Weekends are the busy time at the bike shop, so I take Mondays and Tuesdays off as my virtual weekend. I figured out years ago that I like riding my bike, so I've managed to set my life up in such a way that I get about 38 commuting miles in each normal workday. While this gives me a decent base of miles, practicing for the Tour Divide is something that requires some longer days in the saddle. For example, in setting his amazing 19 day single speed record this year, Chris Plesko averaged close to 150 miles per day. Every day. For 19 days. No matter what the weather. Through mud and rain and heat and flooded roads. You don't get ready for something like that by just riding back and forth to work on suburban streets.
I've been dialing in the Monocog Flight, riding it on my commute, tweaking the luggage and packing in some morning rides on Grand Ridge and Tiger Mountain. Monday I stayed close to home, squeezing in 20 miles on local trails while Christine was at work, but Tuesday I took the bike out for a something a bit closer to Divide Conditions. The weather was too nice and the air was too thick, but the Cascades are the best approximation I have for the Rockies. And they are in my backyard.
I was out the door at 5:00 AM and back home by 10:00 PM. My trail took me up and over Snoqualmie Pass to the little town of Roslyn and then back home. Roslyn has a great network of trails north of town and yes, it is a dead ringer for Cicily, AK. Even though this was just a day trip, I rode with my Divide gear, including my sleeping bag and bivy. I ate Divide-style, pouring food in at mini-marts and cafes. For the record, the ice cream cones at Cafe Cicily are even better than the cheeseburgers at Snoqualmie Summit. The trail dust clung to my sun-blocked skin and on my return home Christine commented, "you're like a kid: you're dirty so you must be happy!"
174 miles under ideal conditions doesn't begin to approximate Divide riding, but it's a start.
Keep 'em rolling,