In the course of a slender path 11,000 toes excessive within the Rockies, endurance bike owner Ken Zylstra stumbled on a new child antelope.
“It was simply born, nonetheless moist,” says Ken, the president of his personal service firm (and a former Life Time govt), recalling the awe of this transient encounter final summer time as he and a small group rode the two,745-mile Tour Divide from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.
It was one in every of many transcendent moments on a grueling 27-day trip that crisscrossed the Continental Divide 32 occasions — moments that punctuated hours and days of hardship and uncertainty.
“We had the chance to trip by way of a number of the most majestic and untraveled areas of the Rocky Mountains,” Ken says, reflecting on the unobscured sunrises and sunsets, ever-changing climate, unforgiving terrain, and wild nature.
Ken, then 59, had accomplished many ultra-distance races — together with the notoriously grueling Leadville Path 100 MTB — a few of which have been arguably extra harmful due to their remoteness or excessive circumstances. But the Tour Divide represented the head of his decades-long biking profession. It had lengthy been on his bucket checklist, although taking a month off to trip it — not to mention practice for it — hadn’t appeared possible.
Then in 2021, life circumstances provided Ken an surprising summer time off. Together with his household’s help, he prepped for 2 months, energy coaching at Life Time in Savage, Minn., and taking Life Time’s on-demand yoga courses at house.
The trip was unsupported — no SAG (help and equipment) stops, no crews — so cautious planning and fixed recalculations have been important. Cafés and grocery shops weren’t reliably open due to the pandemic. When path circumstances slowed the group down, they couldn’t attain deliberate campsites and lodging. Crossing the Nice Divide Basin in southwestern Wyoming meant pedaling 300 miles with no alternatives to resupply water or meals.
“The Tour Divide was undoubtedly essentially the most tough,” Ken remembers, evaluating it with different rides he’s executed. “Bodily, mentally, emotionally — day after day.”
But, when issues felt not possible on the path, he was in a position to attract on a deep nicely of appreciation for this unlikely alternative (in addition to his coaching and expertise) to persevere. “‘Keep in mind, guys, we get to do that,’” he’d remind his group.
“There’s a simplicity on the path that I’m so drawn to,” Ken explains. “You progress ahead, you eat, you sleep, you drink, and also you attempt to keep secure, and then you definately repeat. There’s a solitude, a cleaning, that occurs on the market that’s so pure, that simply filters all the pieces in your soul.”
Discovering Power x 2
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