2009 TD Final Results


Rank   Name Time
1.   Matthew Lee 17:23:45
2.   Kurt Refsnider 18:11:13
3.   Tracey/Jay Petervary (Tandem Course Record) 18:13:50
4.   Chris Plesko (New SS Course Record) 19:00:21
5.   Leighton White 21:05:15
    Blaine Nestor 21:05:15
7.   Steve Wilkinson 21:10:34
    Joe Meiser 21:10:34
9.   Eric Bruntjen 21:12:00
10.   Alan Goldsmith 21:12:59
    John Fettis 21:12:59
    Cannon Shockley 21:12:59
13.   Jill Homer (New Female Course Record) 24:07:24
14.   Trevor Browne 27:05:42
    Paul Howard 27:05:42
  16.   Michael Komp 31:22:35
          Relegated (rules violation):
    Dario Valsesia (course deviation)                       22:00:30
    Jamie Thomson (support) 25:06:28
    Deanna Adams {fixie} (course deviation) 31:07:30
    Brad Mattingly (course deviation) 31:07:30
    Bruce Giroux (course deviation) 36:06:30

 42 Starters - 16 Finishers - 21 Scratched - Finish Gap: 13:23:10 



I just noticed my time above isn't quite correct - it should be 18:11:13. Not that 17 minutes really matters in the grand scheme of this beast...


Looks like you don't have Dario on there but his spot finished on Saturday at Antelope Wells - I don't think he ended up being disqualified did he?

I don't know why Dario is not

I don't know why Dario is not in this classification !!!
Someone could explain this?

Dario DQ

If we ignore what may or may not have happened earlier in the race, Dario would be DQ'd because he left the route in New Mexico. If you look at points 14 and 15 on his SPOT record, you will see he left the route south of Pie Town and went east around Mangas Mountain instead of west. He must have rejoined the route by riding the pavement west on Highway 12. If you examine the time stamps on the SPOT points both before and after this diversion, it shows that he could not have backtracked to the correct route and followed it south from the point he diverted. There simply is not enough time to do this as recorded by the SPOT stamps. This says nothing negative about Dario's effort or sense of ethics; he may have left the route because he was lost. However, the rules clearly state that the mapped ACA route must be followed in its entirety without exception. In order to respect the riders that did follow the rules, Dario's travel off-route has caused him to be DQ'd. Other riders DQ'd themselves earlier in the race for the same reason: leaving the route. Dario still gets great credit for his effort and dedication in completing a very long and difficult ride. He just didn't complete the race.

Thank you for the

Thank you for the explanation!!


Dario is a cheat and he's been caught. His continued inclusion in the race serously questions the integrity of the race. He will be DQ'd and his achievement should be struck from the record.

Here's a story of how strict we interpreted the rules in 2007:
I was about 200 meters behind Matt Kemp. His map blew off his map case and onto the trail. I stopped by his map. Matt stopped and turned around to come back and pick up his map. I said, "I've got it". Matt replied, "Don't pick it up, I'll get it". He rode back to me and picked up his map which was right next to me.

If you don't abide by the rules, then it's not a race but a farce.

Bruce (5th place in `07)

wow, harsh words: "cheat".

wow, harsh words: "cheat". you know them are fightin words in these parts and for one to restore honor in the face of disrespect often requires the taking of the others life. after such an arduous effort i am amazed at the lack of camaraderie you display


dear catherina, I in my heart am sincere of what I have done me I have not cut the road, I have lost in the mountain, and I they are ended after all to a valley walking around 2 hours in the middle of rocks. then thanks to the gps I have found the road 12 and I they have reentered on the trail.
I have stayed to sleep then 4 hours, I they have departed. If she looks at the times from Pie Tow to Antelope has arrived in 48 hours: I have crossed the alaska (iditarod) pushing the bicycle for 800 km in 2008 and then i have retired for congelation you have feet. I hope that his husband in the nex competitions is never found in my situation, after all to a valley, flood of trees and rocks. If you disqualify me you check well on youtube there are the tapes of the people that have cut. best regards have the and his husband.


