Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hell yeah!

Hell yeah is right! I finally did it. I managed to finish the Tour Divide in 27 days, 5 hours, and 42 minutes, and I did it alongside my riding friend Paul Howard of the UK. There were times when I didn't think I would make it, but here I am, finally back home in Montreal, eating something other than energy bars, tortillas and peanut butter!

I have to say congratulations to all the other fellow Divide riders who pushed themselves to the limit and competed in the event, finishing or not. It takes a lot of courage even to gather at the starting line in Banff and commit yourself to something so life changing. You can never really realize the physical/mental/emotional extent of this race until you actually do it, and to be able to finish it still blows my mind.

I think the last day was definitely the most dramatic/beautiful/crazy/wonderful of all. We had left at 4 am that morning in order to beat the desert heat. A few hours later we had just watched the most amazing Mexican sunrise and were all giddy that we had made it this far and couldn't wait to celebrate with some Dos Equis beer. Suddenly Per (another fellow rider from Sweden) hit some loose sand and crashed, really giving us a scare. He started to convulse, then passed out, lost short term memory, got better and came to and rushed away in an ambulance. This was all before 7 am, 3 hours after our start, 90 miles from the finish. Fortunately he got a clear bill of health, other than a slight concussion, and was just happy he hadn't done some real damage to his body. For the rest of the ride Paul and I were pretty somber. Reflective isn't a strong enough word to illustrate how we were feeling. In the end we both felt lucky to have been able to finish, and were thankful to the bike gods for allowing us complete our journey to Antelope Wells, Mexico.

The people of Silver City also made the finish what it should be. They were more than helpful in making sure we were taken care of. People were stopping us on the highway to cheer us on, telling us they had been following our Spots all the way in. Gila Hike and Bike were fantastic. Jamie (a local Divide racer) let us crash at his house and told us stories of his experiences along the way... he sure is an amazing character. We also met up with Baren Beard, Mimbres Man!! He was even kind enough to drive us to Phoenix so we could catch our planes. He couldn't say enough good things about the race and what it meant to bike fanatics.

The Tour Divide is definitely a special event in a special place. It goes to show how bikes break down so many barriers and open so many doors. There are so many good vibe ripples that are sent out through this event its unbelievable. It has been an honor to have participated in it. I just hope it doesn't change the more popular it gets. A big thanks to Matthew Lee and all the others who helped organize the race and put in many sleepless nights to make it possible.

I really have to give a big thanks firstly to all my sponsors and friends who made this possible and helped me to finish the race. Without their support I wouldn't have been able to make it as far as I did. Thanks to Oakley, Golite, In-Sport and Osprey, Tarptent, Rocky Mountain Bikes, and Carousel for making such great products... my set-up was indestructible the whole time, allowing me focus on the trail. Thanks to all my friends and family in Alberta for your moral and financial support, especially my mom and dad, sisters and the Tanners. Thanks to everyone in Montreal who helped me get on my way with your generosity, I couldn't have made it to Alberta without you. I also have to give a big thanks to all those people along the race who opened there arms and hearts, fed us, kept us safe and dry, bought a round for us, and made sure we were taken care of to get back on our bikes and continue on. To all you kind people, I hope I can return the favor one day. Most importantly I have to thank my girlfriend, Rachel, who saw this crazy race idea form in my head in the beginning and said "go for it!". She was my inspiration for finishing the race and has always been there for me, pushing me on to explore the world on two wheels.

Would I do this again? If you asked me on day 10 I would have immediately said "no!". But looking back... I may return next year to shave some time off and put my new divide knowledge to the test.

If you want to check out some of my pics from the Tour go to:

You can also read some press out in my hometown of High River, Alberta. The article is written by Don Tanner for the High River Times.

Thanks for the support everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stalker and Finish Line!!

