Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tracking the Tour Divide: Become a Blue Dot Junkie

The 2012 Tour Divide starts in a week. Most of the racers will be carrying SPOT GPS units which transmit our position every 20 minutes. The best site for following the race is Trackleaders ( where each individual rider is identified at their current location (I had to chuckle because I had my SPOT on last Sunday at Ironman Brazil so my wife could follow me and that is where they are currently showing me). 


You can follow how each individual rider is doing and also get data on their speed etc.  I must warn you: it becomes so addictive that viewers have been known to be called ‘Blue Dot Junkies’.  It’s great when riding and one of the junkies comes out on the road and says hello!

UPDATE: Trackleaders has now loaded my individual profile to 

A less elegant approach is my GPS tracking page at This shows all the data for the last 7 days (at least when the SPOT works).

In addition to our GPS locations, racers have ‘call-ins’ which are recorded and posted to  Justin Simoni, who was the only rider to attempt the full route in 2011 due to the snow (he used snow shoes!) describes the call-ins: “It gives a strange little peek into the psyche of the rider, as they attempt to explain the past x days, in a somewhat unreal daze from the countless miles in rain/snow/sweltering heat and usually right before or after an enormous meal. It’s really amazing any of us were able to say anything of substance.” 

Justin has put his call-in contents on a web page and they tell an incredible story. Take time to read them here.  Anyone who thinks that I’m crazy will realize that I’m in a different league to riders like Justin, with his understatements like: “Thursday’s Richmond Peak North Face traverse was not without drama. As I was cutting steps in the well-over 45 degree snow slope with my stand-in ice axe, my bike slipped down the slide zone, hundreds of feet only stopped by a tree.” 

Of course the one call in all riders want to avoid is the one telling mtbcast that they are withdrawing from the race. Unfortunately, most of us end up doing that one …

Ironman Brazil

In 2007 I did my first Ironman triathlon (swim 3.8 km, bike 180 km, run 42 km) and decided that I would complete DSC_0038one on every continent. As I often say, it seemed like a good idea at the time …  Each year I did one race (Korea, Switzerland, Kentucky USA, Australia, South Africa) which left Ironman Brazil to complete the set. But exactly one week before the race—actually, at the exact time where I expected to be about 10 km into the run—I was being put into a CAT scan machine in Toronto. I was thinking this is not an auspicious start to completing my goal.

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Tour Divide 2012 – The Fires Have Started!

With less than two weeks to go someone posted a link to a satellite photo showing the fires in New Mexico. Being an optimist, I won’t be in the area for five weeks – assuming I get that far – so hopefully it will burned out or under control by then. Being a pessimist, I’ve got better asthma medication for this year’s attempt.  At least I’m starting in Banff this time … I’d rather be facing snow than smoke.

Fire Rages in Gila National Forest

Ironman Brazil: Starting My Taper

TS Eliot wrote in his poem ‘The Wasteland’ the famous stanza: “April is the cruellest month”. As my race preparation phase month, this meant an awful lot of training. It was exacerbated by having my March training somewhat compromised by five weeks of travel, which made it necessary to increase the intensity as well as the volume (I subscribe to the Endurance Nation training philosophy that “work WORKS”).

My shortest training week in April was 16 h; my longest 20 h. But the hard work is over. After 18 weeks of training I have reached the magic point where I begin the taper to my race which is two weeks from today. I feel like crap but that is to be expected. My Endurance Nation training plan notes “… your body won’t feel so hot as it begins to cycle down and absorb all the hard work you have done”.  That is an understatement.

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