Tour Divide Decompression Begins

It’s all over and I came in 6th place. I’m currently staying at Jamie’s house (Jamie seems to know everyone in Silver City) along with Kurt Refsnider. It’s a very nice place to be hanging out post-event. There are all kinds of thoughts, pictures and words to get out there. First, something that I spent a lot of time pondering in the second half of the event:

When I had problems with my frame, I was in 4th place. To get it fixed, though, I had to get a bus from Silverthorne, Colorado to Steamboat Springs. Having found the problem the night before, I didn’t get to Steamboat until about 4pm. The clock was ticking. Fortunately, some of the best Titanium welders in the world live in Steamboat and Kent Eriksen made time to repair my bike as soon as I arrived. Fantastic, I was back on the road.

Race rules and allow you to travel back up the route in a vehicle, but forward movement must be under your own power. Since I had already ridden the route to Silverthorne, I could pedal the road but it still left me with 87 miles to cover and a nearly 3000ft climb on the way out of town. I had to get on with it, though, I wanted to sleep in or near Silverthorne and be just one day behind.

As I rode along in the dark, I had my head light on, a flashing rear light and reflectives on my jacket, shoes, and leg-warmers. Nonetheless, I was stopped by a local Sheriff. He told me that reflectors were required in the US and he was concerned about my safety. So he drove me to the county line – It was kind of tense inside his car. I was overheating after the cool of the night and he seemed pretty humourless. When he dropped me off, I tried not to hum anything from The Dukes of Hazzard.

It was otherwise uneventful. I slept in a rest area, and got up in the morning to make Salida. I was pounding out the miles and trying to figure out why cruising wasn’t enough. The race for 1st was beyond me, and my chase was pointless. But Divide racing as a whole is pointless unless you put your body and soul into it. Only then is it elevated from just being a long ride into being something that can change and inspire you. So I had no choice other than to ride with everything I had.

Had I not had problems, I would have attacked that hard then anyway. Until that point, I hadn’t felt physically ready to kick on hard. And the terrain of the re-routes didn’t favour me. I like mountains, and obvious challenges. I can get disheartened when there’s nothing to deal with. Looking at how it panned out, I may have given Ethan a real push for 3rd place if it hadn’t have been for the delays. Who knows how he, Rob, and Parker would have responded. We’ll never know.

I must pay a massive tribute to Kurt and Jefe, and Ethan for pushing the boundaries of what is possible on The Divide. Their stamina and determination are an inspiration. All credit to Rob and Parker too, for a fine ride in their first multi-day race. They claimed to be no good at toughing it out – you’re not fooling anyone. Best of luck to everyone still on the course. I hope the NM fire diversions don’t take too much away from you.

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