Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving and we miss you!
Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving and we miss you!
Even before I manage to get around to doing my own blog post on the TDR this year, a team mate Romain sent me a number of questions as an interview. Here is the result of that interview. Just click on the link.
In case you are at all interested in following along at home (ala Fantasy Baseball, but interesting) you can track us per the links below.
Here’s a listing of all the currently registered riders -
Google Docs Listing of racers -
My Personal SPOT track -
Track Leaders listing for the TDR with all people who have signed up to be tracked -
You can listen to everyone’s call-in’s here -
* Also, when Joe posts the RSS feed link you can automatically get the daily updates. Listen while you’re eating breakfast. It’ll help burn calories.
FYI – We start on 8 June in Banff. My goal is to attempt a 25 day finish at the Mexican border. That means a bit over 100 miles/160 km a day average. Therefore, some days will be longer, others shorter. In any case, cross your fingers and wish me luck!
Keep your fingers crossed and hold your thumbs (that’s what Germans do).
Almost a week ago was Mother’s Day. On the same day, I celebrated a milestone in my and many other peoples lives. I turned a half century old. I wish I could tell you that I felt differently than I did a week ago, but I can’t. I still wake up groaning the same way as before. Mentally, it only slightly bothers me and I have to admit that I currently think about my age a bit. Hopefully, those thoughts will quickly fade though.
In other news, we’re about to head for the States for my sister-in-laws wedding. We’ll be hitting Seattle on the 23rd of May, then head south for the wedding, back to Seattle for a couple of days to see friends, hit REI and the Patagonia store and then off to Canada. In Canada we’ll visit a couple of friends in Vancouver, then hit the Arcteryx Outlet store and work our way over to Banff. Kera will drop me off and she’ll head off to a family reunion in Montana.
On June 8th, I’ll be off on one of the biggest adventures that I’ve ever undertaken. From what I last heard, there were somewhere around 120 people signed up but the hope was to whittle that number down to around 100. If it’s anything like normal, at least 50% of those will drop out in the first week. I’m going to do everything possible to avoid becoming a statistic at that point. ‘Sides, I don’t think that Kera will let me attempt it a second time. From all accounts, if you don’t finish it becomes something that haunts you until you do.
I have to say thank you to my loving wife Kera as she’s put up with a couple of years (mostly the last year) of me talking to Phil and David about it relentlessly every time we get together. She calls is the “Big Stupid Race” because of the bear danger. That’s something I don’t take likely. I’ve never lived somewhere that I’ve needed to worry about bears and it definitely makes me nervous. That’s part of the reason that it’d be nice if I can keep up and ride with Phil at least till we get out of bear country.
Anyway, thanks so much to Kera, my friends around the world, my team mates in Big Wheel Racing in Europe and the States, sponsors and family. I also have to mention my various employers and students as well. All have been incredibly supportive. I really hope to come back with lots of stories and photos for them to hear and see.
I found another site with some good info. on the TDR with GPX files, etc. Check it out HERE. A couple of their statistics that might be interesting though.
2562.77 mi (870.37 mi uphill, 951.49 mi downhill, 735.62 mi flat)
191,525 ft total ascent (191,325 ft descent) – 5.4 % ave uphill grade, 4.9 % ave downhill grade
I’ve had a few requests for how you can follow along. Here you go. Go to the TourDivide.org website and click on the Leaderboard. That’ll take you to where all of our SPOT trackers report. You should then be able to choose my name and see where I am. If all is going well and I’ve remembered to turn on my SPOT or it’s not out of batteries, my track should show where I am within a 10 min. span. Additionally, you can subscribe to MP3′s of the racers call-ins. I believer that we’re supposed to call in daily but most don’t ever seem to do it. In any case, most people are so tired that they sound drunk or stoned. Therefore, the phone calls get pretty animated and funny. Just go to MTBCast.com and subscribe through iTunes or you can listen via the website.
Honestly, I think I’m ready to tackle this beast. I’ve ridden so much this year. In April alone I rode more than 1400 kilometers. Pretty much the last 6 months of my life has been dedicated to this race. Maybe more actually. We started with intense spinning in November and did that through the winter. I also rode and ran during that time as well. There was about 3 months where I was working out about 25 days out of 30. Right now, I’m feeling very strong but I’m also attempting recovery mode. Kera calls me the “shittiest relaxer” as I have a really hard time sitting still. Relaxation for me is movement. As you can imagine, recovery mode is difficult.
