Today we continue Brett's list of the 10 Reasons To Ride The Divide. -Kid
#5 - Oh, The People You Will Meet
As mentioned in a previous blog, these types of trips are often made a success by the people you encounter along the way. As humans we are social creatures who thrive on interactions with others. These interactions can enhance or detract from our experiences. People such as Rob Leipheimer, owner of the Outdoorsman - a bike shop in Butte, MT; Kirsten Henricksen, Trail Angel of the Brush Mountain Lodge, Pilgrim and Ezra (two gentlemen who rescued us along the side of a lonely highway at 11 PM); Chris from Congdon, MT who found us lodging and gave us a much-needed ride during a downpour; Chuck and Diane who were extremely interesting and welcoming to us at the Squirrel Creek Lodge outside of Ashton, ID; Doc Foster, a cowboy in a true sense who gave us the lowdown on Pinedale, WY; the women of the lone sandwich shop in Basin, MT who made us sandwiches long after they were closed for the evening; and the many others who went out of their way to share a smile or an encouraging word to a couple of smelly and dirty bicyclists all impacted our experience and restored our faith in the goodness of humanity.
#4 - You Can Do More Than You Think
Adventures such as riding the Great Divide always present moments which push us outside of our comfort zone and illicit those feelings of fear and trepidation which reside deep inside us. Can I do this? Am I up to the challenge? Do I have the bodily and mental strength to see this endeavor through? At one point or another, questions such as these went through my mind as I traveled down the spine of the Rockies. At times I was pushed to my pre-conceived limits and had to grapple with the unknown. How is this going to turn out? Through personal resolve, the support of a willing partner, a positive attitude, and a will to embrace the experience, I overcame my self-constructed doubts and pushed forward in my understanding of who I am and what I can accomplish. I just rode my bike unsupported from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Wahoo! Who would have known that I could or would do this? I surely didn’t…until I did it.
#3 - Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “Simplify, simplify, simplify. Life is frittered away by detail.” In today’s fast paced world where we are always connected via electronic gadgets or where material objects become sources of clutter and distraction, the ability to see and connect with what really matters can be extremely difficult. When everything you need to move through the world can be packed onto a machine as simple as a bike, clarity and unencumbered movement can take place. Just like many Americans, I have a base camp with a garage full of vehicles, closets full of clothes, rooms full of furniture, shelves laden with knick knacks, etc. I have stuff. I have things that clutter and complicate my life - that shield my view of the world. A loaded bike or packed backpack dissipates the clutter and allows me to see the forest through the trees. Allows me to see what I really need to move through this world. Reconnects me with what is important in my life…my personal relationships, my encounters with the natural world, my character, my yearning to live simply.
#2 - Teamwork
Divide racers and those who tour the Divide certainly do it as a solo endeavor. No one turns the cranks for you. In fact, I have been known to do such things without a partner or partners. But, I believe any experience gains more substance when tackled as part of a team. Sean was a great teammate for an endeavor such as the Great Divide. He was able to go with the flow and maintain a great sense of humor no matter how dire the situation. He was flexible when making team decisions. He was patient and compassionate. He was a pillar of support and a source of motivation when such things were called for. My trip would not have been the same without the presence of Sean. In my life I have had the opportunity to travel to many beautiful places, but my experience in these places is always determined by the people I am with. Sean, you made our trip a great one for me and I thank you. I look forward to a few more adventures together in the future (you know I have some up my sleeve).
#1 Finishing the Divide!
Riding the Great Divide is a huge undertaking and requires expending large amounts of mental and physical energy. It will test you and your equipment everyday with every mile having to be earned. But when you reach “mile 0” and you have no more miles to pedal, you are flooded with a multitude of emotions. These emotions begin to well up in you and slowly bubble to the surface as those final miles go by. The planning, sacrifice, frustrations, setbacks, physical and mental hardships, and questions of whether I can do this or not, all melt away and are replaced by feelings of elation and joy for accomplishing what one set out to do. We all know that it is the journey that counts, but damn…it sure is nice to reach the destination…in this case the Mexican border.
This journey would not have been possible without the support and efforts of the following:
-The Salsa Crew
-Russell and the Durango Cyclery Squad (http://www.durangocyclery.com/)
-Fort Lewis College and Outdoor Pursuits
-My parents (Jim and Carol Davis) for the unbelievable support at the end (we wouldn’t have made it without those tubes)
-The beautiful Beth Christie who understands me and lets me adventure into the world
-Cam Castro (for taking care of Buddy Davis and his home)