Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tour Divide: Completed!

I made it to Mexico!
I am going to be retiring this site as I am no longer Racing the Divide! But don't worry, you can still read all about my trip at   Thanks for all the support along the way!  I could not have completed this without all the the help from everyone around me.  I am proud to say that I raised $2,300 for Trips for Kids WNC.  It feels good to know that I have helped get kids outside to have their own adventures on bikes.  It takes these smaller trips to learn skills and gain confidence for life's bigger adventures, wherever they take you. Thanks again!

If you're interested in reading more about my Tour Divide journey you can read all about it and check out the photos at

Here's a few links to the first couple of posts:

Tour Divide: Final Preparations

Tour Divide: Day One

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More to Come Soon...

Well I made it!  2,850 miles in 22 days, 4 hours  What an amazing journey! I am humbled at the time and energy that went into the route and race and all the adventurous spirits I met along the way!  Truly a once in a lifetime experience (well maybe twice...we'll see)!

Life is a bit hectic now so I am going to take some time to reflect on this trip and get some things in order.  I will be writing some things down and also have about 1000 photos to go through!  I'll try and get a few up as the days go keep checking back!

Thank you all so much for the support!  I couldn't have done it without you!  Special thanks to Stephen Janes at Trips for Kids WNC for the encouraging words along the way and also to Magic Cycles for all their hard work getting my bike in great working order before the race!  And of course to my amazing wife for putting up with me and my Tour Divide obsession and for being my number one supporter along this amazing journey.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I made it to Canada, eh!

Andi, me and my bike made it in one piece! We picked up the rental car and headed to Jasper with a pit stop in Rocky Mountain House at a nice little cabin. After being awake for nearly 20 hours we needed some sleep!

We finally made it to Jasper on Sunday and took some time to relax. I got my bike put together and got in a few rides. One of which was with the local group ride in town. There were some familiar faces from a year ago when we were here. It was a great ride and probably a little more than I wanted but super fun. Magic Ridge is epic! Andi and I got in some great hikes and got to see some stuff we missed last year as well.

Today we made the drive along the Icefield Parkway down to Banff. Got checked in to the hotel and had dinner with some of the other riders. There are a lot of folks here but I managed to get up with Scott Thigpen and Scott McConnell who both did the Trans North Georgia with me last summer. Tomorrow I'm planning to do a little shake down ride and eat as much food as possible!

I can't wait to get this thing started! Thanks for all the great support from everyone. Especially the folks at Magic Cycles, Trips for Kids WNC and my wife, Andi!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Journey Begins: Banff Bound!

Andi & I will be up at the crack of dawn headed for Charlotte for our super early flight to Canada, eh!  It feels great to finally have my bike boxed up and my bag packed!  Now for some relaxation and time with my wife before I start pedaling south on Friday, June 14th for the Grand Depart of the Tour Divide!  (feels crazy to say that!)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

$2,000 for Trips for Kids WNC!!

Thanks to all you amazing folks, I've met my $2,000 goal!  Woohoo!  Feels so good to have raised money for such a great cause.  Thanks to everyone for all their support!  I couldn't have done it without you.  With this money Trips for Kids WNC will continue to get kids outside and on bikes!

Now for the hard part!  Racing 2,745 miles on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route climbing over 200,000 feet of elevation from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. I've trained hard, meticulously gone over my gear and I feel ready.  I can't wait to get to Canada and get this adventure started!

Thanks again for all the support!  I will be thinking of all of you when I'm out on the trail!  You will be my motivation to keep going!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tour Divide: The Details!

So I've had a lot of people wondering when the race starts, when I'm leaving, how to track me, ect. So I figured I'd spell everything out below.

Here's the Schedule:

June 8th - Andi and I are heading up to Canada to spend a week relaxing and getting in a little riding before the race starts. We will also be celebrating our one year anniversary and spending time in Jasper, Alberta where we spent our honeymoon last year!

