Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Tour Divide 2017 - The Long Road to Antelope Wells Mk3

It's on!

After spending June into July 2016 watching the dots move steadily down my screen I am finally ready to commit to another run to Antelope Wells for Tour Divide 2017.

I wouldn't normally describe myself as an obsessive person -  more the opposite. I change focus like the wind. Initially as a student I had a stint focusing on running with the obligatory move from 10 through 21, 42 and later 60k with the Kepler Mountain run. Never a contender but a keen participant.

I've been a keen flyer moving from Hang Gliding in my 20's to Paragliding in my 30's and Paramotoring into my 40's.

The move to Alexandra and the Central Otago and Southern Lakes playground saw me move from occasional road cyclist to more regular but very average mountain biker.

There was some single-speeding but mostly I've ridden XC. Bikes got better, tyres lighter and occasionally times got faster. I tried my hand at longer races inspired by trail-blazing friend Geof finding my way to the first run of the Great Southern Brevet in 2012. Full suspension 26inch Specialized Epic, old tent bag strapped to my handlebars for sleeping gear - pushing to hard too fast and developing saddle sores and blisters on my heels coupled with an unseasonal snow dump should've put me off but quite the opposite - I was hooked:-)

Since that first GSB there have been 3 more, a couple of Kiwi Brevets, 3 or 4 ridiculously hilly Le Petite Brevets, the length of NZ with Tour Aotearoa and two Tour Divides. Adding to this a lot of solo training rides and a few (not enough - never enough) 'training' rides with others and the time input is starting to add up...

So - back to the premise - I wouldn't consider myself obsessive - just thorough - I like to repeat things and try to do them better. When I'm focused on one thing I tend to drop the others - but I still come back to them. Right now though - I'm all about the bike!

It's time to draw the line in the sand. I will be fronting up in Banf for another run to Mexico. 3rd time out I am putting more pressure on myself to develop clear goals and achieve them. I am very happy with how I've gone up until now. I handle adversity well and with a race 4500k long, there will always be adversity. I've dealt with weather, mechanicals, breathing difficulties, and the effects of my own poor decision making. The main goal has always been to complete and I have so far managed that. This time must be different. This time I must be different. No prisoners, no second chances.

I'm a trainer. One advantage I have is that I live and breath fitness. I'm in a gym every day. I inspire and am inspired every day. I'm already halfway there before I lift a finger to personalize my own plan. I've never trained to race the divide but from now - the race is on!

Goal 1 - gotta race and finish top 10 - The truth is this is where the race happens. If you're not there you're no where.

As much as I'd like to win it - I am a realist - I'm just not and never have been that good:-) I'm also limited in what my life will let me do in terms of the time and money I am prepared to spend on the goal. I'm a husband, father and person with responsibilities outside the race. Given the right conditions I think I have a 16 day ride in me. The right conditions might be tail winds all the way but hey - it's the divide - anything can happen:-)

Goal 2 - Plan for 16 days out of the gate. Accept that this is dependent on so many things and quite possibly unrealistic even if all conditions are optimal. Go hard or go home? Not quite - go hard and possibly limp home a broken man...

Goal 3 - Nope - that's it - there's only 2 goals. I'd like to think I'll have fun doing it but not if that is at the expense of goal 1 or 2...

So this is my declaration. I'm going. I'm going hard. I may blow-up as many better riders before me have but that's racing and I will be there to race.

Inside a month to go and feeling like xmas:-)



  1. Rob - all the best to you and Steve H [and Geof B?? - did not see him on TL]....you know the drill - -- very well! stay bad ass! Focus - focus focus......give Steve a hug....Cliff Clermont

  2. Hey Rob, Hope you smash it out the park mate, take no prisoners !! Best Ben

  3. Got my eye on your SPOT Rob! Hoping you have nothing but tailwinds and smooth cruising all the way to Antelope Wells! Sign me up as a fan from California...be safe and best of luck!


  4. Rob, congrats on your TD race and reaching your top 10 finish goal! You had a great race - it was fun following you and Brad. Sleep well ;)

  5. Wow Rob, fantastic ride.
    Jen and I have been watching you for 3/4 of your ride. I was just having a look at your profile and read your blog, saw the comments about hang gliding and said to Jen "Hey this Rob guy riding the Tour Divide is Rob"
    We both had a great time following you and would love to hear the story of your ride one day.
    That is a great achievement to meet your goal, soak it up and enjoy being off the bike for a little while.
    All the best
    Ed and Jen