After two years of training and dreaming I finally got my chance to ride the Tour Divide, a 2,800 mile mountain bike route that goes from Banff, Canada all the way down to the Mexican border. Before I would ride, though, I spent a few days in Banff, which is a wonderful town.
Finally we got started at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning, but alas, the weather was unbelievably bad. It rained every day, for hours and hours on end, with each day only giving us an hour or two of clear weather. The rain was cold and it turned to snow up on the passes.
My body and bike held up just fine, but I just wasn’t focused. I’m going through a lot of big changes musically and professionally and I kept thinking I should be home practicing and composing. However, I still averaged about a 100 miles a day this time, and finished 450 miles of the route in five days. That was much slower than I had hoped for, but the elevation and weather was giving me some trouble. I rode from about 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day.
The terrain was a mixture of single track, double track, gravel roads, and pavement.
Sometimes the trail just disappeared and became a river, like this photo below of the bottom of Flathead Pass. We had to carry our bikes for miles through the icy cold water, or try to navigate the brambles on the side of the “road.” Fun!
I rode with other people off and on. I never tried to catch up to stronger riders as I didn’t want to injure myself. That was a good strategy.
There was a lot of hike-a-bike. Miles and miles every day. In the photo below are some avalanche remnants across the trail on Whitefish Pass in Montana.
So, somewhere in the middle of Montana I called it. I have no regrets. It was an incredible experience. I’ll be back next year and I look forward to finishing it. Not a second goes by that I don’t think about that route. It’s very original and American in all the right ways. There’s nothing else like it in the world, riding the spine of our continent from one end of the country to the other. I really appreciate Jessica’s support. She “gets it.” I’m a lucky guy. I also appreciate all the efforts of the people behind the scenes, like Matthew Lee, Joe Polk, Crazy Larry, and the folks at ACA. Congrats to the riders who finished. One day I’ll be able to say the same.