June 14, 8:00 AM - Tour Divide Starts!!  This is mountain time so for all you eastern folks, 10:00 AM is the start time.

I'm hoping to finish in anywhere from 3-4 weeks so check back often for updates!

More Details:

Starting on June 14, you'll be able to track the race at  There are a lot of names on the list so just scroll down to my name and click on it to get a more detailed look at my progress.

I will also be calling in to the MTBcast call in line.  They record all the call-ins and post them on their site.  Head on over to to hear all the updates!

If you want to read more about the race visit

I know I have some awesome friends along the route.  Unfortunately, prearranged visits and private lodging are not allowed.  The race really focuses on "Self Supported Racing" and using services that are only available to everyone.  If you want to cheer me on, make sure you read the rules here:

 Thanks for all the support!  I couldn't be doing this without it!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Winding Down....Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock...

I feel very fortunate going into the Tour Divide knowing that I have so many great friends and family behind me.  I have been hearing a lot of encouraging words from everyone I see and it's great!  Not to mention all the support towards my fundraising.  So far, we have raised $1,575 for Trips for Kids WNC!  Thanks so much for all your support!  If you haven't donated yet and feel like it's something you would like to do head over to my donation page at
Part of the Support Crew
The race is getting close! My wife and I are flying to Canada on June 8 which is 2 weeks from today.  From there we'll spend a week relaxing and celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary of being married!  Last year we went to Banff for our honeymoon so it will be a nice chance to spend some time together before I embark on my journey.

I'm continuing to ride as much as possible and still dialing in my setup.  I'm not sure if this will ever end until I actually "start" the race.  Things seem to be falling into place and I am trying my best to just let things be.  I can only prepare so much for the unknown.  I recently have gotten things slimmed down a bit and no longer will be taking a Camelbak.  My tent has been tested through high winds (one time actually blowing over since I was too lazy to get out and tighten it down, but once it was tight, it held up great) and an all night down pour leaving me and all my things nice a dry.  I think it will be nice having a tent on the journey.  I can't imaging being inside a small bivy sack during that heavy rain.

Thanks again for all the support!  It's time for a bike ride!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Bikepacking and Tour Divide Setup

Some of you may be wondering how I'll be carrying everything I need for a 2745 mile unsupported mountain bike race, how on earth will it all fit on my mountain bike AND with all the washboard, gravel, rocky, narly off road riding, will it even stay attached to my bike???

Click to Make Larger
Well hopefully I have it figured out!  I have been testing out my setup for several months and have everything pretty dialed in.  Thanks to a few companies out there for making some amazing gear that makes this possible.
Revelate Designs Bikepacking Bags
All the items listed below will end up in one of the many bags I am using that are made by Revelate Designs, a small company based out of Alaska with a true passion for bikepacking.  There are probably a few things here I am forgetting but hopefully when I am lining up at the start, they will be with me somewhere!  Ok, here's the nitty gritty details...

Sleeping System:
-Small Tent - Zpacks Hexamid
-Sleeping Bag - Mountain Hardware Phantom 32 degree
-Therma-Rest - NeoAir

Rain Gear:
-Jacket - Outdoor Research Helium
-Pants - GORE Gore-tex Rain Pants
-Socks - GORE Gore-tex Socks
-Overmitts - Zpacks Custom Lobster Claw Mitts

Other Clothing:
-Insulated Jacket - Patagonia Nanopuff
-Windproof Jacket - Patagonia Houdini 
-Long Sleeve Jersey - Magic Cylces
-Arm Warmers - Defeet Wool
-Knee Warmers - Defeet Wool
-Warm Hat - Giro Wool Cap
-Warm Gloves - Pearl Izumi
-Underlayer - Icebreaker Wool

Stuff on the Bike:
-Spot Tracker
-GPS - Garmin eTrex 20
-Front Light - Fenix LD 20
-Rear Light - Planet Bike
-Aerobars - Profile Design T1+
-Bike Computer
-Waterbottle/Cage - 33 oz. Magnum Bottle

