Tour Divide is currently taking place and I never thought it would be so exciting to watch pink and blue dots on a screen!! (www.trackleaders.com) Al and mine’s fascination (obsession…?) with Tour Divide started awhile back when we watched the flim “Ride the Divide.” A documentary about the world’s toughest cycling race- 2745 mile (4418km) unsupported MTB race from Banff, Canada to the New Mexico border. There are 15 competitors and American rider Matthew Lee smashes it for the 6th time in a row. The movie focuses on a few different riders, experiencing their highs and lows along the way.
The movie has spurred the imagination and possibility of more riders, in this year’s tour there are 106 riders, 90 left on Grand Depart (at the same time-June 8th) the others are doing it as an individual time trial. It travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Riders will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times). Riding along for hours, sleeping in the wild, battling the weather, making sure you steer clear of bears and elk and doing it as quickly as possible, make for one hell of a challenge! Pink and blue dots are strawn across the map, hundreds of miles seperating first from last but no miles seperating first from second. Some riders are riding with someone else, some sleep in bivvys others in hotels, right now some are feeling great whilst others are no doubt contemplating pulling the pin on their divide dreams.
I am following the progress of one rider in particular – Eszter Horanyi. I have been following her blog for many months and have somewhat of a girl crush, she is an amazing athlete and I live vicariously through her blog!! She holds the record for the Colorado Trail Race, the Arrowhead 300, came 3rd at the Canberra 24hr Worlds, and lives in a tent in Colorado. She is currently in 8th place overall and 1st female and is currently 1 day in front of the female course record.
We have been listening to the call ins (http://mtbcast.com/site2/
) , reading forums, and watching Ride the Divide. The forums are predicting that those in the top 10 won’t be there at the end, that those currently sitting in 20-30th
place are likely to be in the top ten. They are saying this race doesn’t start until Day 12!! It has us begging the question – could I actually do that race? Apparently the DVD makes it look much more enjoyable than in real life. The leading riders are currently pushing their bikes through a mountain of snow, fighting their way through a blizzard trying to get to the next town for food, water and shelter. In Eszter’s latest call in she described the last 30 miles as “sucked the will to live out of me” and that’s one of the toughest chicks on the planet and who lives life to the full!!!
It begs the question – can I do it?? Well Al has answered his question and he is going to go over and race the divide next June. I applaude him for having the courage to do so, he is penning a blog about his decision at the moment so I wont go into too much detail! I go through ups and downs, one minute I am convinced I am going, the next I think it’s crazy and there’s no way. Yesterday I rode to Buchan and back by myself, slightly over 6hrs of hills and had plenty of time to contemplate.
WHY I SHOULD DO IT- you have to make the most of your life or will it simply pass you by too quickly! I want to have memories and push myself and live every moment, I want to see exactly how tough I am. I do not want to simply exist in this world like so many others do, in this mundane life I want to go out and experience it. When I am 80 all I will have are memories so I should make them good ones!!! The only difference between me and the other girls racing Tour Divide is they entered, they are normal everyday people who love adventure and challenging themselves just as I do.
WHY I SHOULDN’T DO IT- I would have had to of ridden back to Buchan yesterday and then repeated that for the next 25 or so days. Is that really possible???? Can I really sleep in a bivvy in the wild by myself and ride for 12 hours by myself???? I would also have to think of a new occupation as it’s not in school holidays.
In the meantime I will keep riding, keep watching the pink and blue dots, keep going to work, do some weekend bike-packing trips and hopefully one day I will be a pink dot.