Guy Martin Skips 2016 Isle of Man TT to race The Tour Divide

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Guy Martin, tour divide, mountain bike race
The mountainous route can offer some extreme weather. Here’s Guy training to be in rain, the day he came to see us in Yorkshire.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Guy Martin stated publicly that he wouldn’t be competing in the Isle of Man TT race this year. He’d mentioned that he was thinking about that – and what he might do instead – a few times in the past year, such as at the Singletrack Awards Dinner and the Kendal Mountain Festival. Now he’s revealed what he’s going to tackle. He wanted a challenge, so he picked one of the hardest bike races of all: The Tour Divide.

It’s reputed as the toughest cycle race in the world, covering 2745 winding miles of wild country From Alberta to New Mexico. Along the way it has more than 200,000 feet of climbing. As well as the navigational challenge of the route being unmarked, and the challenges of self-sufficiency required, there are also bears and mountain lions. On average, a rider needs to cover around a hundred and fifty miles a day, and those days will often be sixteen hour slogfests where you need to focus not so much on speed, but more on just keeping the pedals turning.

As a former Strathpuffer competitor, Guy is obviously a fit man and no stranger to endurance events, but as far as we know he’s never done any bikepacking before. He now has six months in which train, settle on strategy, and test kit to the point where he sure he can rely on it continuously for, well, 14 days if he intends to break the record, 10 weeks if he (unlikely!) gives up on racing and makes it more of a tour. That preparation is going to be an interesting journey in itself.

Guy Martin Jason Miles singletrack magazine, Guy Martin, tour divide, mountain bike race
We wonder if he’ll do it on his signature orange Orange?

David Hayward

Singletrack Contributor

David started mountain biking in the 90’s, by which he means “Ineptly jumping a Saracen Kili Racer off anything available in a nearby industrial estate”. After growing up and living in some extremely flat places, David moved to Yorkshire specifically for the mountain biking. This felt like a horrible mistake at first, because the hills are so steep, but you get used to them pretty quickly.

Previously, David trifled with road and BMX, but mountain bikes always won. He’s most at peace battering down a rough trail, quietly fixing everything that does to a bike, or trying to figure out if that one click of compression damping has made things marginally better or worse. The inept jumping continues to this day.

Comments (9)

    Good look to him it will make interesting viewing, but he will probably want to do it without a camera following his every move!

    Pretty sure that “signature Orange Five” is a Gyro….

    Good luck Guy nice to see you taking to the MTBs with the rest of us!

    Yeah likely with Mr Hawk and with a TV crew all the way I reckon.

    What a challeng, leave the Orange at home to heavy! ! If it’s not fat it’s to skinny. Lol
    Good luck.

    A good friend rode TD this year, Total respect to anyone who rides it.

    Sounds like a tough challenge. So he’ll do fine 🙂

    He’s no stranger to beasting hisself, so piece o’ wee wee.

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