2015 Tour Divide Tracking Information

Live Tracking

If you would like to track my progress on the 2015 Tour Divide, click below.  It will update every 10 minutes, blue dots for the guys, pink for the girls, and yellow for individual time trials (ITT).  The map is interactive with speed, distance, and elevation information.  You can also click my name from the list on the right and it will remove the rest of the field and show just my dot.  Happy Stalking!

http://trackleaders.com/tourdivide15

Audio Call-Ins:

We have the ability to call into a toll-free line and give a brief description of the day, how we are feeling, etc.  Joe Polk runs MTBCast, and this ability is set up through him and his podcast.  Click the link below!

http://mtbcast.com/site2/tour-divide-2015

 

New Tour Divide Team Member – Charles Bumgardner

Charles 2Please allow me to introduce Mr. Charles Bumgardner to Erik’s Ride!  Charles is a firefighter who resides in the great state of South Carolina.  We became acquaintances through our coach, Billy Rice, and he’s been a great sounding board for equipment to carry and someone to talk about training with.

Charles also carries a servant heart and would like to help raise funds for the Gift of Hearing Foundation.  Charles will tremendously impact our fundraising venture by reaching out to a new audience, helping to raise awareness, and funds for the GOHF!  Welcome to the team Charles!

If able, consider a donation to the Gift of Hearing Foundation by visiting:

http://www.giftofhearingfoundation.org/help_GOHF/donate.htm

Releasing Negative Thoughts

Not that I’m keeping track, but it’s 16 days and 8 hours until the 2015 Tour Divide starts.  I’ve stuck to my training plan for over a year and I’ve tried to gain as much knowledge as possible to prepare myself.  I’ve known for quite a while what I’m about to do, but for some reason the length of time made it all seem very surreal.

This past week, the realization of what I’m about to do has really hit home, and I’ve had my moments of shear terror mixed with excitement and eagerness for the start to begin.  I can’t seem to wrap my head that I will ride my mountain bike 2,745 miles from Canada to Mexico and climb 220,000 ft of elevation!  It’s like I will be doing the Leadville 100 mountain bike race every day for 25 – 27 days straight.

I attempted the Pb100 race and got cut-off on Twin Lakes 2.  I didn’t take training seriously enough, nor did I hone in my nutrition.  What I’m optimistic about with the Tour Divide is that there are no cut-offs, it’s a single stage race.  So I’m slower than most riders, that doesn’t mean that I’m lacking in grit or unwilling to ride further than most.  In Leadville, I didn’t quit, nor does the word “quit” often find itself in my vocabulary.  The Tour Divide is a different animal, and I’m very ready to embrace the suck that comes with it.

My goal is to not let any negative thoughts in my mind while on the on the route, ever!  My outlet has always been writing, and if I release any bit of doubt now I can start the toughest mountain bike race in the world with a clean slate.  So there it is, I’ve released the negative.  Snow, bears, elevation, exhaustion, hypothermia, shady gas station food, and any other forms of adversity… give me your worst because I’m coming for you, and you can’t stop me!

Getting Closer

I have just over two months until the 2nd Friday in June when we depart Banff, kicking off the 2015 Tour Divide.  I can’t believe how quickly time has passed over the last few months, and how much support has grown from all of you.  I feel so very grateful for everyone who has donated, asked questions, given me an attaboy,  or told me that you’ll be sending me positive thoughts along the Divide.  Thank you!

As for now, training is in full swing and my amazing coach, Billy Rice (Invictus Cycling and Performance), has me on a solid plan to prepare for the Divide.  He’s estimates that it will take me 25 days to complete the race, a time that I am totally happy with!  With each passing day, I find myself daydreaming of being on the bike, and when I’m on my long rides I’m finding myself at peace with everything around me.  “No negative thoughts, ever!”  That’s the biggest piece of advice that Billy has passed onto me, and I intend to follow it to the “T”.  I think the coolest part of Billy andInvictus Cycling is the camaraderie of the team.  Charles, Brian, Larry, Lina, and Billy are just top-notch people.  I’ve had conversations with all of them and they are great to bounce gear ideas off of, or simply to laugh with.  It’s inspiring to see everyone grow throughout the training season, and watch their estimated dates of completion shorten.

