J.D. Pauls
Great Divide
End of Another Great Adventure After Moab it was an all night drive to Vegas!  I was looking forward tomeeting up with some of the Blackburn family at Interbike and checking out thislegendary city for the first time. The drive took longer than expected sincethe highway connecting Moab to Vegas was washed out and so we had to share thedark early morning on desert side roads with hundreds of redirected transporttrucks. Of course all the lights in town were on to greet us when we eventuallyarrived at 4 am.

I would like to share with you about what happened in Vegas but we all know therules. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. With that, I will tell you that itwas a great place to end a fantastic adventure.

So, twenty-one days from when I left my driveway I was finally back home. I hadsuch an amazing adventure. I met up with some of my favourite people andmet new friends, talked to strangers, and got to know myself a little better. Ilet the wind blow me around, let the sun wake me up and let the starswatch me sleep. I climbed and pushed to the highest altitudes I have ever beenand I tackled some of the hardest riding I have ever encountered. I saw somany unbelievably diverse and stunning landscapes traveling across the US. Itouched the ground in so many new and dreamlike places while pushing my mindand body passed my previously defined limits and abilities. 

I am a little bummed that I couldn't complete the entire Colorado Trail. It didbeat me up a little but I think, after some time and reflection, that Ireally wouldn't have wanted it any other way. What I saw was so special andwhat I learned was so valuable that it has left me with motivation and an openinvitation to return another time. 

I have been home long enough to start dreaming again. I guess the dreamingnever really ends so it may be more correct to say that I have been home long enoughto start planning again. More adventures await. 



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J.D. Pauls

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J.D. Pauls
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Like many TDR veterans, the trail became part of my DNA, an experience so personal and unique that it actually changed me as a person. Salida, CO was a highlight of my trip last year because it was the point at which I knew I would finish the race. I had several really tough days leading up to Salida and as I crested the last climb before town I turned around and the storms I had been running from were lifting, and the sky behind me produced the largest double rainbow I had ever seen. I descended into the setting sun, the changing landscape was glowing in magical yellows, reds and browns. The pain of the previous hours and days, were instantly and unexpectantly replaced by joy and a truly satisfied soul. The Colorado Trail crosses the Great Divide and runs through Salida. This route is a beast, but pushing myself beyond what I thought possible has become a comfortable and necessary part of how I want to live my life. I don’t think there is a more beautiful trail to experience this on. Discovering the wild world at the intimate speed of the bike really can change the speed at which we live our lives. Oh, and sipping a morning coffee at Cafe Dawn in Salida is definitely worth planning a bike trip around!
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I had a bike growing up, but an accident when I was 15 (1990) ended my childhood cycling career. I didn’t own a bike again until Dec of 2011 when I heard of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and decided I wanted to take on the challenge. I made my first attempt at the Tour Divide in June 2012, and due to lack of cycling base, unpreparedness, lack of knowledge and intense weather, wisely pulled the plug in Butte MT after 10 days and 750 mile complete. I worked hard to return in June 2013 ready to go and completed the 2800 miles in just over 25 days.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? A little different expectation this year. On my divide ride I was truly out to find myself and discover a new J.D. that I always wanted to know was out there, and I think I accomplished that. This trip, since I found that guy I was looking for last year, will be more like visiting an old best friend. It is going to be a blast. Sure I will be racing, but a smell the roses type of racing. What is the point in climbing a mountain if you don’t look around when you get to the top?


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