Today my bike wheels rolled up to the Mexican border. After 3000 miles over single track, tote roads, dirt, gravel, water, mud, and even pavement, I have completed the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail. This last ride, just 45 miles, was completely flat and boring. Such an inappropriate ending for the richly rewarding experience this Bike Trail has been.
A couple of weeks ago, Brian asked me if this ride was epic for us. My first thought was that nothing I could do could be “epic.” Epic was Ben Hur. Epic was Shackleton’s voyage to South Georgia. The word just seemed too big. This was a bicycle ride that ordinary people like myself can do.
Brian’s question did trigger some introspection on just how I ended up on this ride though.
There was my first 50 mile Trail Race. A climb of the largest mountain in the hemisphere, Aconcagua in Argentina. A kayak trip in the wilds of remote Greenland. A bike trip through the Andes from the equator to Ushuaia at the bottom of South America. And others. Each of these were stepping stones in my confidence. A feeling that I belonged. That I could do these things. That a very ordinary person with the right attitude could succeed at these challenges if he/she put their mind to it.
So when I asked Brian if he wanted to join me in doing this trip, I never even questioned that we could do it. When I was getting ready to climb Denali in 2010 my great friend Nancy said, “Buck doesn’t know his limitations.” There is a lot of truth in that.
Back to the “epic” thing.
Along the way from Jasper down, I was so impressed by encouragement by people of all ages and types. Signs in all communities offer discounts to bikers and hikers. Some lodging is even hikers and/or bikers only. People wave at us. Cars beep their horns. Folks stop to talk to us about our ride. People along this route are all very conscious of what this route and the people biking it mean to their communities.
We met more international riders than we did Americans. This Mountain Bike Trail has become iconic worldwide. In just 20 years. We are riding with Italians, Scots, French, Japanese, Czechs and many more nationalities. It has become famous as the best and longest mountain bike trail anywhere.
Is this an epic trail? There’s no question about it. This has been an epic trail for us too.
There is nobody meeting you at Antelope Wells. No friends with hugs and congratulations. No medals. In fact it may be the quietest border crossing in the US. Almost too quiet for two good friends to end their epic ride. We gave each other a big hug. We poured ourselves into this ride and absorbed all we could. I thanked Brian for being such a good friend.
29 thoughts on “Antelope Wells”
Wow!!! Congrats!!! Big air hug at the border from a friend who is inspired by what you do! Way to go.
Wishing you now a smooth re-introduction back to “normal” life.
When are you back in GM so we can plan some adventures!?!
Take care my friend.. very happy for you both.
Really looking forward to that hug, Pascale! I’m coming home on the 1st. Let’s start planning.
I’m in tears .. . with emotion, appreciation and honor to a goal well met. My favorite line? “That a very ordinary person with the right attitude could succeed at these challenges if he/she put their mind to it.” That speaks to everyone who reads your blog. Kudos to another challenge completed. I’m copying this last essay and sending it to everyone I know who comes up with “excuses” for not finishing stuff. Also sending it to most of the people I hang with who’d agree and appreciate the philosophy. I’m in awe . . and jealous.
Karen, thank you so much for your gracious comments. It means a lot to me to read them.
Buck, you are “epically” humble. I so enjoy reading your posts – you are a wonderful writer.
Thanks so much, Barb, for your kind words and mostly for following along!
thanks for the journey, buck and brian!!!! it was an amazing adventure to follow. great work and congrats!!!!
Congratulations! Your blog has been anything but ordinary. I see a miniseries. Thank your for a good read!
Thanks for following along!
The ride was indeed “epic” for the two of you. You may think of yourselves as ordinary, but you go way beyond the capabilities and capacities of ordinary folks. Congratulations on your accomplishments. Enjoy the life long memories.
Thank you, Dick. You have always been the one we all look up to. Thanks for your kind words.
Buck, congratulations on making it to Antelope Wells, and thank you for sharing it with us through your posts. Looking forward to seeing you next time I get to GM.
Thanks Max. I look forward to catching up with you in Grand Marais.
Congratulations Buck and Brian! You did it! What an accomplishment. This marks the end of your bike ride…and now the beginning of deep reflection on what you learned about yourself as well as your Life. Many times-life lessons come after the fact. These memories will be with you for the rest of your life. Thanks for taking us with you on this unbelievable ride! Can’t wait to hear what’s next! ♥️🤗🍷
Hey Scott and Mary, thanks for being such a fun part of our trip! It was great.
Congratulations Buck and Brian!
The world we live in is chock full of self aggrandizement and selfies. You and Brian show us another, truer, way. It’s epic in my book. Thanks for taking us along!
John, Kim, Peter and Ben
Thanks so much to the Woods for the kind words! Always great to hear from you!
What a great accomplishment for you and Brian. Beep, beep, honk, honk. I’ll give you a big hug when you get back to GM.
Hey JT! Good to hear from you! Look forward to seeing you in GM. Give me a call.
Congratulations to two ordinary friends who are definitely not ordinary! Thanks for your wonderful words and pictures along your 3000 mile route. It was inspirational at times. I look forward to sharing a wine/beer with you guys!
Thanks so much, Tony! I look forward to seeing you and Julia too!
Buck, you are epic all the way and such a tremondous inspiration to so many whether it be by your writing, by your adventures or your personal self, looking forward to your next journey!!!
Hi Mary, thank you for the very kind words. Hope to see you soon.
If I were to describe you it would not be ordinary! I’d say extraordinary 😊
Very impressed with all your adventures…thanks for taking us all along. 💕
Thanks Robin, you are very kind.
You must be so happy to be a grandmother!
It has been a vicarious pleasure to follow you as you made this journey. I don’t consider what you did ordinary at all rather it was extraordinary. You have inspired many people. I’m very proud of you.
Beth, that’s very kind of you to say. I enjoyed myself immensely on this bike trip. It’s nice to be home though. It ‘s home.