Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tour Divide 2012 - Ollie's epic bike adventure


If only the Tour Divide was that easy!
The crazy idea...
The Tour Divide is an epic 4418km journey along the American Continental Divide. Beginning in the snowy climes of Banff, Alberta and ending in the saliva sapping desert of New Mexico at Antelope Wells, the journey is punctuated by 31not in-substantial crossings of the divide.  As a self supported mountainbike race, riders carry all their gear and spare parts along the route, resupplying with food and drink where possible and camping wherever they care. After six years of the event, it has come to be known as the pinnacle of the strange but addictive discipline of bikepacking.
I’d first learnt of this epic journey from the experiences of New Zealand mountainbike legend Simon Kennett, who had ridden the event’s precursor, the Great Divide in 2008. He recorded a respectable time despite sickness and oppressive heat and I was in awe of his accomplishment. I didn’t even consider that I’d be capable of such a feat till I dabbled in Brevet riding (which coincidentally Simon instigated) several years later.
Lining up in Blenheim for a 1100km jaunt along scenic back roads around the top of the south is a world away from the Tour Divide, but the combination of adventure, joy, suffering and elation I experienced in the Kiwi Brevet served to spark a passion for bikepacking, that could only be truly satiated by an assault on the Tour Divide. After viewing ‘Ride the Divide’ a documentary film of the 2008 race, I was convinced to make the Tour Divide a priority, and more than a year out I began preparations in earnest.

My Tour Divide rig in its early development stages
The preparation...
Spreadsheet after spreadsheet, counting grams, thermal ratings and volumes I narrowed down a list of gear and tested it at every opportunity. Bike wise I was pretty sorted, a Ventana El Commandante Hardtail 29er which had served me dutifully in 12 hour races and Brevets, with a Rohloff 14 speed internal geared hub providing transmission.  The latter has proven to be practically indestructible under the legs of bearded world ultra-tourers named Hans, and would provide unmatched reliability for the very long ride.
Another unique part of my setup was the Gates Carbon Drive, replacing the chain with a lube-less toothed rubber belt akin to your car’s cam belt. I’d ridden the system for a few years on a singlespeed with great success, and it lent itself well to the long days in potentially adverse conditions such as derailleur chewing, well clogging mud.

An ultra lightweight tent, mat and sleeping bag meant I could rest and recover even in adverse weather, and some bags from Revelate in addition to a custom made handlebar bag kept all the stuff off my back and on the bike, saving my butt from any excess pressure.
While it is usual for mountainbikers to obsess over gear, and I won’t deny this is one aspect of mountainbiking I relish, a bigger focus I was aware of was the need for mental preparation to keep happy and motivated for the long days of suffering that potentially lay in store.  For this I had two final hit outs during the summer. First up the Great Southern Brevet which threw up all kind of issues with my bag designs, as well as some snow trudges, epic climbs and long solo days to test will power. Secondly was the 2012 clockwise Kiwi Brevet which was a breeze compared to the gruelling Great Southern. With gear carrying sorted I dabbled for the first time in riding an event with only my own wandering thoughts for company. Turned out it wasn’t too bad and I finished up knowing I’d have the mental fortitude to ride at least some of the Tour Divide alone.
Final preparation consisted of a few weeks at altitude in the smug bubble of Boulder, Colorado. Hosted by some incredibly hospitable friends, this town served as an excellent base for final training and testing, not to mention packing on the few pounds I’d be expecting to lose over the course of the Tour Divide.

Oh Canada...
Lining up outside the YWCA in Banff on a chilly morning, it was a fantastic to be at the start line and ready to start what had been such a long time in the making. I rolled out towards the singletrack in such nervous haste that I didn’t even get a chance to give my partner Heidi a farewell hug!
Kiwi's looking staunch pre-race
 Straight away the pace was hot, with rookies and veterans alike surging ahead to make their mark and split up the record 100 strong field. By the time we’d hit the first gravel road section, a small lead group had formed, and pressing on this thinned further to leave a multinational trio, Craig a friendly cabinet maker and ITT veteran from  Calgary, Adam a dentist and rookie from Missoula and  myself, a rookie and civil engineer from New Zealand.
While it was early days, it was clear that there were two distinct approaches already, the 'ride fast and rest more' approach we’d adopted, or the 'ride slower and rest less' philosophy of those behind.
Craig and I were both from an XC racing background, and ended up distancing others over the proceeding day’s passes, many of which were snow bound due to high snowfalls and some of the worst conditions in the race’s history. Using a combination of sliding, CX remounts and skiing we gapped other contenders into Eureka, the 2 horse town that served as the start of the Montana section.

