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Tackling Tour Divide

sioux falls - The average American puts 13,500 miles a year on their car. Add 500 miles to that, and that's how much Greg Gleason rides per year. 

Except his ride, is on two-wheels. The Sioux Falls bicyclist is taking on a feat that many wouldn't even dream of -- riding from Canada to Mexico with a bike and a backpack. 

In Friday's Eye On KELOLAND, Claire Lavezzorio caught up with Gleason before he leaves on a race called Tour Divide in less than two weeks. 

"I remember stopping, balling my eyes out, called my wife, and told her, I just can't do this. I just can't do it," said Gleason. 

This is the exact moment Gleason pulled the plug.

"And my head, I couldn't hold it up any longer. And then it really becomes miserable," Gleason said.

A neck injury forced him to stop halfway along his journey from Banff Canada, to New Mexico's border town, Antelope Wells. 

But it's a new year, and the now 51-year-old is preparing to tackle Tour Divide, the world's longest off-pavement cycling route.

"So now this year, I'm reset, changed bikes, have been exercising my neck muscles," said Gleason.

You may wonder how Gleason rides 14,000 miles a year. Well, some of it, is on his way to work. 

"I started out riding barely being able to ride to Falls Park and back to my house which was only 16 miles without falling over, having my back hurt," Gleason said.

For the past 13 years, Gleason has biked to work every day from his home in Southeast Sioux Falls to POET where he's the company's Chief Information Officer.

Gleason's ride to work is give-or-take 14 miles. The Tour Divide will take him more than 2,700. 

"As I'm walking in, they're always like, 'Oh I bet that was fun,' or during the winter especially they ask as I'm walking down the hall, 'Did you ride your bike today?', I mean of course I did, why would I not!," said Gleason. 

"So, it's kind of a running joke, but we talk about how Greg is crazy, and I say my boss is crazy in a respectful boss sort of way," coworker Ann Molstad said. 

Molstad, Gleason's coworker for the past 10 years, says the office has learned to embrace it. 

"It's normal to have a conversation with my boss dressed in spandex, and nobody even flinches when you know, he comes walking through the office in the morning," said Molstad.

Just this past weekend, Gleason rode more than 400 miles in the Black Hills. 

And took a trip this spring to New Mexico to practice the last 650 miles of Tour Divide. 

"I like to practice, I got that all out of the way, now I can actually go really experience what the Divide is truly about," Gleason said.

All that's left, is for Gleason to cross the finish line. 

"He's been a very,very good example of what setting your mind and sticking with a goal, being committed, that you really can do it. No matter how crazy it sounds," said Molstad.

"It's tested, I'm just ready to go. Fly into Banff and really just enjoy the moment," Gleason said.

By route's end a rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical... that's equivalent to summating Mount Everest from sea-level seven times. 

It could take Gleason up to one month to finish, but he says he's lucky to have enough vacation time. 





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