Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide

For Paul Howard, who has ridden the full journey de France direction in the course of the race itself—setting off at four am on a daily basis to prevent being stuck through the pros—riding a small mountain motorbike race should still carry no worry. nonetheless, this isn’t simply any mountain motorbike race. this is often the journey Divide.

Running from Banff in Canada to the Mexican border, the travel Divide is greater than 2,700 miles—500 miles longer than the travel de France. Its path throughout the center of the Rocky Mountains includes greater than 200,000 ft of ascent—the an identical of mountain climbing Mount Everest seven times.

The different challenge is that Howard hasn't ever owned a mountain bike—and how will education at the South Downs in southern England arrange him for napping tough within the Rockies?

Undaunted, Howard swaps the sleek tarmac roads of France for the dust, snow, and ice of the travel Divide, warding off grizzly bears, mountain lions, and moose. humming roadside fanatics are changed by means of humming mosquitoes. fighting undesirable climate, ingesting whiskey with a cowboy, and making a song karaoke with the locals, Howard's trip changed into greater than only a race — it grew to become the journey of a lifetime.

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Finally the gradient turned such that lets first stroll with our motorcycles, then trip them. We grinned maniacally at one another and cycled at a livid velocity down the consequent path as though lately escaped from legal. close to hysteria at our survival had prompted recklessness. Foot-deep puddles and rocky circulation crossings have been taken care of with disdain. The rain and wind endured their attack. We missed them. We had no selection. it slow later, it was once most unlikely to inform precisely how lengthy, we arrived the place we knew we'd need to arrive so long as we controlled to maintain pedalling. We later discovered that this minuscule number of constructions on the roadside, the single cost for miles round, used to be known as clever River, yet on the time the identify used to be inappropriate. in basic terms the truth that it had a cafe with an open door was once very important. It had taken six and a part hours to hide fifty two miles, eleven of which have been on paved roads. No had we prised open the doorways of the clever River membership with fingers frozen into claws than we have been greeted like long-lost acquaintances. It grew to become out that the landlord, Tom, an escapee from Scotland, inspiration we have been long-lost associates. the truth that we weren't, conveniently verifiable when we had peeled off our outer layers and wiped the dust from our faces, didn't appear to predicament him. ‘There was once an English lad got here via at the related race final yr, i assumed you have been him,’ he defined. I requested if it have been Alan. He acknowledged definite. it seems that, Alan and his then driving significant other had grew to become up very first thing within the morning, famished after spending the evening someplace on Mount Fleecer, basically to discover the eating place closed. Tom’s spouse met them within the store and had taken them domestic, the place Tom had cooked them a appropriate pancake breakfast. no matter if encouraged by way of this actual bout of hospitality, or a long-held wish to cater for passing cyclists, he had hence received the exact same restaurant-cum-hotel. For us, the end result couldn't were larger. We got unfastened run of the coated veranda to take away and hang around sodden outfits, in addition to entry to the tumble dryer (an drunk lady wobbled off once we had began the laptop, vowing to set her husband on us for having had the temerity to take away her dried laundry; while the husband duly arrived he requested courteously if he may perhaps placed the few damp goods again in after we had accomplished; it was once in short tempting to claim ‘no’ to work out what occurred, yet good judgment prevailed). We have been then absolutely inspired to steam and pong to our hearts’ content material within the diner as we demolished the best burgers tasted so far. We additionally stumbled on we weren't the single cyclists within the village. ‘Hey, journey Divide racers,’ stated a voice. It belonged to a mop of blond hair above a covered and stubbled face (more coated and stubbled than it were in Banff, at least). It used to be Dallas resident Ray. He had arrived previous that morning, having spent the former evening within the exact same Montana Hilton Steve and that i had handed past that day. He have been asleep in a room upstairs for a number of hours, yet nonetheless appeared as though he have been attempting to hot up.

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