While racing the Tour Divide last summer I spent a lot of time crying. Starting just after crossing into Idaho and lasting until a few miles before the Mexican border, I probably averaged about three episodes a day, for no obvious reasons. I don’t mind admitting that because all my friends already think I’m a wimp, and because crying during the Tour Divide has a certain cachet. Racers I met on the course spoke of their own bouts of crying in a tone that bordered on bragging, which actually isn’t that surprising. Going for a really long bike ride puts a person in a weird position where they feel simultaneously heroic and vulnerable, and the image of a grown-ass adult sobbing as they crest a mountain pass does a nice job of capturing that strange emotional intersection. Plus, its root cause is an emotional and physical exhaustion that few people in the developed world have ever experienced, so you can’t help but feel a little special. After a few days, the crying became just another part of an already weird daily routine, and when the race was over I basically forgot about. I assumed that the next event in my life to elicit that kind of emotion would come during my next multi-day race.
Well, given my behavior over the last twelve or so hours, you would think I had just blown through all of Wyoming and most of Colorado. It’s just as embarrassing as it was during the Tour Divide, but this time its due to something so pedestrian that almost everyone in the world has experienced it. It doesn’t make for a cool story, it doesn’t make you sound resilient or inspiring, and you can’t make it better by pedaling your way through it. I’ll miss you bro!