It's fun to look at where he is. Although just as I was wondering what this building is, he called! They will cross the finish line tomorrow around 1pm (3 our time).  He sounds upbeat but tired.  Yesterday they rode 160 miles (256 km).  They are starting each morning at 3am to avoid the heat so they get to see the sunrise over the desert as they bike.

mtb calls

I haven't had a chance to transcribe calls lately, but the audio is still all here:

He's so close!!

Not sure if he will arrive on Thursday or Friday.  

Sunday, July 5, 2009

catching up on the posts

Sorry, I have to get this blog up to date!
Here is Trevor's call from Cuba 

Hello, this is Trevor Browne calling from Cuba.  We arrived kinda evening-ish. Had a nice big bacon cheeseburger with extra cheese and bacon just to fill us up.  Been a really hard past 2 days in New Mexic.o Probably the hardest for me anyways, for the whole tour. Roads are really super bumpy, muddy, trashed, full of lava. Anything you can think of has been thrown on the trail for us, but we've got through. Weather has been kind of off and on as well. We've gone through 3 thunder and lightening storms with hail today.  Yesterday, another thunderstorm. We also encountered New Mexico mud which is not so pleasant up on Bell Grande.  It's almost up there with Lima mud, but we made it through.  We met up with the Rainbow tribe today which os pretty interesting.  We are fitting in with our nice long beards now, so didn't look too out of place.  Smelled just about the same as everyone else.  Other than that, we're headed up to Grant tomorrow. I think it's mostly pavement so it should be a bit faster for us.  We lost Stephen back in Abecue, feeling quite sick to his stomach. Hopefully he gets better.  He's taking a day of rest there, but we had to head on. Maybe in the future he will join up with us.  Wish him the best, hope he gets well soon.  Looks like this might be our last week  Maybe in the next four or five days we'll be done.  Looking forward to not wearing biking shorts anymore, and biking shoes and to wearing normal clothes for once.  This is Trevor Browne signing out from Cuba. I hope everyone is well, and I'll talk to you soon.  Bye.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I am just so damn proud of that boy!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Trevors Mtbcast

Haven't had a chance to transcribe yet...

He sounds so happy:)

Trevor, turn on your SPOT!

Looks like we've lost him again.  I think he's still with this guy:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trevor's MTBcast from Flagg Ranch, Wyoming

Hello this is Trevor Browne calling from Flagg Ranch in Wyoming.  Trails are pretty good now. We've had some great weather, so all of our spirits have lifted and we're all quite happy. Had a great birthday ride yesterday,  not a cloud in the sky. Trails are drying up, so it made me happy.  The trails are great from Lima all the way through to Idaho.  Everything's going great. So that's good. We just went through part of Yellowstone, just skirted the outside of it.  Made it into Wyoming this morning.  We're getting eaten alive by mosquitoes out here. It's pretty bad. A few bike repairs to do at the ranch on my own to prepare for the upcoming passes. Everything should go well. Feeling good. All the trails are really great all the way from Lima to here; it's all dry, so anyone else coming through is going to have a pretty easy time.  I hope everyone is well. I just want to say hello to my family again and hello to Rachel.  Call you guys soon.

Listen to the latest call from this racer here!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The boys are back!

Given the mileage yesterday and today, I'd say that things have taken a turn for the better.  I am so proud of you!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paul's call

Trevor is riding with Paul and this is what he had to say before they set off today:

Hello, one more message from Paul here in Lima.  Just 2 things...firstly I forgot to say in my earlier message that we should say hello to Cricket.   Hope she's going well...hope she had a good day today and I'm sorry we couldn't...we didn't have the courage to come out with her.  We needed our day's rest...we feel a lot better for it but I hope she's done well and tell her we're going to keep riding so if she needs more company we're just always coming along.

Secondly, we've just seen Pete Basinger who apparently set off from Banff, he didn't say when, and who came over the pass today into Lima and said that the mud had dried an awful lot compared to how it had been yesterday.  He saw all our footprints and everything but could ride most of it, sat down for a bit and I think he rode most of it, over the pass anyway.  So if anybody is following, maybe things have improved a bit and maybe that will give you some encouragement.   We're hoping the same effect has happened on the road down south out of Lima and thereafter so we can actually do some cycling tomorrow. 