Snowy, cold, Montana
Shivering in the Eureka Subway, we wolfed down toasted meatball subs and contemplated our options. It was early, 4PM, too early to stop riding for the day, but the weather was abysmal and the prospect of several more high passes and a damp camp deep in bear country tempered our enthusiasm. Eric and Adam arrived and were clearly intimidated, opting for hot showers and soft beds in a nearby motel. Craig and I weren’t phased and set off into the bellowing storm fuelled by the bravado of our daring move. As the race played out, this proved to be the crucial break and we wouldn’t see any other riders again. It was here that I was most thankful for my tent and warm gear, as despite the deluge outside I got a good night’s sleep, if a little jumpy at the rustling of unidentified wildlife in nearby bushes.
Waking early we were off, riding muddy roads in the dark, till we gradually climbed to altitudes where the rain turned to sleet and then snow, and our measured cadences were reduced to stumbling through snow fields. The Red Meadow Pass was particularly snow stricken, and it wasn’t so much the climb as the descent which took almost 5km of tiresome pushing before the soft snow became thin enough to be rideable.
Rain gear was well used in Montana
The resort town of Whitefish proved to be warm oasis in the stormy sea, and the gigantic syrup and bacon laden breakfast I’d promised myself at 3AM that morning proved to be a great reward.
The state of Montana made up a disproportionate amount of the Tour Divide course, whether it was the snow or just the newness of Divide routines, I felt as if the long days in this state made those in southern territories seem like a breeze. Just as well then that the roads and trails here were some of the best of the route. Rolling climbs which flattered and sweeping descents that teased you to ride sans brakes, not to mention the technical treats of the Lava Mountain Trail outside Helena, which came just as interest in the gravel roads began to wane.
Dropping into Helena, my front brake had developed an alarming disposition towards not-functioning, and when faced with 1500m descents over some of the higher passes, the lonely rear stopper began to howl with heat build-up, and would occasionally stage a stop work protest of its own.
It took several days of riding like this, the latter with the rear swapped to front to ease the braking burden till I made it to the famed Outdoorsman bike shop in Butte Montana, where we were treated to snacks and free service from Levi Leipheimer’s brother Rob. With brakes bled and a fresh set of pads, we could shred the downhill again. Whether through luck or sheer pace,  we seemed to time our crossing of crucial bottlenecks in the course to perfection. The insanely steep Fleecer descent was delightfully tacky, the Banack back road which had historically been an 18 hour mud slathered slog was a dry 6 hour tailwind assisted blast, and out of Lima we were treated to a ferocious tailwind which meant our speed didn’t drop below 35km/h for close to 5 hours. Surely the omnipotent weather being was viewing our Divide journey with favour.
Post breakfast stoke at the Montana High Country Lodge
Idaho & Wyoming
Resupply was starting to become an issue however, with long distances between towns and precious little space on our bikes for food, Craig faded one evening as we crested the last Divide crossing before Idaho. Pulling up at a motel around midnight the proprietors couldn’t be roused so we bivyed in the car park, only a pulverised muffin for sustenance.
Waking early we were determined to get to food, and after the spirit crushingly sandy slog along a converted rail trail Craig faded badly and left the course for a proper feed. Digging into reserves I pushed on, and riding for the first time in the race alone, I convinced myself that I was fully capable of maintaining the gap all the way to Antelope Wells 3000km away. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to test this resolve, as on entering the Teton National Park a road closure on the route due to an auto accident forced a rest at the roadside for almost 4 hours. By the time it was open again Craig and I were back together and agreed to reform the ‘dream team’ for the long ride ahead.
Now properly in Wyoming, our next big obstacle was the Great Basin, which proved to be challenging only by its sheer mind numbingness rather than any physical demand.  At one point midway through this empty desert Craig and I became so disinterested that we agreed to attack the course. While this less than sustainable strategy kept boredom at bay and took us to the route midpoint of Rawlins in haste,  we paid the price with physical suffering rather than mental angusish.
My body had held up surprisingly well thus far, but I’m thankful to Craig for his experience with Achilles tendon injuries, as without the remarkably efficacious taping he’d prescribed I’m certain I’d still be lying on the road in agony back in Elkhorn Hot Springs (day 5).  By limiting the motion of this most  infamous of tendons I was able to pedal in comfort, and after some adjustment to cleats and pedals I’d also managed to dodge the knee pain which had arisen as I compensated for less dip in my pedal stroke. We’d also both discovered to wondrous apparent healing powers of Ibuprofen, which when taken at night at the end of a long day of pedalling, would melt away aches and pains from ass, quads and hands, leaving us both feeling like we were back on day one and pedalling with vim and vigour. Rest assured I’ve not found the magic pills to be as effective in everyday life and have discontinued their use,  thus quashing any fear of addiction.
Pulling into Rawlins for a quick refuel of pizza and endless fountain Pepsi, we skipped town with the aim of making Colorado that evening. Alas our efforts were foiled by sleep monsters, a phenomenon usually reserved for the sleep deprivation junkies known as adventure racers. Often it would hit mid morning, but never with such lead eyed persuasion as late at night, and often on a fast pedal free descent I’d find myself physically straining to keep eyelids ajar for fear of free riding off course and off a cliff. While caffeine pills proved effective during the day, I was reluctant to use them late at night, lest the buzz eat into precious sleeping time. Craig seemed to be plagued by the monsters worse than I did, and this night close to Colorado we peeled off the road and set up camp before they could win the battle for his consciousness.

