Monday, June 11, 2018

Students Ride the Divide in the name of Research!

Central Wyoming College students are in the throws of a grueling adventure in the name of research. The ultra distance riding and research BioPEAK team began their southern traverse along the spine of the continental divide on June 8th in Banff, Alberta. BioPEAK will research hyponatremia, a condition common in ultradistance riders and runners as they turn the pedals along mountain passes towards Antelope Wells NM. Jacki Klancher, CWC professor and cheerleader is along for the ride and shared an article she wrote in preparation. It is below along with photos from Jacki's last Ride the Divide adventure in 2017.

Preparing for the Long Haul: Across the Great Divide 
by Associate Professor of Environmental Health, Jacki Klancher

Whether it's planning out your degree, or preparing for a long distance bike ride - the premise is the same: take bites you can chew; don't choke; find reward in small accomplishments and keep your eye on the prize, the end of the semester, or the finish line, but focus your energy on what is in front of you each day.

On June 8, 2018 five CWC students will embark on a very, big, bike ride. If the ride is examined as one large mouthful, the primary emotion is terror. The ride needs to be looked at in hours, then days, and finally weeks on the bike. The ride is the Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride - 2700 miles of remote bicycling along the spine of continental US. Tackling this event has taken eight months of preparation.

Like getting a college degree, even starting this ride is daunting. It requires commitment and time. The finish is so far out on the horizon, it is almost unimaginable. These five students have been thinking, talking, meeting, dreaming, shopping - oh yeah and spending hours on their bikes - in preparation for this event since October 2017. They have investigated various fundraising opportunities (finally settling on raffling off a bike from Gannet Peak Sports), have talked in detail about how to get the most out of their knees, their quads, and their bottoms, and have visualized what it will be like to finally launch on the ride. Most have not yet begun to even think about the END. The first step is starting.

From the first hour out of the gates, there is little about this ride that can be noted with any great certainty.  Of the just under 200 riders starting at the YWCA in Banff, AB, only 25% will finish. During the first week, close to 100 riders will need to withdraw their participation due to injury, mechanical problems, or the unfortunate discovery that this was not nearly as much fun as it sounded on television.

The ride, suffice to say is difficult. It taxes tendons, and temperament, spirit, and stamina.