It’s 9 p.m. and the sun has finally set giving us some relief from the heat. Brad Newby’s giant truck’s headlights are beaming my direction and I can see well enough to fasten my headlights to my bike. Even with the sun behind the mountains, it’s still almost 100 degrees. We haven’t started riding yet and I’m already sweating.
If you are anything like me, there are few things that bring you more pleasure than planting a set of knobbies on new single track. I’ve always envisioned cycling as being synonymous with adventure, but when you’ve already ridden every trail in your area things can become stagnant. Sure there’s always the riding trips to new locations, but a new trail with virgin dirt, that’s something special.
I dumped two boxes of fruit snacks and a box of granola bars in my pack. At the time it seemed like a lot. We were planning on a three hour ride, give or take a bit for trail conditions. 7.5 hours later I was grateful I had dumped all those snacks in the pack.
An estimated 954,782 pedals strokes, 3 dead chipmunks, 3 sets of brake pads and 2 pairs of pedals is what it took for Fixie Dave Nice to pedal from Antelope Wells, New Mexico to Banff, Canada. Fixie, as he his known throughout the cycling universe, was the first rider to finish the Tour Divide on a fixed gear bicycle. Yup, you read that right. Fixie rode the entire 2745 mile route without coasting and only with a front brake.
Our destination was a lonely point at the end of a long dirt road. The wind was pushing around the half ton Chevy that was transporting us. The weather predicted that it would stay windy and the temperature was to drop significantly. We were drawn by what was next to this Paris like pit of a swamp, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. More precisely, the Rainbow Rim with its 18 miles of flowy singletrack made the adverse weather conditions worth it.