Other Miscellaneous:
-MSR 4 Liter Bladder w/ Hose
-Bike Repair Kit
-Spare Tubes
-Patch Kit/Tire Plug
-Chain Lube/Rag
-Water Treatment - AquaMira
-Spare Batteries
-Cell Phone/Charger
-Cue Sheets/Waterproof Case
-GDMBR Maps (debating on bringing these)
-Bear Spray! (Andi says I have to bring it)
-Headlamp - Black Diamond Spot
-Camelbak Charge w/ 2 Liter Bladder

Personal Hygene:

-Chamois Butter
-First Aid Kit

Whoa, thats a lotta stuff!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Successful Training Day!

I had a big day planned on the bike and spent the night before getting everything together. I was feeling a little bit of a scratchy throat coming on which was in the back of my mind all evening.  I hope I'm not getting sick, I hope I'm not getting sick.  I had everything pretty much ready to go, set my alarm for 5:30 and hit the sack.  

5:30 came around quickly and I woke up immediately when the alarm went off.  I felt motivated to get up and get on my way. Then I realized I was doomed, my throat was killing me.  I could hardly swallow.  I went to the sink, poured a glass of salt water and started gargling, one of my moms old tricks that usually never works but is always worth a try! It did make it feel a little better.  I pounded an Emergen-C and decided to get a little extra rest. 
Price Lake
The second time I woke up I felt a little better and decided to get my things together and go.  Worse case scenario is that I end up coughing up a lung, being sick and tired and just turn around and come home.  

So it was a later start than I had planned but I was off, riding down the Greenway, up Winklers Creek Road and then to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I decided the Parkway would be a great warm up for the morning and continued on all the way to Roseboro Road. It was a beautiful day, perfect temps and not really any clouds in the sky. 

Grandfather Mountain
I made sure to keep up on my eating for the day.  I have a tendency to forget and then by the end of a long day I start feeling the consequences. I'm not much for figuring out specifics but more just go on what I feel like eating. I have switched to eating things that will be available on the divide, AKA gas station food! It's not the best diet but it works.

Ripping down Roseboro Rd went by quick and before I knew it I was climbing up 192 to Old House Gap.  This is a great "road" that is pretty rough and steep in spots but a fun climb. Cresting out at Old House Gap I continued onto the gravel of 192 which is one of my favorite roads in the forest.  It just has a remote feel and is super windy and fun to ride.

 Eventually I worked my way over to Pineola Road (FR 464) and began the long climb up to FR 58.  I was thinking about riding up to the top and ripping down Headquarters, a super fun fast downhill but I had hit the 50 mile mark at the turnoff for 58 and knew heading to the top would add an extra hour or so and 10 miles so opted for FR 58.

The flowers were out big time!  I must have seen 15 different kinds along the roads.  Here's a trillium.

And finally a little bit of singletrack! Gotta keep it real out there.  After some fun turns and a couple steep climbs I ended up on Chestnut Mountain Road.  This is a grassy double track that is usually climbed to access some great single track but today I had the opportunity to rip down it.  It provides some great views and some fun riding!

I was glad to see the "OPEN" sign lit up at the Betsy's Ol' Country Store.  I had been craving a Coke for at least 15 miles at this point.  It tasted so good!

From here there is a short climb over Staircase Mountain and then a 5 mile stretch of flat riding until the infamous Globe Road which climbs just over 2,000 feet at an average grade of about 10%.  I had decided to ride only half loaded today since I was dealing with a slight pain in my achilles tendon from some earlier training rides up and down Globe Road earlier in the week.  I didn't want to make it worse.    I started up the climb and could feel the pain in my achilles but it was easy to manage. I just couldn't put a lot of power in so I just spun at a decent pace and made my way. About halfway up it started feeling better and I stood up for the long steep section and didn't really notice it bothering me at all. I had issues with my achilles during the Trans North Georgia on day 3 as well but it was also quick to work itself out then.  I finally made it to the top and stopped at the overlook in Blowing Rock and realized I was going to be about 10 miles short of my 100 mile goal for the day.