So that's it for now...I've just realised that Lima where Paddington Bear might live is also just away from another famous English children's television character - Dillon - from the Magic Roundabout...and magic roundabout is something I feel I'm on at the moment.  We're all heading off early, me, Per, Stephen and Trevor, at least as far as Mack's Inn tomorrow, further if we can.  Bye

Happy Birthday, Trevor!

Hope you're getting some birthday sunshine:)  

Trevor's MTBcast from Lima, Montana

Hello, this is Trevor Browne calling from lima, montana.  Been kinda sitting here all day we're taking a bit of a rain break and body break, I guess. It's been  pretty stormy the past couple of days.   Two days ago, we were going over the pass from Wise River to Polaris, pretty much freezing rain for the whole day. And got quite close to hypothermia a couple of times.  We were shaking so bad on our bikes, we had to pull over and dry ourselves off.  That made the trails really  slick between Bannock state road and also after Grants to Lima. Pretty much walked the bike half the way and got the mud all clogged up in the tires. Not a lot of fun.  

I think today we just needed to  take a break.  Our bodies were pretty tired last night.  We couldn't really move any further.  Everybody's probably feeling the same way, across the board.  I'm here with Per and Paul and Steve. Ray was here earlier, and Cricket was here earlier today, but she left.  Everyone seems to be kinda hurting but still wanting to go on. So I think we're all going to head off.  I'm off tomorrow morning and hopefully the trail gets a little bit better.  Just as muddy but things seem to be drying out a bit. Bike's running well.  I'm  OK.

Lots of sore knees and sore achilles and sore hands, but pulling through.  This little break has helped a lot.  Yeah, I'm still trying to keep in good spirits and push forward.  Say hello to my family.  Been trying to call you but can't get you home.  And say hello to my girlfriend, Rachel.  Bye.

You can listen here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"This is hiking, not biking"

Talked with the boy today and it's been really rough. Driving rain at 8000 feet is difficult to say the least. They have spent 2 days walking their bikes through mud. One guy in his group has to drop out because his bike won't make it.  Trevor is worried that his chain won't make it then next 300 miles to a town.  He may have to make a major detour to find a bike shop. On top of the mud, they are fighting hypothermia and of course a lot of wear and tear on the joints.  Trevor says it's frustrating because his body/fitness feels fine but the knees, ankles, wrists are worrisome.  The whole group sounds completely demoralized.  They have had to take today off to dry their equipment because it is too cold to have soaked gear, and to make some serious decisions.  It sounds like a pretty despondent group at the moment.  From what I can tell, the leading guys missed this bad weather.  This section is supposed to be quite good at this time of year.  Anyways, I'm sending out positive thoughts to the Trevor and his travel mates!! 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trevor's call from Butte

Hey, this is Trevor Browne. Just got into Butte, Montana this morning. Stayed last night in Basin, had some beers and had some excellent hospitality with the locals there. They let us stay in their house. The track yesterday was pretty hard. the top was a good walk.  everything is going well and we're all pretty happy to be here, I guess.  We'll talk to everyone soon and just say hello to my family and girlfriend.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A real live phone call

Had a great talk with Trevor today.  He's in good spirits and his knees are feeling a bit better. He said that every moment is the hardest thing he's ever done and he wants to quit, but then he'll see something spectacular and continue on.  Also, being in a group and seeing that everyone else is suffering and in just as much pain, is helpful.  Since the race is unsupported, riders can not ask for help, but if someone offers, it's ok.  After 7 hours of riding in the dark ( a 17 hour day) they arrived in a town where a woman offered to take them in and feed them and give them beds.  So they are feeling a little more refreshed today. Trevor is happy to know his Spot is working. 
It was so good to finally talk to my boy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trevor calls from Lincoln on MTBcast

Hello, this is Trevor Browne.  Just borrowing a cell phone because I can't find any payphones. Everything is going good. We just got to Lincoln, Montana.  Everything is going really well. I don't know why my SPOT's not working.  I've been doing everything you said. And I'm just holding the buttons longer now. Maybe that was the problem before.  So I hope it's working now. I want to say hi to my girlfriend. (?)everyone lots at home  Trails are looking good. It's all pretty dry. Rode 17 hours yesterday at Richmond Peak at got in around 1130.  That was fun. I just wanted to say that everything is fine and when I find a payphone I will try and call friends and family.  OK thanks, bye.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trevor has a phone card!

