Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Last Hurdle

Today I went and had my knee checked out by Dr. Michael Lee in Phoenix.  My knee does this clicking thing, and I wanted to be sure there wasn't structural damage in the joint before I try to ride my bike 2,700+ miles.  Dr. Lee was recommended by several people, so I scheduled an appointment.

The med tech shot some x-rays, and I was ushered into an exam room with posters displaying what can only be described as exploded views of various joints in the human body.  I stared at the knee poster for about 40 minutes, wondering which of the ligaments was dragging across which of the bones to produce the clicking sensation.  Is it the iliotibial band?  The fibular cruciate ligament?  The tibial tuberosity?  Who the heck is naming these body parts anyway?

Dr. Lee came in.  Very upbeat.  He said that from the x-rays, my knees look great.  Then he examined the knee, bending it every which way, squeezing and pinching, to see if there were any pain points.  None.  He said there was some minor inflammation, but that at this point he wouldn't even recommend an injection.  "Just take some anti-inflammatories with you."  Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and I are friends already, so I had no objections.

So- Thumbs up!  Green light!  All systems go!

That was the last possible thing that may have stopped me from boarding the plane to Calgary next week.  All that's left now is to get my hair cut, pack my bike in a box, and hitch a ride to the airport.

See y'all in Banff!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tour Divide Tracker is Live!

The Tour Divide tracking map is live!  Check it out (and preview the course) at


Race day is still two weeks out, so not a lot of action out there yet.  In the days leading up to the Grand Depart, you'll start to see little blue & pink dots populate the map, converging on Banff, Alberta, Canada.  I'll be in the mix (look for DP), starting in Banff and racing southbound (sobo in TD parlance).  There will also be a smaller number of dots converging on the south end of the route - those represent the racers who are racing northbound (nobo).

You'll likely see other dot colors as the race progresses.  Yellow dots are for those challenging the course purely as an individual time trial (ITT), which means they're racing, but they're not participating in the Grand Depart on June 10.  You'll see yellow dots on the map all summer long. White dots are for those who choose to tour rather than race the route.  Has to do with pacing.  Want to stop and smell the flowers, and check social media at every available hot spot?  You're probably not racing; white dot for you.  Orange dots are for those who have deviated from the course - intentionally or otherwise - and have not gone back to the point of departure before continuing forward on the route.  That's a violation of the rules; orange dot for you.

This is as close to live coverage as you're going to get for this event.  I've been watching dots on maps for years now, and I'll warn you - it's addictive.

Who knows - maybe you'll end up being a dot on a map someday.

We should all be so lucky.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fast Forward

<tap> <tap> Is this thing on?

Let's cut to the chase: I'm racing the Tour Divide this year. Or rather, I'm going to attempt the Tour Divide this year.

A year and a half ago I'd been planning on doing the Tour Divide in 2015. Then I decided not to. And that was that. I though my whole Tour Divide dream was over.

But then something happened I hadn't anticipated. Without that dream, that goal, pulling me forward, I started to spiral down into an emotional slump. With my mental and emotional state in decline, my physical health soon followed. I was a sedentary, chronic grump. It was not pretty. Ask my wife.

So in February or March of 2015, I decided to get back on the horse. I assembled a training plan (I'm too cheap to hire a full-time coach at this point), and started training in earnest last summer. Training has gone well, and although I have't hit all my goals, I've made some serious gains. Bike and gear are sorted, maps pored over, and logistics studied ad nauseam.

I think I'm ready. Or as ready as I can be as a TD Rookie.

Okay, there is one last appointment with an orthopedist to check out this thing with my knee, but it's more for curiosity than to suss out an actual problem (fingers crossed), so I don't anticipate any real snag there. We'll see.

I deliberately didn't blog about my preparations this time around, 'cause what if I bail again? Why humiliate myself. Again. At this point, though, the plane ticket is paid for, and I've got a reservation at the Y in Banff. All that's left is to taper, pack up the bike, and show up.

In two weeks.

Yes, June 10 is race day. I fly to Calgary on the 8th. I'll post details about how you can follow along once the race is underway, if you're so inclined.

So yeah, getting down to the last minute. Starting to get nervous now. Is this really happening? Yes, yes it is.

Wish me luck.