In 2010, I participated in the Tour Divide mountain bike race. The race started on June 11th in Banff, Canada and ended at the US-Mexican border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. 48 racers started, but only 24 made it to the border. A 50% attrition rate is typical.
UPDATE: I returned in 2013 and finished 7th out of over 140 racers. See my 2013 Tour Divide gear list here.
Movie about my Tour Divide experience
I shot a decent amount of video during the race, so I cobbled together this movie that chronicles my entire 20 days of riding. Grab some popcorn because it is rather long (1hour 10mins).
Songs in the movie: L.E.S. Artistes | Girl In the War | Young Folks | Banquet | Upward Over the Mountain | The Funeral | Drink ‘Til We’re Gone | 9 Crimes | For Blue Skies | Mr. Brightside | Life In Technicolor | Shadow of the Day
To get another perspective on the race, watch this video that tracks the progress of the leading ten riders over the first 7 days. You’ll notice some people pushing later into the night, while others get on the road earlier in the morning. First 7 days of the Tour Divide
I rode an average of 137 miles per day and, after a grueling 20 days, 9 hours, and 13 minutes, I finished 5th.
It was an unreal experience. The physical challenge was great, but the mental challenge was even greater.
I was going to write a daily account of the ride, but I got as far as Day 1 and then gave up. Instead, I just decided to tell my story through the movie (see above). If you are interested, you can read my Day 1 writeup here.
If you plan to participate in the 2011 Tour Divide, or just ride the route, feel free to post questions.
Tour Divide gear
This kind of event forces you to become a paranoid “gear-head”. With so many options to choose from, it was hard to decide on what equipment to buy and how much to bring. In the end, with only a few exceptions, I was very happy with my setup.
My Tour Divide setup
- Bike Bags:
- Sleeping Kit:
- Miscellaneous Parts & Stuff:
- Rain Pants – Showers Pass
- Rain Jacket – Showers Pass Elite 2.0
- Cycling Shorts – Pearl iZUMi Men’s Attack
- Shoes – Pearl iZUMi Select
- Jersey – Pearl iZUMi Elite 3/4 Zip
- Wind Vest – Pearl iZUMi Zephyr
- Gloves – Pearl iZUMi Select Gel
- Warm Gloves – Pearl iZUMi Barrier Lobster
- Knee Warmers – Sugoi MidZero
- Down Vest – Marmot Zeus (almost got: MontBell Ultralight)
Other relevant Tour Divide info and links
Tour Divide Photos by Eddie Clark – Eddie, a professional photographer, followed the 2010 Tour Divide for an article he published in the Mountain Flyer Magazine. You can see his great photos and read his moving article on his blog.
Ride the Divide Movie – A documentary was made about the 2008 Tour Divide Race. The film does a nice job of giving an overview of the route, the event, and the first-hand experience of three racers.
Bikepacking.net – This bulletin board is the place for people to discuss bikes, gear, routes, and upcoming mountain bike endurance events, like the Tour Divide. From the homepage, go to Forums -> Ultra Racing, to see the latest chatter about the 2011 Tour Divide.
Marshall Bird’s TD 2010 blog – If you want heaps of good advice on how to ride the Tour Divide (daily mileage and bivy strategies, what to bring, etc.), Marshall has done a wonderful job sharing what he learned from his 2010 ride.