Just got a voicemail from Trevor in Lincoln.  He said he's doing well, his knee is still painful, but they are pushing on tonight to Helena.

this is useful

Trevor is in the main pack

He's in a good position.  I am so proud of him.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Looks nice

Here's a satellite image of where they are camping tonight.  Wonder if there's a payphone?

Spot on

So it seems to be working.  I made a mistake, he appears to be traveling with Steven Huddle, not McGuire.  It sounds like the route is incredibly beautiful.  Maybe that's distracting, because I'm starting to see riders go way off track...

Monday, June 15, 2009


just got a SPOT check (via email):

SPOT Check OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/16/2009 02:56:46 (GMT),-114.143&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

I don't know if this means it's on for good this time.  Fingers crossed!

We have contact

Talked to Trevor on Google Chat. Good thing I'm such a geek and happened to be online. Apparently there are no payphones in the US. But he did find a Mac.

I sent him to the cheat sheet here on how to work his Spot, and he's going to try to fix that. He's riding with 3 other guys: Per (Nilsson Eklof), Steve (McGuire, I think) and Jacob (Johnsrud). So at the very least we can follow them.

They are just past Columbia falls. Trevor is feeling pretty good but his knees are hurting and slowing him down more than he would like. Still, he's doing at least 100 miles a day (over the Rockies!).

That's all for now. Go Trevor!!

A couple of pics from the start while we wait for news:)

His SPOT is off again

This is very frustrating.  Hope he calls so I can tell him to fix his SPOT.

Here he is on the Leaderboard

He's up on the leaderboard

Yay! He's doing really well.  Can't wait to talk to him:)

some sort of contact!

I'm not sure if this means that he's turned his SPOT on but I received (as I was supposed to) via email the following:

SPOT Check OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/15/2009 15:31:33 (GMT),-114.6679&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
He hasn't shown up yet on the leaderboard, but it seems his SPOT is starting to work, albeit spottily:)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trevor- in case u check your blog- Here's how to use the SPOT

Note: to "cycle" the SPOT should be left outdoors with the SPOT logo on the top of the unit facing the sky.

The spot must be sitting on top of a pack, handle bars etc.  It should bot be buried deep in a pack.

You can only us tracking mode for 24 hours.  You must do the 20 minute "okay" cycle every day.  We recommend doing it every morning as you wake up.

Cheat sheet:

  • First use: turn SPOT on, press the OK button and let cycle for 20 min.

  • Tracking: Turn unit on, press and hold OK button for at least 5 seconds.

  • Tracking turns off after 24 hours. Engage Tracking every morning.

  • If On/Off light and OK light blink in unison for longer than 20 min., than you are in Track Mode.
  • If lights blink in unison for only 20 min., you were in OK mode.

  • *Once in Track mode, holding down the OK button will cancel Track and only send an OK message.

  • One set of AA Lithium batteries = 14 days of Tracking.

  • GPS Fix = On/Off and OK lights blink in unison.

