Andrew Carney one of the longest standing GrassMoots riders we have and this year he is tackling The Tour Divide. The challenges of that alone will make most weak in the knees, try living in Summit County, Colorado on top of that…….he writes in with an update…….
Lets start at the beginning. I first heard about the Great Divide Mountain bike route in 2006 when my brother and I were road touring across the country and we met a French cyclist touring the mountain bike route while we were in the Tetons. Instantly I wanted to tour it and the route spent several years in back of my mind. In 2008 the Tour Divide race began in it’s current form and the incredible efforts put forth each summer since has repeatedly raised the bar for what was thought possible at the ends of human endurance. I attempted to race the route in 2014 and fell ill in Wyoming after riding the first ~1000 miles. Ever since I have wanted to return and finish the entire route in good form. Finish being the operative word.
Take a look at the numbers and it sinks in just how massive the route really is. At 2,745 miles with 180,000 feet of climbing there is no faking fitness, no winging it. Training for the divide is tough, even tougher when I live at 9,000 feet in Summit county and work as a Ski Patroller in the winter. Nevertheless I have put in without a doubt my biggest winter of training in 18 years of racing to prepare and have tried my best to make it enjoyable. Sure, doing hill repeats on Ute Pass in a snowstorm with only a CDOT plow truck driver as company isn’t fun, but it’s money in the bank and that’s what counts.
I spent many of my weekends driving down to the Front Range and putting in miles around Golden exploring many roads that I never knew existed. I got to explore something new on almost every ride and when it comes down to it, that is what I’m after, adventure, and riding my bike in new places. Tour Divide is an event you’ll never really feel ready for. You do your best to prepare and then one day it is just time to go. So on June 9th I’ll be in Banff Alberta riding my Moots, living the dream, and racing down the spine of the continent as fast as my body and mind will go.