Ride the Divide bike race. Anyone done it or considering it?

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  • Ride the Divide bike race. Anyone done it or considering it?
  • Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    Yeah I would love to do it, its on the horizon for the future, but I really need to build up to it.

    There is this one which if it gets repeated next year I will probably have a go at http://www.aidanharding.com/ewe/

    Plus something like the trans alp or trans pyrenees next year as well.

    Then I will asses the divide for the year after.

    rewski
    Member

    Yep, been thinking about that one, there’s two races I think, the Great Divide and Tour Divide, can’t remember which is the official route, I’ve settled for reading about it for now, good books by Paul Howard and Jill Homer, the Ride the Divide film is worth a watch too, if you haven’t already.

    EDIT: I’m sure I was reading a STW thread about the divide a few days ago, worth a search.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I think the point about doing some other stage races first would be a good idea. Are the trans alp or trans pyrenees a good build up for doing the divide?

    I am going to get a copy of the movie as I bet it is an inspiring watch

    STATO
    Member

    Are the trans alp or trans pyrenees a good build up for doing the divide?

    I doubt it. In stage races you run light, with feed stations, support vans carrying your camping gear, mapped/signed routes, lots of other riders to talk too, short (in comparison) days in the saddle.

    Download Ride the Divide movie off iTunes to get a better idea of the challenge. It looks very lonely if you dont fall in with a group of other riders who will stick with you (or you slow to stick with them), i dont think i could handle that part.

    globalti
    Member

    I got the DVD for my birthday. It looks great but very daunting psychologically.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    I disagree with stato, pushing yourself day after day in a race is good preparation, but its not an identical scenario, so you need to be getting out bikepacking as well, learn what its like to be self reliant and understand the kit required for such an undertaking.

    Remember it is a race, the route is available to be ridden anytime if you just want to ride, to take part in the race means pushing yourself harder.

    STATO
    Member

    I disagree with stato, pushing yourself day after day in a race is good preparation, but its not an identical scenario, so you need to be getting out bikepacking as well, learn what its like to be self reliant and understand the kit required for such an undertaking.

    Sorry, i meant it wouldnt be much use as prep for the whole bikepacking/race side of it, should have been clearer. I just assumed the fitness level required would be a given ๐Ÿ˜†

    flanagaj
    Member

    Been thinking that at the age of 40 I need a major challenge in my life. The Ride the Divide race looks like an awesome challenge.

    Just wanted to see whether anyone has done it or thinking about such an event?

    Riding around the world also looks like an amazing thing to do

    STATO
    Member

    its firmly on the 5 year plan! I look forward to being the slowest person ever to complete it!

    There is a time limit in the race and i think it gets shorter or is shorter than it once was, so i think you might struggle ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Plenty of people do it as a tour tho.

    globalti
    Member

    Nearest I’ve come to that was skiing the Haute Route and walking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. On both trips I found the psychology much harder than the action.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I reckon being a loner helps a great deal with this. The only part that I am not sure about is the camping in the middle of no where. That aspect does sound rather daunting.

    Still, as a life experience I don’t think you could go wrong. Would provide plenty of time from the daily grind to really contemplate life.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    Bearbones 200 first
    Then EWE if it sticks

    I think the Divide may be a bit beyond me and reserved for the big boys

    mcmoonter
    Member

    Have a look on crazyguyonabike.com there are some blogs of riders doing it at touring pace. We met some guys riding it last year. They varied from a super lean lightweight german bike packer racer to a family of four from Portland. Their kids were 10 and 13 and they were riding stages of it each summer on CX bikes.

    We also met a guy and a girl who gave up when they reached Yellowstone. The straw that broke the camel’s back? Ahead of them on some singletrack was a mountain lion dragging an elk, uphill. They turned tail and headed for tarmac.

    Get the maps from http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/greatdivide.cfm

    I fancy it some day too, but racing the route wouldnt be for me, there is too much to see.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    The only part that I am not sure about is the camping in the middle of no where. That aspect does sound rather daunting.

    It’s not the middle of nowhere. It’s the middle of grizzly country!

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    I did the race last year in 28 days. I always get dropped on hills over here so got into shape but it was still hard. Mentally,not just physically.

    I would have quit at one point but it was 150 miles to the quitting point – and then I couldn’t get there due to forest fires – but also started to ride better.

    Amazing experience and the pain has not been forgotten. Earlier tonight I was talking to another 2011 Tour Divider – we both keep saying how hard it was and how we suffered and never again – but next time it will be different!

    Note if you are following the race the current leader Craig Stapler is a great guy. He rode from Calgary to Canmore with us last year and sorted us out with new routes and base maps for the gps. (Routes changed when we were in the air to Canada due to snow).

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    I’d love to do it. One day, maybe. Possibly.

    If I did, it’d probably be as an ITT, from south to north, as the race proper wouldn’t fit in with my holidays. My brother lives (in Canadian terms) near Banff, so would probably tie it in with a family trip over to see him afterwards.

    flanagaj
    Member

    Blackhound – how did you prepare for such an extreme challenge and did you end up riding the majority of the ride on your own?

