Pre-RideOne...two...three steps... pine. One...two...three... spruce. Two done out of, um... 2000 today. Fifty days of living in the bush and planting trees, and I'll be back on the bike. At times its great, the sun is shining, no bugs, it’s not too hot and the land is perfect. Other times it's pouring rain, you are soaking wet on a 45 degree hill trying to stick the shovel through the rocks and grass to plant the next tree. Lightning lights up the sky and the crackling noise of thunder is right above you... meh - it's not that bad.
I decided not to bring my bike to bush camp this year so I actually rest on days off but I am already regretting this decision. It's still hard to believe this is even happening. Getting another chance to ride the Rockies is amazing and I want to make the most of it. Doing the GDMBR although it's far from easy didn't feel right. I had to step out of my comfort zone and do something different. This time I'll follow the Continental Divide Trail, only two people have done it so far and I will be following their wheel tracks, footsteps and GPS logs. Someone once said, "if your dreams don't scare you, they are too small". I am pretty damn scared right now - what about after I finish the CDT? How far south can I get in a year?
There really isn't much of a plan and there is some comfort in that. Being on the road is unpredictable and things will always change but they seem to work out in the end, I hope it stays that way. Once work is done I will spend a week or two on dirt roads through the Canadian Rockies before joining the GDMBR in Montana. It's on the Fraser Canyon that I first got a taste of off-road riding, the joys, peace and excitement of knowing you are on your own for the next several days. From Montana I'll follow the bike route to Lincoln where CDT becomes legal for cycling.
The trail is calling and I count the days before I am back on it.
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for the upcoming adventure?After starting the GDMBR in mid-October and having to hop out in December at Colorado, I always wondered if I would ever get a second chance. Later I learned of the first bike ride of the Continental Divide Trail and also wondered, how cool that would be. During a rather cold January in Utah I heard about the Blackburn Ranger program, connected the bits and pieces and there was only one logical choice: apply to be on the team and bikepack the CDT.
Have your traveled by bike in the past?In 2013 I crashed down a hill on my road bike which left me with a broken collar bone, two broken hands and a 3 month recovery period. To make it through I thought of biking from Vancouver to Ontario. So I did it, then Toronto to Halifax in winter. I was hooked, in 2014 I took time off school and set off to bike from the Arctic Ocean to British Columbia. And then, Alaska to Argentina. I've made it as far as Mexico and am looking forward to riding the CDT and continuing down south as part of the Blackburn team.
What is your goal for the route?I have few ideas, most importantly: have fun, stop and smell the flowers (oh yeah - it won't be winter so there actually will be flowers), find out more about the CDT trail hiking community, do as much as CDT as possible, find time to ride the Colorado trail and spend some time in Moab, Utah. I'll also be filming on the way (nothing fancy) and continuing the "SEE THE WORLD" series on which follow my bike trip south. Video is such a great way to try and share the wild and unpredictable story of the open road!
What do you hope to get out of this journey?One always has some expectations with trips like these but the moment you set a wheel on the dirt it all changes. I want to see how bikepacking compares to fully loaded touring and see if it's something I can adopt and continue doing for the rest of my around-the-world bike trip. Aside from that - create memories, make new friends and meet old ones, explore and get lost in the Rockies.
What's in my bag? Buff, Gopro, Alaska License plate,Turtle (which I had on my first bike trip, and ever since)