Enjoy the beautiful view of Banff, Canada as Tony pre-rides the start of Tour Divide
the day before he sets out on his journey.
In 2011 Tony Cervati attempted the Tour Divide, a world-renowned, off-road, cross-country mountain bike race spanning over two thousand miles from Banff, Canada to the U.S.-Mexico border. During the race, Tony survived a near-fatal experience when he fell off a ridge into class III rapids and 40 degree water in an attempt to steer clear of a grizzly bear. He was carried down the river until he was able to climb back to land, where he tracked down his bike and rode seven miles with fractured ribs and hypothermia until he found assistance.
Disheartened after not completing the race, Tony had a change of perspective upon his arrival home when the diabetes community showered him with support for his effort. Tony realized that even attempting such a difficult endeavor was enough to inspire others. He also realized that not every day in your life, or in managing diabetes, will be perfect - but what truly matters is perseverance.
It is with this attitude that Tony decided to head back to Canada this past summer to attempt the Tour again and to inspire people with diabetes to never give up. Come along for the journey as Tony shares his experiences in a five-part series this week.
Tony Cervati's Tour Divide Journey Part One: Heading Back to Banff, Canada with a New Perspective
As the crow flies, or the Airbus 320 in this case, it is 2,128 miles across Canada from Montreal to Calgary. This is over 700 miles LESS than I was getting ready to ride on my bike across North America. I laughed to myself as I waited for my flight.
The main difference in my preparation for this year's Tour Divide attempt, as opposed to last year's near fatal race, was perspective.
Last year I felt an unbelievable amount of self-induced pressure to prove to the entire diabetes community that anything, ANYTHING, was possible. That was the entire focal point of the race. Nothing else but riding every one of the 2,745 self-supported miles to Mexico was acceptable.
When that didn’t happen, even though it was unrelated to my diabetes, I began to question myself. The overwhelming feeling of letting everyone down took a very long time to work out and get over.
Going into this year's race I was immeasurably more relaxed about the fundamentals of the ride itself. The last 12 months gave me time to better consider my gear choices and to develop better ways to deal with my diabetes while traveling and riding across the continent. My bike and gear were eight pounds lighter than last year and I was carrying the minimal amount of supplies, food and water. I was much more mentally and logistically prepared for the challenges I would face.
My targeted goals for Tour Divide 2012 were as follows:
- Raise awareness for people living and dealing with all types of diabetes.
- Pedal out of Banff, Canada on the morning of July 8th.
- Get past the place where the grizzly encounter and fall into the river almost took my life in 2011.
- Cover the 240+ miles and cross the U.S.-Canadian border by the end of day two.
- Reach the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of day 28.
For sure, the goals were much different than last year. Not any less important or lofty though.
In fact, having to deal with the fears and anxiety still lingering from my first experience on the Tour would possibly be even more difficult to achieve than what I was about to encounter on my upcoming journey.
Come back to read what happens next on Tony’s Tour Divide journey.