Featured photo for Tour Divide: 27 Days, 27 Photos

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 1: Riding mostly uphill by the Canadian Rockies with fellow racer Kevin Hall (shown).
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 2: A pleasant day through British Columbia.
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!
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 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.