Pre Race - It feels really good to be back in Montana and riding here. I have been doing some Reconn on some of the passes close to Whitefish and trying to get use to the cold and rain, and yes, snow that has been occasionally falling, even though it is mid June! My family is helping out a fellow racer, Jeff Kerby. He took the bus up from New Mexico to Whitefish and has hooked up with us for a ride to Banff. He got more that he signed up for though. We were all planning on leaving for Banff on Tuesday, but Monday had a surprise in store for all of us. Matthew Lee, Tour Divide Organizer, called to see if we could go checkout and verify the mileage on the new reroute section in Canada. So Glenn and Jeff, who had only met several hours before, took off for what would eventually be a 12 hr excursion through some of the most remote parts of Canada. They did not go prepared as they thought the trip would be much shorter. I never heard them come in but the next morning Jeff’s first words to me were “I am never going out again with this guy” – with a laugh. They were just happy to be back – they survived the harsh road conditions, large animals blocking their path, unsure directions and inaccurate road names, and were even detained at the Canadian border while trying to re-enter the states at 2 AM. For Jeff, the challenges of the Tour Divide Race have already begun. We are still unsure if we will be racing on the old or the new route, which still has not been completely verified.
We all headed to Banff later Tuesday, all piled into my beloved but mechanically challenged and dusty Rover with 3 adults, 2 kids, 2 bikes, and all our gear. The amazing scenery was not enough to keep our attention off the bad weather though. It is constantly on my mind. I have a theory – if the weather is bad for days and days and days, then we must be in store for some good weather soon. It cannot all be bad, eh? Arriving in Banff was overwhelming as it is a very bustling tourist town. We dropped Jeff off at the YWCA where a lot of the Divide Racers will be staying, but our priorities were a bit different – we had to find a hotel with very specific needs – a pool and a water slide! Marshall and Grayson ‘s one request! We were successful and I have to say separating myself from the race, even though just for a few days, has put my mind at ease. I need to stay focused on my riding and plan, and when I start to see what others are doing I tend to question what I am doing – should I have more or less – should I plan to ride harder or maybe take it easier the first few days. I do trust myself and my abilities and the fact that I really have no plan except to be flexible and be prepared for the worst. I will be thrust into the community of racers soon enough.
Jeff and I are heading out tomorrow for one of our last easy spins on an unloaded bike to checkout the area north of Spray Lake. But then we get to return to a hotel room to get dry and stay warm – a luxury we will NOT soon have! I am counting down my last showers and final days with my family. I changed Grayson’s pump site tonight – my final one until I return. Rest and eating are my priorities now as I have a long way to go!
Check out www.tourdivide.org for up to date results and follow the racers via the Spot Leader Board and Call-Ins on MTBCast.
TOUR DIVIDE RACE STARTS FRIDAY – JUNE 12th!