Dario (Cipollini),

Catherine wasn't saying you should be disqualified - that's not a decision for her to make - she was just asking where you were.

I'm sorry you got lost in the Gila and missed some of the route. It was a very difficult place, and I was very pleased to make it through to Silver City and then the finish. I'm sorry also to hear you broke your seat post in Wyoming, and agree with Eric B who saw you shortly afterwards about your courage in overcoming not just these problems but also language difficulties too. Congratulations, therefore, on continuing and making it all the way to Antelope Wells.

I hope, also, that your friend Bruno has recovered - there has been no news - and that you enjoyed your adventure in the Rockies as much as I did.


Hi paul congratulation also

Hi paul congratulation also for you I didn,t want to be so hard whit chaterina, I apologize me and only due to the tiredness, in total three times have lost, in canada we have crossed brunello and I 70 km in more, after helena, other 15 km in more, and after pie tow 20 km in more, I have broken the seatpost in colorado, and they have happened me other misadventures, also the language, for English and Amercan it is very easier. I ask to be readmitted in final classification, considering that you know the language you write to the manager.
Brunello has recovered very well thanks
by Dario

Missing sections

Hello Dario,

I'm sorry you missed the route, but you know I can't ask for you to be readmitted to the final classification. Other people also got lost - some realised and went back so rode the whole course; some didn't realise, which is a shame but a risk we all take; some realised but carried on for whatever reason (and some of those called in to say so and rule themselves out of the race, which is as it should be). I applaud all who started as well as those who made it to Antelope Wells, even if they missed some of the route, but the rules of the race itself are pretty clear - you must ride on the route 100% of the way.

I'm glad Brunello is better.


Great job Steve!


It was great to see you on the trail!

You really rode a great race. The pace set by you guys was off the hook especially given the conditions!

You called it like you saw and honorer the race by doing it the right way! Pushing it till you can go no further then push on!

Ashley Mckenzie

Finishing In The Toughest Conditions .

My hat is off to every one of this years finishers . The conditions were brutal . I do not think that conditions could be any worse . Everyone that finish's has to be extremely proud of that fact . My hats off to all !

Congrats to all the

Congrats to all the riders!
Does anyone know if any of the riders posted a list of the gear they used?
Just curious, thanks.

trevor Browne has a

trevor Browne has a provisional list posted (a month prior to the start)...


Full Moon Rising

Excellent. Every starter is surviving. Get some rest. Remember the best. Tell children; they can follow your tracks -- even a little way would be wonderful for them and the world they create. More finishers coming along. What you've done these past weeks is important -- living a dream; think how resourceful and strong you are. Connected parts and (s)paced partners, Spot or Not.

Webmasters virtually rule a final Pedal Power story -- this will keep building and getting even better -- we out here in the ether hope it doesn't end, but that it fuels a bicycle revolution.

Aunt Candy
(Happy that Jamie is safely home with his chickens)

Correct my time please -- and Thanks! for a great race

Hi there,

Eric Bruntjen writing from my wonderfully un-muddy hometown.

Just a quick technical note; my time should be 21:12:00. I pulled in at exactly 10PM.

I'd write a long and heartfelt thanks to all the organizers and boosters of this terrific, life affirming race but I have no feeling in my fingertips.

Best to all.



You guys all rock
Its been great following your journey, makes me and my 12 hr races pale.


What an honor and pleasure!!

I just want to congratulate every one of you who poured yourselves off the top of the Continental Divide this year! Like the rain-fed, rivers that make their way from these mountains to the oceans...you moved through incredible challenges...and each of you has been changed and shaped by the experience.
What a beautiful thing to be present for! I feel the luck of geography working for me, here on Brush Mountain!

It was such a pleasure to get to know many of you as you passed through. And it was an honor to be able to offer you a dry warm place to sleep, or to feed you a meal to get you to Steamboat!
Thank you for including me in the fun!!

