This moment was a check off the bucket-list that Greg Gleason will never forget.
“It was kind of like, ‘I’m just glad to be done, finally,’ it was just, ‘Ugh, done, finally,'” Gleason said.
Now that he’s back in office, Gleason’s co-workers are still re-living that moment with him.
“The support, amazing, I mean amazing, you can’t even really put it in words, amazing,” Gleason said.
A bucket-full of cards, each with personalized messages, to the man who conquered Tour Divide, the ultra-distance cycling ride that is an extreme test of endurance and mental toughness.
“Friends in the area that I haven’t talked to in years, have reached out, and just kind of going through that process,” Gleason said.
His ride started in Banff, Canada, and took him all the way to the New Mexico border-town of Antelope Wells.
But the 16-days of straight riding, didn’t come without trials and tribulations.
“So what I did is I broke it down, day-to-day, town-to-town. So I would take my day and figure out how many towns I could get through,” Gleason said.
Despite temperatures dropping below 20 degrees to miles of complete desolation, Gleason says he always knew he’d cross the finish line even after last year’s failed attempt.
And in miles of complete desolation, he’ll always remember moments like this one.
“I turned on my phone and I had 4G. I couldn’t believe it. I was like what! I’m in the middle of nowhere, people don’t exist anymore and I’m 4G, so I went on Facebook and I went LIVE,” Gleason said.
Those updates kept all of his POET co-workers on the journey with him.
“Social media and Facebook, and with him being able to check-in, and actually see videos, so I don’t know if we ever felt like he was actually truly out of the office,” Ann Molstad said.
Gleason is Molstad’s boss at the biotechnology company.
“Everyone is along on this journey with him. Especially this year, because we all knew how disappointed he was last year,” Molstad said.
And each card Gleason takes out of the bucket truly shares that message.
A 30-pound-lighter-Gleason admits no one will truly understand his journey.
But there is one Tour Divide takeaway that everyone can relate to.
“And this is kind of that message to everybody out there. If you set your mind to something, you can do it. I guarantee it. You just have to be really committed to it, and dedicated to it, and just persevere,” Gleason said.
It’s the motto that Gleason lives by: Nothing that’s worth anything is ever easy.
“And to me, this was worth something, this was worth fighting for,” Gleason said.
Not only did Gleason become one of the few to ever finish the Tour Divide, he came in third place. Gleason says he has no immediate plans to train for another long ride, but as his coworkers say, he’s always planning something.