Monday, June 16, 2008

Getting to the Startline

The old hands say that getting to the startline of this race is half the battle. I'm starting to see why.

Bill & Janet drove me to Albequerque yesterday morning (with Sarah and Miro - they then checked out the polar bears at the zoo). Then I flew to Spokane Washington (via stops in Oakland and Portland). Then it was a very early morning Amtrak train to Whitefish. I had time to kill in Spokane and meet GDR racers David Blaine (who picked me up from the airport; see www.the greatdivideproject.blogspot.com ) and Noah Dimmit (who invited me over to his friends house to shoot some pool). Super friendly folk.

Looks like my bike survived the journey just fine. It's getting some new running gear slapped on it at the Glacier Cyclery right now. While I was unpacking my bike there a Tour Divide rider pulled up and pulled out, so we packed his bike into my old box and hauled it over to the bus station. His big mistake seemed to be having a photo of his beautiful family stuck to his mapboard, and he got taken by surprise at the amount of snow on the passes - several miles worth. Sounds like there are lots of fallen trees too. [The Tour Divide is a new race that follows the Great Divide Race route plus the day north of the US/Canada border. It started a week earlier and, as it has no cut-offs along the route, it's attracted a wide range of riders - 17 in total (probably about the same as this years GDR)].

I'll hang out here trying to finish off my 'Classic NZ MTB Rides' writing for a couple of days and head up to Eureka (a stones throw from the border) on Thursday. Oooo...writing that just put a tingle up my spine. Nice.

BTW, the MSF/Doctors Without Borders pledges are now up to 114 cents/km. Yee-haa! And thanks!
If you were thinking of pledging something and want to be in for the sweepstake, better send a form in before this Friday (there's a copy in the Feb 12th post). After the first day of the race you'll start to get some idea of my form. I've refrained from looking at the poll Paul put up at the top right. Too scary.

9 comments:

sifter said...

[Fix up that pledges sentence!!!]

You've done a fantastic job getting yourself to where you are. And you've got a whole lot of folk back in little old New Zealand in awe of your challenge, and you yourself.

I was once told this by my PhD supervisor, and while it seemed odd, and almost worthy of dpraying my mouthful of tea all over the place, it has stayed with me for almost 10 years now...

When the going gets tough, "keep your pecker up". You're going to have some absolutely fantastic stories to tell, and rapt audiences just waiting to hear them.

Kia kaha!

sifter's mum said...

Dear Simon
I have butterflies in my stomach just reading your last report. We are thinking of you and wish you a wonderful experience and great success. Go hard!

John @ BikeNZ said...

Hi Simon

full respect to you for your vision and making it a reality. what do they say, the worst day biking is still better than the best day of doing anything else – especially sitting behind the desk back in welly. If you’re going to be cold and wet – better to do it in the GDR rather than commuting to work in a wellington southerly !

Man, you’re going to have a fantastic time, see and experience something really special – enjoy, savour the opportunity – make it count for the doctors, you and your family.
And don't forget to take some pixs!

Liz Thomas said...

Good luck from the Living Streets plodders back in your old office! Remember, every kilometre you cycle, my bank balance decreases proportionately! Will be keeping an eye on your progress......Wonder how long it would take to walk?
Liz

sifter said...

Hey Simon! It's been a bad day on the roads here in Wellington, so savour the wonderful riding you're about to embark on. If you ever feel like hallucinating, just try to imagine me just in front of you, and enjoy the shelter!

John

Simon Kennett said...

Hi folks

Mixed emotions today as Miro has her 1st birthday and I forgot to bring her with me. Damn! So it's nice to read your comments.
Am in Eureka - just 8 miles from the start. Race briefing here tomorrow morning. Lots of GDR riders in town, so that's fun.
Met a guy walking the Continental Divide - he was having to carry food for up to a week at a time! Certainly is room for a walking lobby over here!
Rug up for those southerlies, folks. I've a few miles of hike-a-bike through snow drifts the next two days, so will be thinking of you.

Simon

Oli Brooke-White said...

On the eve of your departure I just want to send you one last good luck message, Simon. All the very best as you undertake this impressive endeavour, and I'm sure you'll succeed. Pedal on, bro. CU, Oli

Colin said...

Hi Simon

It's been inspiring following the huge effort you have put into get to the start line. Hope all your luck is good for the next three or four weeks.

Colin

sifter said...

I've just been reading http://greatdividerace.com/ and http://mtbcast.com/wordpress/ and http://www.adventurecycling.org/ and I have butterflies in my stomach. Thinking of you my man... :)