Tour Divide, Masochism at its Best

Much has been written about the Tour Divide. Seems everyone that toes the line writes a blog, a book or contributes to a collection of stories. There is much inspiration out there so it is no surprise that folks want to share their trip, and yet the experience is very personal. I rode all but a few minutes of the race alone with my thoughts, dreams, heartaches, bright and dark moments. On all those long lonely roads, so many hours and hours spent riding without sleep, smashing brain cells together on those the rough descents, as well endless heartbreaking moments that challenge your preconceived dreams of what the experience will be, I delved deeper than ever before. Every experience can be life changing, the TD is no exception.

The result of all this thought, pain, suffering and introspection is hard to summarize. Too much information to boil down, yet the simple message I got was, Slow Down, Chill Out, Sip the Coffee and Smell the Flowers. I have been madly chasing this dream of pushing my limits, striving to see what I am capable of, how hard and fast I can go for quite a few years. I have exceeded my dreams of what I thought was possible from anyone, much less me. I still see myself as a regular working guy that likes to test himself a few times a year, right now I am thinking those tests are going to be farther and farther apart and I am perfectly happy with that!

Over the next few days I’m gonna try and write a little blip about my TD experience, from start to finish. It might take a bit as I am still tired and it is hard to write with my legs elevated up a wall.

Yes it hurts, it hurts real bad, the pain started on day one and is only getting worse even now that I am no longer riding. Ah yes the lives we chose says volumes about ourselves….more to come I promise!


13 thoughts on “Tour Divide, Masochism at its Best

  1. Jefe – I followed your progress from the start. It was a riveting performance to watch on blue dots, and they can’t even give any hint of what you would have been going through! So I can only wonder what the experience itself must be like. Oddly, I have followed the TD in the past online, but this was the first year that I found myself wondering at different times what you racers were doing at exact moments, and where — like at midnight, or first thing in the morning — and whether or not you are even aware of what is going on in the surrounding world during your time on the trail. At any rate, very impressive job, sir! Congratulations on your win and I look forward to reading more about it!

    • Thanks for reading and be careful or you will fall face first into the TD trap and the only way out is to go out there and race it for yourself! Hope to have more coming up soon, still pretty damn tired…..Thanks again!

  2. Awesome effort, at the beginning you said that you hope to put on a good show. That was an excellent show. It was awesome. Keep it up.
    God bless.

    • Thanks Michael, glad it was a good show! Have to say it was a tough tough 16 days for me, really made me rethink my obsession with multiday racing….time will tell!
      Thanks again for reading!

  3. Jefe, you are an inspiration. the countless hours on that trainer over the winter truly paid off. I honestly don’t know how you find the determination and drive to train like that. Congratulations on your once in lifetime trip down the GDMBR. You are just plain scary with gears!

    • Thanks so much. There is nothing I’d like more than to hear that I might inspire someone to get out there and have a good experience, where ever, when ever. It isn’t all about speed and racing, but instead finding an outlet, a place to exercise and excite that passion for living which I believe in turn makes us all better humans.
      I am inspired by pros, housewives, mailmen, children anyone who pursues their dreams. Sometimes it takes a lot of inspiration to get me out the door, onto the trainer, out of bed. But it is always worth it, always worth it!
      Thanks For Reading!!

  4. I too enjoyed watching and wondering what it was like. Thanks.

    In these early posts, I’m not hearing “Wow! I did it!.” Rather, it sounds as if you may have been, at least temporarily, inoculated from the need to go do this sort of thing again. So are you glad you did it? Are you cured? Have the demons been released? Are you emotionally scarred? Do you even know how you feel at this time? Looking forward to your thoughts, especially in light of the fact that this was not your first time. What makes a man do such a crazy thing……..again?

    • There is no cure for insatiability! Often after these races I do not get a sense of “wow I crushed it” or “hell yeah I won” More a sense of what I feel went right and what went wrong, if I did what I wanted to do or came up short. For a good portion of the TD I was tortured by the fact that I was not going to make it in 14ish days. Then I was tortured by the fact that I wasn’t gonna break the record and it was because I am human and made mistakes, or simply didn’t have the super human energy to go harder, longer, faster. There will be more to come for sure, hope it helps me come to terms with it as well as explaining what it is like. But I think I am done with this one, that much I am pretty sure about.
      Thanks So Much For Reading

      • Thanks. I totally understand why one would ride the TD (many people don’t), but I can’t imagine why one would RACE it. To race it more than once….that is borderline insanity. And yet, part of me wants to do it.

        Looking forward to hearing about your attempt, and reasons why you try to quench the unquenchable (although it sounds like you might have checked this one off). Glad you are safe. Thanks again for letting us live a little vicariously through you.

  5. Congratulations on your win Jefe. I first found out about The Tour Divide in 2011 when you almost won the thing on a singlespeed. As a singlespeed rider myself, who only does 1 to 2 hour XC rides a few days a week, you challenged my idea of what was possible on a bike. I was constantly checking to see where you were, and I was cheering for you all the way. Of course I was pulling for you this year as well. You have become one of my heroes, and now I’m totally intrigued with the idea of bike packing. But as an older guy with a demanding job and a sick wife, I can’t even imagine finding the time and money to get started. However, I look forward to reading about your experiences. Just riding The Divide is an awesome accomplishment, but doing it in 16 days is really something. Way to go Jefe!

    • Thanks Mike!
      It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, seriously challenged myself everyday to keep pushing and not kick back and slow down, especially when there was no one even close. Bikepacking is a rad way to explore the world around you, I used to backpack and it brings two of my favorite things into one, riding and camping. The gear gets better and better and more available all the time so maybe try and build up the gear slowly and even 24 hour trips are very much worth it. I do understand that life is far more complicated than just riding your bike, sorry to hear that your wife isn’t well. Wish you the best and would be happy to lend advice on gear any time.
      Thanks so much for reading, means a lot to me!!!!

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