Here's the view from the overlook.  I posted a picture before of this same spot on a foggy day a couple weeks ago.  Here you can see the amazing view of the Pisgah Forest.

After settling on a route home I got back on the bike and continued riding through a neighborhood, back onto Highway 221, into Blowing Rock and then eventually to my friend Mike's house.  I was out of water and hungry! Mike was in the middle of making dinner so grabbed a small potato, slice of cheese, some olive oil and just enough water to make it home. After a quick photo op, I said "later!" and was off back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Thanks for the pic Mike Anderson!
Back on the pavement, my legs were still feeling pretty good. I was pretty psyched about that and even put in a few little efforts up a couple of the rolling hills on the Parkway.  I turned down George Hayes Road and bombed the downhill into town.  A couple short little climbs and I was back to the flat Greenway which leads back to my house.  Home at last!  My awesome wife had a huge pizza waiting in the kitchen! (Thanks Hun!)  I was hungry and glad to be home but I felt pretty good!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two Months and Counting

More training and more donations!  I'm already up to $1,135.00 for Trips for Kids WNC!  I can't say thanks enough to everyone who has contributed and showed their support.  It really gives me motivation knowing that by racing the Tour Divide I can also make a difference in the lives of a few kids!  So thanks again!

We're inside the 2 month mark now and I just know this time will go by so fast!  I have lots of riding planned and several overnighters as well. The last week or so has been devoted to getting used to riding with a fully loaded bike.  Surprisingly, the bike handles really well thanks to the great bags that Revelate Designs makes.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Two Months and Two Weeks!

That's the amount of time left before the Grand Depart of the Tour Divide!  Not that much time and if I think about it too much I start stressing out.  No matter how much I train and prepare I still feel like I'm not doing nearly enough. 

It's the same way if I start thinking about the length of the route.  It's a lot to grasp when I think about 2,745 miles and 200,000 feet of elevation gain.  But I learned during the Trans North Georgia that you just have to make small goals which in turn gives you small rewards.  I like the expression, "one day at a time." The same goes when thinking about how prepared I am.  I remember making last minute decisions the morning of the start of the Trans North Georgia.  This time around, I hope to at least have things a little more dialed by that point!

Training with TC Webb up in Vermont
I just got back from visiting some friends up in Vermont and got to get a few training rides in.  It was great since it's the start of mud season up there.  All the roads were extremely mushy and we even had to hike through some snow.  Perfect Divide training!

Now that I'm home, I'm starting to put together my gear and see how it all fits in my new bags I received last week.  Makes for a heavy bike but I've noticed I can go a little faster down hills now thanks to the extra weight.  Hopefully that will compensate for the extreme snail-like pace I'll be keeping on the climbs. 

The weather seems to finally be stabilizing a little and hopefully we won't see any more snow (although I am not holding my breath).  I'm looking forward to getting out with a loaded bike and doing some longer rides.  It will give me a good opportunity to explore some new areas with a whole different mentality.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Article about the Pioneer of the Tour Divide, John Stamstad

This is a great article worth checking out if you are interested in ultra endurance athlete, John Stamstad.

I really like his response to this question which can be found in the article:

"Have you ever been broken by a race?""The only event that can break you is the one you are not mentally prepared for. Dirt is just dirt, mountains just mountains. Hard, is a totally relative term--relative to your mindset and expectations. If you are truly prepared to suffer, no course is hard--they are just fast or slow."  - John Stamstad

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gaining Momentum, One Pedal Stroke at a Time

So what's been going on?  Well, mostly just tons of time in the saddle!  I've almost logged 300 miles this week and still have tomorrow to ride. Some days my motivation is high and other days, quite low. You wouldn't think that riding your bike so much could eventually get boring.  But there are still lots of places to explore and lots of people willing to get out and ride so it's been fun.

