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Blurred version of the feature image used to fill empty space behind the feature image The Tour Divide (TD) elevation profile logo (Source: oneofsevenproject.com)

Keith's Midlife Crisis: Racing the 2024 Tour Divide (Announcement Part 2 of 2)

  • Written by Keith Huster
  •  / 
  • 6 min read
  •  / 
  • Last updated 20 days ago

This post continues the official announcement of Keith's intention to compete in the 2024 Tour Divide bikepacking race. This announcement comes after several months of debate and planning around the event. The Tour Divide race will be, by far, the longest and most difficult ride of Keith's life. He will be riding his mountain bike from Banff, Alberta, Canada to the USA/Mexico border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA; a 2,745-mile bikepacking adventure. đŸ¤¯

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Did you miss Part 1 of this announcement? If so, I would highly suggest that you start there first.

The complex logistics of a cross-country mountain bike ride

Completing the Tour Divide requires significant planning before, during, and after the race. I'm not going to delve too deep into this subject right now since this probably deserves its own full-length post. However, here is a quick list of some of the considerations required to take on this event.

Planning for the Tour Divide feels like Charlie Day attempting to explain the mail system đŸ¤Ŗ (gif from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

  • Obtaining approval from Keith's employer for such a significant block of paid time off (PTO).
  • Obtaining passports for crossing between Canada and the USA.
  • Figuring out travel between our home in Utah and the starting line in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
  • Figuring out travel between our home in Utah and the finish line in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA.
  • Determining how to carry enough food, water, and supplies on Keith's bike in order to complete the race.
  • Studying the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) maps and planning a realistic daily riding schedule. This includes planning locations to sleep along the route which will consist of a mix of dispersed camping and hotels/cabins to keep lodging costs down.
  • Mentally preparing for potential issues during the race; inclement weather, mechanical issues, getting lost, injuries, sleep deprivation, etc., and, oh yeah, GRIZZLY BEARS!!! đŸģ
  • Determining how to train for such a long event without totally consuming our lives for the next 6-9 months.
  • Determining a realistic budget for the race. It will be quite expensive to travel before and after the race, purchase bikepacking equipment and bike upgrades, and absorb the costs incurred during the race itself.
    Don't worry, there will be plenty of spreadsheets to track all of this. 🤓

How will Keith prepare for this event?

It takes so much effort to prepare for an event such as the Tour Divide. Keith has already spent countless hours watching YouTube videos about the Tour Divide and ultra bikepacking/racing. This "research" has given Keith a few key subjects that he will need to focus on in order to prepare for this race.

Keith is training hard on his Stages SB20 Smart Bike indoor trainer
Keith is training hard on his Stages SB20 Smart Bike indoor trainer
  • Bike Upgrades and Bikepacking Equipment: Keith will need to carry all of his own supplies to get him through long, remote stretches of the route. This includes water, food, clothing for various weather conditions and shelter for the end of each day. Keith will need to figure out how to carry all of this equipment on his bike such that riding doesn't become unbearable due to the added weight of everything.
  • Route Planning: The Tour Divide follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) for which there are maps available. Keith will need to study these maps in great detail in order to understand where the difficult sections are, how far he can expect to ride each day, where his next resupply locations will be, etc.
  • Physical Training: Not to state the obvious, but the Tour Divide will take a significant level of physical fitness in order to complete in his planned 27-30 day timeframe. Keith will need to put together and implement a training plan to improve his overall fitness. This plan will need to include dedicated strength training, flexibility and movement (e.g. yoga), hiking practice (for the hike-a-bike sections), and of course countless hours riding his bike.

How will Keith be documenting his ride?

Keith is still deciding whether or not to take our GoPro Hero 10 Black with him during the ride. It would be awesome to have the GoPro to shoot footage of all the amazing places he will visit along the route. The main concern is that it takes time to shoot all of that video. It also means that Keith would have to carry the additional weight of the GoPro camera, extra batteries, and chargers. He will also have to plan for the additional charging requirements when he has access to power while stopped in towns along the route. A final decision regarding taking the GoPro will be made in the coming months.

Keith is wearing a GoPro action camera while out on a mountain bike ride in the Wasatch Mountains
Keith is wearing a GoPro action camera while out on a mountain bike ride in the Wasatch Mountains

Keith will definitely have access to his iPhone 13 Pro and its excellent camera. This means that he will be able to snap plenty of pictures and quick video clips during the race. So, you can rest assured that we will, in one way or another, have plenty of visual documentation from the event.

What will Lindsey be doing while Keith is away?

Lindsey will most likely be dot watching Keith throughout each day in order to keep track of his progress and determine whether or not he is on pace to complete the route on time. Lindsey will, at times, also be able to communicate with Keith via text and sometimes voice calls. Other than that, Lindsey will be on her own to figure out what she wants to do with her time away from Keith.

Tour Divide 2023 live tracker by trackleaders.com
Live tracking event map for Tour Divide 2023 - The iconic 2700 mile race across the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Includes leaderboard coverage, race flow, replay and links to individual track history pages

The trackleaders.com website from the 2023 Tour Divide race

Lindsey will of course have to work throughout the week but it will be up to her to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her free time. Lindsey will however need to be prepared to drive to pick up Keith, at any time, from anywhere along the route if something were to go catastrophically wrong during his race. It's not uncommon for racers to have to scratch (i.e. quit early) from the race due to mechanical and/or physical issues encountered during the race. Hopefully, all of Keith's preparation will prevent any such issues from occurring. 🤞 🍀

What if Keith doesn't complete the route on time?

Lindsey will be "on call" to pick up Keith wherever he happens to be along the route in case something were to go catastrophically wrong during the race. This will also ensure that Keith is able to be picked up should he simply not be able to physically complete the 2,745-mile (4,418-kilometer) course in the allotted 30-day window.

Lindsey is picking Keith up in the middle of the desert due to his planned ride taking much longer than expected. She is really the best! 😍
Lindsey is picking Keith up in the middle of the desert due to his planned ride taking much longer than expected. She is really the best! 😍

We both hope that Keith will be able to complete the route on time and in good spirits. However, we both know from our research that more than half of the racers who started the 2023 Tour Divide race were forced to scratch for one reason or another prior to the finish line. So, it is a very real possibility that Keith will also be one of those racers that doesn't make it. With an event such as the Tour Divide, you can't rely on hope alone. You must have a plan for all potential possibilities in order to be successful.

We are so excited to embark on this adventure!

This wraps up our official announcement of Keith's midlife crisis planned attempt to race in the 2024 Tour Divide. We hope you are as excited to follow along with this story as we are to write it. Be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Instagram so that you don't miss out on future updates. We will be documenting as much as we can of the pre-race prep, the race itself, and the post-race reflection period.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this announcement. Do you think Keith is crazy for taking this on? Have you ever attempted an ultra-endurance event like the Tour Divide? Do you have any tips or tricks that might help Keith to prepare for this epic adventure? Let us know in the comments section below.👇 đŸ’Ŧ

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