PLAY HARD 4 FUN is a way for me to share my thoughts on family, friends, fitness, sport, travel, adventure, community, and fun! It will also offer an avenue for me to share some upcoming adventures and maybe allow me to help, educate, and motivate others as we move ahead and celebrate life in this new year of 2014 and beyond. Let's Celebrate together!
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
HOROSCOPES AND A HUGE ADVENTURE: THE TOUR DIVIDE
I've been hanging on to this for over a month now without sending it out but after reading my horoscope today (which I never do) in the Metro Halifax I couldn't hold back any longer:
Gemini (May 22 - June 21): Don't waste time telling the world what you are going to do - just do it. You should be aiming higher than ever before if you want something enough, you can make it happen.
Here we go...
I hope all is well. I am writing to share something very exciting with you and ask for your support.
I am committed to doing the Tour Divide (TD)! You likely have never heard of it but... The TD is a 2745 mile/4418 km unsupported Mountain Bike Race from Banff Alberta through back country across/along the Continental Divide to Antelope Wells, New Mexico (the Mexican Border). It is beyond anything I have ever done or will ever do again and, although somewhat naive, I will do everything I can to get ready and complete the adventure. My hope is to complete the route in 30 days or less after leaving Banff on June 13, 2014. I've been researching this extensively via the internet, you tube, various websites and blogs, books, maps and other written materials. I've ordered the maps and route cues, made some initial equipment purchases and have begun serious preparations. Up until now I was only dipping my toe in and testing the water but this letter of intent to you is me diving in head first.
There is no question that I want to do this for personal reasons surrounding adventure and challenge and as always, I have wonderful support from family (although they think it is nuts!). However, in thinking about it daily for a couple months now, I would like to make it about more than just me and promote the adventure in support of a charity or worthy cause. My goal would be to elicit support from sponsors to make a straight donation or preferably sponsor my ride per mile/km. For example: 1 cent per mile from one person would equate to $27.45 assuming I complete the journey. If I could get 1000 sponsors at 1 cent per mile and complete the distance I could raise over $27450 for children (see below). This would be even more motivation for me to finish!
I've decided to do this in support of two causes focused on children and their well-being: Autism (www.autismnovascotia.ca/about-autism/about-autism) and the Children's Wish Foundation (www.childrenswish.ca/en-ns/home). I have many good friends and three who have supported me for many years and are wonderful 'family first' guys. The three have been involved with and exposed to Autism, two have children who are autistic and one lost a daughter who was volunteering in Africa helping autistic children when she lost her life in a tragic accident. As well, I believe in the joy the Children's Wish Foundation brings to children facing life-threatening illness and it offers a great source of joy and pride to be able to assist them in granting wishes. This is a way for me to thank my friends, honour their families, support something that is important to them, and help children experience a dream.
I have less than six months to get this (and me) ready to go and have little prepared except a willingness to make sacrifices, a desire to make it happen, and determination to complete it! As you read on you will think that this is absolutely ridiculous and I must be crazy. Well, you may be right but…it can be done, it is extreme, I am always up for an adventure, and it is something I want to accomplish!!!
Here is where I hope you can help…the 'Race' might be the easy part! I need 1000 people to sponsor my ride with a straight donation or even a penny or two per mile and am hoping that I can count on you to 1) be one of my first sponsors and 2) send this to a few of your friends, family members, or business partners encouraging them to jump on board and sponsor/support this as well.
To sponsor/support me and join the team:
1) Email me
2) Confirm/state your sponsorship amount in the email (payment for charity arranged at a later date upon completion of TD)
3) Allow me to send updates to you (with further information, pictures, links etc)
4) Allow me to post your name (not amount) as a sponsor on websites, blogs and email releases
5) Follow my progress via website, blog, and track my progress during the race via 'Spot Tracker' (TBA) - playhard4fun.blogspot.ca
6) Allow me to include you on my team of 'Friends of (Tour) Divide and Conquer' and make donations noting your support
You can research the Tour Divide via the website below or there are numerous clips on youtube featuring the race and individual experiences. Additionally, I've added some info below on the race itself.