Colorado
That morning after pedalling through the famed tunnel of trees that is Aspen Alley, we descended then climbed into the centennial state, stopping for breakfast at the Brush Mountain Lodge. A Tour Divide institution,  this year the infamously hospitable Kristy was replaced by Matt Lee and his wife Katie. To be able to join this legend of the route for a delicious breakfast of pancakes, burritos and watermelon was a great treat, and we took the chance to compare notes on strategy and course conditions at this midpoint of the race. It shows a true passion for the route that it wasn’t enough for Matt to ride it seven times, he also choose to return with his family to support the racers on his family’s holiday.
Since the Banff depart, I’d been looking forward to Colorado, and it didn’t disappoint. From the hip but quaint ski town of Steamboat, to the epic mountain passes that followed. One pass offered up a wildlife highlight when we encountered a showboating beaver tending to his high altitiude dam. Only that morning I’d been telling Matt how it was the one critter which I longed to see but had escaped my gaze thus far.
Pushing on we made it to Silverthorne, and a string of resort towns with bustling economies that made a stark contrast with the slower placed settlements we’d toured through thus far.  We took all the opportunities offered  by the multitude of services, stopping at every convenience store along the way for drink and food, as well as at a bike shop to swap front tire with back and tend to other minor mechanical concerns.
Breckenridge signalled the end of the developed stretch and with the flattering climb of Boreas Pass we were hurtling down the Gold Dust Trail, an exceptional piece of flowing singletrack that kept us stoked for the rest of the long day, including through an exceedingly long headwind drag to Salida.

Arriving at close to midnight, we checked into a motel and showered away the days of accumulated grime and sweat from our weary limbs.
The next morning, we ascended the gradual slope of Marshall Pass, like much of the route its forgiving grade was due to its history as a railroad route.  The section following this consisted of long rolling climbs and oppressive heat as we gained elevation and crested a few more passes. Fortunately for us, the route was rarely trafficked, but when a vehicle did pass I was thankful for my buff to shield lungs from clouds of dust.
We were especially relieved when entering the last stretch before La Garita we saw a bright yellow grader leaving, his handy blade work removing some of the fierce corrugations that were less than appealing on my rigid fork. After a long dry stretch that included a number of dips in roadside streams to cool down roasting cores, we pulled into La Garita with no water or food to spare. Only a restaurant icon on my GPS gave us hope, symbolising a resupply point  which we hoped had cold drinks and ice cream and had been dreaming of for the past eight hours.
At first glance we were heartbroken. The store was locked and not a soul in sight, and so I sheepishly knocked on the door of an adjoining house to plead my case. The first response (a barrage of barking from a guard dog) didn’t bode well, but shortly after Jill the friendly proprietor popped through to open the shop, and the sandwiches, ice cream sandwiches and sodas she dished up were heaven for our parched lips and shrinking stomachs. Turns out we weren’t the first emaciated biker’s she had come across. She was clearly thankful for our business to supplement her core clientele of local ranchers. While we were drained by the oppressive heat, she seemed entirely unfazed only ruing the fact her trees were dying. Turns out the water being trucked in couldn’t stretch to keeping her garden alive. Their wells were dry after the almost decade long drought the region had been experiencing.
Following a theme that was becoming more familiar and less diffuclt, we rose from our sun baked stupor like phoenixes spurred on by the sugar coursing through our digestive systems. With light fading we joined the back road to Del Notre, shredding an awesome natural dual slalom track that had formed with the combined erosive effects of nature and 4x4s. Riding side by side with Craig we duelled through the sand berms, recalling our snow riding balance once the sand became too loose to float over. Del Norte allowed a final chance for resupply, and we headed up to the base of Indiana Pass to begin the largest climb of the tour at first light.
With a climb to 11,910 feet, I wasn’t expecting an easy start to the day, but like many other climbs I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the epic ascent. 

