Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tour Divide into the Void

It's really not about the destination it's about the journey. On an event like the Tour Divide the preparation spans weeks, months, or even years. Getting to the start in Banff, Canada (or Antelope Wells NM) isn't easy either. Here is a little prelude into the journey to the beginning. Good friends, new friends, and a fine family.

 My parents really were excited about this race and wanted to visit my brother Kendal in Hamilton, MT so they dropped off their life boat car in Gunnison for me to drive up and they drove their RV up slowly to Montana to play with grand kids. In Banff, they would then pick up the car and tow it back. I asked Eszter Horanyi (currently living in a tent near Crested Butte) and Josh Shifferly of CB if they wanted to car pool. It would be way cheaper than flying--just longer. Josh, always the frugal guy, and Eszter both agreed on the spot.
So now the story started to almost seem like one of those bad horror movies or a 1970's catastrophe movie like the Towering Inferno or the Poseidon Adventure (I being the Ernest Borgnine character) where you get to know all the main characters and then some great event happens, like riding the continental divide self supported as fast as possible, and one by one characters start to get killed with a few making it to the end. We had our characters. Two guys and a girl heading out of Gunnison.

We soon got a call from my nephew Kyan, who was trying to make a documentary of me doing the race as a person with diabetes and other characters he might meet along the way. Kyan brought along other students from Berkley, a girl, Elle, and a guy from India, Aushman. Unfortunately Aushman, who had a driver's license, really couldn't drive as he had only driven in packed Indian streets at 20mph and not on high speed highways. The other two couldn't drive at all. Somehow they had made it to Grand Junction from Denver. So add the hapless college kids to the character list.  Shifferly hopped in their car at GJ and drove them.

The main characters head out of Gunnison
Click here for a link to a video Eszter's husband Chris shot as we were leaving.

Eventually we reached my brother's house in Hamilton. You know sitting in a car for 15 hrs might be worse than riding your bike for 15 hrs. We got a nice little ride in in some rain the next day and had some R&R.

The next day we headed to Canmore just south of Banff where my mom found some really cheap rooms. It started to rain, HARD. Along the way, we picked up Chris and Brett in Whitefish, MT. They were two fun guys from Madison, WI. Chris hopped in with us and Brett in the minivan my parents had rented to drive up. Iin Eureka, we dropped off Aushman at a motel as Canada apparently doesn't like to let in Indians and my parents gave Tracey Petervary a ride. It was really raining now. We reached Canmore and hit the hay. It was becoming increasingly hard for me to sleep. I guess I had some nervousness. This is the point in the movies above where you start to wonder, 'Is that Chris guy really a good guy or maybe he's a killer that escaped from a dairy farm in Wisconsin?'
Chris takes over the helm.
The next day was very nice and we decided to ride over to Banff on a road that Josh had found last year when he had ridden from the airport at Calgary to Banff. My parents and the film crew decided to drive up and take pictures of Lake Louise and other things.

We got back to the rooms and started packing up everything and rechecking all of our gear. All of a sudden I realized that I didn't have my rain jacket, arm warmers, gloves, and a few other things that I know I had the day before. I searched through all my stuff and I checked the truck we drove up. Josh asked me if I checked the minivan. Hmmm surely all the people riding in there would have seen them.....

That night I didn't sleep much. I had to have a rain jacket. I had to have gloves. It was going to rain. I thought I must have left my stuff at the YWCA where we were hanging out waiting for the film crew to come back from their trip. So the next morning, before the race started, I looked in all the lost and found areas. We start the race at 8. Hmmm. So luckily my mom and dad ran down to a bike shop in the van and found me some stuff just as the race was starting. Josh had also loaned me his spare rain jacket. So I had some useable stuff. By the way, after the race they found the jacket and stuff in the van....

We all gathered together for a group photo in the cool Banff morning. 
Woo Hoo!
We then all took off at 8. Oh wait one more picture by Dad and one more hug from Ma! Everyone else takes off. I'll have to catch them.
And they're off!
Tune in next week to see what happens next. Is Chris really is a serial murderer? Does a flood takes out the peloton, and me, in my Ernest Borgnine persona, have to build a raft to escape Chris?

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