Oh boy. It’s been a couple of weeks since I sent Matthew Lee my letter of intent to “do” the 2018 Tour Divide. What is the Tour Divide? If you don’t know, click here for Wikipedia’s explanation. Feelings of excitement, fear, anticipation, and apprehension have been swirling for sure. This little adventure’s consuming a big chunk of my brain and wallet, so I guess I’ll start journaling – sometimes it’s helps me with clarity and anxiety.
Angie Baker was hanging out in the bike shop the other day. She asked me what my plan was for the TD. “Are you racing? Touring?” Hmmm. I though for a sec – and replied, yes.
It really got me thinking. My dad always taught me the necessity of goal setting, writing things down, and making lists. Conceive and achieve. So…. my goal for the Tour Divide is a combo platter. I guess you could call it “Race Touring” – or as Angie coined, “Raoring.” — I definitely wanna enjoy the vibe, “live in the moment”, meet people, see places, and immerse myself in the adventure. I definitely don’t wanna be stressed out by letting the “race aspect” consume me. If I feel like a beer, I’m gonna hang out. If I wanna sleep in, I will. A big part of the draw is the FREEDOM of the open road… not feeling pressured by a bunch of blue dots on Trackleaders. That being said, I also want to push myself. Move at a fast pace for me and my fitness level. Find some limits. Push some limits. Break some limits. Cherish the lows and the highs and remind myself constantly that this adventure is a blessing not a sentence. I like to make goals finite by writing them. So here we go… My goals for the Tour Divide 2018:
- HAVE FUN. STAY HEALTHY. STAY POSITIVE. CHERISH THIS FLEETING MOMENT IN TIME. MOST OF ALL – FINISH.
As of late, I’ve gotten much joy, insight, and information by reading other people’s TD blogs, so maybe some poor saps like me will gain something from reading this too??… Probably not, but years from now, my great-grand kids can get a sense of what a kook great grampa Alan really was. You kids don’t know me, because I’ll be long gone by the time you read this – but I love you and you’re my flesh and blood and I wish for you a happy, healthy life of doing good stuff and achieving lofty goals.
So here we are, January 5th. The Grand Depart is June 8th. Six months should be plenty of time to prep, right? We’ll see… All I know is right now, the reality of riding 2700+ miles across the spine of our continent on my bicycle will be the most daunting, liberating, mentally and physically challenging endeavor I’ve ever set out to accomplish. I read a good quote the other day, from Ty Domin, a 2017 TD Singlespeeder: “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.”
1/16/18 — UPDATE
It’s even more real now. I ordered a Salsa Cutthroat. Although singlespeeding the TD was my initial goal 7 years ago, I’ve chosen against it. I smashed my left knee up pretty well on Longmire, and it’s never been the same since. Although it feels pretty good these days, it tends to scream at me randomly on long rides on the SS, so it’s gears for me.
- Booked a one-way flight from Reno, NV to Banff, AB on June 6th $$.
- Renewed my passport (just lapsed after 10 years, wow)! $$
- Booked a shuttle from Calgary Airport to Banff $$
- Booked a room at the YWCA $$.
Super stoked to learn my buddy Kevin Hinton is gonna do the TD too – he just texted me a picture of his plane ticket!! We’ve been talking about it since the first Caldera 500 – and now it’ll be a reality for both of us!! Each step solidifies the reality of the endeavor, and scares the crap out of me at the same time. I’m starting to pedal into better shape on my gravel bike and fat bike. I just finished lacing my custom wheels $$ yesterday, and pretty much all the parts are in to get the Cutthroat built to how I “think” I want it… at least enough for me to start riding it and deciding what I like and don’t like. I’ll devote a blog to the bike build later…
- Bought a new rain jacket $$ and an ultralight puffy $$.
- Bought a new Garmin $$ to replace my slightly antiquated eTrex Vista HCX. I’ll devote a blog to gear later.
Getting stoked. A dream that started seven years ago, when I first heard about the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. I watched Ride the Divide and started reading books. The fire was ignited. But the timing wasn’t right. The stars did not align. I started Longmire, which shoots from March – July. The exact window I’d need to be prepping and training for this ride of a lifetime. Longmire lasted 6 wonderful years, and we were blessed by that job. Longmire is over. I started Seal Team. But I quit just before Christmas. Need to be home. Family. Gotta grab it now.
I’ve been re-watching the Mike Dion movies (Ride the Divide, Reveal the Path, Inspired to Ride, etc). I’ve been re-reading all the Tour Divide books in my library… and finding tons of literature and blogs on the web. Immersing myself in the maps and cue sheets. Immersing in mental prep. Lot’s of time on the mental. Every time I take a ride, I focus on my attitude, and how I respond to different situations. Maybe I’m a schmuck? Either way, you can’t go wrong staying positive and happy and friendly… I really need to practice the friendly part…
**I’m Alan – passionate cyclist and owner of The Maven Bike Shop in Mammoth Lakes, CA – if you ever wanna chat bikes, get a price quote, or anything else – please contact me. Let us help get you on a Salsa, Pivot, Niner or Surly. — Ride bikes. Drink beer. Live happy.