A final signing out from Mary Metcalf Collier, Tour Divide ‘08:
When I lined up in Banff about a month ago, boy were there expectations in the air for everyone! Some of those were high and some weren’t. Brendan and our good friend Matt rode out the first 10 miles with me and then I headed off in a tearful first day. I really had no idea what I was in for and am glad that I didn’t. You read up on all the reports from years past, you study the numbers – 200,000 feet of elevation gain, 2,709 miles, at least 18 long days in the saddle (for some of us much more) – but it is all so abstract.
I only hope to begin to understand what that all means now. But, more than the numbers, was the experience. How to stay focused on what lies ahead…and why? I describe it like playing pacman. You look at what’s in front of you and take one bite at time. The most amazing thing to me was how you could feel like you were an inch tall at the beginning of a day (with such monstrous tasks in front of you) and by the end of the day feel like you could conquer the world – or like you just had. I met so many people along the way that kept me going. I did this race for myself. But when you pull into a roadside stop and meet a woman who has been waiting for you because she was following the race – then she tells you that you can’t stop, you’re not allowed to, you have to do it for the rest of us – how can you argue with that!? I met so many men and women along the way who had faith in me – and they didn’t even know me. Read more »
This is Adrian Stingaciu, making my last call in via e-mail, post race, the day after finishing. I'm writing this from Long Beach, CA. on July 8 at 3:55pm. I guess I just wanted to wrap this up and say a few things which managed to slip through the cracks of my mind. I'm not sure if I can say this in a coherent way, since I've had less sleep in the last few days than during most days in the race. But yeah, just wanted to thank all the race organizers for putting this whole thing together so others can race the route from beginning to end, and thank you for that wonderful shirt, you guys are so awesome and giving of yourselves. The ACA's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is such a beautiful route, no words will ever capture the feelings, light, love and joy of riding the whole thing. There have been moments of despair and moments of pure absolute bliss. I have been asked if I would ever do this race again, and my immediate reaction has been "no way", I do not want to repeat such pain and suffering twice in my life. But the more I think about it, the more the race becomes a legend in my mind, a beautiful story in which I felt honored to be part of. There have been only a few moments in my life where I have felt so alive as I have on the Great Divide. Oh, so alive !!! The camaraderie on the route between riders as well as people and other sentient beings who crossed our paths has been awesome. I don't know if I can ever duplicate the feelings of love and happiness that I felt on the route. I came to the Tour Divide Race to test myself and to punish myself like I've never done before. I came to find where the possible meets the impossible but instead I have found where the Great Divide meets the Great Divine. It is exactly at the point where I most fail to look, right in front of my face, right between the eyes, dead center, right now.
Submitted by Tour Divide on July 4, 2008 - 11:27am
TD would like to post any finish line images of racers we can get so friends/family might share in that moment of relief. If in touch with any of the racers, please pass along this request to snap a finish line pic. The official TD podium is the concrete block marked "Limite De Los Estados Unidos" a.k.a. Boundary of the United States of America (courtesy of the International Boundary and Water Commission). Who the heck are they? No matter! So far we have just two finishers but more soon: Matthew LeeArdie Olson
Hey folks, Matthew here. I'm back in NC as of 3pm. In possibly the fastest finish line extrication ever witnessed, I hit the border at 10pm last night (7/2/08) and was on the road to El Paso in trail angel, Don Baumgardt's chariot only an hour or so later. A 6am flight precluded sleeping until I got into my standby/exit row seat en route to NC. Big love for Don for his surgical strike in getting me showered, dressed in borrowed clothes, my bike boxed and me to the airport, all b/f 4am (all while his wife slept down the hall). What a stud he is. Thanks to Rueben for making that connection for me. Trail magic at its best.
Needless to say, I am slumming today.
It all happened so fast I didn't have much time to reflect in AW. I did get to spend some time with Hunter and Mike of the documentary film crew, and with, of course, every divide racer's favorite border officer, Tim Balderston. He let us have complete run of the place. Rolling the cameras and all, doing interviews with us. He has really taken root there in AW (with his 12 dogs) and talks of opening his new pre-fab home there to divide racers on a more organized level. He even has a jacuzzi. His generosity is enough to make emotion-stuffed, broken-walled Divide finishers break down and cry in their vulnerable finish line moment. I love that guy, too. Seriously.
Submitted by Tour Divide on June 13, 2008 - 2:04am
Everybody's here for the start but Steve McGuire. We hope he'll join our general classification a bit later on but for now he's busy in Iowa saving his home and his neighbor's homes from the high waters plaguing that region. It was a selfless decision to remain on the sandbagged homefront by a guy with a heart of gold. We wish his family the best in the coming weeks and months. We'll be thinking of him while we're out there on our challenge that almost seems to pale in comparison.
Submitted by Tour Divide on June 4, 2008 - 11:55pm
After a long row was hoed getting the technology in place to track TD racers realtime with SPOT satellite messengers, the Leaderboard is online. Check it. Flog it. Try to make it crash. Comment if you find it loads really slow on your browser. If something funny's gonna happen, we hope it's before we get on our bikes and point them towards Mexico.
Those who've attempted to race the Divide know it to be the toughest multi-day racing out there (mostly b/c of its grand scale). In June's issue of Bike Magazine, Bring Out The Dread: The Ten Toughest MTB Races In The World, lists Tour Divide first in a review of the top ten toughest races on the planet. Read more »
One of the big questions people have this time of year is, "Are the passes going to be clear of snow by race day"? The short answer for `08 is yes. And for the record, in the past four years of mid-June N-to-S divide racing, there's been only one 50 foot stretch of snow-covered pass, period. That was in 2005 climbing out of California Park, down into Hahn's Peak Basin north of Steamboat Springs, CO. Read more »