5 Questions About The Tour Divide

by Andy Amick on May 15, 2014

in Bikepacking, Dreams

When people find out that I’m riding the 2700 mile Tour Divide this year, a lot of questions usually follow.  Everything from being insane, training, logistics, and taking time off work.  Here’s the top 5 questions I have received.

1) Are you crazy?

This is the most common question and the easiest to answer.  Of course I’m a little crazy, but its a good kind of crazy.  My view of the Tour Divide is that of a grand adventure where I’m pushing myself to go as fast as I can.  It’s going to be an adventure even if it’s crazy to think about.

2) Oh man, that’s going to hurt.  How can you ride a bike for that many days?

Chair3_ResizeSharpen_WhiteMatteYes, I’m fully expecting this to be the hardest thing I’ve physically ever done.

However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like it’s the hardest thing ever done.  My Grandaddy Backman never got to enjoy a 3 week vacation exploring and watching the scenery pass by.  Nope.  He got to grow up poor, ship off to war, come home to a life of hard work just to make ends meet, and then die way too early from cancer.

So in that regard, the Tour Divide will be a cake walk.  Oh, there will be days – days of headwinds, rain, dead legs, sore butt, etc.  As long as I keep my bad days in perspective and remember what my grandaddy had to endure, I think I’ll be ok.

Plus, this is my dream ride which means I’m willing to go through more pain than normal to make it a reality.

3) Why would you take time off of work and away from family to suffer?

Being away from my family for 3+ weeks will be the most difficult part.  There is no other way to put it, plus I’ll be missing Father’s Day with my boys.  Luckily, we live close to the route and they will be able to meet me one day in Colorado as I ride through.

Some people go on vacation and golf for fun; some people ride motorcycles; I ride my bike.  I’m treating the ride as an adventure and really looking forward to the spectacular scenery I’ll be traveling through, especially the Canadian and Montana sections which I have never visited.

Again, this is my dream ride which means I’m willing to go through more pain than normal to make it a reality.

4) Is the food and lodging part of the race?

People that are not familiar with the Tour Divide do not realize the race is completely self supported.  If you want something, you carry it or find it on route.  There are no sag stops, support vehicles, or pre-arranged hotels at the end of the day.  Food is acquired at service stations, small grocery stores, and as second meals to go from restaurants.  Lodging is found when you get to a town or simply camping off the side of the road after a long day.

For me, this sounds exciting and lets you go with the flow of the day rather than having to be at a certain location.  If things are going well, keep riding.  If you’re having a terrible day, stop a bit early and recharge.  Each day is a mini-adventure is the scope of a much larger grand adventure.

After 10 days of this or several bad weather days, my perspective on this part of the race my drastically change.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

5) How do you train for a race like this?

Training plans are not my friend.  My work and home life is full of schedules, project plans, due dates, etc so I don’t need yet another plan to follow for training.  Plus, I want to keep the riding as fun as possible leading up to the Tour Divide.

My training plan, or lack thereof, is based on finding as much time to ride my bike as I can.  When I have time, I ride.  During last year’s football season, I skipped most of the games to go on long Sunday rides.  Just this past weekend, I spent 6 hours out in the rain and snow.  When you’re training for the adventure of a lifetime, it makes it easier to get out and do those kinds of rides.

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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  • ADam

    So pumped to follow you on your adventure. Just keep that positive attitude…that’s pretty much the only controllable on the trail.

    • Andy Amick

      Thanks Adam. We’ll see how well I can keep the attitude going once the days start piling up. Hopefully I can keep some of these thoughts at the front of my memory.

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