And a special thank you to Kevin Montgomery and the rest of the website administrators! The web coverage is just amazing!! Without it we would have no idea...so, thank you!

Congratulations, again, to each and every one of you!

See you next year!
Brush Mountain Lodge
Slater, CO

Nice work all....

Wouldn't have thought 3 records would be made this year with the weather and all... good to run into a few of you guys along the way....

Deanna's First !!!

So lifted by the finish of this young lady rider! No words can tell -- what a heart and spirit -- she just kept it going.

What will Deanna do next? The whole world should notice and wake to a higher consciousness of the strength of vegetable fiber -- never ending de-termination. The sketches Deanna shared from encounters with Bear, Water/Earth, Rainbow family are about as simply wild as one girl can BE and then get her own sweet lone Some Self back home to let Sister and Mother get some rest.

Congratulations -- what a fabulous First-fest for bicycle racing and women's endurance!

Jamie's Aunt Candy

And one more!

Make that 4 records on this muddy year!

Is Mike Komp the oldest to complete the race?

Mike's 45 - does anyone know if that makes him the Tour Elder? (Posted by Joel)

Oldest finisher

I'm 45 too but Blaine Nester is 47 and fast.


Leighton White is also getting up there. He is 46 and has done the race twice. Even with some serious mechanicals this year, he managed a very respectable time. Here's to getting older. You can't stop it but you can go out with a fight. I rode quite a bit with Allan (45) and Leighton (46) and these two guys are both very strong and steady riders.

Blaine Nester

Mike Komp

I'd like to talk to Mike Komp for a newspaper article -- I'm a reporter for The Plain Dealer in his hometown of Cleveland.
If you know how to reach Mike, please have him reach out to me ASAP at 216.999.4578.


More Complete Results

On 7/13/09, Brad Mattingly was listed as a tie in 17th place along with Deanna Adams at the time of 31:07:30. Then on 7/14/09, Brad's name disappeared from the Provisional Results. I am guessing that he was deemed to be DQ's due to his apparent deviation from the route prior to Helena. Still, he was on the route for 99% of the time (and Deanna's posts indicate that his company was of assistance to her). There should be some way to acknowledge his effort, even if he is DQ'd. In other words, I'd like to recommend that the Results place him between Deanna Adams and Michael Komp, noting that he completed in 31:07:30, however he was DQ'd from the race due to a deviation in the route. The results would read as follows:

17. Deanna Adams 31:07:30
* Brad Mattingly (DQ due to route deviation) 31:07:30
18. Michael Komp 31:22:35

In other words, Brad's DQ would be noted, along with his time, but Michael's Komp's #18 finish would not be changed to a #19 finish.


If Brad DQ, how come it was not stated at the time of his DQ? Obviously he had traveled far beyond the point of route return?

Now this begs the question, did he DQ for getting lost?, taking pavement? improper reads of the map? short cutting? or what? It would be interesting to see his odometer. I would guess it might show more than 2745 miles! Most people who get lost, end up with bonus miles.

If his spot did not track him to the finish, he can solve that by Deanna's statement he finished with her and or he can send in a picture of him at the border of Antelope Wells!

Other than that, I think you guys have done a great job with this web site. We would gather around the computer's speakers and listen to everyone's call ins and watch spot tracking dots. It became very entertaining to those of us who do not mountain bike and we got hooked to the riders and their personalities. What a field of riders, people from different parts of the world, Men, Women, husband and wife, old and young. We felt their sorrows when they got hurt, furstrated or sick and tired. Now we watch Bruce make his way to the finish line and wish him the very best!

I think it is truly amazing that people can ride their bikes that far on that kind of terrain in such a short time period.

Candidates for Relegation

Candidates for Relegation are not listed in the Provisional Results if we are aware of the violation at the time. Sorry for the error in listing Brad initially. The memo on his Helena course deviation did not make it to me until tonight on account of my own transition back from the route. It's under investigation.

