Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tour of Idaho 2018 (a two-year journey)

In early Oct 2016, while on a dual sport ride (Adventurized KTM 690) in Moab UT I mentioned the Tour of Idaho (TI) to my brother.   During our conversation I made up my mind to put the TI on my bucket list. 

Step one was to learn how to ride a dirt bike.  By the end of October I had purchased a Beta XTrainer and the journey towards the Tour was on.  You can go to my YouTube channel and scroll to my 1st ever Beta video.   Subsequent videos show my training and prep for a 2017 Tour attempt.

Come Aug 2017, nine months of practice and learning to ride, route study and bike prep I was headed to Idaho for the 2017 Tour.  You can go to my Tour of Idaho 2017 playlist, and watch a day by day account up to my fail on D5. 

Needless to say my bike skills were not quite up to the task at hand.  I climbed more hills and rode more single track on Day 1 alone than my entire 9 months of practice.  In short I had developed the needed baseline skill set but did not have enough practice “using” said dirt bike skillset in backcountry single-track terrain.

To successfully complete the TI I feel you need the following six elements (in order of importance):
1.       The right mind set
2.       An in-depth understanding of the event rules
3.       GPS Navigation skill (understanding of explicit TI methods and actual practice with said method)
4.       Correct Bike and Gear choice
5.       A small bribe to the demons of good luck
6.       Requisite dirt bike skills

In retrospect I can see that going into my 2017 attempt I had 4 out of the 6 required elements.  However, I was still lacking in #6, dirt bike skills.  And even though #6 is at the bottom of the list, weakness here eventually ate away my confidence and hence I lost the required mind set, ie: the most important requirement for a finish.

Driving the long long road home from my failure in 2017, tail between legs, I almost immediately began planning for 2018.  At the time I decided there were three things I absolutely had to have for success in 2018. Better bike skills, a riding partner and a even lighter bike/gear combination.  In the end I really just needed more time on the bike in the backcountry.

Tour of Idaho, 2018, D1 up next....

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