I wanted to share my appreciation for a great bike manufacturer called Chumba USA.  Aaron and Vince approached me with an opportunity to to ride the Ursa Backcountry 29+ bike for the Tour Divide.  They are fantastic people with an innovative approach to interacting with the mountain biking community.  I can’t say enough great things about their company, bikes, and people.   I highly recommend you check out their page (www.chumbausa.com) to see what they are all about.  I would like to work with them on future goals, but I’ve decided to stick with my current plan for the 2015 Tour Divide.  The ONLY reason I’m doing so is because I just don’t want to change too many things this close to race day.

We’ve raised a few hundred dollars for the Gift of Hearing Foundation.  If you haven’t already done so, please consider donating by clicking on the “Donate” link at the top of the page.  Every little bit helps, and you have the chance to make a huge difference in the life of those who choose the cochlear implant route.

That’s all for now, stay turned for more posts!

 

2015 Tour Divide: Letter of Intent

I’m a man born of modern times, but whose soul yearns for days of past.  As I sit here trying to formulate my thoughts for a letter of intent worthy of the Tour Divide, I’m finding myself at a loss for words.  How does one formally announce to the world their intent to race in the greatest mountain bike event of all time?  How does one give justice to the countless training hours, time away from family, constant hunger, cold early mornings, and the sacrifices they’ve made to prepare for such a race?  It’s hard, and it can be even more difficult explaining  why we choose to pedal human-powered machines down the spine of this great nation, unsupported, for nothing but the honor of saying we rode a competitive, yet clean race.  How do I explain that my inner soul is yelling at me to give up modern conveniences such as, automobiles, a warm bed, showers, treated water, and sanitary infrastructure; only to become more in tune with nature, myself, and experience the reflection that emerges when one realizes just how small we are compared to the world around us, yet how big of an impact we can make if we learn to focus on things that truly matter in life?

I can’t explain how or why, but I know that a force greater than me has pushed me to race the Tour Divide.  This race is going to be hard, very hard; however, it also has the capacity to be very rewarding.  With that being said, I’m throwing my hat into the ring and formally announcing my intent to compete in the 2015 Tour Divide.  Somewhere between Banff and Antelope Wells, I might find some answers to these questions, but if not… that’s ok.  When I finish, I know that I will have pursued my dreams, and I will have helped out some great people along the way.

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” ―Ernest Hemingway

Valentine’s Day Surprise!

This post will be short, sweet, and to the point!  I have the most amazing wife ever!  For Christmas my lovely bride, Marianne, co-conspired with Billy Rice and obtained an autographed copy of a “Ride The Divide” movie poster.  This is the movie that introduced me to the Tour Divide, which inspired me to tacklet it, which then led to the development of Erik’s Ride!

For Valentine’s Day, she had a frame made for it so I can hang it up!  How cool is that???!?

The Fatbike Sandy Mountain Bike Race

The Fatbike Sandy is the first fat tire mountain bike race in Texas!  I’ll be volunteering as a medical standby for the event, and they are naming Erik’s Ride as one of the race’s benefiting parties.  Isn’t it great how opportunities present themselves that benefit all involved?  FINALLY… we are getting some exposure, which will hopefully lead to some some kiddos getting the hearing assistance they need!

I’d like to give a special thanks to Dave Mackey, Susan Pollard, Chumba USA, and Race Ready Repair for putting this event together.  Check out the video and the flyer below!

 

Here is the poster:

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Introducing the 27/45 Challenge!

Thinking about donating??  Consider the 27/45 challenge!  Here is how it breaks down:

I ride my bike 2,745 miles, and all you have to do is donate $0.01/mile, for a grand total of $27.45.  Check out how it adds up:

100 donations = $2,745

500 donations = $13,725

1,000 donations = $27,450 (We reach our goal!!!)

See, it’s easy!  Of course, if you are able to donate more, we will gladly accept!  Hugs, well-wishes, and Facebook posts are ALWAYS accepted!

Erik's Ride logo 3 color with tagline

The State Of The Ride: T-minus 151 days

2015 is in full swing and things are really starting to vamp up here at Erik’s Ride. Time really seems to be flying by and race day will be here in 5 short months… that’s insane!  In case you wanted to know what we’ve been up to, read on!

