How did I get here?It was raining…sideways. We were on an exposed saddle near 8,000 feet and we were a little lost. Neither fork in the trail led clearly in the direction we thought the trail was headed. As I began to shiver, crouched next to my laden bike, I also began to smile.
Deep in the wilderness, taking a beating from Nature, and forging onward in search of sun, food, warmth, a bit of comfort is rewarding in ways that life’s normal routine cannot provide.
Bizarrely, I can tell several versions of this same story, whether I’m a youngster freezing my butt off backpacking with the Boy Scouts in southern Indiana, bikepacking with friends in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, lying in a ditch in Kansas waiting for a gail to blow over, or on the top of Independence Pass in Colorado exhausted and cold. I’m not sure if that makes me adventurous, stupid or just bad at learning from past experiences. Perhaps I’ve improved a bit each time and that leads me to take on increasingly larger challenges.
Mostly it all led me to where I am, about to start the Tour Divide, an unsupported race from Banff, Alberta along the Continental Divide south to the Mexican border. I’ll camp along the way (though hotels are allowed), find food and water wherever I can and try to cover the 2,750 miles and 200,000 feet of climbing as quickly as I can without outside assistance.
And while the numbers are intimidating, the experience will more than make up for it. It will be incredible. It will be horrible. It will be life lived fully.
• Mountain Laurel Designs Monk Cuben Fiber tarp and carbon pole
- CLOTHING -
• Cycling shoes
• Ibex wool short sleeve jersey
• Descent knee warmers
• SwiftWick Compression Socks
• Rapha wool sleeveless base layer
• Castelli lightweight jacket
• Defeet wool long finger gloves
• Oakley Radar sunglasses
• Ibex wool long sleeve jersey
• Gore Socks
• Sleep shorts
• Patagonia Ultralight Down jacket
• Assos lightweight vest
• Giro fingerless gloves
• Ibex wool beanie
• Rapha Classic bib shorts
• Descente arm warmers
• Pearl Izumi toe booties
• IO BIO merino long sleeve base layer
• Patagonia Rain Jacket
• Bell Volt Helmet (World Bicycle Relief custom colors)
• Mountain Laurel Design rain mitts
• Mosquito head net
FROM: Boulder, CO
Single, but taken
OCCUPATION: Public Relations/ freelance writer
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have you traveled by bike in the past?I grew up racing bicycles and after growing weary of criteriums, intervals, heart rate and power output numbers, I started looking for new cycling adventures. The Dirty Kanza 200 opened my eyes to my own ability to ride distances farther than I had previously attempted. With encouragement from friends at Salsa, QBP, and my wonderfully supportive girlfriend, I decided to take on the Great Divide Route. Now I’ll see how much further I can take my cycling.
What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? It’s easy to reply with a number. My goal is to finish in 20 days. But more important to me is how I spend those days. I’d like to find moments for introspection, reflection, projection and hopefully find moments to just be.
MY MUST HAVES
Warm GlovesDeFeet Woolie gloves
DOWN JACKETPatagonia Ultralight down jacket with hood