At high noon today the Great Divide Race started. Racers will be making their journey from Rooseville, Montana (at the Canadian border, yes the crossing where I was scrutinized by a po’d mounty with white gloves, but oh that’s another story, the telling of which requires alcohol) to Antelope Wells, NM on the Mexican border.
In stark contrast to the media blitz of Tour Divide, GDR seems under the radar. In fact, I’m not certain it has actually happened ;) MC productions are not known to be tardy so let’s assume the riders are off. Pete B is not racing this year but instead will be updating a race blog and working with a film crew. That doesn’t actually sound so under the radar, does it?
Joe Polk’s http://www.mtbcast.com/ audio report had one gem of a surprise yesterday. He listed off the names of 10 starters for GDR. Most I don’t know – several are from outside the US. But one I do know that I expect to do very well is Fred Wilkinson. He’s been on full epic status this year, logging overnites with MC, promoting RimRide, and finishing with the leaders at the AZTR. The beauty of GDR is it’s underground nature…even though I know Fred, I didn’t know he was doing GDR. Tour Divide riders had all written a letter of intent that was posted to the TD site long before raceday.
I came really close to doing one of these events this year, but instead I remain employed ;) I’m not sure which I prefer – short term it’s an easy answer but long term not so much…but my heart and head is out with those racers for sure. There’s a new link category over in the right margin for Divide Racing, a collection of links I’ve been using to keep updated. I’ll update them as I find more links.
The whole SPOT thing…is a love/hate relationship. As a racer I would hate to have one. It’s heavy, bulky, and worst of all, it turns a purely self-supported effort into another flavor of reality show. It simply has to change the way racers *feel* about their efforts, strategy, and safety, knowing that anyone in the world can check in on their whereabouts. Yet, if I was in Brendan or Marni’s shoes, you better believe the SO would have a spot in their kit!
Another aspect of the SPOT is how much commercialism is taking a role in TD. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out long-term and what becomes of each event.
Anyway…it sure is interesting to keep up to date while sitting at my desk! Thanks SPOT!
Keep an eye on Kevin Montgomery. He is looking strong and getting stronger. Did you hear his call-in last night? Ya man, he’s coming into divide form. Lookout. He’s recovered from his little car accident and that prolly gave him the freshness he didn’t know he needed at the start and now he’s gonna chase everyone down.
There’s ladies out there this year! Siren Mary is putting in a monster effort right now getting across Montana. Word on the street is there’s a British gal going SS for GDR.
So much to daydream about….and if anyone has any juice left after this transcontinental push Trans Utah will be waiting early October. It’s another weekend of route explorations for 2-epic on tap.
Count on one thing: tracking devices are just as likely to be a part of the GDR as non-US soil.
Although the TD crowd has hit snow in MT and now WY, I’m 100% certain there’s much, much more postholing ahead than behind.
At my current rate (tapering for the last 4 years) I should be rested and ready for TU this fall.
Where y’all off to this wknd?
We’re taking a gander at the getting from the Markagunt to the Paunsagunt – the area SW of Hatch.
More postholing ahead than behind! Yuk.
Coming out of retirement for TU eh? Sweet!
UK SS gal is Jenn Hopkins – http://www.everydaycycling.com/edc/news/archive_news_607.aspx
She’s the woman next to Mary Collier in the Banff photo’s before the TD off.
The snow will be a huge factor in Divide racing this year. I know a GDMBR tourist who was traveling from South to North. He left New Mexico in early June and very recently cancelled his trip because of snow on the passes. New Mexico! That may be gone by the time the racers get down there, but the fact there’s still snow that far south in mid-June seems to indicate there’s high elevation snow on nearly the entire legnth of the route right now.
Geoff was really torn on whether or not to carry his Spot. He also agreed that it’s heavy, basically unneeded, and could be perceived as a crutch. He had essentially decided not to carry it when I talked him back into it. So in Geoff’s case, blame me, the SO.
The nice thing about the SPOT, is that you don’t have to use it to track your exact location. You can tuck it away in your pack turned off, and just use it when you want or need to. It seems a little self serving to have all the racers in an event wear and use one. A little like the following of the event is more important than the event itself, that is, the effort people are putting in.
It’s a two edged sword. My wife loves mine. So far I have only used it on local rides. It’s sort of a hassle, but also nice for those just in case moments.
Surprisingly I have not been following the TD, or the GDR like I did last year. I check in every other day or so. I do find myself thinking about the racers, both with envy and relief that I am not there. One day though. One day I will attempt it…
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