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Great Divide
Pre-Ride

Opening the Dream Jar

Tour Divide 2013. Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells New Mexico, over 2700 miles, alone. Can't believe it's here again. This is my second shot at a once in a lifetime experience. There is no way that if you told me even two years ago that I would be here now I would have believed you. Heck, I didn't even own a bike and I hadn't ridden one in over 20 years. Also, I have a family, a business, a mortgage, debt and a retirement to save for. Dreams are things we have to keep our minds entertained while we spend our time with heads down, plugging away. We work hard so that someday we can get what we dream of. I think we all have dreams that we stuff in jars, goals that we box up and pile on the "someday" shelf. I certainly have a bunker full of “someday” shelves.

I was always inspired by stories of adventure as a kid. I mean who didn't want to jump on their bike with the Goonies when they found that map! I would have loved to have been one of the kids that helped Elliot and E.T. escape and fly across the moon. Stories of discovery, perseverance, and people pushing beyond their limits have always fascinated me. Stories like Lewis and Clark, or the first people to sail across the ocean, the guy who tested the first parachute (always wondered about him) and the first person in space are all incredible risk takers, adventure seekers and dreamers. I wonder what is around the next corner and the bicycle has always seemed the perfect vehicle for wonder and escape.

The moment of commitment for the Tour Divide came when life got really hard. I needed to escape. I needed to find a new path or I would be crushed by the stone I was pushing uphill. I needed to find a test that proved that I could really live. Living in the shadow of my stone wasn't going to help me or my family and didn't make any sense any longer.

I needed an emergency plan:

Step 1: Locate “dream bunker.”
Step 2: Blow the dust off the jar and open the lid.
Step 3: Tell my wife... and then say "no seriously," pick her jaw up off the floor and ask for her support.
Step 4: Make the goal public, it's much harder to back down when you have been challenged and mocked publicly. The world is watching.
Step 4: Don't quit.

“This race is 90 percent mental,” I thought, and I am mental. Just need to learn how to ride a bike again. How hard can that be? Right? Well apparently really hard. 2012 taught me that six months of hard training after 20 years off a bike is not enough and I do not recommend that to anyone reading this. I only lasted 10 days and only managed 75 miles a day in that brutal weather and terrain. It resulted in two incredibly sore knees, numb hands, a painful rear end and a bruised ego. But here's what I know is true: ignorance really helped me since I did not know what I could not do, and I tried. I pushed past my old limits and set the bar higher. Funny thing that your limits only define where you have been and not how far you can go.

I have been working and I am more excited about this year than last! This dream has become a reality and is part of me now. It has certainly changed my view on life. I feel stronger more confident, and I have learned a lot more about my fitness, the gear, the race and myself. My family is behind me and I have learned to trust and depend on others and that is a huge lesson for me. Sounds strange for a solo, self-supported race, but dreams are no fun if you live them them alone.

- TWITTER HIGHLIGHTS -

- PRE-RIDE IMAGES: READY TO GO -

  • FROM: Stoney Creek, ON
  • DOB: April, 6 1
  • Married w/3 children
  • OCCUPATION: Realtor, Builder
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have your traveled by bike in the past? November 2011. Decided life is too short. I needed to find an adventure of Epic proportions. The Tour Divide just seemed too big to say no to. Bought my first bike, hired a coach and decided that anything is possible. This was the coming together of several life dreams. The perfect storm.
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? I am hoping for a 25 day finishing time. I really hope to discover things about myself that I never thought possible. I want to compete! The concept of racing this route is one of the biggest draws for me. So many challenges in this race that reflect that of real life. This race really makes you stronger as a person physically, mentally and spiritually.

- MY MUST HAVES -

  • ARM WARMERS My Defeet wool arm bands
  • Bandana Lucky bandana signed by all my supporters
  • CAMERA GoPro camera
  • Balaclava Under Armour Balaclava

- JD PAULS: BLACKBURN RANGER -

Gear List


- MY BICYCLE -

- BLACKBURN GEAR -

  • Airstik Longneck 2Stage Mini-Pump 39.99 Buy Now
  • Atom SL 3.0 Cyclometer 34.99 Buy Now
  • Mars 4.0 Rear 24.99 Buy Now
  • Toolmanator 12 29.99 Buy Now

- BIKE SPECS -

  • FRAME Redline D660
  • FORK White Brother Rigid Carbon
  • HEADSET FSA Orbit 1.5 zero stack
  • CRANK Sram 38/24
  • BOTTOM BRACKET Sram GXP sealed bearings with external cups - 68mm
  • PEDALS Shimano XT
  • CASSETTE SRAM
  • SHIFTERS SRAM X9
  • BRAKES Avid BB7
  • WHEELS 29” ,DTswiss 240 hubs, Stans no tube arch rims
  • TIRES WTB Nano raptors 2.1”
  • SEATPOST Easton Haven Carbon
  • SADDLE WTB Rocket V
  • STEM Easton EA 90
  • HANDLEBAR Easton Haven Carbon, Profile Design T1 TT pars, Ergon GP5 gripswith bar ends
  • BAGS Porcelain Rocket Frame Bag, Rear seat bag, two toptube bags.

- PERSONAL ITEMS -

  • • Allergy pills
  • • Mini sunscreen
  • • Mini Chamois cream
  • • Bandages
  • • Moleskin
  • • Wipes
  • • Advil
  • • Dental floss
  • • Needle
  • • 3 Litre Camelback bladder
  • • Ultra light packable Sea to Summit backpack for emergency food and water.
  • • Fenix flashlight
  • • Maglight
  • • 6 AA batteries
  • • ACA Maps
  • • Toothbrush
  • • Plastic bags
  • • Lucky Charms from kids (items not cereal)

- TECHNOLOGY -

  • • Garmin E-Trek 30
  • • Spot 2 Tracker
  • • Blackburn Atom 6.0 SL Cycle Computer
  • • Ipod nano
  • • Blackberry
  • • Timex Ironman watch

- CAMPING GEAR -

  • • Z Pack ultralight sleeping bag
  • • Klymit Inertia X Frame Ultralight Sleeping Pad
  • • Tent: Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1

- CLOTHING -

  • • Giros Shoes
  • • Gore Socks
  • • Defeet Wool Socks
  • • 1 Pair running socks
  • • LG Leg warmers
  • • LG cycle shorts and baggies
  • • Giro base layer sleeveless
  • • Long sleeve merino base layer
  • • 1 jersey
  • • North Face Down jacket
  • • North Face Rain Jacket
  • • Bell Volt Helmet
  • • LG thermal gloves
  • • MEC rain gloves
  • • Under Armour Balaclava
  • • Buff