To The 2015 Tour Divide Riders (Especially Rookies)

by Andy Amick on June 4, 2015

in Bikepacking, Tour Divide 2014

The 2015 Tour Divide is only a week away! I’m sure the racers are going through that phase of being extremely excited, extremely nervous, and starting to second guess some of their preparation and gear selection. For such a huge undertaking, it’s a completely normal response. Those times when you are nervous and excited are usually the ones where you feel most alive.

Outside Lima Montana

As this year’s riders get ready for the Grand Depart, I thought I would share a few of the tidbits I learned from my 2014 ride. Sort of a Top 5 Lessons and Advice.

The Tour Divide is an amazing adventure – amazing beautiful, amazingly brutal, amazingly hard, amazingly rewarding. Each day brings a new challenge and a new beauty so try to start every day with a smile. A positive attitude, in many ways, is more important than being a strong rider or having the perfect set of gear. That and having the tenacity to continue making forward progress, even if that involves walking.

continous effort, unlocking potential

Sunrises and sunsets are magical. Seeing the sun light up the sky, after a long day or chilly night, does wonders for recharging the soul. If sunsets aren’t your thing, find that little piece of the world (open meadows, flowers, train tracks, bunny rabbits, whatever) and make that your trigger to smile and recharge yourself.

Accept the slow, painful parts – Whitefish Divide, Red Meadow Lake, and Richmond Pass in particular. It sounds like the snow may be plentiful this year which will result in a lot of walking and suffering in the snow. Even though this section between Columbia Falls and Seeley Lake is not very far, it can be one of the most challenging – both physically and mentally. Again, forward progress is all you need – be it 10 mph or 1 mph.

Do stop at Ovando, Brush Mountain Lodge, and Pie Town (Toaster House). Stop and enjoy a meal and conversation, even if you are racing. The small amount of extra time to recharge, hear stories, and have a few laughs will more than pay for itself a day or two down the road.

Don’t push too hard the first couple of days. I made that mistake last year and had to manage very sore achilles and ankles the entire rest of the race. It’s easier to pick up the pace later versus not being able to ride as far as you want because of injuries or strains. The first few days are tempting to push it because the riders are close together and lots of people get into race mode right away. Avoid that temptation!

Finally, real food is your friend. A ham and cheese or PB&J sandwich to go is quite a treat a few hours later for dinner or even the next morning for breakfast. There is something about having real food (as real as a gas station ham and cheese can be) that somehow makes you feel a little stronger. Maybe it just feels more like a meal rather than eating a “meal” that consists of a bag of peanuts, a cinnamon roll, a Snickers, and handfuls of gummy worms.

Bonus tip: Reese’s Cups make a fantastic breakfast if you can’t get “real” food. After being out in the cold all night, the cold peanut butter and chocolate are oh so tasty. Plus, they melt easy so you might as well eat them for breakfast :)

Get out there. Enjoy the ride. Live your dream. Go make it happen.

Day5_HuckleberryPass2

 

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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