  • No GPS Fix = On/Off and OK lights blink out of unison

  • 9-1-1 Mode: Press and hold for at least 3 seconds unit you see green light blink

  • Cancel 9-1-1, press and hold button for at least 3 seconds until red light

Transcribed calls

So, I'll be transcribing all the calls.  Here's the first one:

I spoke with the Tour Divide People

I emailed them the following:
As for turning on the SPOT, Is it complicated to do? Can you send me instructions so that if he does call, I can tell him?  Can u also please write a post in td Race Updates, asking people who receive phone calls from the riders to tell Trevor to turn on his SPOT while they are all still together in the early stages of the race?
This is our conversation:
Kevin: We don't have any way to communicate with the racers and there is a strict rule that the blog cannot used in any manner to relay support or anything of the support to the racers
11:17 me: even if it's a matter of safety, and it's not really support?
 Kevin: That will disqualify a racer
 me: if he doesn't know,then he can't be officially in the race without a tracker
 Kevin: It's also not really a safety thing, they just are not being tracked on the leaderboard
  He is officially in the race
  There is actually no rule saying you have to carry a SPOT
 me: oh
11:18 Kevin: It's completely optional
 me: how will u know if he crosses the finish line?
 Kevin: It's racer-reported
  Honor system

ok phew- we found him

So we know he's fine, but his satellite is not on (the SPOT).  I guess there are two mechanisms, one that he can use to call in (it's only one way), and one that follows him.

Still waiting

This is very frustrating, but in the meantime, here is a still from the start video that you can watch here:
So at least we know he started:)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trevor! Turn on your SPOT

Everyone is wondering why Trevor is the ONLY person in the whole race that we can't follow on the leaderboard. I emailed the tech people at and they said that he likely forgot to turn it on. When he calls, soon, I hope, I will tell him and then we can all enjoy watching the little arrows on the Google Map. I guess when you spend so much time planning and preparing for the race, the last minute satellite access might slip your mind.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How to follow the race

Everyone keeps asking how they can follow the race this year. Well its easy. With great sponsors from SPOT and you can literally follow our every move.

If you go to the website you can follow the race via the SPOT and google maps. Simply go to the menu on the right hand side of the page and click on the tab that says leaderboard. That will bring you to the SPOT leaderboard where all the racers will be seen as blue dots. Then just scroll over each dot to see who it is. You can also check out the blog portion of the site where you can read updates during the race.

The other way to follow the race is through the website where you can actually here my voice as I call in at certain checkpoints along the way. On the right hand of the site you will see the 2009 Tour Divide Racer Audio list. From there scroll down the racer list until you see my name (at the bottom). Click on my name and it will bring you directly to my audio posts.

You will also be able to follow links from there to the SPOT Topofusion maps. On those maps (similiar to the leaderboard) you simply scroll over the points to find the name. If you go there now you can see riders who are going the opposite direction from the Mexican boarder headed north. Go David!

See you on the map!

5 snowy days left

Its getting near the start and everything is falling into place. My past 8 months have been spent grunting in a spectrum of weather conditions from +30 degrees Celsius to -30 degrees Celsius. From stinging rain to sun burnt nose to numb, frozen appendages; I have pretty much been through it all. Now it all seems to be worth it, culminating all of my experiences and focusing them towards achieving one goal: to ride from Banff to Mexico. Its not going to be easy. I am going to have to empty my mind of any ill thoughts and and fill my soul with determination. I am ready.
I arrived in the foothills of Alberta this week to visit with friends and family in my hometown of High River. It has been a nice way to ease into race mode with the support of those are near and dear to my heart (although I do wish my girlfriend was here to see me off). I'm eating lots and getting well rested. The bike seems to be more than ready, just need to slap on the new tires and a computer, and she will be all set. The bags aren't totally packed yet, still subtracting and rearranging items to get it just right. Also waiting for a few things to arrive in the mail. Nothing like cutting it close.
The best part about being here has been watching the snow fall. Yes that's right this weekend a few inches of snow fell in the foothills and the weather channel said up to 10 inches fell around Banff. It kind of dampens the spirits a bit, and makes me wish I hadn't left the long johns at home. Oh well, that's all a part of the race. Taking obstacles as they come and finding a way to get around them.
More exciting news is a reroute of the race in the BC section around Sparwood. Originally the route went from Sparwood and followed highway 3 down to Fernie. Now it trades the 65 miles of asphalt for 105 miles of pure off road bliss through the Flathead Valley, referred to as the "Serengeti of North America". The decision to make the reroute is cutting it close but will be worth the spectacular scenery that we will be experiencing.
Tomorrow I am headed up to the wild Peter Lougheed Park up in the Rockies for some prerace training and camping; to work out any kinks with gear and bike. Looking forward be back in the saddle and that much closer to the Banff starting line. I can't wait to meet all the crazy riders who are attempting the race. The field is up to 39 people now, including Matthew Lee, winner of more than a few previous Tour Divides and GDMBR's. It will be great to ride amongst such driven riders.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A fair description

