Day 43 - THE END!! & a MASSIVE thank you to ALL the TD community 🥰🚴🏼♀️🐌🌈
It’s Friday the 26th of July, the 43rd day of my Tour Divide.
I‘m off to Antelope Wells!!!!!!!!!!!!! 45 miles and counting 🥁drum roll on the ready 🥳.
The alarm goes off and I practically jump out of bed, instantly I know what day it is and how much this means.
I creep around at Jeffrey’s trying not to wake anyone, slight issue, I only have one shoe!!! Governor a doggy that stayed in the house last night obviously liked horrendously stinky things!!! I sneak around and find my other shoe but only one sock, no biggy, I’m sure I can cope the last section minus a sock. 🤣🤣🤣🤣
I‘m so excited and want to make the most of the occasion and so I have my make shift lantern ready to go........
Well it’s the second one as I popped the first one last night by accident, literally screaming Jefferys house down, as I’m ridiculously jumpy at loud noises, what a muppet! So funny as they were just taking bets on if it would me it to the end! 🤣🤣🤣
I head off into the dark.....
Seeing this sign really rises the already high excitement levels. 🤩💫
So I’m up and out riding in the dark, not to avoid the heat today but because I want to ride with the sunrise.
Today is personally massive for me. Yes it’s the end of my Tour Divide race and completing something that very few people even attempt. It amazes me that when there are so many billions of people in the world that only 164 of us set off at the a Grand Depart on this epic challenge this year, an elite bunch for sure, plus me the very optimistic one lol! 🐌🌈🤣🤣🤣🤣
I love the power of positivity, it gets me out and about doing some random stuff for sure. 😍🤣
But on a personal level this is so much more and its really hard to put this into words. It’s like the cherry on my cake of life I’ve been creating for years. This event is the celebration of what I have overcome, recovery from mental illness and more recently successfully managing my RA through lifestyle. It’s part of reconnecting with myself on a deeper level and live out my dream of travelling after going through an unexpected and life changing relationship spilt.
All these 3 things combined meant I’ve started a different approach to life and living, to be present each and every day, not to plan ahead but to really submerse myself in each day and live it to the full. I have very few processions and live a much simpler life, with the value now being in the connections I make and the lives I touch, there’s nothing better then making someone smile. 😀😀😀😀😀
For sure the Tour Divide defiantly took the intensity of being present to a whole other level!!!
So I came here for many reasons, to get brave, to build trust in myself to be able to manage my emotions under extreme conditions. To learn the boundaries of my RA and for us to become a team, my RA has been both a curse and a gift. For years it stoped me truly living but then when I finally succeeded in managing it through lifestyle it was like I was given the gift of life again. This time though I really knew it’s value and with that came such an intense desire to live life to the full, to live an authentic life, a quirky one that fills me with happiness each and every day. Not to be bogged down in societies expectations and opinions but to just be me in this wonderful world.
Today my last day, I know I have achieved all I set out to, well other then that illusive race time! ⏱🐌🌈🤣🤣
Not only that but I am taking away so much more, I am taking away an inner peace that clicked into place on day 13. I remember the overflowing emotions and tears when I realised I’m actually a good person and I can do good in the world by just being me. This may sound so simple but for years I’ve had to be so focused so self development to overcome so much, that to be able to say you’ve done enough, you can just be now, was such a momentous moment and the tears where of utter relief and joy, a very precious day indeed. ☺️
Then while riding the TD some magic began to happen, starting in Fernie when I became aware of Erin and Adia, 2 awesome girls who had picked me as there favourite female rider in Banff and started sending me messages of support and encouragement.
I was so melted and this really spurred on, I love to spread positivity and happiness and inspire where I can and so this was like a dream come true.
As time went on though this dream grew more people started to message me and encourage me. Each message meant so much and truly touched me. My brain couldn’t really understand why I was inspiring people, but then it had to accept it because the messages and comments kept coming! This momentum just grew and grew and each time I got WiFi and logged onto Facebook and messenger I was just melted by the continually growing support.
I have had so many messages thanking me for being such an inspiration but I REALLY need to thank you ALL!!!
Now I love to write, it’s my creative passion, I think its such a beautiful way to share but now when it feels so important I have no idea how I convey this message with the power and sincerity it deserves.
So this is my heartfelt thank you to the Tour Divide community....
I came here and was completely me, with my dodgy singing, my extreme excitement levels (this really is the norm for me, how lucky am I lol! 🤣🤣🤣) with my super positive outlook of, I may be a novice rider but I believe I can complete the TD, as it was all in the mindset and that I can rock lol. 💪🏻👍🏻🤣
I remember arriving at Banff and doing a short video on the fb group about weather and thinking to myself, who am I to do this, I bet people will think I'm really annoying (I’m sure there’s quite a few of you out there lol). But in that moment something changed, I said to myself I’m here to be me completely and if I don’t fit in thats ok but that I would be my crazy bonkers self and be happy that this is me.
