Backing Down


Getting to the start of the Tour Divide is never an easy thing. Despite my willful and stubborn nature, it has been kicking my ass. I’m broke, a little beat up and struggling to get in as much training as I want to. I’ve risen up to the challenge the best I can. I’m trying to work more, spend less and ride, recover and balance the body. I like challenges, I really do thrive on them. But for many reasons this spring I am just a big bundle of stress. Things are just not lining up, determination can do wonders, but it has limits. The load is just weighing me down and truly making life and me, not that much fun.


The past few days I’ve done a lot of thinking, pondering and being blunt and honest with myself. I’ve decided to back down from my plan to race the TD. It is not easy or simple for me to do so. It kinda hurts for me to let go of such a dream once it is firmly inside my head. The fact is that the stress is not worth it. I want and need to be happy, not show to myself and the world that I can do it.


When it dawned on me that putting everything into going to Banff was Not the best thing for me and my life, I cried. After a few days of walking out in the sage with the dogs, gazing at the sunset, finding magical little carved rocks in the sand, I’ve really come to terms with this decision and I feel great about it. A huge burden has lifted from my shoulders, off of my soul. I will be sad on the fateful Friday in June, but right now I am happy and that matters more than anything else.


12 thoughts on “Backing Down

  1. Sometimes it’s about asking your thinker and your knower… You may THINK it’s the best but you KNOW deep down what’s best for YOU! Congrats on your decision… XO

  2. So sorry to see you wont make it this year.
    But I wouldn’t call it Backing Down, not at all. Rather at the high level you compete at, its wise to defer till it fits better into your life and you can be 100%. Anything less than your best effort would be unfair to yourself. I am sure you will know when the time is right to toe the line in Banff again. Just like I am sure you will then be 100% and not backing down at all.

    • Thanks Marshall, I am bummed that I won’t be there but it feels great to be honest with myself and make this decision. Funny that in the mode of prep and focus it seems like the TD is everything, but it sure as hell isn’t and life Is Full of great and wonderful things and adventures. I maybe back for it again next year and I may move on, and it feels fantastic to be able to make that choice. As always thanks for reading, means a lot!

  3. Doesn’t sound like backing down so much as it does stepping up to the real important things in life.
    None the less I know a lot of your fans, which includes those who happily get beaten by you, are bummed to hear this. It’s always a pleasure getting squashed in competition by such a respected individual such as yourself.

  4. It really is a balance. For so many years there has been only work, dog(s) and racing bikes, nothing else. Now life is a bit more full and complex, it isn’t all about Me and the Bike, there is much more to life and that is pretty exciting when you let it happen.
    Thanks So Much For Reading and the Kind Words,

  5. Sorry to hear that you won’t be in Banff. As a rookie, I was looking forward to saying “hi” and just shaking hands with someone whose past performances have been amazing. Dealing with the work/training/life balance the last 18 months myself, I can’t even begin to imagine what anyone racing at your level must deal with on a daily basis trying to get ready for another shot at TD.

    That said, congratulations on being smart enough to step back and realize that the time isn’t right for you and yours, and that there are other challenges that can be undertaken when the time IS right. In the meantime, sleep in a little longer, and enjoy an extra beer. 😉

    • Steve,
      There is part of me that wants to be at every race that tickles my fancy!!! But reality is something else, it is hard to not be going up to Banff and getting to meet so many awesome inspired peeps, June 12th is gonna be a hard day for many of us, for different reasons. It is hard to watch all these races go down, like the AZT, soon the TD and be home working instead of out there suffering, soaking it up, kinda like torture for me to sit it out. If my body could handle it, I would try and race them all. It saddens me, but that is life and life is good, so I shouldn’t complain and another beer sounds pretty damn good!!!
      Thanks for the kind words and for reading!

  6. Ah Jefe,
    Think of it as a pay it forward, then you’ll bank it next time. But dialling back, investing in your other wealth, the health of happiness and being fit in mind body and soul, because a burden is lifted, is solid stuff. Underrated.
    You’ve shown a bigger courage, to say, not this time, next time…..that takes a metric load of reaching deep in your ‘thinking and knowing’ (like Lisa said).
    Big kudos to you, and even though I’m not on FB, still keeping a tab on ya.
    NZ is awesome, hope you guys can make it over here some time.


    • Ah Miff!
      It was sort of a shitty choice for me, swim upstream stressing myself and everyone around me and still have a good chance of being denied or just throw in the towel now. It felt really good to let go of all the stress and pressure that lining up for the TD gave me, but it is hard to not be racing now and then. It was a wise choice, but those are not always the funnest choices, almost like I’m being an adult or something, geez…..Miss you Much Miss Miff!!!
      Thanks for reading and commenting, really means a lot to me!

  7. Jefe, I much agree with all of the wisdom above! Ask yourself, “Is Jefe Branham ‘somebody’ because he won last year’s TD, or is last year’s TD winner ‘somebody’ because he is Jefe Branham?”

    • I’ll admit it is hard to separate one self from racing when it gets deep into your blood.
      Plus there is something about the TD that helps to simplify life into very basic terms, ride, find food and water, sleep somewhere in there. In normal everyday life I get lost and unfocused, those very same simple terms get muddled and mixed up. I am craving that simple direct experience of riding my bike as far and as fast as I can, but not this summer, maybe next???
      Thanks for reading and commenting,

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