The Tour Divide challenge is simple: Race the rooftop of North America by mountain bike; travel self-supported along all 2,745 miles of Adventure Cycling Association's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route; keep moving and be moved; exist well outside one's comfort zone in tackling a cross-continent bikepacking odyssey; finish as fast as possible without cracking.
Speed may be substance when it comes to Divide racing, but a flexible, sang-froid style is the best attack for the Route's multiple personalities. Divide racing format requires no designated rest periods or set distances a racer must travel daily. The clock runs non-stop. He who can ride the fastest while making fewer, shorter stops usually hold the course records. With an average time-to-completion of three weeks in the saddle, Tour Divide is the longest–arguably most challenging–mountain bike time trial on the planet. It is a challenge for the ultra-fit, but only if ultra-prepared for myriad contingencies of backcountry biking.
Tour Divide challenges a fixed course annually called the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Not only is the Great Divide Route a true classic, it is pursued with consistency by TD athletes so that year to year, finish times may always be compared directly to the record books.
The Great Divide Route is the world's longest off-pavement cycling route. It was tirelessly mapped over a 4 year span, and published in 1998 by Adventure Cycling Association, North America's premiere bicycle travel organization. The route is highlighted by long dirt roads and jeep trails that wend their way through forgotten passes of the Continental Divide. It travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (map). By route's end a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times).
Divide racers must not only be conditioned to endure weeks of consecutive 16+ hour days in the saddle, they need to bring other skills to the trail. The route is unmarked and circuitous, requiring navigational acumen. It travels through remote backcountry with Grizzly and Mountain Lion density. Intervals between services are frequently 100+ miles and demand calculated food/water resupply–or else. Riders must also find shelter each night or bivouac trailside. In minutes the Rockies' dynamic mountain weather can wreak havoc on route surfaces, skewing even the most near-term travel projections. And, of course, it wouldn't be a grand tour without the geopolitics of negotiating an, albeit lower-security, international border crossing at Port of Roosville, Montana.
Divide racing fundamentals look much like traditional touring: rider + gear vs. GDMBR + nature. It's the method that differentiates the racing: self-support + 'blitzkrieg'. Blitzkrieg is German for lightning war. It's how Divide racing is meant to be executed; move fast, send no postcards, 'take no prisoners' and 'hurt so good' (suffer well). To wit: Divide racing isn't your parent's 1976 Bikecentennial tour. Yes, the common denominator is to finish the route, but the inspiration is how quickly without cracking; to teeter on the edge physically and tackle headlong the emotional roller-coaster sure to coincide. Divide racing is not to be confused, even with fast-touring of today's ultralight set. It is exceedingly difficult simply by the sheer volume of daily miles, which are a primary reason it flaunts a heart-breaking 60% attrition rate.
Self-supported grand tour racing along the GDMBR is like none other. Simply on scale, it's the hardest form of bike racing, period. To be competitive for the overall, one must ride ≥150miles/day. And if volume alone isn't taxing enough, one must also navigate, acquire resupply, clean/wrench the bike, find shelter each night, bathe when possible, and keep one's wits about it all. No entourages follow athletes. It cannot be compared to today's 100-milers, 24hour racing, or even 3-5 day stage race events.
Many wonder if they're capable of such a true solo blitz. At some point there's an inevitable leap of faith into grand tour racing. One thing is for certain: 2-3 weeks of back-to-back 16-18 hour days in the saddle are certain to bring about changes in body, mind and equipment of even the world's most seasoned ultra-endurance athlete. Are you the type to roll easily with this painful transformation? How well do you suffer for days on end? Are you prone to depression? Can you be happy sleeping in the dirt as it rains all night? Does post-holing through thigh-deep snowdrifts over a 10,000-ft pass sound like fun? A robust Rockies winter + late spring can leave behind just such mid-June diversion on the GDMBR.