If a racer makes it to Antelope Wells having ridden most of the course, but is subsequently relegated, their elapsed time will be recorded on the final results page, however, they will not be ranked with or considered an official finisher. See 2008 results for an example: http://tourdivide.org/2008_results

Provisional/final results

Can I also suggest that final results make a mention of Per, who decided to knock himself unconcsious on our last day's riding with only about 85 miles still to go to the finish? If nothing else, it's got to be a record for having made it closest to Antelope Wells before having to stop; or a record for the most outrageous way to avoid having to ride the Lonely Highway.

You could, in fact - if you have the information - list all those who started but didn't finish, in the same way as some other results eg: Formula One, where even those who crash out on lap 1 are listed. It doesn't diminish the achievement of the winner/finishers and it pays tribute to those who didn't make it all the way but at least had the courage to start.


Congrats to Mike, Deanna, and Brad

The three of you guys had a great ride and I have continued to follow your progress in the last couple of weeks. Your finishes are the definition of perseverance.

I'm elated that we now have a fixie finisher of the route! Congratulations to you Deanna.

Brad's effort is not diminished, he rode long and hard.

Mike's delayed start and the route challenges make his ride and story all that much better.

TD Fundraising Update

Hi Everyone:

An update...

Some of you may know that I used my Tour Divide run to raise money for a local veteran who was terribly injured in Iraq and needs an all terrain wheelchair (he's "locked in", its very tragic). The effort received a fair bit of press and we've received per-mile pledges from all over the country.

So far over $10,000 has been deposited in the account. I really think this race brings out the best in people; in the riders, those who live on the route, family and friends rooting from afar, and certainly everyone who donated to Evan's chair.

If you are interested in learning about Evan Mettie here's a good link. Just be prepared to get a little something in your eye while reading:


Also, congratulations to Deanna! Wow, what a ride.


Tough Love: Provisional Results Changes

Note: Several racers have been officially relegated from the `09 GC.

It is never uplifting to relegate provisionally ranked racers from the TD General Classification but Divide racing rules don't afford much clemency (by design). It's a time for tough love. The fundamentals are as unforgiving as the Continental Divide itself, but it's the best way to protect DNA of the Self-support ethos.

This year course deviations and pre-arranged support were the infractions. Last year illegal delivery of supplies declassified a finisher. More than one `09 relegated rider has remarked what a shame it is that such a monumental effort was for naught. That's a natural first reaction, but TD couldn't disagree more. A Divide ride is something to be cherished, whether ranked or in complete anonymity. The take-home message? No racer can be a victim of their own non-compliance. Racers must own their mistakes and learn from them. With any luck, that hard-earned experience will compel return assaults; wiser, stronger, faster.

So as to help avert future confusion, TD added some language to its Rules based on feedback received from relegated racers. The additions are noted in yellow highlight. They do not change the fundamental meaning of any item, but if they help future racers ride under a more strict interpretation of the rules, then mission accomplished.

What Consitutes a Finisher?

This much I do know. Deanna finished, because I picked her up in Antelope Wells, NM.

Talking to an individual that peddle the race last year, he explained to me that she missed a turn, and peddle parallel for 40 miles. If that being the case, 2705/2745 = 98.5% course completion.

I think it would be fair to say that Deanna is the only fixed gear finisher of the Tour Divided with a course completion of 98.5%. That is still an "A" in my book.

I would like to offer a suggestion for the Tour Divide organization that the Spot Checker is mandatory for route verification and it needs to be on every 20 miles? or every 30 minutes? or on at certain locations? or what ever works to prove the rider indeed did peddle the route correctly.

We would of communicated to Deanna back at Day 7, hay girl your are off course, what do you want to do: Go back and reroute, peddle on or pack it in?

Wow, you have four N/As and we do not have a clue what for?

I hope this answers about one of them!