It's hard to describe what the race is going to be like. I can talk about it and try to make you (and me) understand it, but until you've actually been in it, its no use. Here's the best way to convey what it all about. It's an article that Outdoor magazine ran a few years ago when the race was only starting at the American border, (whereas now its starting in Banff). It talks about the trials and tribulations first hand from riders who had participated in it that year.

It pretty much scares the shit out of me, and makes me want to do it even more.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The rig

I guess its finally time to let you in on what exactly I will be riding into Antelope Wells, NM. Its a Rocky Mountain Hammer Race Reynolds 753 frame riding machine (cause I love steel!).

Heres the Bike
Rocky Mountain Hammer Race Reynolds 753 Steel with Rock Shox
Mavic rims, Schwalbe smart sam alpencross tires
Race Face Cranks
race face Bar with Ergon Grips
race face Stem and Seatpost
XT drive train/shifters
Sram brakes
brooks saddle
shimano peddles/shoes

As for other gear, well its still in the evolving stage, trying to get down to the "bear" minimum. But here's a general list for you to get an idea of what it will take for me to cross the great divide 30 times and still be in one piece.

On The Bike

Carousel Design Works seatbag, handlebar bag, and map case
Tarptent Contrail
Golite Adrenaline sleeping bag
Thermarest Prolite 3 short pad
Cat Eye Enduro computer
Princton Tec EOS bike lamp
Water bottle cages and bottles
cue sheets

In The Backpack
Osprey Talon 22 backpack
hydration bag
water treatment pills
small first aid kit
1 pair of shorts
1 jersey
pair of woolie boolie socks
Golite rain jacket/pants
neoprene booties
lightweight longsleeve and longjohns
arm and leg warmers
warm gloves, fingerless gloves
bike hat, beenie, bandana
oakley sunglasses
bike multi tool, leatherman, chain tool, zip ties, duct tape
tubes, patch kit, chain lube, tire levers, pump
sunscreen, toilet paper, toothbrush, tooth paste, Dr. Bronner's Soap, Bag Balm
small notebook, pen
credit card, calling card, money, ID
Camera, mp3, SPOT
extra batteries
food, water

As you can see its minimum, but still not minimizing safety. I'm sure in the next month or so the list will change, hopefully get a little lighter, hopefully making the hills a little easier.

Today I'm pushing for a quick 100 km while the weather is perfect. Next week, is a big 200 km with the Montreal Randonneurs! Let the sunshine in!

Also as a side note, I will be having a vernissage/sale with 10 new illustrated portraits on Thursday, May 21. Its a great way for me to raise some money for my trip and see all my friends before I leave in June. So come out and show your support and have some great drinks at Vinyl while you're at it. Details and times coming soon!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring is almost sprung (2 months left!)

I really believe that spring is coming soon here in the northern territory. I really have to believe otherwise it may not happen. The temperatures are hovering around 0ºC, sometimes even raising the bar to 10ºC! But the snow and ice are still clinging to the frozen ground on the trails and in the trees. So, alas, my training is still consisting of pavement rides for now. I can't wait for the day to come when I will be ripping up the trails (in an environmentally friendly, way of course) getting dirt and bugs in my teeth, reminding myself of what mountain biking is again. Its hard reading the blogs of others who are already wearing short sleeves and shorts, riding the back wood single tracks and loving every minute of it (sigh).