    Does each night involve camping in the middle of no where or did you find camp sites. I am keen to understand what it actually entails?

    Can you recommend a good 7 day solo self sufficient ride in the UK so that I can get a taste of whether I feel ready for such a challenge?

    I imagine completing such a task stays with you forever?

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Can you recommend a good 7 day solo self sufficient ride in the UK so that I can get a taste of whether I feel ready for such a challenge?

    Just ride your bike for a week?

    rewski
    Member

    Don’t think there’s a trans Wales this year but this looks challenging link

    ianpinder
    Member

    One of thattempts ho came 3rd in the Tour D’Afrique attempted it this year, however he got caught in the snow and got pneumonia and has had to pull out.

    Not even 12000km across afrique prepared him for it.

    johnny_met
    Member

    Yeah I have done it, you can read about it here

    rewski
    Member

    Thanks for the link Johnny ๐Ÿ˜€

    crispedwheel
    Member

    Bearbones 200 first
    Then EWE if it sticks

    I think the Divide may be a bit beyond me and reserved for the big boys

    There’s a train of thought that suggests that the EWE might be more demanding than the Tour Divide – in terms of the actual riding and terrain that will be covered, although not distance or potential extremes of weather. Don’t know enough to have a considered opinion on that, but a point worth considering.

    pebble
    Member

    Jonny met,

    I don’t have one of those Kindle things. Any chance of a hard copy.

    Willing to apy for postage , costs etc.

    Considering doing it so any research/info appreciated.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    Been looking for sometime ๐Ÿ˜‰ think 2014 is looking good as I retire in 2013 ๐Ÿ˜€ Done trans alp, good intro to multi day events.

    pebble
    Member

    Ignore my last, I see you can get it on PC also. This will be the book from the article in Singletrack a few years back?.

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    flanagaj,

    I finished work about 8 months before so could prepare better than most. Loads of rides with full kit on bike often back-to-back so I got used to carrying the stuff.

    I did find campsites, but also motels. I also camped wild. The first night in bear country and every time wind blew tent I woke up! Was up at 0430 that morning! Generally ok, think I got dobbed in at Beaverhead but somebody else said leave it and left me alone. It is really not so bad.

    If I do again may do as an ITT starting a little later and might just do border to border with Canada as a warm up.

    EWE or big rides in Scotland, PBW, Trans Wales etc will all help. I live alone, trained alone so when on my own on TD it was not a problem. In the race easy enough to join up with folks if you want.

    Johnny_met – read your book recently and enjoyed it. When did you do it as Banff and TD race not mentioned so assumed 2002-2004 period.

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    Pebble – look on http://www.bikepacking.net on the ultra racing forum. Loads of threads re race, set-up and prep there over last few years.

    Off for a ride now….

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    There’s a train of thought that suggests that the EWE might be more demanding than the Tour Divide

    EWE is based around the types of trails you’d ride if you were doing a day ride in an area, though there will be some inevitable joining sections. TD seems to be mainly gravel roads.

    Aidan
    Member

    Quite a bit of misguided information here, IMO (and I’ve ridden the Divide twice).

    The Divide has superb resources (maps, blogs, experienced riders) for planning things. Even on a daily basis, you can look ahead and figure out your resupply options. That makes a gigantic difference compared to some of the less well-known routes.

    The Divide is mostly made up of very easy trails. The climbs are mostly moderate gradients and there is hardly any technical riding.

    For me, two things make it interesting:

    The broad expanses of North American country – big skies and mountains on an epic scale.

    Racing it as fast as damn possible.

    But people fret too much. I rode the Divide the first time in June 2010 and my training started in March 2010. I’d spent Jan + Feb in New Zealand getting hardly any exercise.

    If you really intend to do it, set yourself an aggressive goal: Go next year. Otherwise it’ll just be in the long grass forever.

    flanagaj
    Member

    Some really useful posts here. I have put 21/12/2011 into my diary in readiness to submit my letter of intent. The only thing that I need to get on top of relates to the feeling of pitching that one man tent for the first time in the middle of bear country?

    I know the odds are very remote that anything may happen, but thos who have done it must have also had the same thoughts?

    If you read the guidelines on how to prepare for being in bear country it does make interesting reading. eg cooking 100 yards from your tent …

    All of thise whilst being on your own and with minimal supplies freaks me out a bit.

    The challenge of it all though gets me really fired up.

    globalti
    Member

    Your mind will soon adapt to the environment, don’t worry.

    johnny_met
    Member

    @ pebbles it will be out in paperback at the end of the summer
    And yeah I did an article on it in singletrackworld a few years back. If you do get round to reading it let me know what you think.

    @ blackhound 2002 unfortunately I had a PhD thesis to write up beforehand on hormonal responses to 24 h rscing

    johnny_met
    Member

    @ pebble now available in paperback

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