Every year for the Tour Divide riders submit a letter of intent to show their commitment to the race. Sometimes they are short, sometimes they are long and some express their letter of intent (LOI) in poems, songs, sonnets and tribal dances (okay, I may have made some of that up. But I really think tribal dancing is involved, especially to the tunes of Nickelback <3).
I’ve never been out west other than to Los Angeles to work on an animation project that involved a big green ogre. I hear you’re tough, I hear you’re nasty and I’ve witnessed you taking riders who attempt to tackle you, down to their knees.
Hello I’m Scott Thigpen and on June 14, 2013, I’m going to be your newest rider to take you on from Canada to Mexico. You probably don’t know much about me as I’ve not been a mountain biker for a particularly long time, let’s round up to “about a half a decade” and honestly only around two years of serious competitive racing.
I’m sure you’re aware that there was a documentary movie made about you and that’s what won me over to try to tackle you. Essentially for the past two years I’ve worked tirelessly to prepare for you and all the nasties you have awaiting me. I’ve lost over 55lbs, worked on pedal efficiency and developed some iron legs on these East Coast Appalachian mountains to take on your West Coast rocky ones.
I used to be scared of you, I used to think I would never stand a chance but now I’m anxious to hit you with my fat tires and barring broken bike, broken body or broken mind, you will see me ride the spine of your Continental Divide all the way down to the Antelope Wells/Mexico borderline.
Will you make me think about quitting? Yep, and probably often. Will you frustrate me and try to thwart me? I’m only assuming you’ll do a fantastic job of that. Will you try to break my bike? Oh yeah, I’m sure you’ll wear my ride down quickly.
But I’m preparing for you and know that when the chips are down and I feel like quitting, I’ll keep it simple and come up with a solution. If you try to thwart me I’ll just stop, collect myself and then move forward. And if you even dare try to break my bike, do know I’ll be armed with 800 sturdy zip ties to pull together anything you rip off. I’m serious, don’t make me pull out the industrial sized zip ties…because I will. I’m not playing!
What am I looking most forward to when I meet you, Tour Divide? Well the sights, of course. I’m really looking forward to a nice slice of pie in Pie Town. I’m excited to get to spend some extended time outdoors alone and do some sole searching (no really, like I do a good job of losing my shoe sometimes…or I get a rock in it and I can never get it out).
And what if you win, oh Divide? What if you do manage to stop me from finishing for one reason or another. Well you know, I’m totally okay with that. The journey towards you, meeting new people, making new friends, the change in me because of all the training that wasn’t just physical? That, to me, has been the true test of a race. You’re only a piddly 3-4 weeks long, I’ve been at this for almost two years now and it’s been one helluva journey!
But that said, Tour Divide. I’m really looking forward to greeting you in Canada and bidding you farewell in Antelope Wells. I think we’ll have a good time hanging out and being bros for a few weeks…that is if you like Nickelback. You do like Nickelback, right???