J.D. Pauls
Great Divide
Warning Plans May Change So this trail was tough and the altitude is hard on us low landers.  I headed into Breckenridge for a day off and was pretty happy to discover that this was the point at which the Great Divide Route intersected the Colorado Trail, and it was a paved bike path!  Quite a contrast from the past few days gnarly single track and hike-a-bike. I treated myself to a day off while I waited for Daniel to get to town.

Daniel arrived late that night and this dude was prepared for anything. I met Daniel on the Tour Divide last year and we spent a week of the race together. I was so happy he was able to make the trip to join me for a few days.  He started his adventure in LA and drove East, stopping along the way to MC a wedding and visit friends in Utah.

His SUV was packed to the ceiling with everything you would need for an impromptu adventure.  A tux, surfboard, fly fishing gear, bike packing stuff, wetsuit, snorkel gear and a full wardrobe and a few items to impress the lady folk. I on the other hand since I had started in Denver and wanted my bike as light as I could, I had the same outfit I had on when I started, I had lost my tooth brush and I'm sure I smelled like a horse. Not sure the people in town thought we were from the same planet. Good news is that after a couple days on trail we will have him smelling like a horse in no time. Slight contrast in packing styles. I did find out that Daniel was a boy scout so I guess it makes sense that he would be prepared for anything.

Daniel immediately started feeling ill at 9500k feet. Guess we are both lightweights. I was starting to feel much better. Looks like another day off the CT tomorrow. Bummed that Daniel was feeling terrible but excited that I would be able to change my plans and re-ride one of my favorite parts of the Divide route tomorrow!


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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?


  • Sour Patch Kids
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  • Big Agnus Seedhouse SL1 Tent
  • Glowstick Necklace

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