The Tour Divide Mountain Bike Race gets underway today, with 42 riders from North America and Europe, setting out from Banff in Canada to ride the entire length of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail. Essentially, the race is a ride from Alberta, Canada to the border of Mexico, through the Rocky Mountains. In total, the riders will cover 2741 miles, and must be completely self supported while out on the trail.
Dubbed the longest, most challenging mountain bike race on the planet, the Tour Divide usually takes roughly three weeks to complete. Riders pass through not only Alberta Canada, but parts of British Columbia as well, before crossing the border and wandering their way south through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. By the time they reach the finish line, riders will have climbed more than 200,000 feet over the length of the course.
On top of the fact that they are facing three weeks of 16-hour days to complete the race, riders will also face wild animals, inclement and fast changing weather, and punishing trails that can range from wide, and well marked jeep trails, to narrow, almost non-existent, single track. One other element of this race that makes it such a challenge is that riders must also navigate their way along the route. There are few signs indicating which way to go, and the trail can become confusing at times as well. This adds yet another element of danger to the event.
And what do these riders get for reaching the finish line? Nada! Zip! Zilch! They do it for the challenge and the adventure. There is no entry fee, nor are there any prizes. It’s all about the ride, which is a bit refreshing in this day an age. Good luck and have fun boys and girls!
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