Sunday, 16 March 2014


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do....Explore, Dream, Discover." –Mark Twain

I am well on my way to getting ready for the Tour Divide and have taken numerous steps in the right direction over the last few weeks. From watching video and reading material, purchasing necessary gear, or getting in some necessary base training time, things are coming together nicely. Taking time away from work and the leave of absence was a huge leap and one that is necessary not just for training time but one that was needed to allow me time to take care of important family things as well.

This week, with the freedom of having time (March Break), I was able to bike daily and sometimes twice a day, both indoors on the trainer and outside on the wonderful winter mountain bike. That time also allowed me to do some more research and organize my thoughts around gear, bike set-up, camping, and planning additional training time.
 The snow is going as I look out over the Halifax Harbour to the Atlantic !! Yeehaww!

The training is the easy part in all this. I agonize daily over having the appropriate equipment, making sure it is as light as possible, packable, and really necessary. Planning for the weather - rainy days, snow in the mountains, sub zero temps at night, keeping sleep gear dry, having the proper gear so I am not getting wet from the inside out (perspiration), being comfortable -  has offered a significant challenge. Another major concern is keeping the bike in working order - tools, necessary replacement parts, lube, cleaning supplies, repairing flats, replacing spokes, drive train, comfort...and again the weight and packability comes into play. Lastly, and likely of most importance, water and nutrition. Water: hopefully we find adequate places to fill a bottle with clean tap water or buy it at a local convenience store or gas station along the route. It will be imperative to have water in abundance and I am planning on having three bottles on board and a platypus in my backpack especially on the long hauls between key points. As for nutrition, well, that will be a daily concern throughout as you can only carry so much with you from the start and I will be relying on what I can find along the 2745 mile route from snack shacks, gas stations, corner stores, the odd grocery store, and restaurants although they are few and far between.

My equipment is coming together even though I still have a few holes to fill. This picture will give you an idea of some of the items I have gathered, all of which will be packed on my Salsa Fargo in the background.

I am still on the hunt for an ultralight 0 degree down sleeping bag that can pack tighter than the size of a two litre pop bottle and an ultralight sleeping pad. I have to get bib cycling tights and a wool undershirt but I laugh when looking at the picture...not a lot of clothes there for 25 days of cycling! It will certainly be well worn and I will likely be quite "ripe" at times too!

It really is quite fun trying to piece this all together as there are a lot of moving parts involved. I do have a couple trips planned in the next six weeks to work through the kinks and figure some things out. I will update you further as this all sorts itself out.

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." –John Lennon

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