So, thought I would throw down some quick thoughts before taking off on another journey down the Continental Divide Mountain Bike Route.
First off I never planned on doing this, this year, till 2 months ago when my record was broken. I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone. My wife, Tracey, actually was in the race when this was taking place and already asking/knowing that I was going to have to give it another go. I also received multiple e-mails, calls, and texts nudging me “when are you going to try and regain the record?”
Well, like every passionate responsible/irresponsible bike racer I just had to get the clearance from my wife first and then try and convince the place of work, Fitzgeralds Bicycles. Fortunately enough both understand my drive, mentality and passion for the Tour Divide.
Why not wait till next year? Next year is a long ways from now and I want to channel my present drive while I have it. I also would not leave on the Grand Departure date anyway, which takes place in June, due to it’s natural change of feel and progression, so no consideration there.
My current claim is “all or nothing” as well as “this is my last go”. This will be my 4th time and it actually gets harder with each one. Physically I am starting to feel the effects of my lifestyle, although feeling very fit now, and mentally I think I can only handle one more deep focus for the amount of time it takes on this route. The mental end is very interesting to me and I know I have been to places in my head that most have never come close to. This time around I plan on pushing that even further, learning even more abut myself.
Shooting for the record takes a lot of focus and is no easy task. The current record of 16 days 3 hours is stout, but I have been saying for several years I think the ultimate is 15 and a few hours. Yip, that is what I am shooting for.
I actually just looked up the record today, I did not even know what it is or even what my previous time was. I don’t make spreadsheets, study split times, look at graphs, or try and make plans. I ride my bike as fast and as efficient as I can and if it works out I will be on record pace. Although very hard to analyze till the last few days as departure times, sleep patterns and day/night travel differ from each others ride.
Super stoked a friend called me and said “hey Jay, you do not need to ride/hitchhike up to Banff, that is no way to start what you are trying to attempt, I will give you a ride.” Nice, cause that is what I did last year and I stopped 9 hours into my departure to get a hotel and a good nights sleep.
FYI – I time trailed the same route last year but one week later.
Whats different this year? Salsa Ti Fargo baby!!! A Montbell 40* sleeping bag instead of a quilt, I froze last year. 2 – 200 lumen Princeton Tech lights, just another handicap for going in the Fall instead of June, way less day light. I never carried a GPS before but think I am going to do that so I don’t make any mistakes. Tracey says to me, “your going for record right, you cannot make any mistakes.” And I admit, every time, there are several nights I am sleep deprived and totally cannot figure out where I am at and what turn I am on. I end up frustrated in the middle of the night riding up and down trail wasting time till I figure it out which equals time wasted instead of miles down the trail.
I am excited and nervous on this attempt, more then ever before. I rode a 400 mile bike packing event last weekend as a shakedown and have guided a client some 160 miles. With over 600 miles this past week I hope it has reminded/prepped my body for what I am about to do again.
When am I leaving? 8/25 we will start the drive, we will arrive on Sunday. I am planning on about a 4 a.m. Monday morning, 8/27, departure from Spray River Trailhead.