Training and Ride Stuff

With the new year came an email from my coach, Billy Rice, letting all of us know that the pain train will arrive in March and stay pretty intense until race day.  Through the same message I discovered there are other Tour Divide riders that Billy is coaching.  They are all really great people with a bright and  positive outlook on life.  Brian, Larry, Charles, and Lina have their eyes on the same prize, and it’s so cool that we have each other to relate to.

Cool story…  Before I knew that Charles was on Team Billy, we had commented on the the same Facebook post on the “Endurance Rides and Bikepacking” page.  A roll call had been requested from anyone who would be riding in the 2015 Tour Divide, and we both responded.  Before you know it, the question was posed whether anyone wanted to split hotel costs in Banff.  Since both of us are in public safety, we naturally jumped at the offer.  Imagine our surprise when we found out we were both being trained by Billy!

I’ve almost reached the end of the internet trying to figure out what gear to take with me, and quite frankly, it’s left me counting sheep at night.  It’s been baaaaaaad!  Luckily, I came across some good advice recently, and within two shakes of a lamb’s tail I decided that pretty much everything I’ll be wearing… will be WOOL!  It’s a great fabric that keeps your smell to yourself, and it also keeps you warm even when it is wet.  It’s a bit on the pricey side, but the one thing everyone on the forums agrees on, is that wool is cool (and warm)!

My light system came in from K-Lite in Australia, and I’ve mailed off a stencil of my bike to Big Dave at Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks, so my frame bags should be arriving soon. Yesterday, I picked up my wheelset that has a SON 28 Dynamo hub on it. I connected the light system and scored some brownie points with Marianne when I shined the light in her eyes, and asked if it was bright.  Luckily for me, the light is very bright and she couldn’t see, or I might have had some plates thrown my way!  I have to give a BIG shout out to Kerry Straite at K-Lite because he makes an amazing product. It will serve me amazingly well on the Tour Divide!

Little by little, I’m getting all of my gear in.  Once I do so, I’ll do a few 2 – 3  day shakedown rides through the national forest to ensure that everything works for me.  I’d rather find out now if I need to change anything, than be out in the Great Divide Basin with no services.  I’ve joined the Houston Gravel Grinders and Texas Bikepackers (they’re on Facebook), and through their adventures I’ve been able to piece a 200 – 300 mile route of dirt and gravel amazingness.  The bikepacking movement has really taken off here in Texas, and maybe I’ll get to use all of this gear beyond the Divide!

Charity and Cause

I spoke with Eileen with the Gift of Hearing Foundation, and she reports that we have received about $100.00 over the last couple of months.  We still have a long road ahead of us toward our $25,0000.00 goal, but it’s a start!  Every journey begins with that first step forward, so now that we’ve taken it, good things are sure to follow.

If you are like me, you want to know what your donated money does for people.  Cochlear implants and the surgery to implant them are expensive, coming in between $50,000 – $100,000 from start to finish.  It’s not just the surgery that accounts for this cost, it also consists of doctor visits, evaluations,  rehab, and follow up.  That’s a ton of money, and if you’ve been to the emergency room lately, then you know just how quickly medical charges can add up.

So, how does the Gift of Hearing Foundation help?  Well, did you know that you can often negotiate your medical costs with your doctor or a hospital?  That’s exactly what the Gift of Hearing Foundation does!  They negotiate the cost of the surgery  down to $8,000 – $10,000, and then they pay for the medical expenses.  How awesome is that???

Now, not everyone needs cochlear implants, and a lot of people are find with hearing aides that supplement their natural hearing.  There are some people who could benefit from cochlear implants, but decide to forgo the surgery for one reason or another.  There are also many who WANT to benefit from cochlear implants, but they are unable to afford the devices and/or the surgery.  Wouldn’t it gratifying  to help provide the gift of hearing to someone?  Can you imagine not being able to hear your favorite song, experience the beauty of an orchestra, or hear the laughter of your loved one? YOU can help out, and YOU can take away the barrier that prevents many people from experiencing the joys we take for granted.

If you’ve been thinking about donating, please do so as you are able to.  Even a $1 or $5 donation will add up. If you are unable to, then there are other ways to help out.  Like our Facebook page, send an email to your friends and family, or just pray for a safe ride as I touch three countries along the continental divide.

Thank you for being such great supporters, and thank you for making a difference!