Monday, 26 May 2014

The toughest bicycle race in the world

Well on the 13th of June this year a major sporting event will take place , no its not the world cup soccer !, but the worlds toughest bicycle race called the Tour Divide from Banff in Canada to Antelope Wells in New Mexico , a total distance of 4418km all off road !. While this race has become even more popular in the last few years due to the fantastic movie Ride the Divide still many people are unaware of the event the reason for this being - its an underground event with no entry fees at all, anybody of any age can take part and there are no prizes at all.

Why is it the worlds toughest bicycle race ?, well lets compare the most famous long cycle race in the world - The Tour De France to the Tour Divide . 

First of all riders on the Tour De France have a team bus , a fancy hotel to sleep in every night, team masseuse to help those aches and pains of the days ride, Good meals every day, lots of sleep, the team mechanic to look after their bikes and spare bikes if required. Yes the tour de France is hard but the clock stops every day and starts again the next morning

The Tour Divide has none of the above, the riders have to carry everything they need, the have to find places to stay e.g pitching their tent on the top of a cold mountain pass, they face some of the worst road conditions you can imagine - long stretches with no water, deep mud, snowy mountain passes, cold river crossings & grizzly bears. The clock starts in Banff and finishes at the border in New Mexico its one huge 4418km stage race and if their bike brakes down they have to be able to fix it !. 

Who is attracted to such a race - well that answer is as varied as the types of bikes people use to complete the course, many of the riders are veterans looking to better their previous time, brake the current record or they just want to find out if they can make it . Many riders do not make it at all and pull out for a number of reasons such as the weather , mental breakdown , physical  problems or mechanical .  There is no live television coverage of the event and I hope that never happens  as that would turn it into something that its not supposed to be. It is the ultimate bike packing adventure race in the world and anybody who finishes is a winner . There are many riders who have become well known from their record braking rides on the Tour divide such as Matt Lee, Jay Petervary , Oillie Whalley just to name a few and every year new riders take up the challenge, for those of you who would like to follow the race you can become a blue dot junkie and follow the riders daily progress on spot tracker , via the Tour Divide website. This year a few Kiwis will be taking part and as a single speeder I will be also watching the single speed riders as well. Good luck to everybody that has entered for 2014 !. Pictured below are a few of the riders from previous years. 

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