Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tour Divide - Changing Gears

This is a tough one.

I've been wrestling with this for a while, but I'm pulling out for Tour Divide 2015.

I'll be honest, gearing up is expensive, and the training is kicking my butt, but when it comes down to it, I'm struggling with the time commitment - not just the time commitment for training, but also for the event itself.  My son Julian is ten years old, and at a really formative time in his life.  I remember what life was like for me at that age, and what a piss-ant I turned into when my dad was gone on business, sometimes for weeks at a time.  I think my mom and sister dreaded those weeks.  Anyway, the fact that participating in the TD is purely voluntary has me questioning my motivations & priorities.

I'm not sure what this means for my long term goals (2016 and beyond).  Gotta figure out what I really want out of this, and whether it's about the route, or about the race.  I want to figure out some way of including my family in this endeavor if I'm going to do it in the next few years.  Maybe it means I end up touring the route (or select parts of it), with them following in a support vehicle?  Maybe I race it in some other season of life.  Maybe something else altogether.  I don't know yet, still trying to figure it all out.  All I know is someday our son won't live with us anymore, and I don't want any regrets then about how I live my life now.

I'll continue to train, though probably less aggressively than I have been up to now.  More of a maintenance program, maybe throw some single track into the mix again.  I've been doing mainly gravel roads for the past several months, and my trail bike is convinced I don't love it anymore.  And it'll give me a chance to get the Fargo dialed in for future outings:  I'd love to put a Lauf fork on it, and maybe even a Rohloff/Gates drivetrain, neither of which I can afford at present.

So, I still have goals.  For the time being though, the Tour Divide has to go on the back burner.

But I will still watch the blue dots next summer.


1 comment:

  1. Wow! There is a lot of wisdom in this post. I know this had to be a hard decision, but your reasoning and priorities make a lot of sense. A few years ago, a wise, older man pointed out that my boys are growing up very quickly and my window to have an influence on them will be over way sooner than I expect. He suggested that I use this special time wisely. This wisdom was dispensed in the context of me considering a work promotion that would increase my salary at the expense of my family. The same wisdom has proved useful when contemplating a lofty cycling goal that would also negatively affect my family. For now, I’ve concluded that it is not the right season of life to take on some epic cycling adventure that would require me to use what little free time I have to train. Instead of giving up entirely, I’ve sought adventures that I can do with my boys, so we can train and enjoy them together. When they were smaller, this meant camping. Now that they are a bit older, we are more into backpacking. In about a month, we will have completed our 3rd backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon and we are now thinking about hiking a section of the Arizona trail. As a fitness activity, I much prefer cycling over hiking. But, backpacking with them is very rewarding and guilt-free. As they get a little older (and I get slower), the boys and I may be ready to take on some cycling adventures together. But even if they never share my love for cycling or begin to think that hanging out with dad is no longer cool, I will never regret the times we spent together during these formative years. They go by quickly, and once they are gone, they are gone forever.

    Your thought process for not doing the Tour Divide this year is very wise. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, but it may mean finding a creative way to involve your family, breaking the route into smaller pieces, or waiting until a better time. Until you figure out a solution, maybe try making the most of what you can do with your son now and enjoy each day. It will be time well spent. Good Luck!
    -Chuck C.