|Start & Finish images from my 2021 ride of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.|
Framed by the chain that carried me the entire 2,651 miles.
To merely stand on the Canadian border at Roosville, Montana, prepared to take on the Great Divide, felt like a victory in itself. Then, one day, many weeks later, I stood alone on the Mexican border at Antelope Wells, New Mexico in sheer joy and utter disbelief. The magnitude of the achievement overwhelmed me. This is it. This is why to dream audaciously, set goals boldly, and work relentlessly to achieve them. See Living A Dream and Give Yourself A Chance.
Living this dream did not come easily, though I thought I was well prepared. In the first six months of 2021, I rode my Jones 29+ bike over 500 miles unloaded and another 1,000 miles fully loaded, mostly in chunks of 40-60 mile days on rolling gravel roads. In 2019-2020, I bikepacked more than 20 overnighters, several two nighters, and a big 7 day shakedown on the Cloud Peak 500 route that nearly broke me. Cloud Peak 500 Wrap. And a lifetime of endurance sports certainly gave me a chance to even consider such a ride.
Not impressed, the Great Divide hammered me from the start. Working through a difficult first two weeks, I eventually found my rhythm and rode stronger, longer, higher, and faster as the weeks passed, even as the roads and conditions deteriorated significantly in New Mexico. At the end, I believed I could have continued to ride even stronger for many, many more weeks. See A Hard Start.
But I did not know that at the start. Nor after those first two weeks. Nor at any other point until the final day. No rider really knows. I certainly didn't and, no matter what well meaning others said to me before, during, or after, they didn't know either.
But I believed. I believed.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Ending Scene + Credits