So far I have raised almost $500 that will go to Trips for Kids WNC.  That's 25% of the goal!  I have to say thanks to all the great folks out there who have donated and helped to spread the word!  Every little bit helps!  Spreading the word on Facebook and other social media sites is a great way to help out as well!  Tell all your friends!

Magic Cycles and Earth Fare are also showing their support in helping me reach my goal by providing biking needs and healthy food!  Gotta keep the steed and the engine running smooth and clean.

My bikepacking kit is almost put together.  I'm just waiting for one more bag to arrive that attaches to the handlebars.  Once I get that (next week) I will get some photos and a post up about my bikepacking setup and some of the gear I'll be bringing along.

Keep checking back for more updates and don't forget to Donate to help get more kids outside and onto bikes!

Donation Page:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Changing the lives of kids, one bike at a time!

I wouldn't be taking on the Tour Divide if it wasn't for my outdoor experiences as a kid. Taking off down the driveway on my bike with no real destination in sight.  The feeling of freedom was overwhelming and continues to be today. Of course I'm a little more focused on a destination this time; Antenlope Wells, New Mexico.  But I'm relying on the same yearning for adventure and freedom I had as a kid.

These kids look like they're having a good time!

Trips For Kids WNC is an amazing organization based out of Asheville, North Carolina that focuses on getting kids outdoors and on bikes! They have mountain bike outings for kids, a bike "thrift store" where they have a variety of bikes, parts and other accessories, and programs where kids can earn bikes.

Visit their website at

All this is organized by local bike advocate and community supporter, Stephen Janes. I have yet to meet Stephen in person but can't wait for the opportunity to share ideas about my fundraising and the Tour Divide. Stephen told me he would also like to race the Tour Divide and with his track record, I have no doubts he will accomplish his goal.

Stephen Janes talks with the kids about bike safety.
When I decided to use the Tour Divide race to raise money for an organization, there was no question which one I was going to pick.  I had heard about Trips for Kids WNC before and it always made me think of how important my bike was to me when I was younger.  It was my transportation and the path to my adventures and experiences. I think it's important that kids have the opportunity to experience adventure by bike and that's exactly what Trips for Kids WNC does.

If you would like to donate to my fundraising efforts please visit the fundraising page here. I really appreciate your support in helping Trips for Kids WNC and hope that you will follow along as I race the Tour Divide.

Images courtesy of Trips for Kids WNC

Friday, March 1, 2013

Big Thanks to Eddie Clark!

Thanks to Eddie Clark for the great photo used as the background image on the blog.  He is a great photographer and has followed the Tour Divide the past few years and really captured the vast solitude of the race.

To check out more of his work on the Tour Divide, head on over to his website

Image Courtesy of Eddie Clark

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Racing the Divide for Kids

This June I'll be racing the Tour Divide which is a self supported mountain bike race along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The route covers over 2700 miles climbing over 200,000 feet! Riders must be totally self supported and carry their gear with them.

I’ll be riding to raise money for a local organization called “Trips for Kids WNC.” This organization is amazing and has been really successful in getting kids outside and on bikes! They have only been around for a few years so are looking to gain more support to provide more opportunities for kids!

All you have to do is click the “Donate” link on the side of the site, enter your information and how much you would like to contribute and Donate. All the money I raise will be going to Trips for Kids WNC, a local organization who gets kids outdoors. This is something that I am very passionate about because when I was a kid all of my outdoor experiences helped to mold the person I am today. There is so much kids can learn from being outdoors!

So, when the Tour Divide gets really tough I know that when I turn around you will be there telling me to push on. And together we can help and make it harder to just throw in the towel. I am asking for your help. I am asking for some support. Not only for me but for an organization that I think is really important to the future of our kids.

