Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide

For Paul Howard, who has ridden the complete travel de France path through the race itself—setting off at four am every day to prevent being stuck via the pros—riding a small mountain motorcycle race may still carry no worry. nonetheless, this isn’t simply any mountain motorbike race. this can be the travel Divide.

Running from Banff in Canada to the Mexican border, the journey Divide is greater than 2,700 miles—500 miles longer than the journey de France. Its direction throughout the middle of the Rocky Mountains contains greater than 200,000 ft of ascent—the an identical of mountaineering Mount Everest seven times.

The different challenge is that Howard hasn't ever owned a mountain bike—and how will education at the South Downs in southern England organize him for drowsing tough within the Rockies?

Undaunted, Howard swaps the graceful tarmac roads of France for the dust, snow, and ice of the travel Divide, warding off grizzly bears, mountain lions, and moose. humming roadside lovers are changed by means of humming mosquitoes. scuffling with undesirable climate, ingesting whiskey with a cowboy, and making a song karaoke with the locals, Howard's trip become greater than only a race — it grew to become the journey of a lifetime.

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It appears his name of nature had necessitated drastic motion. ‘I chanced on a Portaloo through the roadworks and that i, er, couldn’t withstand. ’ We rode alongside the higher Yampa River Valley, then on a delightful biking path around Stagecoach Reservoir. subsequent got here the lengthy climb as much as Lynx go. It used to be hot paintings, yet now not overly challenging. The valley was once dotted with dear, specific ranches, notwithstanding ranch-style condominiums could have been a greater description. numerous have been on the market; an indication of the days, maybe. After the pinnacle of the move we crossed a primary highway, then headed into excessive state that had controlled to withstand makes an attempt to show it right into a inner most playground for the wealthy. as an alternative, the watery meadows dotted among the encircling peaks have been little touched because the loss of life of a Wells Fargo mail carrier that had used an analogous path. We handed the well-preserved Rock Creek level Station, a sensible, trees development. almost immediately once we needed to ford the inner most circulation of the direction to this point. ‘If this creek is just too deep to soundly go, which it can be in might or June, back off to the street and switch right,’ recommended the map. It was once no longer too deep to move, however it used to be deep adequate to warrant removal footwear and socks and likewise to necessitate the shouldering of motorcycles to avoid lately re-greased bearings from turning into sodden. It was once additionally chilly adequate to benefit a five-minute pause to revive flow to chilled extremities. the subsequent visible characteristic got here within the kind of an accidental rollercoaster. What used to be disregarded at the map as three miles of brief ups and downs was once, in truth, 5 near-suicidal descents, every one by means of 5 lung-burning climbs. Then got here the mum of all downhills, wasting 1,500 ft in little greater than three miles. It was once exhilarating, yet now not as exhilarating as crossing the railroad on the backside with in basic terms moments to spare among converging freight trains. It used to be now not any chance that triggered this kind of frisson – the trains have been some distance too slow-moving for that. It was once the belated realisation that we had narrowly shunned having to attend for those juggernauts to trundle earlier earlier than lets continue. With a mixed overall in far more than two hundred wagons it's going to were an extended wait. One train-jumping take advantage of was once sufficient for any journey. ‘Proceeding’ was once nonetheless a concern. It was once approximately 6 p. m. Kremmling used to be an insignificant 20 miles away, however the profile used to be no longer encouraging. in truth, it was once significantly discouraging. We have been now in a good, rocky gorge, Gore canyon, carved via the nascent Colorado River, which we had crossed presently after the railroad. The railroad had monopolised passage in the course of the canyon, leaving the line to discover a tortuous course over and round the fearsome granite bluffs. the 1st climb used to be more straightforward than expected; the second one even more so. It had the temerity to steer instantly prior a superb common promontory known as concept aspect. Even within the chilly night air of altitude, Perspiration aspect might were a extra becoming identify; or ‘driven to distraction point’, a result of hundreds of thousands of voracious mosquitoes interested in the sticky, sweet-and-salty mess that masqueraded for my biking outfit.

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