To be ranked a finisher of TD, the race, one must ride 100% of the TD course. To consider oneself a finisher the GDMBR is perhaps a more personal/subjective matter. Is it fair to say Deanna is the first fixed gear rider to complete the GDMBR? Probably so. Unfortunately, by missing the first three Conti. Divide X-ings + 40 miles of very tough GDMBR into Helena, she defaulted on TD's strict, 100% standard. The outcome in no way diminishes Deanna's herculean effort. She was nothing short of amazing out there. She will always have that, and whether she is back next year on a fixy or shows up with gears to challenge the overall record, she is a Divide racer to be reckoned with for the next 25 years or more.

On GPS tracking: SPOT equipment is voluntary. TD may never demand racers carry one. Could Deanna's innocent mistake have been averted if her unit had been powered on that day from Lincoln into Helena? Possibly. Do Divide racers need to consider the ways in which GPS tracking might play in role in implication of course mistakes? Yes. Is it TD's responsibility to chase an active racer down to tell them they screwed up? No. In fact, informing a rider of errors borders on illegal support. The message here is personal responsibility. TD is merely a framework that unites ITT racers under common rules and some pretty cool blogging features. Ultimately start-listers are riding their own personal expeditions.

Use of tracking technology in Divide racing is evolving. We learn more each year. One thing is for certain, it gives us another narrative to complement the call-ins. Mostly that added narrative is a reward to the families who sacrifice much to field a Divide racing competitor, but SPOT demonstrates new utility weekly. If only it could make coffee!

I was under the impression

I was under the impression that even if a racer has their SPOT, because this is a self-supported race, no one should be telling them if they are off course anyway...Isn't that part of the deal? I have had to sit back and watch my husband lost and many miles out of the way and then to find him retracing his bike tracks to get back to route where he last went wrong...I believe the integrity of this race is what makes it so valuable for those who have finished following the rules. I know how hard he and others have worked and I would hate for that to be minimized.

Good point

Good point Anonymous, and part of what we mean when we say, not only is it infeasible to notify riders when they have missed the course, it's antithetical to the self-support ethos. It is not yet clear how TD will amend the rules to clarify this. We want to avoid creating more moral ambiguity between racers and their families/friends, so banning outsiders from leaving a "you went off course" message on a racer's v-mail could quickly become a slippery slope. It would certainly be very difficult to enforce such a rule. SPOT's influence on self-support racing is nascent, so as these instances arise, we are learning from them and clarifying how they will be dealt with in coming editions of TD.

One of the primary SPOT issues to clarify for 2010 is SPOT-stalking. It's OK for race fans to come out on the route and cheer racers on. It is not OK for fans to offer any resources to the racers. The motto for fans: Look, but do not touch (the race).

Serendipity: Is it only a quality of youth? Serendipitous water, food, or lodging offered randomly by strangers has historically been accepted as a natural (legal) part of racing the Divide. Some call it "trail magic". However, as the GDMBR matures, as Divide racing matures, as development along the route explodes, awareness of Tour Divide among would-be strangers along the route increases. At what point will support from these route locals begin to cross the line from serendipity into forethought, pre-meditation, even pre-planning? How this nebulous issue gets defined by Divide racing in years to come will be important. We want to preserve...no, wait, not possible...we want to "simulate" as best we can the isolation, the solitude, and lesser serendipity John Stamstad faced when he ITT'd a quite different GDMBR 10 years ago. TD realizes this is a tall order but we must do what we can in order to offset how anecdotal route/racing info, technology and increased services along the route make the racing easier.