Rare footage of Craig and Ollie riding.
Pinning it to the top of Indiana Pass

What made this pass surreal was the environmental destruction that had been wrought by gold miners on the top of this mountain. Their Summitville mine seemed to have removed half of the picturesque mountain top, replacing it with deep earthen scars and a legacy of toxic chemicals that required intervention from the federal government’s Superfund. While the equally epic descent to Platoro quickly erased my disgust at the sight, the distaste has stuck with me and led to change in personal outlook regarding mining. We really are very fortunate that so little of our pristine New Zealand wilderness has been pillaged as Summitville has.
After only a pop tart and other small snacks for the entire morning’s climb, I reached Platoro with a monstrous hunger, and just as well the river lodge at the end was offering the Bigfoot breakfast challenge. Consisting of a stack of 5 huge pancakes, three sausage patties and two eggs, the challenge had never been completed and success would mean a free breakfast, a T shirt, and the respect (or disgust) of my fellow diners. While the waiter almost didn’t take my order, refusing to believe I could stomach the sheer quantity of food, I finished with 6 minutes to spare, and spent the feast to settle coaching some Texan diners there for a fishing holiday on how to approach the challenge. Key to success was ample use of syrup (almost two jugs worth), but unfortunately they couldn’t replicate my success. But with a hundred Divide riders hot on our heels, I was sure that the feat would be repeated. So accommodating were the staff that they agreed to send my T shirt back to New Zealand, as while the heft of the starchy breakfast was easy to stomach, a souvenir T shirt of my conquest of the Bigfoot challenge was just dead weight for this weenie.
Post breakfast and full of pancake!
With such a great start to the day, I rolled down the hill from Platoro motivated for a big day, just the attitude required with the next obstacle in front of us. It began with a climb up a steep paved highway which had taken on a feeling of an oven with the immense mid day heat reflecting into our faces from the blacktop. Unlike previously there were no handy pools to cool off in so when the gradient turned downwards and the road became gravel and then rough 4wd track we could breathe a sigh of relief.
The traversing of Boreas Ridge which was highlighted by loose rocky section where the surface consisted of fist sized cobbles which scattered as my rear tire grasped for traction. It was still baking hot but we’d the shelter of some trees for shade, and as we entered New Mexico these thinned out to become the desolate sage clad plains that would become all too familiar in the final stretch of the Divide.