After I finish the TDR and figure out how I’m getting to K.C. I’ll stay a week or so with family and friends. It’s been more than 5 years since I was back in the K.C. area and I’m overdue for a visit. It’ll be really good to see everyone. Sadly, Kera has to go back to work so she won’t be able to come along. Coincidentally, she’ll be heading back to Seattle for “work” about the same time I’ll be heading back to Germany. She’s going to Glacier Bay via a client which ought to be great. Our kayaking trip there in 2005 is still one of the best trips I’ve ever had.
My hope, when I return, is to go back to teaching half-time and start making the bags half-time. I’ve already received a few orders and it seems that if I come through with those, it’s likely to break into a much broader group. Wish me luck!
As in every year for the last 5 or so, I went and participated in the Munich City Bike Marathon. It’s always my first race of the season and even though I usually end the race wondering why in the world I go, come January of each year I start chomping at the bit to sign up again.
“Normally” (there’s nothing normal about this race), it’s in the 90 km range and it only has 120 vertical meters or so of climbing but this years due to tree work and an event following the race they shortened the course by 25 km down to 65 km. Well, that is until it started raining anyway.
The race starts and ends at the Munich Olympic Park and the last 5 km or so are run inside the park grounds. Some of that, mostly climbing and descending is done on cobblestones. If you’ve never ridden cobblestones, you should. They’re bumpy as hell and when wet, you might as well be on ice, especially if there’s any hint of mud in the county. In any case, they knocked off another 3.5 km because of the rain. Therefore, the race ended up being 61 km and change. Also, they not only shortened the race but they moved the start to 7:15 in the morning. Ugh. Nothing like having to get up at 5:00 and try to get to a race which starts early but to also start without a warmup and to have it raining…. needless to say, it didn’t start well.
Unfortunately for me, I could have used the extra 30 km this year. I’ve been training for the Tour Divide Race so I’ve got a lot of miles in my legs for 2012. In face, I checked today and I’ve already hit 1600 km (not counting the 2-4 times a week we hit spin class in the Winter too) for 2012. Anyway, the distance wasn’t the problem by any means.
The race starts with a “neutral” start which takes the racers across town to the Isar River. It’s really anything but neutral as most people are already jockeying for position to keep from getting stuck behind the slow riders. I got stuck behind a bunch of the riders from the 2nd start and ended up one of the last to leave from my group. I made it to the river, and about 2 km up the river before the motorcycles from the 2nd start group caught and passed me.
I spent the rest of the race pretty much riding alone. For the next 25 km I felt terrible. My heart rate was all over the place and my stomach and legs were anything but happy. It wasn’t until we hit the mid-point of the race by the Alliance Arena (where Bayern München plays soccer) that I started to feel civil again. Suddenly, I started to feel like I had some power in my legs and felt semi-civil again. Coincidentally, that’s about the same time that a lot of the people that had passed me previously started to slow down. I started passing people left and right from there to the finish. Like I said… I wish that I’d had the extra kilometers as I’d have probably managed a much better finish than I had.
This year was the first year that the weather has ever been anything but nice. It was probably part of my early issues both because of being chilly at the start with no warm up but also because I had to wear a rain jacket which then cause me to overheat a bit (for me, that’s usually worse than the cold). In the end I finished 25th in my class at 2:10:04. The winner of my class finished almost a half an hour ahead of of me and he’s 8 years older (58 years old!).
I thought that Kera did well, mostly because she said that she had a good time. Being so competitive she’s not so please with her finish. She placed 13th in her class at 2:21:31.
More photos here….
I assume that this is an April Fools joke (read: I sure hope so) but I found it funny and wanted to share.
As a misplaced American I feel it’s my duty to represent my country in this great adventure.
Ah, hell with that! The reality is that I’m turning 50 less than a month before the start of the 2012 TDR and I can’t and will never be able to afford a Red Ferrari and I’m already in possession (snicker) of a Trophy Wife. Thus, a friend of mine (a French bastard) challenged me to do the TDR for my 50th. Not surprisingly, he’s now backed out and left me hanging (like bull testicles) in the wind. However, I’m going to soldier on, as it were, and do my best to show those young Whipper-snappers that an old man can kick ass from time to time.
My wife, friends and students all think that I’m crazy and an idiot (they’re probably right) but the race idea now under my skin and I need to get it out. If the race doesn’t work, I’ll see a dermatologist.
Thus, I’d LOVE to be included (sensing sarcasm here?) in the start-list for the 2012 TDR starting 8 June 2012 in Banff.
Thanks… Michael Cleveland (aka wunnspeed)
The above is my Letter Of Intent to do the Tour Divide Race starting on 8 June 2012 in Banff, Canada.
Wish me luck gang!
p.s. David G….. I’ll make you buy me Mexican food one day to repay me.