Inspired to Divide Part 1: THE WhY?
Directly or indirectly the Great Divide was partly or wholly responsible for the bulk of the inspiration that pushed me to do the work I have done in the state of Florida and the Southeast.
When I created my first route, The Naked Indian ride,
the point of the route was to train for this very challenge. I had seen a story about John Stamstad and his ride on the Great Divide. This article I highlighted here is not the one I saw, but the information remains the same. Originally I thought the idea was INSANE. But I was inspired by my Friend Aaron's desire to want to tackle the route. A seed was planted. AND shortly thereafter, it all began.
The passion and desire to ride this route, pushed me to create the Naked Indian route and inspired me to become an expert in the sport of Bikepacking. The little snippets I would read about the race and then later the MTB Cast Calls stoked the fire. The Bikepaking.net forum proved invaluable. IN the early days of Bikepacking, there was so much mystery and it took a TON of trial and error for me to reach the point I am at today.
My first attempt on the Divide was foolhardy.
In retrospect I was poorly prepared. Didn't have a proper rain kit, and I left with just an emergency bivvy as my shelter. CRAZY. How Nieve. But you know, it wasn't the lack of good gear that that eliminated me from being successful. It was the fact that Greyhound lost my bike, and I was stuck in limbo for a week waiting for equipment that when it finally appeared, had a missing wheel and pedals. What a Nightmare situation.
Regardless, over the years I have learned that these moments of extreme difficulty build character and grit. I learned tons of lessons and made many friends, but the fact was, once I got rolling, I was already mentally lost. Eventually I quit after I got to the Beaverhead work center and the Famous Trail Angel LLoyd came to save me.
I was crushed. Failure is not a good thing when it comes to these big challenges. Especially for me, I must of wallowed in Depression for months. BUT, eventually, I found the courage to begin again, and put my dreams to rest for awhile.
Instead, I saw the growing interest in my events and started to organize more. Started to create more routes. It was pure stoke seeing folks interested in what I had created. The facts are the first Ultra in the southeast was the CFiTT and that is a fact that can never be disputed. A few years later, after a successful run on the TNGA, my confidence was rebuilt.
And soon, I got the courage to try again.
And I went back to the divide. This time I started in BANFF. In fear that my bike would end up missing, I got there ten days early. Stayed with some good Warmshowers host, but alas, aside from a kinked and damaged brake cable, everything went smooth.
BUT, again, in retrospect, although I had advanced my skills, I was still GREEN.
So green in fact, that I made enough mistakes that after 1000 miles, I was out of money, severely chapped front to back, and injured to a point that my ankle creaked like an old Alternator car belt.
STILL, despite my failure, I learned a lot. That was five years ago. That was also the last time I Did not finish a bikepacking event. OUT of the Ashes I emerged a new rider, a new person. The next races and events, I attacked with vigor and resolve. I may have failed to divide, but I succeeded in completing the evolution to the rider I am today.
So who am I today?
Changed is who I am. I am stronger, fitter, faster, smarter and tougher then I have ever been. My resolve is absolute, my focus, razor sharp.
I once had someone tell me that the most important thing is not finishing, but your family and blah blah blah... BUT TO ME, the way I honor my family is by finishing what I set out to do.
Let me explain.
IF I am going to invest, TIME, MONEY, EFFORT and take a way MYSELF from my family and PUT MYSELF in potential danger, the most important thing I can do, is HONOR THEM, by finishing what I started.
Folks, I am convinced, in my past life, I fought wars to defend my clan. I hunted and killed to feed my family. I have a warrior code and mentality. I NO LONGER have to do any of those things, so the way I HONOR my family and My clan and my friends, is by FINISHING what I started.
That is why I am going back. To finish what I started. To underline, highlight and put in italics the challenge that I have dedicated so much time and effort too. There is no higher honor that I can show them, then by getting to Antelope Wells Intact, healthy, and reporting a finish.
Lots of folks have asked how can they contribute to my trip. Although I am not formally asking for donations if anyone is feeling generous and wants to buy me a cup, a meal or rent me a room, follow this link, and thanks ahead of time.