New Mexico
Our long day again pushed us to the limits of food and water, a bag of banana chips serving as lunch and dinner as well as breakfast next morning. We were lucky to find one remaining water well at a campground which hadn’t dried up. Arriving at Bode’s store in Abiqui the next morning we were ranevnous, and for the second day in a row I indulged in a massive breakfast, this time four delicious breakfast burritos and the same number of cans of coke. Stocking up again with as much food as I could carry we were off again with a proper epic  40 mile climb through the high New Mexican forest ahead.
Climbing out of Abiqui prior to the storm arriving
 Again it was hot but as we climbed a curious change occurred with the weather appearing to turn on itself. So immense was the heat that huge puffy clouds began to form, and as they closed over we welcomed the shade they cast. In the space of ten minutes huge dollops of rain began to fall, and this was again welcome. Donning my rain gear for the first time since Montana I was dry and happy, but the arrival of marble sized hailstones and the static fuelled rumble of distant thunder planted a seed of concern. In one of the famed New Mexican thunderstorms, the worst possible place to hang out is apparently a clearing on a ridge, which is just where I happened to be riding. I hastily decided that three seconds would be an acceptable delay between lighting flash and thunder clap, indicating a deathly electrical surge was about 1km away. The closest they got was five seconds, and as swiftly as the storm had come upon us it disappeared, my anxiety passing with the dark purple clouds.
The descent that followed felt like it kept us occupied all afternoon, taking in some loose rocky sections reminiscent of Boreas Ridge, a swarm of butterflies that made me think I was in a fairytale, and a steep road descent with sweeping corners that made me feel like I was on a motorbike. I was only brave enough to ride on my aerobars for some of the high speed turns.
Spat out in Cuba with not a cigar in site, we resorted to Subway, their meatball sandwiches were fast becoming a staple of my Divide diet alongside Gatorade, breakfast burritos and pop tarts.
The long road section which followed didn’t have too many highlights beside a questionable bivy on an Indian reservation, and a fearsome night pursuit by some horse riding Mexicans. They approached on their equine steeds at high speed  with cries of ‘Areeba’ and ‘Yee haaw’, and I wasn’t sure whether I was hallucinating or about to be the subject of a robbery. Instinct took over and I pinned it, and am happy to report that on a slight downhill grade I can out pedal an inebriated Mexican on a horse. This would prove to be one of the more surreal and exciting encounters of my Divide.
Only a few miles before Grants, disaster struck our riding ‘dream team’, which some fellow competitors have likened to a bromance. Craig’s XTR pedals (which one could argue are the benchmark for reliability), the very ones I was also using, had developed a rumble which had worsened to an alarming clunk. Stopping to investigate, he borrowed some tools from the owner of a roadside bar and removed the spindle. Tiny ball bearings scattered like marbles and Craig’s hopes of finishing in a record time melted away like the tar in the mid morning sun.
After riding together for so long, I felt physically gutted for Craig and as he urged me to push on alone I came to curse the misfortune that had struck him. Even more powerful was that it could have happened to either of us, and breaking the deep bond that can only come from riding epic terrain together for 14 days, I was shell shocked as I pulled back onto the highway. While the Divide is an individual race, I felt a responsibility for us both to do our pairing proud, and push for the finish as fast as I could.
While the line was just in sight, the enormity of the terrain ahead was not to be underestimated with the Gila National Forest having a reputation amongst Dividers as the toughest part of the course.
Throwing caution to the growing headwind, I pushed on alone through the 40 degree heat and seemingly endless trail of energy sapping sand to Pie Town. The headwind did its best to keep me from reaching this famed pie haven, so it was with relief I rolled in at 6PM in time for dinner on the only day they served evening meals. While wind was a staunch opponent it was reassuring to know that luck was at least on my side.
Rolling out from Pie Town my heart swelled with encouragement from the locals, stomach brimming with steak of the chicken fried variety, I pushed on over Mangas Pass and found a nice bivy on a desolate stretch of road, happy to have knocked off a good portion of the Gila in the cool of the evening.
The Gila itself began with benign climbs and possibly the lamest crossing of the divide yet, the crest of the crossing barely distinguishable from a flat road. Pushing onwards I plugged through a long stretch of loose sandy road. This would have been nightmarish if it had been exposed to any sort of precipitation, fortunately this was not the case and I battled though to make the Beaverhead work station by mid day.  As the only resupply location in this 260km stretch, this forest fireman’s station was complete with a freshly stocked Coke machine to which I gifted my spare quarters in exchange for cans of cool, sweet, caffeinated bliss. I got chatting to the ranger stationed there and he like many other people along the route weren’t surprised by me turning up. Turns out he was enjoying a lull after some of the largest fires in recent history had ravaged nearby forests. To make matters worse, his home town of Fort Collins was being decimated by the flaming menace, with the threat to homes and lives clearly weighing heavy on his mind.
He wished me on my way and I was back on the trail, exposed to an inferno of a different kind with some of the steepest climbs I’d experienced making the final half of the Gila a tough experience. Cresting the final climb I was anticipating a fast flowing descent which I’d come to expect, but the reality of a loose, corrugated false flat was the final punishment, and my relief on hitting the highway was palpable. Rolling off course to Lake Richards, I ignored the cafe closed sign and pleaded to the proprietor Frances for cold drinks and food after the long stretch without. She was more than hospitable,  serving up slice after slice of freshly made chocolate pie and ice cold sodas to accompany the conversation. Turns out she had hiked the route I’d been biking some years back, a truly mammoth test of endurance that I found hard to fathom. Clearly seeing my weak state she offered up her lounge for a nap, an offer I duly accepted knowing the next stretch of singletrack was not to be underestimated.
Refreshed and invigorated, I tacked the technical singletrack with vim, lapping up the tight turns of this Sapillo alternate and the short descents it offered. A final thrilling road descent then climb past Pinos Altos, and I’d made Silver City, and headed straight to Subway to restock with a personal record breaking three footlongs.
Along the way we’d occasionally crossed paths with Divde followers that could only be described as super fans. The would appear in the oddest places and times, like the top of Indiana Pass, close to midnight outside Rawlins and on a rainy Sunday morning on the road to Whitefish. They would yell a couple of encouraging words and we’d smile, but cruising past I’d often feel bad for not stopping to talk, a fair reward given the effort they’d spent to satiate their taste for putting  dust stained faces to the blue dots they’d been following from the comfort of their homes.
A crew of three Silver City locals who met me as I rolled into town were clearly biking fans, helping run the annual Tour de Gila. They’d just finished up a ride on the sweet trails in the hills surrounding the city. I rode off into the night warmed by the fact that the simple act of riding a bicycle could have such a worldwide appeal.
As daylight faded, my desire to reach the finish some 200km away was strong, but unfortunately the string of bivys over recent nights had meant my light was close to flat, finally deciding to sputter out just short of Separ. While it would have been ideal to finish this section in the cool air of the night, with no light this wasn’t an option and I bivyed again in the desert to wait for first light, hoping I wasn’t too conspicuous to any gun toting drug traffickers .
The final road stretch to Antelope Wells was arguably the toughest of the Tour. While the smooth pavement and morning sun didn’t pose too much of a physical challenge, the thought that this amazing journey would be coming to an abrupt end left a part of me wanting to keep riding. While I was looking forward to the comforts of modern life like hot showers, soft beds and padded sofas, part of me didn’t want to let go of the visceral survival experience I’d immersed myself in.
Tired but content, Ollie at Antelope Wells
The highlights of my Tour Divide are too numerous to single out. Whether the immensely hospitable characters I’d met along the way, or the picturesque mountain terrain I’d traversed, or even the sheer self indulgent joy of living day to day with the singular purpose of getting to Mexico by mountainbike. Safe to say it will be some time before my memories of the 2012 Tour Divide fade.

