With June 9th looming just around the corner, all of Gleason’s training will soon be thoroughly tested. Aspects of the TDR just can’t be replicated though. Will what he’s been imagining, and talking and reading about match up with reality once he starts turning pedals?
We conclude our series, Course Adjustments: Greg Gleason and the Tour Divide...
With June 9th looming just around the corner, all of Greg Gleason’s training will soon be thoroughly tested. Aspects of the Tour Divide Race just can’t be replicated though. Will what he’s been imagining, and talking and reading about match up with reality once he starts turning pedals? “I’m still trying to get my head around two-plus weeks of constant riding. How do you prepare for something like that?”
Luckily, Gleason has a lot of past experiences and successes to draw from. “I would look at races like Trans Iowa when I first got into gravel racing, and shake my head saying to myself, ‘Who would do that crazy nonsense? 320-plus miles of gravel in the cold, yucky spring weather? Crazy! But I keep reminding myself that every time I thought something would be almost impossible, I did it. Trans Iowa, seven centuries in a row, Leadville, etc.” When asked how he’s feeling now, he’s got his range of emotions covered: “Calm, excited, nervous.” But, he quickly follows with, “Can’t wait to start!”
Gleason has also thoroughly researched his bikepacking legs, bike, and mind. Turns out his region provided him with some pretty arduous testing grounds that you can read about here, here, and here. “Right now, my gear is good – light and fast, and as far as fitness, I’m in the best shape of my life. Legs are starting to feel really great.”
In terms of what he’s looking forward to most, the beginning and end rank the same. “I’m excited for Banff and meeting everyone, but experiencing the finished result will scratch an itch I’ve had for a long time. ‘My destination is no longer a place, but a new way of seeing.’ - Marcel Proust…. This…this is what I think everyone talks about after finishing.”
He continues, “The scenery will be amazing, I’m sure, as well as experiencing all the different geographical regions and ecosystems of each state. I am just excited to have the chance to ride the Divide. I will start each day with a massive grin on my face.”
Worries are to be expected for an endeavor of this magnitude, and Gleason has a few. “I think I worry most about singletrack. I have never mastered singletrack so I ride like a stiff old man. No flow going on here!” He’s also concerned about the thin air. “All the altitude! I live at 1,200 feet so altitude has always been an issue with my asthma.” And lastly, “Water crossings. It’s mainly because I hate wet feet. I know it is part of the gig but I don’t have to like it.”
So, what does riding the TDR mean when Gleason thinks of his previous life? “Courage. When I made the decision to ride the Divide, I did it to push myself into doing something that I was terrified of doing – basically I had no clue! I picked 50 because it felt appropriate to do something epic when I reached that age. The journey has connected me with some pretty amazing people and organizations, like Salsa Cycles. This journey has enriched my life in ways I cannot explain but it has been truly special.”
We here at Salsa Cycles wish Gleason the very best for this pursuit, and we’ll be glued to his Trackleaders “dot” for the duration of his ride!
Good luck, Greg!