From: Justin Gural
July 14, 2010
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The Great Divide mountain bike route is the world's longest off-pavement cycling route, tracking a total of 2,745 miles from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. It is highlighted by singletrack, long dirt roads and jeep trails that wend their way along the Continental Divide. The route travels south through the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and then through the U.S. via Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. By route's end, a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical.
The route is unmarked and meandering, requiring navigational sharpness. It travels through remote backcountry terrain with grizzlies and mountain lions, and distances between services are frequently 100+ miles. Because June is typically a wet month in the northern Rockies, and often a cold month at the higher elevations, they recommend that you do not attempt this ride prior to late June or early July and wrap everything up by October.
Traveling this challenging route on your bike is quite a feat in itself, and only a few riders tackle the trail each year. The leisurely approach can take upwards of 40 days to cycle end-to-end, and father/son duo John and John Kershner started the route today, July 14, 2010. Track their adventure at their blog or Twitter feed.
For those interested in a faster approach and testing their adventure cycling prowess, the annual Tour Divide race tackles the distance between 17 and 28 days. Distance biker extraordinaire Matthew Lee is the defending three-time champion, recently breaking his own record in with the fastest time of 17 days, 21 hours.
The 2010 race was dedicated in memory of David
Blumenthal.The 2010 event proved to be the most popular race yet, with 48 registered riders and 23 finishers. The event was also met with a tragedy, however, as Montpelier, Vermont-based rider David Blumenthal was struck and killed by a motorist along a narrow mountain dirt road outside Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The 2010 race was dedicated in memory of David Blumenthal.
Check out the photo gallery of the 2010 Tour Divide race.