I’m back in Seattle after exiting the Tour Divide in Steamboat Springs, Co. I made it 1546 miles in 28 days, more than half way on the Tour’s 2,745 miles, and decided to honor my time commitments and come home. There’s a teeny tiny sliver of disappointment that I didn’t figure out how to finish, and a huge wedge of pride at how far I came. Instead of talking about finishing half of the Tour Divide, I’m saying I finished All of the Tour Davide.
Tour Divide, scratching, and disappointment:
I really liked what Diana Nyad said about endurance athletes who succeed: “We’re so afraid of failure, we can’t”. I thought about Diana a lot, and I’d love to count myself in her company. Certainly her achievement (swimming Cuba to Florida at 60) is singular, but I would like to hold a tiny candle up to her huge flame and the Tour Divide qualifies I think.
Sadly, that’s not this year. Pretty early on in the race I did the math and figured out that with my tire being destroyed on day 1, I really didn’t have a huge chance to catch up unless I put in mamoth days (like many 100+ mile days in a row). Given my relatively low level of fitness, it just didn’t seem believable.
I think that was a failure of imagination. I could have turned it around at a couple different points, but basically decided to ride a different race. Honestly, I’m a bit sad that I didn’t and also happy that I didn’t. It would have meant a *vastly* different experience, and I’m pretty happy with the experience I had.
The Tour Davide
So what, exactly, do I have to be proud about anyway? After all, I barely made it half way along the longest, hardest mountain bike ride in the world!
Well… there’s that: I made it more than half way on the longest, hardest mountain bike race in the world. On the first try!!! In the face of serious obstacles! By myself! Given that the chances of even finishing are 50/50 even on a good weather year, I’ll take it. It’s a huge accomplishment, and something to be proud of for sure. What’s more – I didn’t quit because I couldn’t go on (mechanical failure, medical issues, boredom). I quit because had my priorities right:
- Stay married
- Stay Alive
In those terms, I think I finished at exactly the right time.
But really there’s something more. Once you realize you’re not bound for Antelope Wells, there are quite a few options open to you. Honestly, I’m pretty proud that I stuck to the race route, kept at it, and prioritized seeing things and meeting people above speed. The image above is right: I finished behind the leader, but me with my pastie sitting in the grass in Montana is actually winning.
The folks who win this thing basically don’t sleep. Sleep is how our brains make memories. I’d hate to go through all that effort and miss the opportunity to remember the things I saw and the people I met.
For those not on facebook – here’s what I wrote there a few days ago:
Well, the time has come friends – I’m headed back home! My trip on the Tour Davide is complete and I think a success. Mixed emotions for sure, but I am incredibly thankful and happy to have had this adventure.
This won’t be my last update on this topic, I’ve still got some thinking, writing and organizing to do before I’m tapped out.
One of the things I’m proudest of is finishing strong, on my own terms. I’m not out because of poor preparation or mistakes – I’m done because I know what my priorities are, and have from the start. Very much looking forward to seeing my family. Hopefully I get a chance to catch up with you soon too!
P.s. special thanks to the trail angels and riding companions – it was a joy meeting you, the very best thing on my adventure. You know who you are