Justin Simoni speaks of the challenges of riding the Tour Divide mountain bike race as he works on his bike at The Outdoorsman in Butte, MT.
Kelley Mattingly and I did a fairly casual interview about the Tour Divide, training, etc while I was at the Outdoorsman, outfitting my bike for some drier terrain, with less changes of resupply that I was to hit up in the coming days.
About… 10 days? before the start of the 2012 Tour Divide, I decided to look at plane tickets and found one affordable enough to get to Banff, Alberta and give ‘er another go, this time on a Single Speed.
To my complete surprise, I not only finished, but was the first one-speed-wonder over the line from the Grand Départ at 23 days, 5 hours and change.
I am perpetually amazed at what adventures lay so close to home, taken on by just strapping on some clothes, tools, food and a sleeping bag to a cobbled together bicycle and just going for it. Last weekend saw me ride from Del Norte, along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, with the goal of getting to Breckenridge and from there, taking the I-70 corridor back home to Denver.
This weeks plan was to ride to the Summer Trailhead of Grays/Torreys, hike up both, and ride back, all in one fell swoop. I mean, why not? It’s ~55 miles and 9,000 feet of elevation to the Winter Trailhead, 3 miles of hike-a-biking on the dirt road to the Summer Trailhead and 8 1/4 miles of hiking to both peaks and back – and then that 55 miles back home.
OK, fairly ambitious, I admit – I brought along my sleep kit, just in case.
I certainly don’t like living a life that contains much nostalgia. I’m far more interested in the here and now, or the coming soon, than what’s past. I don’t hold onto many things material. So, it’s always a surprise to me, when nostalgia hits me in the face and I feel an intense emotional response.
Wednesday, I got myself up relatively early, with the goal of riding up Squaw Mountain Pass, to Echo Lake. The ride is a big batch of gentle uphill roads, starting in Golden as you go up HW 40, cross over into Evergreen and take Squaw Pass Road to Echo Lake. This line is comprised of almost 25 miles of uphill road, taking you from ~5,200 feet to 10,600 feet and at the door of the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway – a road that goes all the way up 14,254 foot Mt. Evans.
This road isn’t scheduled to open until May 25th – a full month away, but snowfall this year has been inadequate, and I wanted to check out the conditions and hell, maybe spin up for a few switchbacks, before heading home.
There’s a network of roads that make a N to S corridor, just West of the plains of Denver/Boulder and just inside the mountains of the Front Range. The cycling on these roads is, for the most part, spectacular.
One of the magical things about the Tour Divide is the MTBCast call-in service. If you can find a pay phone on the route – which are actually still, “plentiful” in the areas the GDMBR wanders through, you can call a 800 number and leave a message, that will then be posted up by MTBCast for everyone to listen in.
Lucky enough to take another long ride this week – this time to Silverthorne to check out the Ice Castles, before the all melt into a sad little pile of slush. Got out of the house @ 6:00 am for the ride up HW40.