Mark Farnsworth Tour Divide Interview

Here is one more interview. This time, DC hits up Mark Farnsworth Tour Divide Interview. Mark is a man of cycling. He builds custom steel bicycles out of Raleigh, NC with the creative name of Farnsworth Engineering.  A friend of mine told me about Mark and his fine bikes a few months back, turns out he is a big fan of DC, and agreed to answer some questions before leaving Banff.  Enjoy!

DC: First and foremost, why would you want to do such a brutal ride?

Mark: I think riding on muddy roads for lots of days is fun so I don’t think it is “brutal”.  It all depends on my mood.  I control my mood and try to have a good time in all conditions.

DC: Are you worried about saddle sores, or any other riding related injuries?  Are you taking any special precautions?

Mark: I have lots of butt butter to keep things moving smoothly on the saddle plus since I single speed my butt gets a rest when I go up steep hills.

DC: You are an engineer and a frame builder, how has that background affected your preperation (methodic, weighing components/gear/spare parts, etc?)

Mark: I think about all aspects.  In truth I may overthink stuff… Building my own stuff makes keeps things interesting because it lets me control more aspects of the ride.

DC: Tell us about the bike you built up for TDR.  Did you make any major alteration compared to other bikes you have built?

Mark: Nothing major on this bike.  I focused on good clean welding plus real conservative design.  No big risks or experiments on the bike.  It has Paragon single speed sliders.  The only real devide specific change vs. my normal bike was adding a third water bottle mount under the down tube.  The component package is good strong stuff that is not super light but should perform well in all conditions.

DC: Are you bringing music?  If not what are your plans for the long hours of being alone in the woods.

Mark: No music.  I just let thoughts go round and round in my head on long rides.  I actually like having the time to just think.

DC: How have you altered your diet to get your body ready for all of the gas station food you are going to encounter along the route?

Mark: I drink about 1/3 cup olive oil every night and tend to eat mostly oatmeal, rasions, and other grocery store foods that pack light.  My plan is to ride big chunks and stop less often even if it means carrying more food.

My favorate bikepacking meal starts with a water bottle full of dry quick oats and rasions.  To prepare simply add enough gatoraid to fully wet the oats plus 1/3 cup olive oil.  Throw the bottle in your back pocket for 30 minutes then use a spoon to eat the stuff.  No need to cook.

DC: How do you feel your chances are for completing the ride and what are your goals?

Mark: I think I will do okay.  My main goal is to finish and “grow” mentally.  I want to have fun along the way.

DC: Any last thoughts or thank you’s?

Mark: Thanks for the interview.  Druck Cyclist is one of my favorate sites.

Mark welding up a fine steel frame

 

TDR rig

 

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

8 thoughts on “Mark Farnsworth Tour Divide Interview

  1. The Farnz is going long!! We did our first full century together when he was 12 and I was 13. Somehow I kept up with him. Then we got the racing bug soon after. He’s leading the SS category as I write this and I’m not surprised. He does have a habit of starting too fast though, so we’ll see…

  2. “…No music. I just let thoughts go round and round in my head on long rides. I actually like having the time to just think…”

    …wonderfully kool & definitely old school…mother nature’s own symphony, the bikes mechanical sounds & rubber rolling on the dirt…fuck – what more do you really need ???…

    …i’ve always thought that people who ‘have to’ listen to music when they ride are afraid to be with their own thoughts…

  3. by the way, it should be known that mark “warmed up” for the divide race by riding 473 miles from reston, VA to kent, OH last week. brass.

  4. thankfully this ride is back to being a ride and not a salsa commercial. Does anyone riding a Fargo actually Finnish?

  5. I talked to Mark while he was pedaling along on GDR from his new burner phone. Hell! In Canada they were riding
    through a blizzard in white-out conditions. At some point the path
    went through a creek created by run off from the snow melt during the
    day. He slipped on ice and his GPS fell off the bike and got swept away. He went after it causing his bike to fall into the water soaking his sleeping bag and ruining his phone. Mark is useless without a GPS/paper maps are no good for him. The Long Ranger passed him at one point while Mark was lost (losing 10 miles) and left a message for Mark in the snow knowing he took a wrong turn- “The Long Ranger Rides Again!” That kind of thing actually helps a dude like Mark ride harder!

    He then rode until he got somewhere where he could buy a new sleeping bag (+200 miles). His Shimano shoes cracked on the bottom and his feet swelled up very badly. He almost dropped out…but no dice because he was in the forest. The balls of his feet were so swollen his toes were off the ground. He bought new shoes in Helena or Butte?

    He’s trying to stay ahead of the other single speeder close to him (Justin) The Long Ranger. After new shoes, GPS and sleeping bag in Butte or Helena he is back at it. He slept 3 hours in a hotel and handed the keys to another rider and now +70 miles ahead of Long Ranger and the single speed leader…..

    He sent me a pic from a burner phone he bought….

    This is total Farnz…..pro components on his bike, but $5 7-Eleven shades:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/688/18501137308465215597316.jpg/

  6. Amazing how well Mark is doing, though I am not totally surprised. I have ridden and raced with Mark over the last couple years here in NC and have really seen the improvement…and am not at all surprised by his mental toughness. While he did have a tendency to start fast and not have his nutrition dialed in (for races), I think he rectified those issues for the TDR, and I am guessing floating down an ice-melt probably helped slow his start down a bit.
    Keep it up my SS brother, we are all cheering you from NC to NorCal. Don’t forget my *world famous saying, “Just keep pedaling and good things will happen.”

    *world famous now that it’s on this website. ;)