Friday, May 20, 2016

2015 Tour Divide - Reflections and Thanks

I've had a number of people ask me if I would go back and race The Tour Divide again. After taking time to reflect on the training as well as the event, I would have to say that 2015 will likely be the only time that I race the route. As I was speeding south to Antelope Wells, I was often disappointed that I didn't have the time to enjoy the route and surrounding area more. South of Polaris, MT,  I WANTED to photograph that ghost town that was 7 miles off route. Taking time to enjoy hot springs and tube the Yampa River in Steamboat would have been a great way to spend a day. I might never be able to take a side trip to the VLA east of Pie Town again. No, my desire is to get back to Banff, head south, and drink in the GDMBR over a period of 3 or 4 months. I want to be able to take those side trips, ride the roads that climb even higher from the top of a pass, and maybe see the other side of a mountain or two.

The Tour Divide is a solo, self-supported race. However, the months of preparation required to mount a successful attempt are anything but solo or a self-supported effort. I'd be remiss if I didn't publicly thank the people that gave me significant amounts of help and support in the time leading up to the race.

Kathy - If you are married, you're not going to get to the starting line of Tour Divide without the blessing and the support of your spouse. There aren't a lot of women who are willing to allow nearly two years of their life and time with their spouse be dictated by a training schedule. Fortunately, I managed to find one that was. Thank you for holding down the fort, allowing me to "play bikes" seriously for so long, and for letting me tilt at this particular windmill. There was no way this was going to happen without your support. :)  Now, you're going to have to re-learn how to deal with having me around all of the time. :)

JJ Bailey - My coach, sounding board, friend (and sometimes part sadist). JJ somehow turned this middle aged body into some sort of cycling machine in the space of 18 months. I did the work, but he was the one looking at the results and planning out a path to success for me, right up to the start of the race. I may have sworn at him under my breath more than once for turning the volume knob to 11 (or 12) on some of the workouts, but it was always what was best for me, when it was best for me. Thanks man!

Rasmussen Bike Shop - I can't begin to say enough about the guys at Rasmussen Bike Shop. Adam Thompson dialed my fit in and constantly made small tweaks as my body and seat choices changed. The lack of any unexpected post-race issues with my knees, legs and hands is due to his skill. Greg Rasmussen, Matt Buchanan and Sterling Heise kept my bike in tip top shape, dealt with my weird equipment requests and were just an awesome support team. Nothing better than being able to swing in and warm up a bit during a wet ride, or have a beer and a spot to relax after knocking out a windy century. Matt and Sterling had my Salsa Fargo looking and running better than new for the race. Apologies for how it was running when I brought it back, fellas. ;)

Cindy McGuire - Cindy IS the best sports massage therapist in town. She made sure I was uninjured and in tip top shape going into the race, and worked out all of the kinks in my body afterwards. She was an important member of my "team".

Beaverdale Bicycles - Ed Veak helped me out with dyno hub advice and expertise on multiple occasions. They both helped me get fit and stay limber with early morning strength classes and yoga on multiple occasions in the two years leading up to the start.

Mike Johnson - Mike finished Tour Divide in 2013 and was a constant source of advice and the occasional ride in the two years leading up to my attempt. Thanks for all of the advice and gear discussion buddy! Looking forward to riding with you again soon!

Joe Schmidt and Tom Anderson - I spent a week following these two on the GDMBR from Port of Rooseville to Ovando and then back to Swan Lake in the summer of 2014. Tom's willingness to set up the trip, housing at his childhood home, and Joe's immense back-country knowledge allowed me to learn how to climb mountain passes, give my equipment a thorough test, and allowed me to just relax and ride on days three, four and five. Thank you for the great week fellas!

Taylor Webb, Rick Blackford, Kyle Sedore - The three amigos. Always up for a ride, never taking it easy on me, even if I was trying to sprint on a load backpacking rig. I can't ask for three better guys to call friends. The custom top cap on my bike was next best thing to having you guys riding with me. Thank you for your constant support and friendship.

Sarah Cooper - Sarah and I shared a lot of miles together getting ready for TIv10 and various other events together. Thank you for the rides, company, and conversation over many many miles. Thanks for pushing me, even when I didn't want to push. 

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