This has been a long time coming, and for a long time, it seemed it wouldn't happen at all...I made a decision, a couple months ago, to put aside dreams of the Tour Divide until next year. It just wasn't looking like I could swing it - gear collecting was proving too pricey, the bike I was planning on riding fell through and was never produced, my body is having many issues that need attention, time off work was seeming a BAD idea, and I would really miss my dog, family, and friends...plus, a mounting fear of grizzlies, mountain lions, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and drug runners had been snowballing to a near constant distraction. (I have been watching too much Breaking Bad...) Notes on the map to avoid riding at night through the desert due to said drug runners and to, at all costs, camp way away from the highways if needed to avoid a possible run in got me a little spooked. I decided maybe shooting for next year would be a better idea. (ya, cuz maybe the drug war would be over...ha...)
Then, a week after this big and somewhat crushing decision, I took it back. I had been working pretty steady on gathering, planning, preparing for this year, so I set about to do all I could to get closer to the start line.I have now decided that this year it will be. I am going ahead as planned, with a couple modifications.
I had originally hoped to do this ride in 20 days. I have adjusted this to no more than 26...I hope...but anything can happen. Where I was going to shoot for as light and fast as possible, I am now making peace with being a little heavier - light gear is not in the budget for a coffee house worker - the bike modifications, also, will be heavier. I have decided to ride my Misfit AL, with a Reba RL fork, and gearing it 1x9 - singlespeed was an option, but I would like a little more variety for those long mountain climbs, and descents - not feeling totally strong...I may try to put a second ring up front, with manual shift option, so that I have a bigger ring to push across the desert.
Original plans had me riding a carbon, geared hardtail 29er - but no...and as that frame design would give me ample room for frame bags and storage space, the new ride requires a little thinking outside the box. I am going to go with a half frame bag, and carry a pack - plus seat bag, fuel tank, and bar bag - should be plenty 'o room. I am bringing a lightweight sleeping bag, bivy, and thermarest for camping out under the stars - all should fit in the handlebar bag - plus down jacket, booties, fleece pants and a toque; I should be all set! I have decide on a slightly heavier bivy that totally encloses with netting to keep out snakes looking for a warm place to sleep, and to ward off the mosquitos...