Collage2This year I decided to use the ride as a fundraiser for a cause I believe in. Living Water International drills water wells in 3 world countries. Living Water International is a registered 501(c)(3). Gifts are tax-deductible. Check out my fundraising page, HERE I’d be honored if you’d join me on this journey to help provide fresh drinking water to communities around the world.

One of the best parts of the Tour Divide is the people you come into contact with. The people in Banff, the racers, the people along the way that stop you and want to know what your are doing and where you are headed. Pre TD in Banff is full of energy. From Crazy Larry – the unofficial ‘spokesperson’ for the TD, to all of the competitors that trickle in all week. That energy is part of the pull that takes you back for another try at the Divide. The YWCA is loosely the host hotel for the event. With a room dedicated to allowing assemble of bikes, it makes for a great spot to make new friends, and to go over your gear one last time. Cyclists love checking out others bikes and gear setup, there is lots of that going on.

2015 TD winner Josh Kato was on hand at the Y in Banff. I think we were all honored to be able to not only meet Josh, but also talk Divide, each of us I think trying to learn something to help us in this year’s event. Three time finisher and going for his 4th Divide was Hal Russell. At age 68 at the start of this years race, Hal is also one everyone tries to gain information from. Hal has that infectious smile that he always has on, even on those long days on the bike. Consulting with Hal before the event, he reassured me that the Divide does not get boring. This year I opted for a bunk bed in one of the dorm rooms at the Y. I was a bit concerned about rumors of noise, but it worked out well.

The days preceding the Grand Depart included the usual shopping for bear spray, getting last minute gear and a couple of short bike rides to make sure the bike made the flight in good shape. Thursday evening, June 9th, the evening before the Grand Depart, an older gentleman was hanging around the Y. Here is my FB post from that night-

TD_friend“Here is Dave Franklin, age 70. A local resident. He came by the hotel tonight wanting to know if we thought he could Ride the Divide next year with 12 months of training. Anything is possible.

My advice to you tonight. If there us something you think you would like to do in life, don’t wait until it’s too late. You’ll miss some great experiences and miss meeting some great people.”

With fantastic weather that week, it was a fantastic place to be, but the weather forecast wasn’t favorable as there was a high chance of rain on day 1 and 2 of the race. The Grand Depart is always the 2nd Friday in June, which means long days, with it still being light well after 10:00 pm. Breakfast the day of this year was again McDonald’s. I was lucky enough to get there early, as it got busy and they were not prepared for the rush. With the event starting at 8:30 sharp, the racers started gathering for our send off message from Crazy Larry and a group photo. We all knew that this would be that last time we’d see most of these new friends.

We’re off!

Stay tuned,
Marty