UPDATE: Mike finished this morning with a time of 14 days, 11 hours and 55 minutes.
Here he is in high spirits on the last road to the border (picture thanks to Lisa @ Pivot, via Mike’s one-man cheerleading team, Rory Hitchens @ Upgrade):
British endurance cyclist Mike Hall is due to reach the US/Mexico border in the early hours of Saturday morning (UK time) as the first finisher in Tour Divide 2013. It’s his second crack at the event, a self-supported mountain bike race which runs the full 2,745 mile length of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, from Banff in Canada to Antelope Wells in New Mexico.
His rapid pace throughout the event – despite being hampered by breathing problems in the first few days, he soon picked up to 200+ mile days – had him forecast to finish more than a day ahead of the previous record of 15 days, 16 hours and 14 minutes. Unfortunately the route has recently been diverted in several places due to major forest fires, so despite coming in at a smidge over 14 days his ride won’t take the official record – racers must ride the full official route as mapped by the ACA to be eligible for the win.
As an event the Tour Divide has grown massively in recent years. From a field of 143 starters who toed the line in Banff, Alberta for the grand depart on 14th June, there are 103 racers still going behind Mike. The second placed rider, Jesse Carlsson is about 200 miles behind (just over a day’s riding at the pace of the front runners). As usual there are a handful of northbound riders and this year also sees the first ‘yo-yo’ rider, Billy Rice; he didn’t think the one-way, northbound trip was enough of a challenge, so turned around when he reached Banff and is on his way south again – a ride of approximately 5,500 miles…
Mike’s been supported in his ride by sponsors Pivot, Rab, Reynolds Cycling and Shimano, and we’ve got a review of the bike he’s chosen to do the race on, Pivot’s Les, about to go to press in issue 83. You can watch the race’s tracking page here (riders are carrying SPOT GPS trackers, which allow them to be accurately mapped throughout the event): Trackleaders page and read Mike’s blog here: normallyaspiratedhuman.com
Lastly catch up with the Singletrack forum thread about the Tour Divide and send the riders your congratulations here: singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/tour-divide-2013