2021 GDMBR Finisher.
Q & A
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am from Little Rock, Arkansas and I currently live in Denver, Colorado.
Where did you first hear about the Great Divide MTB Route?
I heard about the route from a dear friend that I went to college with. He completed the route summer of 2020 and spoke so highly of the experience I had to do it.
What is your opinion of the route?
I truly loved the route a lot, I feel like it was a healthy balance between desolation and cities with character. We started in the south and felt a lot of desolation early and it was a sweet way to start but also hard. The end of our route felt more like a vacation because there were restaurants and civilization closer together. The contrast between the two made the route really special for me.
What did a typical day look like for you while traveling?
Our typical day changed a lot from the start of our trip to the end of our trip. The beginning of the trip we were on bike for more hours than not. We would wake up, eat breakfast and start pedaling. A lot of days were spent early in the morning trying to avoid the heat. We would stop mid day and eat a snack hopefully in the shade and then hop back on longing for camp. Our nights were pretty low energy, we would slowly set up camp and force down calories. Nights also were spent planning the mileage of the next day and prep for water and other supplies needed. I would say the first 20 days were spent living this cycle of bike, eat, sleep. Things turned a little bit after we took a break in Colorado to hang out with friends and attend a wedding. The second half of our trip moved slower in almost every way. We were riding less miles and spending more time in restaurants and towns. Not necessarily taking zero days but more so being okay with stopping and staying in a place to hangout. Both ways to spend the day were great, the beginning of the trip was incredibly rewarding and the end was very restful.
What are a couple of gear musts for the route?
Something that I really enjoyed and found to be great off the bike was a crazy creek which is a soft chair that folded flat. A pad of sorts would be great too. The reason having it was so great was that I was able to externally mount it under my stache daddy and it allowed me to sit, stretch, or nap without having to unpack anything. It was also a bonus having something to support my back after a long day of riding. Sour jolly ranchers also were a must.
Talk about your mental process over the couple month journey.
The mental process was a super new experience for me. This was the first experience I have had doing anything endurance. I grew up as a football player and this type of activity is fairly new. I think at the start there was a ton of fear, one to be biking that much but also to be unplugged for so long. A lot of the day was silent and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be alone in my thoughts that much. It turned out to be such a healthy and healing headspace for me to be in. I learned a lot about managing expectations on a day to day level for our ride and I learned how to process my emotions and feelings in a new way. My time on bike became a very peaceful and healthy time for me. It took time to learn how to enjoy the act of riding a bike all day though. I was pretty mentally uncomfortable for about 10 days at the beginning.
What is something you learned that was unexpected?
Adding onto the comment about learning to manage expectations every day, I think I learned that a lot of the anxieties and fears I have lie in anticipation and my expectations. On the trip, if I knew a day was going to contain lots of climbing or if we anticipated weird weather or anything that would physically be challenging, I would dwell and think about how tough it would be. I learned one that I am capable and that sometimes scary things can be fun but I also learned that they will happen, whether accomplishing it looks the same way I thought it would or not, we always made it up the mountain that was ahead. I have found peace in knowing that I am capable and that success does not have to look like what we imagine it looking like.
Would you do it again?
I would totally do it again. We got to interact with a good amount of parents with their kids, and that would be a fun thing to share with a future child.
What do you do for your day job?
I am currently in the job hunt without a specific field in mind.
Do you have any future trips planned?
I plan on finishing the Canada section next year but I sure hope I find myself bikepacking before next summer. It feels like there are some dreams, some big, some small that just haven't turned into anything concrete. Would love to ride around South America soon.
What gets you the most excited about life post trip?
Right now what gets me most excited is riding some gravel, but also hanging out with friends. Mix those together and that sounds nice. But truly I did not own a bike before planning for this trip and I have fallen in love with it. Whether it is cruising around the city with pals or ripping some passes it all is exciting. I also am excited to start to convince friends to get out and ride more.