Tour Divide: 27 Days, 27 Photos
Here are photos from the
Tour Divide, the 2,700-mile self-supported Canada-Mexico mountain bike race hailed as “the most difficult cycling event in the world.” As it took me 27.5 days, here are 27 30 photos representing what I remember most from each of the days. Day 0: At the YWCA in Banff, Alberta, Canada (211 miles north of the U.S. border) before the start of the 2,700-mile race. Day 1: Riding mostly uphill by the Canadian Rockies with fellow racer Kevin Hall (shown). Day 2: A pleasant day through British Columbia. Day 3: Into Montana... and snow! Hiking and pushing required. Day 4: Through the land of fallen trees. Between Days 4 & 5, I had to dismount about 100 times for them. Day 5: Death trap -- traversing a crazy, highly exposed section of snow piled up at a 45 degree angle without an ice axe for at least half a mile. Day 6: Montana mellowed out -- but only for a day. Day 7: Lava Mountain: one of the most challenging and techical sections on the entire Continental Divide Mountain Bike Route. I also got lost in the forest. Day 8: Phew... pavement (never mind it was a major interstate highway). And into Butte, Montana, the largest town encountered in the entire race (population: 33,500). Day 9: Into no man's land -- the Medicine Lodge area and big sky country of Montana. Day 10: Finally made it to Idaho. Gorgeous! Day 11: Entering Wyoming and the Tetons with lots of snow, mud, and the most vicious mosquitoes I've ever encountered. Day 12: No better luck with the mud and snow; took 2 hours 40 minutes to go 4.5 miles around Brooks Lake. Day 13: Some pavement again and a 125-mile day through Pinedale and Boulder to Atlantic City, WY. Day 14: 134 miles through the treeless Great Divide Basin, WY and suffering badly from hyponatremia. Happy birthday to me. Day 15: This is more like it. Aspen Alley, WY, less than 20 miles north of Colorado. Day 16: Back into my home state of colorful Colorado around Steamboat Springs. Day 17: More pretty mountains between Steamboat Springs and Silverthorne. Day 18: Through Summit County, over Boreas Pass and into South Park. Day 19: Up the long-but-gradual Marshall Pass in southern Colorado and into the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Day 20: Super long and steep Indiana Pass, with freezing rain at the summit. Came down with hypothermia and had to bail for the night at 6:00 p.m. Day 21: Through southern Colorado and almost to the New Mexico border -- but then my cyclometer broke! Day 22: Extremely rocky and rutted trails through northern New Mexico on the 4th of July after resolving the cyclometer crisis. Day 23: A 5.5-hour climb over lava rocks and through cougar country, but felt phenomenal and still managed 100 miles that day. Day 24: Screaming descent into Cuba, NM, with more highway down to Grants. A 170-mile day! Day 25: No pie in Pie Town. Major food crisis on the way and had to resort to begging for food later that night. Day 26: It didn't get any better: monsoons, mud, steep climbs, horrible chainsuck, and multiple flat tires through the Gila Wilderness. But I'd only stop after it got dark and I literally crashed. Day 27: After bonking all morning, I finally reached civilization -- the progressive town of Silver City, NM (population: 10,000). Unfortunately, the monsoons wouldn't stop and rivers were soon flowing down the streets. Day 27.5: More sand, monsoons, and demoralization due to thinking I was lost (I wasn't). But then 70 miles of pavement to the Mexico border came... 27 days, 10 hours, and 37 minutes after I started: Made it! Antelope Wells in 6th place. A lonely finish, but thanks to all for the moral support!