In three days, I'll be on the road to Banff, watching the countless miles roll by while slowly realizing once again how dang far it is across a single state, much less across the country. The Tour Divide begins on Friday morning, and it's looking like 75 brave souls will have their sights set on making it to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. My parents are again giving me a ride up to Canada for the start, and this time we'll also have Caroline along for company as she is about to embark on her own Divide adventure.
Record-breaking snowpack along stretches of the northern half of the course have forced some detours for the first time ever, meaning that no course records can be set this year. Even with the detours, there will be more snow than any Divide racing has ever seen. Flood potential is high in many areas between Banff and northern Colorado, and fire danger is extreme along the drought-stricken New Mexico stretch of the route. It's going to be an interesting race - that can be guaranteed. Even though my primary goal for this year was to challenge Matthew Lee's record and now that won't be realized, I'm still quite excited for the race. We'll see how lady luck treats me along the way.
You can follow the weeks-long racing action using the GPS tracking provided by Trackleaders on the leaderboard of the Tour Divide website, and there will most definitely be some discussion and commentary here and here. For a bit more insight into my goals, gear, and thoughts on the race, keep your eyes on the Outside blog for an upcoming interview.
I must thank Salsa Cycles, University Bikes in Boulder, Pearl Izumi, Cane Creek, White Brothers, Revelate Designs, LaceMine29, and SRAM for the outstanding support they've been providing this year. I've truly enjoyed working with each of these companies and the unparalleled products and support they provide, and that's why almost all of them have been personal sponsors since I got into the twisted world of ultraendurance mountain biking.
Following the Divide, the pedaling continues as filming for The Path begins. Hopefully I'll still be able to ride at that point, but fortunately, I was able to convince Mike D that I'll need at least a few days to recover. So don't expect to see many updates here this summer - it's going to be a whirlwind, and for the first time in years, I'm essentially going to be sans computer/interweb for a couple months!
And one last photo - a partially finished prototype folding snowshoe. Why are there no companies out there making folding snowshoes?
* I predict that this will be the most viewed photo on my blog. Routinely it's a tight race between photos of Caroline and photos of my bikes, but everyone wants to see TD bike setups, (as evidenced by the search phrase "tour divide bike setup" bringing many visitors to these pages) so I have a feeling that this time the bike will win out over the beautiful lady. The internet is a funny place.