We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking. -- Finis Mitchell

Tour Divide mountain bike race

Earlier this year we showed you a preview for Ride the Divide.

The film was about the Tour Divide mountain bike race which spans from Banff, Canada to Mexico.

And the 2010 edition kicks off today.

Racers will ride 2711 miles in this race which traverses the Continental Divide. They'll end up climbing over 200,000 feet during the race. This year's race has 48 riders and you can keep track on the event through live updates on ustream.

And of the 48 riders, six of them are from Washington. The Washington natives are: Eric Bruntjen, Roslyn, WA; Brett Foster, Kirkland, WA; Kent Peterson, Issaquah, WA; Dave Preston, Seattle, WA; Mike Prochaska, North Bend, WA; and Derek Richert, Seattle, WA.

The Tour Divide is an completely self supported ride. That means that racers must carry all of their gear and supplies with them throughout the ride. And unlike more "traditional" bicycle races, there are no set start and stop spots besides the start and finish line. The clock runs continuously once started.

She or he who can ride the fastest while making fewer, shorter stops usually wins. With an average time-to-completion of three weeks in the saddle, TD is the longest–arguably most challenging–mountain bike race on the planet. It is a contest for the ultra-fit but only if ultra-prepared for myriad contingencies of backcountry biking.

And the riders must be prepared for anything. From single track trails to long dirt roads. And they'll be spending 16+ hours a day in the saddle through some of the densest areas of grizzly and mountain lion populations in the country.

The route is unmarked and riders must navigate their way through five different states and two Canadian provinces. Services are often 100 miles or more apart and remember, this ride is through the mountains where the weather can change in the blink of an eye.

Last year's winner was Matthew Lee. It was his fifth victory in the Tour Divide. He covered the course in 18 days. This year again Lee is registered for the race. We'll see if he can make it six.

We'll keep track of the race here.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a grueling race. They have a pretty strict set up rules about shipping/receiving supplies - and I like that they are self policed... It's an honest sport, like golf.