Books Laurel on Life Podcast

Alligator Preserves Episode 31: Divide by One*–Grace Ragland Challenges The Tour Divide

Grace works on her pre-interview “magic paper” drawing!

Some might say that the Tour Divide would challenge the fittest among us. After all, this annual bicycling epic spans 2,745 miles between Banff, Canada and Antelope Wells, NM, right on the Mexican border. Some might even say that a person with Multiple Sclerosis would be a fool to attempt such a feat.

But not Grace Ragland. Having lived with M.S. since age ten (and she admits to being “50ish” now), she has yet to meet a challenge with an “I can’t.” When a friend mentioned trying this ultra-endurance event, Grace knew she had to challenge it. Spoiler alert: Grace is the first person with M.S. to complete The Tour Divide.

The mountains, the trail, the bike, the rider, and home! Get your own “magic paper” (your water painting disappears soon after you paint!) along with my books at Fire On The Mountain in Leadville!

*I offered the book title suggestion “Divide by One” to Grace and to Brent Goldstein, another TD finisher (I’ll interview him soon!).

Listen here, and see daily photos of Grace’s epic journey on her website:

 Show Notes with Links:

  • Grace discusses the years before her diagnosis with “relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis” and how she dealt with the news.
  • Her mother’s encouragement and advice
  • Personal physical challenges in the years before The Tour Divide
  • Link to David and Jana Zangerle’s episode (tandem bike racers)
  • Denver Post article from Grace’s 4th LT100 Mountain Bike finish (buckled!)
  • When she’s not training, Grace has another secret talent
  • Links to Elden Nelson’s episode and his blog
  • Meeting Brent Goldstein, and the First Descents Organization
  • National Interscholastic Cycling Organization (NICA), its inclusive mission, and Grace’s involvement
  • Grace’s friend, riding for Shami Butter, suggests the Tour Divide at “Inn the Clouds, The Leadville Hostel and Inn”
  • Link to Ken Chlouber’s episode (Founder of the Leadville Race Series)
  • Grace talks about how she got her Salsa Cutthroat Touring Bike
  • More about The Challenged Athletes Foundation
  • Special gear (aside from her touring bike) that helped
  • Guinness Book of World Records? We’ll see!
  • Finding “Da Brim” to protect her from the heat
  • Grace discusses her worst, scariest day (bacon lovers out there will love this part!), her best day, and trail angels
  • CLIF BAR! How about a sponsorship?!
  • What’s next for Grace? Steve Justice . . . get ready to be a ghostwriter for her book!
  • Grace’s blog:
  • Grace’s email:
  • Grace’s local news link to her story: Local Mountain Biker says . . . 

More Links:

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Laurel lives and laughs and publishes and podcasts in Colorado's Rocky Mountains! She has published several multi-genre books and hosts the podcast "Alligator Preserves," where she interviews fascinating people, talks about the human condition, and shares scary stories from her "Dark Ebb" collection.

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