Posted by: Brendan | June 21, 2008

Great Divide Race starts, I’m home, world spins

I’m back in the land of the Hummer

I’m feeling some of the funk I’ve come to expect from the return of a great trip. Frankly, it’s lonely here. Add to it the vicarious emotional experience of following my spouse as she races the divide- lots of ups & downs. I didn’t have a camera with me on the trip, but Matt took a lot of photos so maybe he’ll let me borrow some of them.

First, a great trip:

-We watched some of the RAAM racers going through Flagstaff on the way up.

– Snow in Butte

– Canadian border guard called me a “Hoser.” When my face lit up with glee, he told me to “Trample off!”

– Canadian whiskey- on Dave’s suggestion, we picked up a bottle of 12 year old Canadian Club. Tasty.

John Stamstad. This uber-honch keeps it real. -And people who keep it real are getting hard to find.

Chris & Marni. First time meeting them in person; they keep it real. Good luck & tailwinds to Chris!

– hanging with my best pal, Matt. We had a great man-date, as Mary & Katie like to say. 😉

– riding & eating Kentucky Hot Browns with Justin & Kim in Missoula. This sandwich was the namesake of our team at 24HOP ’06

– hanging with Jeni & Matt T. More keepin’-it-real folks. And really, really good hosts! I’d like to go back to D-town soon, hopefully I can meet up with Matt McFee. (lots of Matts!)

– car geekery. Turns out dry-erase markers are the perfect doodling utensil when you’re in the car. Any window or mirror is fair game. Duct tape wallets are easier to make than I’d thought. And I have a new idea for a bike part… sorry, not spillin’ the beans yet. 😉

Mary being a badass. Yeah, I’m biased. But wow this girl rocks!

The Great Divide Race started today

GDR racers left from Roosville at noon today. I haven’t heard a lot of details of the start, but I do know there’s a woman in that race, too. We had the pleasure of meeting Jenn in Banff- she was suited up & ready to ride at the start of the Tour Divide, smelling the roses on her way to Roosville. I’m happy she’s racing & proud to witness the history that Trish Stevenson started & these two continue to build on. Here’s a shot of the two ladies of ’08 Divide Racing-

We got word that Jenn would be racing literally minutes before the start… It seems to me- a non-participating male sitting on a couch- that it would have been nice if they’d raced together.

Something on my mind- or, As The World Turns

A couple years ago there was a stenciled image going around in the convention center at Interbike. Does anyone remember it? It was a head shot of a mutton-chopped, shades-wearing bike-dude; and beneath it the words: “Bike Racers Are Not Rock Stars.”

I loved it.

It applies so much to what’s going on with the divide races, err, outside the divide races, because the participants really do deserve kudos as far as far as I’m concerned.

Quit taking yourselves so darned seriously!

The negativity around the two divide races is really disappointing, and the big fish/small pond stuff is never good. Maybe strongheadedness is a common trait racer types, and it goes with the territory. Maybe I’m too sensitive… But, taking the long view (again from the couch) I can find no good reason for the negative comments on the forums & blogs. Anymore, I can’t stand to visit mtbr.com or go surf astray for fear of stepping some fishbowl mess.

After being close to the race, feeling the emotion in the air at the start & corresponding with a number of other people directly affected by the race, I’ve gained a perspective that really makes this GDR/TD debate seem silly. Obviously, both races have their merits. I don’t want to compare/contrast them because there’s already too much of that going on anyhow, and holding two concurrent races begs these comparisons. What really bugs me is the “Race X is harder/tougher/more core/sold out/selfish/insecure” banter- it cheapens the experience that all the participants- in either race- enjoy. I’d go further to guess that most Divide racers can give a rat’s a$$ about the debate, especially when they’re grinding away on some godforsaken dirt road in the middle of nowhere, sucking thin air. Having seen how tough it is out there, it seems more than a little insulting to the participants to make these comparisons.

I’m starting to see the wisdom in Chris Plesko’s approach to the race. He seems to be marching to his own tune…

Whew. Ok, enough of that now. Hopefully some of this nervous energy will burn off now that everyone’s on course.

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Responses

  1. I definitely hear ya on what Chris is doing. I’ve only spent time with him once but I’m proud of him for making such a choice. It seemed odd at first but now I can see the beauty of it.

    B

  2. Oh….and Mary is seriously bad@ss. I’d be curled up in a B&B eating scones if my legs swolled like sausages.

    Again…..super proud of my friends.

    B

  3. well put b!

    Gald you liked the CC!

  4. Mary looks like she has a good set-up.
    Go Mary go!!! Take care of those knees and hands.

  5. Good thoughts Brendan and I can tell you if my spouse were out there, I’d be a wreck. Mary’s doing awesome and it’s humbling watching the drive and determination of everyone who was/is out there!
    Chris

  6. Good to see you guys in Prescott – Go Mary!!

  7. Great to see you in D-town! Look forward to seeing you 2 in the future out there! 🙂

  8. THere’s a whole site devoted to that…

    http://www.cyclistsarenotrockstars.com

    and i believe it was Mario Cippolinni on the sticker.


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