Showing posts from June, 2015

Following the 2015 Tour Divide

Before I set out on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and don't update my blog for a month (hopefully), I wanted to post all links for tracking my progress in the Tour Divide and Beat's progress in the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa.

Beat's race began on Thursday, June 11. The 2,400-kilometer route across South Africa involves mountain and desert crossings, several off-trail portages, and map-and-compass navigation. Beat and Liehann are traveling together and aiming for a 20-day finish.

The Tour Divide begins Friday, June 12. The 2,750-mile route travels from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, along the Continental Divide. I am hoping for a 20-21-day finish, but mostly aim to remain flexible and have another fantastic and soul-rending experience.

Following the Tour Divide: 
Official Tour Divide tracking page.

My Delorme tracking page (with text updates)

My Twitter account (text updates)

My Facebook page (encouraging notes appreciated)

Race discussion…

Banff doesn't change

Six years ago, when I rolled into Banff three days before the start of the Tour Divide, I connected with two trail-angel types, Keith and Leslie. Although we were strangers at the time, they invited me into their home, fed me dinner, and then whisked me away on all the grand tours we could possibly squeeze into what amounted to a 48-hour period. Within about twenty minutes of my arrival, Keith drove me to an overlook where I believe Parks Canada filmed that infuriating earworm cute "Sheep and Goat" video. He stretched his arm toward the kingdom, complete with a massive castle they call the Banff Springs Hotel, and characterized Banff as "paradise in a bubble." Regulations from the National Park and other policies strive to ensure this little village nestled in the Canadian Rockies never changes. 
We've since become good friends, and we have a number of adventures behind us. For this reason, and also because Beat and Liehann just happened to be flying out on Fr…

Letting go

It was the second to last climb of our long ride, a grunty 2,000-foot ascent with occasional 19-percent grades and a funny Strava segment, the "Pomponio Climbo." I never race it, but I usually feel faintly shattered, with invisible lead weights pulling on my calves and a sharp pain in my shoulders. Not this day, though. This day, like the rest of the day had been after a somewhat ragged 90-minute warmup, was just pleasant spinning. Late-afternoon light saturated the golden hillsides, the familiar half moon hovered over rock outcroppings, and that intoxicating sensation vibrated through my body — the one that flutters behind my eyeballs, slows my heart to a seeming murmur, and tells me to keep going, don't stop. Here, inside this tunnel of motion, it tells me, is peace.

As we reached the top of Alpine Road, I hinted at extending the ride over Russian Ridge or perhaps Indian Creek. But by the time we descended into Stevens Canyon, the guys could smell the barn at the end …