Trail Magic

Wow! Very interesting to see your concern about Trail Magic with respect to the Tour Divide race. We continue to wrestle with the affects of Trail Magic, now more often pre-meditated than spontaneous, on the "Appalachian Trail experience". The A.T. is intended to provide a Wilderness experience, yet well-meaning dispensors of "trail magic" (usually previous A.T. end-to-enders) set up tents along the Trail in the middle of nowhere and hand out burgers, cold drinks, candy, etc. to passing A.T. hikers. None of this occured in the earlier days of long-distance hiking along the A.T. and the previous experience was a much more primitive one. This is a real hot-potato issue: many of these well-meaning trail magic dispensors feel that the suggestions by Trail administrators to simply move their encampments out of sight of the Trail so that A.T. hikers can then choose whether or not they want to participate (rather than having to walk right through the middle of the feed zones) is an invasion of the "trail police" and an infringement on their right to interact with hikers however they want. I am sorry this great race is being subjected to similar problems, but very pleased you are trying to resolve the issue as early as possible. The trail experience, whether it be for the Great Divide or the Appalachian Trail, is a crucial resource for trail (and race) administrators to determine, plan for, and manage the trail to preserve. Clearly stating what trail users should expect, or racers must adhere to, is critical to preserving the desired experience. However, trail administrators can only attempt to provide the desired experience... many things outside their control, including the users themselves, will continue to influence and shape a trail as time passes.

Kudos to the Admin.!

hello all!

i have been randomly clicking since our finish, watching others finish, reading news articles, and unfortunatly reading the admin. having to explain a very simple set of rules.

just want to give a huge Thank You to Matt, Kevin and anybody else involved with TD. you have great patience to have to deal with many different types of people and scenerios, from months before and then following.

we must all understand and remember there is no money involved, no "real" exposure, no physical reward (other then being fit when finished), etc. i hope we are all doing this for ourselves and wish that more would show with the mentality it was meant for, to "race" against each other.

the admin puts all this time and effort in for us AND the followers for nothing in return, well i am sure there is a lot of self satisfaction and pleasure.

take a step back and look what was created from a very passionate person. think about that new flat head valley we went through this year. matt MADE this happen this year from his home back east!!

anyway, I had a most excellant time this year on tandem. I suggest it when your looking to increase your "pleasure and difficulty" at the same time.

Thanks again to the Admin. you have/are doing an amazing/fair job.

See some of you again, JayP

Clear and Straight

Dear Ruling Administrators and Webmasters --

Please post specific instances and evidence of allegations made in relegation of riders. Arbitrary decisions made on the basis of conjecture or incomplete data and information are not good precedent for support of the event.

Looking ahead, perhaps there should be categories and handicap points -- based on such variables as: prior experience with the course, commercial sponsorship or donations/discounts of equipment, previous joint injuries or medical conditions, age groupings, solo vs. partner, etc.

Be very clear in definition of "support", and get facts straight on Who had What, When, Where, and How.

Cheers and XX,
Jamie's Aunt Candy

WOW, outside people are

WOW, outside people are looking for A LOT of information from a self satisfactional event that was designed for the riders. the website/SPOT is purely a bonus for the audience that the admin. thought would be a fun follow with a running of archives. it seems as if the admin. has a bigger challange then riding the route. each rider knows what he or she has done with the route and that is all that should matter. people looking for personal info on a rider should just contact that rider. no need to complicate things, this is not a reality TV show nor a place to squabble or gossup. looking ahead we do not need more rules, handicaps, categories, etc, we need people to just understand the very basic simple set of rules without reading between the lines.

enjoy all.

Get real. This isn't T-ball.

Get real. This isn't T-ball. The rules are clear and decisions are far from arbitrary.

From the original GDR rules:

The original intent of this race was to ride the GDMBR as fast as possible in the simplest/purest style possible. As time has gone on people have begun looking for loopholes within the rules that'll save them time on the course. This is human nature and all of us do it in different ways in our everyday lives. With respect to the GDR, we ask that you please consider the long term ramifications of finding and using loopholes--the race will only get 'easier' and (conversely) require more rules/regulations as time goes on. This goes against all of the principles that the race was founded on. People: PLEASE don't bring The Race down to your level--elevate yourself to the level of The Race. If you find yourself looking for loopholes, consider taking another year to prepare before racing. Most likely you'll go faster and enjoy it more as a result.


