In one month (June 11th) I'll be at the start line in Banff for the 2010 Tour Divide. I'm riding from Issaquah to Banff as part of my final dial-in/prologue and if any Puget Sound folks can skip work on Thursday June 3rd, you are welcome to join me as I roll out of town at 10:00 AM. We'll have a leisurely, turtle-paced ride up to Snoqualmie Pass, mostly on trails and tiny roads. From there, I figure most sane folks will head back home. I'll be heading north and east. Ultimately, I'll head south for 2,745 miles. And then I'll head home.
My trip to Banff and subsequent race down the spine of the Rockies is not a solo effort. As I've noted many times before, I get by with a lot of help from my friends. Companies like Redline, Ergon and Adrenaline Promotions are helping me out and I'm very grateful to them for their support. And I'm also grateful to the people at Dirt Rag who think enough of my words to pay to put some of them into print. I'm not sure yet how this particular race story is going to end, but I want to thank all of you who make this story possible.
I make my modest living repairing bicycles, selling bicycles and helping folks discover the wonders you find when you explore the world on two wheels. I'm rich in many ways: I have the finest wife in the world, work I love with great co-workers and I live in a beautiful town in a lovely part of the world. And I'm very rich in friends.
My work pays by the hour or the word and when I take a month to ride, the dollars are not coming in. I live frugally on the trail but the dollars go into food and brake pads and things like keeping the rent paid and the lights on back at home. I'm only able to do something as vast as the Tour Divide because of the vast generosity of my friends.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a query from my friend Michael. "Do you think about the Tour Divide in miles or kilometers?" he wondered. "Miles," I replied, "it's too far if I think about it in kilometers." A few days later I got a check from Michael for $137.25. "For your Divide Ride," he said "The amount is significant, think about it." It took me some thinking, but I got it. If I had a nickel for every mile... Thanks to Michael, I do.
Thanks to Rob, I have a set of Tour Divide maps. Thanks to Sean, I have a set of Nanoraptors. Thanks to Beth and Peter and Donna and Larry and James and Bill and Dave...and you get the idea. All of you who've clicked a donate button or bought something from my Cafe Press Store or ordered something through an Amazon link help me turn the pedals on this journey.
I have a team behind me, a collective group of well-wishers I've dubbed Team Turtle. I'm hoping my ride will justify the faith you've placed in me and that my small tales from a vast place can convey some of the windswept wonder that I know is out there where the air is thin and the trail is rough.
The race is one month away. I've worn through brake pads and chains and tires and a bottom bracket in thousands of practice miles. Thanks to my friends, I've scraped together enough cash to replace those things, enough to roll the next few miles down the trail. I've got enough for the next snack at the next mini-mart. I've got enough to keep rolling.
Every time I wonder if I have enough to make it, I think of my headlight. It's a small headlight, bright, but not bright enough to cast a single beam from Canada to Mexico. It doesn't need to. A tiny beam illuminates enough of the trail for me to move ahead. That is enough.
Smarter folks than me go into this race with more gears, more money and probably better plans. They probably know how they're getting home from the Mexican border...
If you've helped me out already, thanks. You're part of the tribe, the team I call turtle. I can't do much to pay you back, but you will be getting stories. I can't promise the technology will work in real time but the plan is for updates to show up here on the blog. I'm hoping my solar charged Peek will connect from the wilds but there are also pay phones and post cards. With the help of my lovely wife, we'll get updates out to you. And a very big story when this very big race is run.
And if you want to help in some financial way, it's sure not too late to be a part of Team Turtle. Amazon or Cafe Press won't be cutting me any checks between now and race time, so the best way to send me cash is to hit the donate button at the bottom of this post. Or you can mail me a check at:
165 East Sunset Way #2B
Issaquah WA 98027
For the price of a cup of coffee you can...buy me a cup of coffee. I'll drink gallons of it in the course of the race. $27.45 is a penny a mile and it's also a couple of days worth of food at race pace.
Remember, this is not some great cause. If you want to support a great cause and get a tax deduction and so forth there are tons of really worthy causes out there. MercyCorps, Livestrong, Kiva.org, heck there's tons of folks more worthy than me. Check out some of the other Tour Divide racers as well, pretty much all of us racing are stretching to the limits to make this happen.
Thanks for your support. It's folks like you who allow me to
Keep 'em rolling,
Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA