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.