u2019s at 40), climb the world\u2019s highest seven summits (he\u2019s climbed three so far) or complete a solo cross-country bicycle ride. Mandel, 58, recently returned from his 40-day cycling journey of more than 3,700 miles from Newport, Ore., to Montauk, N.Y. The successful trip was the completion of a goal the Milford veterinarian put on hold a couple of times. \u201cIt started back in 1972 when I was going to ride cross-country,\u201d Mandel said. \u201cI rode from New York to Davenport, Iowa, and at that point, I just didn\u2019t have the motivation to keep going. \u201cThen in 1985 I flew out to Seattle with the intention of riding back to the East Coast but I only got as far as the same spot in Iowa.\u201d This time, he had the motivation to complete the coast-to-coast trip, armed with only a few items like a tent, snacks, some tools and spare parts. He flew to Oregon to start the trip. \u201cI did the ceremonial dipping of the bike wheels in the Pacific Ocean and then headed east,\u201d he said. He rode about 93 miles a day, keeping a steady pace from about 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. with one or two brief stops during the day. He slept mostly in motels along the route. \u201cI met a lot of nice people,\u201d he said. \u201cOne of the reasons I like to stop is to go into some local restaurant where I invariably start talking to people and they are usually very interested in what I\u2019m doing and very friendly.\u201d The only time he was stopped in his tracks was because it started snowing outside a national park. \u201cIt was right near a visitor center there so I hung out there for about two hours and eventually it passed,\u201d he said. While he saw plenty of sights along his journey, including Mt. Rushmore and Hell\u2019s Half Acre in Idaho, his favorite was the Tetons. \u201cI\u2019d never seen them before but heard a lot,\u201d he said. \u201cIt was beyond spectacular.\u201d Mandel expected he would need more rest during the trip, but he only took one day off. \u201cIt feels good reaching your goals and I like having goals,\u201d he said. \u201cThis is a trip I\u2019ve wanted to do since I was 18 years old \u2014 the desire never went away and to finally complete it is a good feeling.\u201d It just so happened the day he arrived at his starting point in Oregon, there was a marathon. He said he was frustrated he didn\u2019t know in advance, since Oregon is one of the states he still needs to do to complete his marathon goal. But he won\u2019t be giving up any time soon. While his accomplishments may seem intimidating to some, he tells people all the time to just take the first step and not to doubt themselves. \u201cI tell people that if you have a goal, even if you don\u2019t succeed at least you gave it a shot,\u201d he said.