So this magic 💫 I refer to, is all the people that have completely embraced and accepted me as me. 🥰🤗💚🌈
I’m am now writing this in tears. You have no idea how healing this has been on such a deep level. To be held and embraced by the TD community and to of shared my journey with so many. To have so many messages saying what an inspiration I am is a dream come true for me. I always ask my friends, how can I make more of a positive impact on the world and they always say by being yourself and during this TD this really seems to of been the case.
So again no matter what words I use I can never convey how much this community has touched me, all I feel I can say is thank you but this just isn’t enough at all. 🌈💚
So I end my Tour Divide with a wholeness I have never had before. I no longer feel in limbo, but complete and just happy to live out my somewhat alternative lifestyle.
This really is ‘My Happy Ending’ 😀🥰
So I set off and rode to the sunrise, knowing I now go forward into a new beginning, with an even more positive way to approach life.
I could not of been prouder then to ride with the red lantern, to me this symbolised riding with the whole virtual TD family. 🥰🤗
So I’m off and the mile markers kept flashing by, I got to 30 and then the virtual high fiving and whooping starts, there was just far to much excitement to contain.
Now the TD is never easy, but today the miles fly by, that said I did have a bug onslaught and as I was actually riding in turbo snail pace 💨🐌 they hurt when they collided with me! I also navigated round a tarantula!!!!! 🕷 kinda pleasing to see but no way I was stopping to take a pic!!! Then a rattle snack, I thought he was dead but couldn’t be sure and so whizzed by!!!! TD entertainment all the way to the end. I wouldn’t of had it any other way, so challenging and engaging right to the last mile!
So by the time I hit 10 miles to go I’m like this is unbelievable, at mile 5 I am so excited I’m actually starting to struggle to breath. 🤣🤣🤣🤣
I can’t calm myself down so just decide to pedal even faster!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Now I am riding the last mile, up on my pedals, something I struggle with still having weak knees from the RA but the adrenaline was running and I was powering to that AW sign. I desperately wanted to touch it!
I’m on the approach and see there are 2 people carriers waiting at the border, it’s before 10 and they are waiting for it to open.
For a split second I was like, Nat you need to rein it in and calm this down, there’s people here.
It only lasted that second, as I was like, not a chance I’ve come to far to not be completely present in this most special moment!!!
I ride to the sign, gently but quickly lay Firefly down and fling myself on the sign, hugging and kissing it!!!
When I peel myself of a while later after thanking the universe for my success, but more so for the journey and all it has brought me. I see I have bemused spectators, I get chatting to Claudia whose intrigued by my goings on as she’s also recently started cycling.
After chatting I asked if she would take some photos and my final video, she was amazing, capturing that moment so perfectly and getting caught up in all my excitement. 🤩💫🥳
This was such a fab way to end, Claudia was just the best and her family lovely, all amazed at what I’d achieved. 😍
I had yet more trial magic, one of the children gifted me a delicious cool juice and then Claudia have me a mango picked from a tree the day before.
I could not be any more passionate or anymore in love with the Tour Divide, the biggest game changer for sure.
What makes the Tour Divide....It’s everything, the route, the challenge, the racers, the supporters along the route, the trail angels and magic, the dot watchers, koko claims, the wall and the Great Basin to name a couple of the mad parts! 🤣🤣🤣🤣. The beautiful scenery, the miles and miles of hike a bike and endless passes at altitude, the bears and for me the highlight of the humming birds. The individuality of each and every persons journey and the energy that can be felt all along the route. There are so many elements to the TD and I feel so grateful it found me, triggered my passion, sparked my desire for adventure and ultimately touched my soul. 💚
Thank you to my new love, the most beautiful Firefly, she may of had to put up with a novice rider initially but I feel I’ve grown into her now. 🤗
This photo to me completely captures my TD, I did my best and in doing that, I simply had the best time.
The end had come, followed by the entertaining car journey back with Jeffrey and Ally, the awesome tourer. Coming all the way from Jasper, who came whizzing to the end, so great to be able to see and share the Joy this ending brings others. 😍 I have so many shared memories with many people, so many friendships forged along the way. 🥰
Wow, such a strange feeling to know that my consecutive days of riding and adventures are over for now. (Emphasis on the for now 😉🤣)
Thank you to everyone who has shared this journey with me and Firefly, it’s been precious for sure 🥰🤩🌈
love and light 💚💫
So proud to be the.....
TD 2019 Lanterne Rouge