I always knew I would head back to Banff to make another run at the Tour Divide. But then again, I thought maybe I’d try the American Trail Race this year; traveling by bike from east to west coast, starting June 1st on gravel – a whopping 5,000 miles. Doing a new race would mean figuring out gear for the new adventure, which is a fun part of any adventure but does take resources of time and money. Being part of the dozen or so in the rookie ATR would be special as well. However, with my friends Randy Neill and Bobby Smith heading to Banff for the Grand Depart (GD) on June 9th, I was pulled back to my 3rd Tour Divide.
With the Salsa Cutthroat from last year’s race pretty much set up, maps and knowledge of the route, it was a pretty easy decision to head to Banff on Tuesday, June 6th for the Tour Divide. The only change in my set-up was to change out the shifting to a bar-end shifter which hopefully will make that action a bit easier. With a bit of numbness in my fingertips from previous rides, I’m hoping to reduce any further numbness. I’ve also changed the gearing on the bike to make riding up the many climbs easier. I’ll lose some top end speed, but that’s ok.
Again this year, I’m riding for Living Water International. Living Water exists to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience “living water” — the gospel of Jesus Christ — which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.
Riding along the Continental Divide in 2015, I realized how precious our clean water supply is in developed areas of our country. But there are other parts where water is not as plentiful. Around the globe, not only is clean drinking water a scarce resource, but so is sanitation and hygiene.
Last year ‘Tour Divide for Living Water’ raised enough funds to drill a water well in India. Not only does LWI drill wells, education is a big part of the project. From the Living Water website, these are some of the areas they focus on:
In places where there is no safe, clean place to go to the toilet, people struggle with disease, lack of privacy, and indignity. Once communities have access to safe, sustainable water, they can improve their sanitation, dramatically raising their quality of life—improving health, increasing school achievement, and multiplying productivity. In many areas, Living Water helps community members develop plans for sanitation that result in clean, functional latrines in homes, schools, clinics, and churches.
Safe water and sanitation systems are important, but to have an impact, people need to use them effectively to improve their health. Education is important—helping people understand how to prevent diseases by washing their hands, storing their water properly, and using a latrine. But head knowledge is just the beginning; helping communities identify important behaviors and make their own plan to use them is the end goal.
For all of these things to be effective for the long term, we have to involve the community from the very beginning. We’re learning alongside the communities we serve that projects are most sustainable when they respond to both need and demand, when financing is carefully thought through, and when management is handled locally with lots of ongoing support.
Our concern is for whole people—physical and spiritual. As followers of Jesus, we know that he has the power to transform people, restore relationships, and heal factors that lead to poverty, hunger, and thirst. We work with local churches wherever we find them, identify ways we can be part of what God is already doing, and share the good news about Jesus in simple ways—like telling stories and asking questions.
I would be honored to have you to be a part of this project. The goal this year for drilling a well is $6,500.
If you have not followed the race online, here is a link to follow my progress of the race on Trackleaders.com. If you have not followed the race, I’m warning you that it can be addictive watching the dots heading down the Continental Divide. You’ll become acquainted with riders through their dots. It’s awesome!
I’d like to thank friends and family for helping make this trip possible. First of all, my family, Jeremy Johnson, Kristen Chalfant and Nancy Johnson-Montague and the dozens of employees for keeping Johnson’s Garden Center running. Actually they do a great job of keeping it running while I’m in town!! My good friend, Bill Jackel, that always has my back on this ride. Bill, from Albuquerque, has picked me up both of the past 2 rides, and will be there wherever I need a hand. Thanks also to Mark Moerner from Apostle Bikeworks who always keeps my bike running smoothly. From major repairs after muddy events to regular repairs, I’m always ready to roll. And to Byron Fick at Heartland Bicycle who sourced the Salsa Fargo Ti and Cutthroat bikes for my adventures. The best wheelbuilder in the area, my power generating front wheel is ready for it’s 3 TD, without any hitches whatsoever. Rebuilding my stock rear wheel in short order last week, I know I’ll have no issues with my wheels. Others include Bobby Wintle from District Bicycles in Stillwater, OK for the Maxxis Ikon tires and all of you that keep me in your thoughts and prayers along the way.
Let’s do this!