Sunday, 11 May 2014


Less than five weeks now before I tackle the Tour Divide. Time is ticking away and I am scrambling to find the time and opportunity to get 8-10 hour rides in. My rides have been in the 5-7 hour range of late and that chews up a lot of the day. I've been trying to leave early in the mornings and get home mid afternoon. I laugh on occasion thinking that I am on the bike about the same amount of time I was in school teaching each day.
Life does still get in the way though. Being off work helps however there are always things that interrupt training whether it be meetings, presentations, paying bills, preparing meals, family commitments, home maintenance, hockey schools, and travel commitments. It is funny how busy things are even though some think I now have all the free time in the world!
Speaking of time, June 13 is coming and coming quicker than expected. Preparation and longer times on the bike are crucial and I am hopeful of an over-nighter or two between some long riding days in the next couple weeks just to test everything out. I've read almost everything there is to read on the TD and I've watched every video available, numerous times. What I've come to understand is that you can try to prepare as best possible however you can't really prepare for everything that this event will throw at you. The 10-12 hour days of biking, vertical climbs, rough single track, washed out trails from the spring thaw, snow in the mountains and trudging through it on foot, elevation changes, sleeping on the ground every night, rain (and lots of it!), riding while wet/sore, finding adequate food and water supplies, staying clean, maintaining/repairing equipment, animals, navigation, bugs...etc. Pace and Planning along the way is a key. My guess is that I will acclimatize and find a groove with improved fitness along the way. Being mentally tough will be the most important element. Take a moment and read the excerpt below from the TD makes even me wonder 'WHY?'
I am not nervous but am getting anxious. I am excited and wish the start was tomorrow! Am I ready? Not yet, but I am eager, willing and can fight my way through anything! This is going to be a journey, an adventure, and a test of personal limitations beyond expectations. Bring it on!
From: Self-supported grand tour racing (ie. >2 weeks) along the GDMBR (Great Divide Mountain Bike Route) 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. There are no rest days. 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.

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