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!