Get that man to McDonalds!



On the road to recovery

21 comments:

Tim said...

Eating challenges are a synch for long distance cyclists, nothing like the look on local's faces when an emaciated cyclist turns up and eats his body weight in food. Nice work, oh and nice ride too!

Flyboy said...

Great write up Ollie.
As a typical Aussie I "owned" you and was cheering you on from Brisbane.
It was fascinating to follow the Commonwealth Challenge from afar and heartbreaking to see Craig drop out so near then finish.
Bloody well done to you sir.

Oliver (Ollie) Whalley said...

Cheers guys! Flyboy, I'm Brisbane bound in a month or so. Would be great if you could show me the trails! Will be in touch...

mcl said...

Thanks for the great write up. Loved following you during the race! I look forward to more epic ridsin the future.

sifter said...

Areeba indeed! What a great story Ollie, to match your incredible achievement. (And fancy a civil engineer wanting to see a beaver!) I hope your body's recovering well, and the emotional come-down isn't proving too difficult. Nice work man!

Simon K said...

Yay! I've been looking forward to this write-up. What a huge, impressive effort. Really liked seeing you buddy up with Craig. Hope you recover fast Ollie (took me a few months before I could tie my shoe laces normally - a small price to pay for such precious memories).

Epic Rob said...

Top effort Oli, you could have ridden back to get the car though ;-)

Agentur Felix AG said...

Herzliche Gratulation !! Tolle Fahrt, toller Artikel. Weiter so.

Aaron Clark said...

Top work Oli Woli, very proud of what you accomplished mate! Clarky.

Robbie said...

Nice work Ollie. Was great following your progress and reading the write up. What next???

Jason Blair said...

Ollie,

Check out this site for upcoming SEQ races - first up try the EPIC - good singletrack out at OHV!
http://www.mtbdirt.com.au/calendar-events/month/09
I'll be over 29 Sept and might do the 6 hour at Canungra on the 30th before I go into holiday mode.

Cheers
Jason

The Rhino said...

I knwo you used a tent, but what did Craig use?

Oliver (Ollie) Whalley said...

Craig was running a bivy bag and sleeping bag. Not even a mat! Hard man.

The Rhino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Rhino said...

Ollie, in your Gear Divide list, everything that states REAR (ie rear parts, rear health) was in your saddle bag? What is the theory behind that, and not in your front? Or jsut easy access items in your front, and sleeping +not often used items in the saddle bag?

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James said...

Great post! So you did Brevets to prepare? Aren't those a bunch of old slow guys? Ha!

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