Friday, June 08, 2012

Tour Divide - It Has Begun

This is Heidi.  I will be doing some writing on Ollie’s blog while he is riding the Tour Divide so everyone following him can have some inside information along the way.  I will try to keep you up to date as I get information from him.

Final preparation took place yesterday with Ollie packing his bags and mounting them to his bike.  One last minute additional item was a winter pare of riding gloves after experiencing a frigid pre-ride in Banff spring rain.  Last night we attended a Q&A evening at a local bar.  Riders socialised and discussed bike set up.  Lots of TC talk.  

Riders socialise at the Q&A evening
Crazy Larry (the host of the evening) attempted to comfort and caution riders of the dangers of bears and hypothermia, only succeeding in cautioning... not comforting.  One of his final statements went something like this ‘It doesn’t matter if you win this race or come last, one thing is sure.... this race will change you’. 

Crazy Larry
This morning there was a mixture of feelings floating around in the air at the WYMCA, where the race begins.  Some riders had the composure of one who is about to go for a fun, social ride on the weekend with their mates.  The more hardcore looking riders were serious; it’s business time.  There was a group photo which I soon became involved in as a photographer.   After the photos it was an informal start, just grab your bike and go.  I lost Ollie in the crowd so didn’t officially say good-bye, but he knows I love him. 

Ollie is ready to ride

Group photo - this is when I last saw Ollie (middle front)
What is left?  The scene is this – Women standing, staring blankly down the now empty road that their husbands, fiancĂ©s and boyfriends have just ridden down, now out of sight.  Several women are a blubbering mess.  I felt like hugging them all and reassuring them that it’s going to be ok.  But I can’t comfort them ALL so I choose one, Amy from Boise, Idaho.  Her fiancĂ© is riding the Divide.  We shared race preparation stories as I walked with her back to her hotel. 

Now to the computer to check the tracker.  Go Ollie, Ollie, Ollie!
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