Amanda Delcore
Great Divide
Rooseville, MT August 1

I've been an athlete for a long time... long enough to know that one of the easiest ways to injure yourself is to do too much too quickly.  However, I'm also an unreasonably optimistic person.  I figured averaging 50 miles a day would be alright, knowing that I'd get about 1.5 rest days after the first 6 days and another rest day every other week or so.  In the last two days of the Canada to Whitefish, Montana segment, my knee started to give me some warning pains.

If I had to do it over again, I would change some things:

●  Plan for a less ­than ­average pace for the first week ­ Between pack adjustments, last minute sight­seeing, and getting used to biking with a 50­60 lb. bike, you will want to plan for some shorter days.  If you've been training for this (with weight), obviously you know what you're getting into.  But if you're like me and spend most of your pre-­ride time figuring out how to do the damn trip, you probably weren't training too much.

●  Be more diligent about stretching/strengthening every day ­ The best way to avoid injury is to diversify your workouts and make sure all your muscle groups are getting activated. It's REALLY hard to do at the end of a long day of biking, especially in inclement weather, but there's no excuse for prevention.

●  Ride without a schedule ­ Don't get me wrong, I'm super grateful for all my riding buddies along the way, but I know that it would be easier to adjust for on ­the ­trail changes if there were no deadlines. Even simple things like "hey this lake is really cool; let's hang out here for the rest of the day" become more attainable if you don't have anywhere to be in 5 days.  Maybe this sounds obvious as well, but coming from a fast ­paced, hard-working, deadline ­riddled life on the East Coast, this is a new concept for me.

●  Start with flat ­clipless pedals ­ It's a fairly common fix for people with knee pain to ride with flat pedals. It allows for the foot to go wherever it wishes to alleviate knee pain. I wish I would've started with the pair I had laying at home instead of paying to switch later. Fortunately, while in Whitefish, I was able to see the awesome Jay Schraver at Northern Physical Therapy.  He helped diagnose me with a standard case of over use and a slightly errant patella.  So far, my stretched and taped knee is feeling better. I also visited Glacier Cyclery and got some flat ­clipless hybrid pedals so that my foot could go wherever it wished to alleviate pain. With another day of rest and making some adjustments to make my ride more efficient, I'll hopefully be back on it. In the meantime, I ate way too much in Whitefish and soaked up the comforts of civilization with some warm showers, big breakfasts, ice­cream, non-­camp coffee, and beers with friends.  In the realm of bikepacking, taking just 48 hours off from biking feels like an eternity and a supreme luxury.

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Amanda Delcore

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Amanda Delcore
  • Genesis moment for the trip I was visiting the Radavist website and I saw the Blackburn #outthere banner ad. Congratulations… the marketing worked. I was probably at work, day-dreaming, like most outdoor enthusiasts. I had always wanted to hike the Continental Divide in Colorado… Prior to learning about the Blackburn Ranger program, I even blocked out a month in my work calendar to hike the CDT in a sort of act of defiance. Seeing the Blackburn Ranger program got me thinking… why not bike it? I did some research, I admittedly didn’t contemplate the consequences, and started scheming furiously about how to make a killer application video.
  • Have I traveled by bike in the past? Yes I bike toured parts of Maine and New Hampshire solo. I biked from Portland, Maine to the White Mountains of New Hampshire; I camped, did day-trip summits in the morning and rode to the next spot in the afternoon. I also bike toured the Blue Ridge Parkway in early spring.
  • Goal for the route? I’m not one much for goals. I shy away from formally setting goals, because I find that reward is fleeting and there’s not much else to do but set a new goal. And in units of time, the route to achieving a goal is almost the entirety of the experience. For me, the real reward is the process of following an interest or a curiosity. I am interested in inspiring other females to bikepack; to this end I’m running a Women’s Bikepacking Series in my hometown of Philadelphia. I am curious to see if I can replicate this series in some way during the tour. I am also keen to ride with friends and make new connections in the cycling community; as a start, there are at least three different people riding with me during different parts of the trip.
  • Hope to get out of the journey? A deeper understanding of myself and my capabilities. I hope to learn how to endure the extremes of nature and everything in between. I think much of our lives are setup to spend most of the day indoors, and we miss out on how pleasant and how ugly nature can be. On this trip there will be mornings that are cool, clear, and sunny, but there will also be afternoons of thunderstorms or intense heat. I hope to gain an appreciation for the full spectrum of nature and the patience to roll with it.
  • What’s in my bag? I’m not there yet in my packing…. : / I think they are going to be my lumbar pack, a thumb piano or another tiny musical instrument, a bandana, and ??? I’ll try to figure this part out in the next week and a half.

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