I see the endurance cycling guru and former Tour Divide record holder Jay Petervary is having another crack at the event. It was pretty obvious by his comments during the official running of the event this year that he was "ill at ease" with the "purity" of how the race was unfolding (riders riding in the vicinity of others). While the event itself has probably not changed a lot in the last few years, the introduction of spot trackers has meant that, like yacht racing and many other inherently boring sports, multi-day endurance bike racing has now become great viewing.
|Kiwi Brevet 2012|
I was very impressed at the way the top riders like Ollie Whalley and Craig Stapler rode this years Tour Divide, with good sleeping patterns and relatively high average speeds on the trail. To me this is racing. Riding along through the night in a sleep deprived stupor is not the kind of thing that impresses me personally. "Learning about yourself" by digging really deep sort of reminds me a bit of Steve Jobs trying to reach a new level of enlightenment by fasting. Tales of the hallucinatory experiences people have sound very interesting in the telling, but I am not sure I want to go there.
I have brought into the world two kids so I've done my fair share of sleep deprivation, and I can say it never did a lot for my athleticism. Family is also a great way of ensuring you have some kind of a balance in your life. I never thought I'd say it, but I am really thankful to have people around me who help me put my obsessions into perspective with respect to the big picture.
For me, bikepacking is about a couple of things. Getting out there into the wilds, good company and an element of being self sufficient. I often wonder if I could be bothered doing these efforts by myself. I suspect I would get very bored with my own company after about a day. Luckily everyone is motivated by different things.
Anyway, JP is putting his money where his mouth is, foregoing the Grand Depart and riding the 4400km completely by himself. JP's spot tracker should turn up here. Check out his rig here. A very nice Ti Salsa Fargo with Woodchippers.