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Erik and I decided to start a day early, opting to leave on Thursday afternoon instead of with the Grand Depart group early the next morning. We did this in order to cover the first sixty miles, bivy and then hit the first snow obstacle early the next morning. The intel on the course was that there was about three miles or so of snow to push through. It seemed like a good idea to hit it early in the morning before it got slushy.
So Thursday morning was spent frantically taking care of the final errands. Getting food, snacks and last minute gear purchases. We both had snow shoes that we were planning to carry and we had to figure out how. After much help from Scott of Porcelain Rocket I figured out how and where to carry mine. However, after much back and forth I decided to leave them behind. In the end, we never needed them. It would’ve added much time/hassle to get them on and off the bike. Not only to use them, but for whenever I had to get into the seat bag.
We finally made our way to the start of the route at about 2pm. We met Mike Dion of Ride The Divide there and did a short interview with him. We spoke about how we got there, what drives us and how we’d feel at the end. Biggest regret of the trip is that moment. I was so full of excitement and at that moment it never dawned on me that we wouldn’t make it. Boy was I wrong.
Rob Roberts rode the first ten miles or so with us. He was doing his shakedown ride, having just received his bike, and getting a feel for the course. It wasn’t long before I felt like I was climbing slow. Those tall guys just seem to make everything easier. It’s only perception I know, but it wasn’t long before I was riding solo. A taste of things to come, but at this point I was just soaking in all the beauty. And it was everywhere.
We encountered our first snow in spots. Nothing bad, but stuff that made me walk. It was also with some steep climbs so I ended up walking more than I had intended. Not a big deal, but I really wanted to ride as much as I could. I needed to make the miles. I wasn’t sure what kind of supplies would be available, if any, so I wanted to keep moving as much as possible.
I finally made it to the bivy spot, Boulton Creek Trading Post, at about 10:30pm. Just as the sun went down. Erik was concerned that something had happened to me and was on the phone as I rolled up. I enjoyed the sandwich that I’d carried all day under the night lights of the Trading Post. We pulled out our bed rolls and slept right in front of the Trading Post. Stoked to have the first day of the Tour Divide behind me I crawled into my bag and passed out. First lesson learned, you will have no trouble sleeping on the Tour Divide. Day one was done.