By donating money to this cause you will not only be helping me get to Antelope Wells, but most of all you will be supporting Trips for Kids WNC to help get kids outdoors!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tour Divide 2013!

Just got a confirmation email from Matthew Lee that my Letter of Intent was accepted for the Tour Divide 2013!!  

So many questions and specifics I am wondering about but I just don't know where to start.  A huge part of me just wants to figure it out on my own but that seems a little crazy.  Why not use these great resources at your fingertips?    Prioritize your concerns and realize which ones are true concerns and which ones will ultimately play themselves out in the end.

This is going to be an amazing adventure and I am lucky to have the opportunity.  I have a great uncle who is letting me take time off work, an amazing wife who is extremely supportive and understanding and so many amazing friends and family.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Goals!

Reflections on a Great Year!

This past year has been amazing!  So many great biking adventures, both with friends and without!  I have really gone out and tested the waters in a short period of time and maybe its a little early to determine whether I will be successful or not but self supported endurance racing is definitely at the forefront of my biking priorities at the moment!

The Pisgah 111k ( was definitely my first long distance race.  Not even really that long at only 70 miles but it did pack in 11,000 feet of climbing through some of the best trails the Pisgah Ranger District has to offer.  It was great experience and had me instantly hooked!

Somewhere between that race and mid summer I decided that the Trans North Georgia would be a good idea to attempt next.  I think I really had my sights set on the Tour Divide however how can you just decide that you want to ride a 2,745 mile self supported mountain bike race when you haven't even done any over night bikepacking!?  So the TNGA was set as the "test ride" to see what it was all about.  I trained pretty hard having done a lot of normal (shortish) riding and a lot of road riding over the summer.  I managed to pull off a couple 60-70 miles days on the mountain bike and did one overnight trip, covering about 40-50 miles each day.  I documented my first overnight trip for the Salsa Cycles Video Contest and ended up winning a Fargo Frame!

TNGA Start - I'm Psyched!
The TNGA ended up going really well.  Especially since I had no idea what to expect!  2 days, 20 hours and some minutes was my finishing time.  Less than I had thought!  I learned a ton during the trip and most of my setup worked out pretty well.  I definitely learned that on shorter races like this you can certainly go light and fast!  Maybe another year I will attempt to beat my old time!  One day I will try and post up a trip report.  I have one started somewhere but it got put on the back burner.  I think the best part about the Tour Divide was when I finished at 4 am and thought I was going to be camping out behind the gas station waiting for the shuttle to arrive the next morning.  Come to find out my wife, Andi and my mother-in-law, Judy were there waiting along with Andi's Uncle Mike!  Did I mention it was 4 am?!  I have some great family and a great wife!

So... after the TNGA I figured, what the heck!  This is the year!


I talked it over with Andi and we decided that this was the best time for this to happen!  Kiddies will be on their way soon enough and this needs to happen before that!  I had a talk with Tuxbury, my boss and he said we could make it work as well.....sooooo.....

Here we go!!

My Dad and I - Iceman 2012
After the TNGA, I definitely took some time off to let my body recover.  Quite a bit of time actually.  I managed to train a little for the Iceman Race in Michigan.  Although I didn't train enough to best my time from last year!  It was actually about a minute slower this year!  Dangit!  Oh well.  It was fun and there was snow this year so that made it pretty fun!  What a beautiful place I was raised in.  Being up there, on my bike, with family made me want to stay.  

Since being home I have just been enjoying the bike and exploring new areas.  18 Mile Road, Sand Mountain and various other places.  My Fargo frame is set to arrive tomorrow and I can't wait to get it built up and start exploring some old logging roads in the area.  I have about 2 or 3 ideas in mind right now and endless other opportunities!  It will make training all the more exciting when I can mix in exploration!  That is what its all about!  On my ride last Sunday with Matthew Lee I heard him say "Don't ride unless you want to, it's supposed to be fun!"  I agree with that statement 100%!

Exploring 18 Mile Road