Setting Off: Great Divide Adventure

Today's post comes from guest blogger Brett Davis. He and Salsa engineer Sean Mailen are beginning their tour of the Great Divide Route today, beginning in Banff, Alberta Canada. We wish them a safe and memorable journey. Follow their ride via Trackleaders. -Kid

Well, today my friend Sean and begin our ride of the Great Divide Route—a project that has been on my life’s “To Do List” since I first flipped through Nicky Crowther’s Classic Mountain Bike Rides—Thirty of the World’s Most Spectacular Trails. This book of dreams for a mountain biker has been a source of inspiration for me. The stunning imagery of far off places combined with the well written descriptions of each potential adventure has been a continual motivation for me to explore my world from two wheels. As an outdoor educator and adventurer I have been fortunate to venture around our amazing planet by foot, watercraft (kayak and raft), ski and bike. The bike has been my preferred mode of exploration—the simplicity of the machine and, thanks to the guys at Salsa and similar companies, the ability to modify and adapt this mode of transportation to carry equipment and make oneself fully self-sufficient for extended amounts of time has made it fun to pack up on a whim and strike out for the unknown. I believe in the merits of human powered endeavors and the bike is the ultimate tool to traveling with minimal carbon footprint.

My name is Brett Davis. I'm a 41-year-old American male who works long hours like every person to make ends meet and to live the best life possible. I arguably have one of the best jobs in the world as I direct a collegiate outdoor program and share my passions for life and the outdoors with the next generations. Additionally, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world—Durango, Colorado. As you can see from the attached photos, my training rides take me through majestic high peaks or through the desolate and beautiful desert canyons. Beyond my name, chosen profession, and hometown, I am an individual who believes in the value of hard work; of paying it forward; of treating others with respect; doing random acts of kindness; being present in the moment; always living to do my best; and having fun along the way. I wouldn’t describe myself as an ordinary person, but I am not extraordinary in anyway—just a human who values simplicity and tries to do a lot with a little…oh, and I have very little hair on my head.

As for this big bike ride along the spine of the Rocky Mountains, this has been over a year in the making. It started with an invitation to my buddy and Salsa engineer, Sean Mailen (aka Mailman), to join me on this adventure. With a whole-hearted “Yes” the process of preparation was started. Sean worked with his crew to figure out which bikes would be best for this classic ride. I began designing, making, and testing numerous frame bags, gear slings, and associated equipment for the ride. Hours have been spent driving an industrial sewing machine and then putting the newly constructed bags through their paces on long rides through rain, snow, dust storms, and bluebird days. Our bikes were designed (Fargo Ti for me and Selma Ti for Sean), built, and ridden—tweaking the fit along the way and having a lot of fun riding these brilliant machines.

Now, all of our preparations are over…it is time to ride; to put planning into action; to do what we dreamed. As I have learned from many prior adventures such as this, the stress ramps up as you get closer to the beginning of the journey. Loose ends must be wrapped up. The logistics of our daily lives must be dealt with and we must say goodbye to our loved ones for an extended time. But, I know one thing for sure, all of the chaos and stress of beginning the journey will melt away with the first few pedal stokes as we depart Banff, Alberta and begin riding south. Our lives will become simple as we see the world from the saddle of a bike—sleep, eat, ride, and repeat. We do these adventures to explore the world; to discover who we are; to enhance our lives; to have fun—and admittedly, to suffer a little bit.

I hope you will join us on this adventure and that it motivates you to find your own Great Divide Adventure to pursue. More from the trail…


This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Brett Davis Explore Overnighter Tour Divide Touring

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Brett Davis

Brett Davis

I grew up in a military family where we moved 13 times before I left for college. Consequently, I have the continual urge to explore and travel having climbed, kayaked, and biked all over our amazing planet. My passion for the outdoors drives me to seek out adventures which often times combine multiple modes of travel or activities (i.e. biking to a wilderness area and then backpacking in to climb a high peak). "Keeping life simple" is a guiding motto of my life and for me, bike travel epitomizes simplicity.


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JK | June 27th, 2011

Good luck. Can’t wait to see how the ride unfolds. Pour one over the curb for those of us stuck in the office all summer.

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Camalot | June 27th, 2011

Buddy and I just wanted to say we are thinkin’ about cha, and hoping things are rolling smoothly.  Oh and on a dorky side-note I wanted to pass on one of my favorite bike quotes:

In search of something new, on a mountain bike you can cover great distance in a short period of time… or short distance in a great period of time… they said the journey can be more important than the destination… in mountain biking there’s not destination… just a bike, a rider, and a place to ride - The Collective ROAM

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mom and dad | June 27th, 2011

  We are following you and Sean intensely, sending our love and good vibes for a safe and amazing journey!All our love !

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DC | June 27th, 2011

Dudes! Good luck, God bless, and enjoy the ride!

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Jim and Dian | June 28th, 2011

Brett and Sean,
We’re fascinated with tracking your progress.  Loved the pictures and can almost smell that fresh mountain air!  You have lots of fans here in Michigan!  Enjoy your ride. We wish you a safe and happy journey!

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E&G | July 4th, 2011

Have a great ride over the Divide!

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Aunt Fuzzy | July 9th, 2011

VERY IMPRESSIVE!!  Hope this trip is everything both of you have dreamed about since you started the extensive planning!  ENJOY!

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