In the course of a slender path 11,000 ft excessive within the Rockies, endurance bike owner Ken Zylstra came across a new child antelope.
“It was simply born, nonetheless moist,” says Ken, the president of his personal service firm (and a former Life Time government), recalling the awe of this transient encounter final summer season as he and a small crew rode the two,745-mile Tour Divide from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.
It was considered one of many transcendent moments on a grueling 27-day journey that crisscrossed the Continental Divide 32 instances — moments that punctuated hours and days of hardship and uncertainty.
“We had the chance to journey by 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 situations. 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 journey it — not to mention practice for it — hadn’t appeared possible.
Then in 2021, life circumstances provided Ken an surprising summer season off. Together with his household’s assist, he prepped for 2 months, power coaching at Life Time in Savage, Minn., and taking Life Time’s on-demand yoga courses at house.
The journey was unsupported — no SAG (assist and kit) 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 situations slowed the crew 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 troublesome,” Ken remembers, evaluating it with different rides he’s executed. “Bodily, mentally, emotionally — day after day.”
But, when issues felt inconceivable on the path, he was in a position to attract on a deep effectively of appreciation for this unlikely alternative (in addition to his coaching and expertise) to persevere. “‘Bear in mind, guys, we get to do that,’” he’d remind his crew.
“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 protected, and then you definately repeat. There’s a solitude, a cleaning, that occurs on the market that’s so pure, that simply filters every little thing in your soul.”
Discovering Energy x 2
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