One thing I am thankful for is the amount of time I have been able to be on the bike for the past 6 months. Being a bike courier definitely has its advantages when it comes to training and getting extremely comfortable on the old steel steed. I am also happy that it allows me to focus on off the bike training and preparing for the race in the evenings. It seems to be a full time job just to constantly read over the maps and logistics, research and prepare gear, figure out expenses and make mental preparations to be away from my life and girlfriend for a month.

The second thing I am thankful for is the support of some great people and sponsors who have come on board and helped me out. Oakley has stepped up with some great eye wear and apparel (thanks Giancarlo). Golite has offered up rain gear and some great discounts on their ultra-lite products (thanks Tiffanie). Montreal local In-Sport has dealt me a great Osprey Pack (merci Benoit). I can't forget the kind help from Henry Shires at Tarptent ultralight shelters. I would also really like to thank the skilled Jeff Boatman from Carousel Design Works for all of his indispensible advice and help with the pack department. Cheers to everyone for making my trip that much more successful!

The plane ticket to Calgary, Alberta has been booked, and I am jumping at the bit to get the race started. I am ready to "eat, sleep, ride, the Great Divide"!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Race Countdown: 4 Months (and a bit)

February is upon us... and winter is still here. Is it ever going away?

If you can't tell I'm getting a cabin fever and a bit antsy for the snow to disappear so I can start some longer weekend rides. So far the winter in Montreal hasn't been too bad, if you consider averages of -20ºC (plus the windchill) not that bad. It hasn't made my job that easy, but I'm still riding about 9.5 to 10 hours a day as a bike courier, slugging away in the slush and snow.

Writing this post I just realized that there are only around four months left before the big race day. There is still lots of other things to do other that training though. I just received my ACA Maps and Cycling the Great Divide book in the mail last week. I have already started to pour over the material, trying to make mental notes, and trying not to wish I was already rambling through the Colorado aspen groves.

On top of that I am trying to figure out all of the expenses and budget for the trip. Taking a month off of work, flying across the continent and riding a bike for a month isn't the cheapest thing to do, but with the right planning I can try and make the budget manageable. In fact I just finished a donation sheet that I am sending out to potential sponsors to help with the cost of gear and traveling. If you are interested in helping me out with donations click here for more information on what you can do and how to contact me.

There are now 4 months 4 days and 3 hours left (can you tell I'm excited?).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A new beginning: The Tour Divide

A new beginning indeed. It's the middle of winter here in Montreal and I am already planning what to do for the summer. On June 12, '09, I have decided to commit myself to do a 4,360 kilometer (2,711 mile) mountain bike race from Banff, Alberta all the way to Antelope Wells, New Mexico… and complete it in under 30 days.
"This battle royale braves mountain passes and windswept valleys of the Continental Divide from hinterlands of the Canadian Rockies to badlands of the Mexican Plateau."
Its called the Tour Divide and follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from the Adventure Cycling Association. Its the longest, toughest, mountain bike race… ever. The entire route is an all off-road assault crisscrossing the Rocky Mountains and involves climbing over 200,000 vertical feet, the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest from sea level 7 times. Half the people who start never finish. To top it all off, it is a self-supported race. This means racers are completely on their own with absolutely no assistance from each other or outside support teams. Its going to be a spectacular ride.

I am looking forward to return back to my old playground of the Rockies as I grew up in a small Albertan town about half and hour from the heart of those peaks. I learned all I needed to know about mountain biking and back country survival there and will be able to focus my skills during this month long endurance test.

My last taste of biking through the mountains happened last summer on my Cross Canada Trek when I spent a few months to cover the 7,600 kilometers from coast to coast. What did I learn from accomplishing such a feat? Canada really is a beautiful place, especially when you see it on two wheels. But even more important is I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to. Its that sort of thinking that will get me through the next chapter of bike touring on the divide!

Stay tuned as I find a way to make this dream on two wheels possible. I will be documenting my efforts on how to budget, what gear I will use, trip pre-planning, and the training I will be going through. Wish me luck!