I was walking the dog early this morning when I heard a voice from behind me shout, “ Hey, I thought that was you!”
It was Steve Gleasner , rocketing by on his bike, apparently here on a loop all the way from Appleton, ME, still riding strong from his month long marathon mountain bike ride. Steve is a plywood artist and master wood turner.
Just last week, I received a bicycle visit from “former Bubba ” Steve, who completed the Tour Divide .
“Tour Divide is the most demanding ultra-endurance mountain bike race on the planet. It’s 100% self supported for almost 3,000 miles with very little access to communication or emergency help,” states Matthew Lee, two-time victor and co-organizer of Tour Divide.
“Tour Divide is a pure test of mental and physical determination for endurance mountain bikers attempting to complete Adventure Cycling Association’s 2,711 mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route at one fell swoop. It follows the trails and jeep roads lacing the Continental Divide from Banff, Alberta to the New Mexico/Mexico border crossing. It passes through two Canadian Provinces and five States, summiting the Divide 30 times for a net elevation gain of 200,000 feet. On average, twenty-five competitors toe the line each year and typically ride separated from each other by days and hundreds of miles on route. Fifty percent of the competitors each year never see the Mexico finish line due to mechanical failure, injuries and/or fatigue”.
Steve started in Canada, and made it to the Mexico border.
He said that some days required 15,00 feet of vertical gain, unsupported. This year 17 insane people started it, with just 9 finishing in the required 30 days. At one point Steve was out there for 1,000 miles without connecting with any of the other riders.
We talked for over an hour, comparing notes about what kind of things happen out there on long distance wilderness outings. We both agreed that these events change you. I’m still figuring out what the hell happened to me.