Preparation for Tour Divide 2024, The Why
Why would anyone want to do it? Why would anyone want to ride to the exhaustion and see things that don't even exist? Why would anyone want to suffer on a seat, that is chafing by every move? Why would anyone want to be stuck in peanut butter mud, that makes a bike heavier than a tank? You can't find good answers, because these are wrong questions!
Bikepacking races give me superpowers. They taught me how to find strength when others have lost their hopes. They taught me to appreciate little things and have fate that it's going to be better. These races have hardened my willpower so much, that I should put them to my CV. And yet, this isn't my goal.
My goal is never to push to my absolute limits. It's never a pure speed and power. Even though I try to be as fast as possible, I want to enjoy it and come back with stories. I don't want to just say I rode from start to finish. It doesn't sound like an adventure.
I will be racing Tour Divide 2024 to find peace in haste. It might sound ridiculous to look for calm when I need to cut all breaks to a minimum and care about every minute I don't spend riding my bike. But as is said - Haste makes waste. That will be my motto! I want to be fast, but also to enjoy the process and purposely lose some time there and there. It's gonna be the first time I cross the ocean and I want to experience everything.
I see Tour Divide as an unofficial grandmother of this sport. But I don't want to see it as some item on a to-do list that everyone wants to tick. I see it as a great opportunity to meet similar-minded people and to explore new places. You shouldn't say you travelled to some country when you visited one city and spent some time in shops. Crossing the entire US (and more), that's what I call travelling.
And I must admit - preparing myself for the race is one of my favourite parts of this sport. So I will try to enjoy this part too.
Expected finish time
My „happy goal“ is to finish Tour Divide in just under 15 days. It won't be easy and it will require precise preparation of mind and body and a handful of luck during the race. I would have to ride 295 kilometres and 4000 metres of elevation every day fifteen times to accomplish this goal. Is that even possible for me?
My secondary target will be to finish the race and catch the plane back home. I think that this shouldn't be that hard, as in no man's land it will be hard to get a lift to the nearest airport. The easiest thing will usually be to push through.
Everything before and after the race is a logistical nightmare.
In this series of articles, I will share some highlights from my preparation. It won't be a guide on how to get ready for Banff. We are unique in our bodies, minds and goals. This is going to be a guide for myself from me. But you can take it as an inspiration and it might give you questions you would never have thought about.
And there might not even be answers. Because I don't have them and I will only share my uncertainty.
There are five areas I need to master:
You could write several books about each topic and I won't be able to master them all. As time passes by, and the start will be sooner and sooner, I will suffer under panicking that I'm not ready. So, better to start as soon as possible.
The first thing I need to get through is my planning. I need to better understand the route, its challenges, availability of food and water. Only then I will know which skills and gear I'm going to need.
November 26, 2023