Wow, it’s been a MONTH since I posted on this damn thing! It’s been a hectic, insanely fast 30 days, that’s for sure! I’ll give you the rundown, starting with the CSF&O route I attempted.
The CSF&O – The last time I posted, I was preparing to take on a ~550 mile gravel course I mapped out in January. One word – Mud. Wheel/soul/life-sucking mud. I rode 141 miles the first day, all the way to Newton. I knew a pretty big storm was coming, so I got a hotel room, and it started raining hard as soon as I got inside. WHEW! Dodged that bullet! I woke up the next morning, got 4-5 miles outside of town, and hit mud. Hike-a-bike mud. It would have been 40+ miles of hike-a-bike. I tried to find a bypass, but ended up getting a couple of flats and using up both of my spare tubes. I finally got to Hillsboro, grabbed a hotel room, and bam, more rain. That night I debated whether to continue up an asphalt road to Abilene, and then over to Manhattan for more bike tubes, or just head home. I had read that there was a bike shop in Hillsboro, so I waited until 10am, and found out that it was no longer in business. Crap. No tubes. I ended up riding back to Emporia, but managed to still have a good high-mileage week. After I got back to Emporia, I snagged another 20 miles with the Thursday Night Ride gang, then Friday I rode about 45 miles to Eskridge, camped out at Ryan Dudley’s house, and rode in the Maisie’s Ride 80 mile gravel grinder, against a 35-mph wind! Great week, regardless of some pretty major plan changes.
There’s some pics for the week!
After that, it was back to work, and between Wolf Creek and the Kansas National Guard, I’ve been going pretty hard. Another set-back was my Uncle passed away yesterday. We found out he was sick in the hospital, and was in the ICU. He hung on for about a week longer than the doctors said he would, but finally found his peace Monday. I have to give my cousin’s some major props, because they’ve had set-back after set-back, not to mention some major family drama, and have persevered. They’re tough folk, though, and it was great to see them again!
The Tour Divide – My Tour Divide Race starts in 9 days. I’m racing the Tour Divide in 9 *^&$ing days. Holy shit. Wow. Ok, haha, I’m done. It’s mind-blowing how fast the time went. For those of you who haven’t been following along, it’s a 2,745 mile mountain bike race from Banff, Alberta to the US/Mexico border at Antelope Wells, NM.
I’m hoping to complete the race in 24 days. My preparation is just about complete. I’ll pack the bike up Friday, and I head out Tuesday evening for the Wichita Airport, and fly out (really freaking) early Wednesday. I would like to have a day or two to spend in Banff, but that’s not going to happen. The official Grand Depart is Friday morning, but in order to maximize vacation time I’m starting on Thursday. I plan to leave Banff at 9am Thursday. You’ll be able to keep tabs on the race at home via my SPOT GPS tracker here at trackleaders.com. You can check out my personal profile here. There’s a couple other resources for the Divide Race; one being bikepacking.net, where there has been a 2013 race discussion going on since December of 2011. There will also be a discussion thread once the race kicks off. The other is a facebook group called Endurance Rides and Bike Packing. Originally a well-thought out and meaningful discussion concerning bikepacking, ultra-mountain bike races, and the like; it has since devolved into a raucous flame-war of shake-weight debates, happy socks, and who can come up with the scariest bear picture.
This one wins.
All joking aside, it’s been a great asset for not just planning, but also quasi-meeting other racers. They’re awesome people, and I can’t wait to meet them in person and get this party started!
***EDIT ALERT!!!*** I forgot about the rider call-ins! Riders can call in to give updates to MTBCast. This is actually a great way for riders to keep friends and family up-to-date on how the race is going for them.
All the major prep-work is done (I hope). I sent four resupply boxes to various towns along the route with emergency repair supplies. The maps and GPS tracks are loaded in my GPS and phone. Cue sheets and town information spreadsheets are in my phone. The equipment list is ready for when I pack. I found a ride from Antelope Wells to El Paso, TX. All I need to do now is get on a plane, get to Canada, and start pedaling. I’m really pumped to get this adventure started!
Ok, I’m gonna end this thing, but I’ll try to update this blog as I can along the route, along with my twitter (slater_m_d1) and my Facebook page.
I’ll see you down the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route!