Welcome to Reeling in the Gears...a blog written to document (hopefully with some incite and humilty) my daily/weekly/monthly travails towards meeting my ultimate goal - to complete the Tour Divide in the spring of 2015.
You may ask, and rightfully so, what exactly the Tour Divide is and how it applies to me - a self-employed middle-aged father of four with a propensity towards Scotch, vinyl records, baseball, and useless bits of mindless trivia.
The Tour Divide is an annual gentlemen's race, conducted self-sufficiently on mountain bikes from Banff Alberta to the US/Mexican border. To quote the fine folks at Adventure Cycling is:
The Great Divide Route is the world's longest off-pavement cycling route. It was tirelessly mapped over a 4 year span, and published in 1998 by Adventure Cycling Association, North America's premiere bicycle travel organization. The route is highlighted by long dirt roads and jeep trails that wend their way through forgotten passes of the Continental Divide. It travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (map). By route's end a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times).
Next question. Why?
As I cautiously share my intent/hope/dream to those closest to me, I get asked this question a lot. Let me qualify that first. The initial reaction is one of ponderous bewilderment ("Did he just say that he is going to ride 4,400 km on a mountain bike with bears, scorpions, and cow-pie tainted water?") followed by curious amazement ("That actually exists? Cool!"), and is usually brought up in the rear by the typically onerous comments like..."You're going to need to train!" (Really?) and "You're going to come back dead!" (Thanks Son!) and "Are you going to grow a beard? I'd like to see you with a beard, Dad!" (Not sure about that one, Holly.). Evenutally, curiosity gets the better of them and the whys start surfacing.
My response has grown to become standardized...
I want to do this while I still can. I want to say later in life that I achieved a noble pursuit...something that I can be remembered by. I want to push myself in ways that I've never tried before. I want to improve my health - both physical and mental. Simply put, I want to say that "I did it".
Over the next 2 years, I'll be accumulating equipment and supplies, and evaluating crucial data about my physical and mental status. Alot is going to have to change in my life if I'm going to do this. From physical training to self-sufficiency prepardedness, there is alot to consider. I hope to document my progress here as much as possible - from general thoughts about bikepacking, gear reviews, ride reviews, and overall commentary on my (dirt) road ride to self-preservation and reflection.
So stick around...sign up...join me for an incredible adventure (I promise that you don't have to sleep in a tent) and see a small chunk of the world through my eyes.