I have been following all the riders and the postings and just wanted to say GOOD JOB to all of them, whether they made it all the way or made it half way or made mistakes along the way, etc. In my book just even to attempt something like this gets a gold star...

ps: I'm sure as time gos on, and more technology comes available and more suggestions are made that the race categories, tracking of racers and results will be much more accurate and positive.


i had to post - i couldn't stop myself.

please, please, PLEASE don't complicate the pure intent and philosophy of the event. this is self supported adventure at its best. ride the official course. do it ALL on your own - and own a mistake.

scoring on a curve for 98% correctness is great for passing 10th grade biology- but not at this event. i applaud every single person that called in to say they disqualify themselves for making a mistake on route. that outlines true sportsmanship - pure spirit and commitment to the intended endeavor.


Amen Rob and JayP.

Some of the comments above may come from racers and/or followers that are still "emotionally" attached to performances just recently finished. Lots of blood, sweat and tears were mustered and all should be commended for their grit. As time distances us from the event, with any luck they will begin to see the wisdom in simplicity of rules. Divide racing is designed to be run basically on auto-pilot; peer organized, peer driven. that's the way it should be.

Above, "TD" talks of preserving as much as possible of the conditions Stamstad faced in 1999. There were no categories then, or handicaps or provisions for telling him when he was lost. Just him and the route. If possible, let's keep it that way. Just the rider and the route.

It's cool that Tour Divide is now offering this ITTD category because it's possible the group format is partly to blame for attracting racers (and fans) with unrealistic expectations of what Divide racing really is. I hope such misinterpretations don't get out of hand because the group race dynamics are cool. Racers simply can't lose sight of what matters in the process. In the case of Tour Divide, the group race, the message for future competitors should be, remember to "see your own tree from the forest"

Divide Racing and Rules

First, congratulations to ALL TD racers. Here is a little presidential philosophy I like:

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

On the subject of Divide racing, rules, handicaps, interpretation, and the like,
this is from the original GDR rulebook, which is the template for all such racing:

One last word on the rules:

The original intent of this race was to ride the GDMBR as fast as possible in the simplest/purest style possible. As time has gone on people have begun looking for loopholes within the rules that'll save them time on the course. This is human nature and all of us do it in different ways in our everyday lives. With respect to the GDR, we ask that you please consider the long term ramifications of finding and using loopholes--the race will only get 'easier' and (conversely) require more rules/regulations as time goes on. This goes against all of the principles that the race was founded on. People: PLEASE don't bring The Race down to your level--elevate yourself to the level of The Race. If you find yourself looking for loopholes, consider taking another year to prepare before racing. Most likely you'll go faster and enjoy it more as a result.

There is a lot of simple wisdom in the phrase "...don't bring The Race down to your level--elevate yourself to the level of The Race."

Critics of the race organizers should ride a mile in their shoes first. I have, and I have sent my
compliments privately. Here it is publicly: They are to be commended for doing the right thing,
and we should all hope to be able to muster the clarity, the purpose, and the courage to do the
right thing in the face of difficult decisions involving our friends that are not always favorable.

Go put on an event or three and see how you feel about rules and exceptions.
I know it altered my perspective quite a bit.


on a happier note.... Just a

on a happier note....
Just a quick shout out to the organizers for setting up the ITTD category as my husband and great friend are still out on the trail and are so grateful to have had this opportunity which was only possible through the ITTD....they have been loving it every minute...accepting the challenges and of course, they have their troubles too (bike, legs, weather, etc.), but I must commend them for their spirit, tenacity, and courage to stick it out and hopefully see Antelope Wells in the next few days....let's focus our energy on cheering them on and praising all those who have finished (whether on the DQ list or not)...it is an accomplishment to be recognized for the journey, not the "race."


Rules Revisions are for the future, not 2009. "Relegation"???

Where's the proof that Deanna cut or mis-rode the course? Has she admitted any wrongdoing? How can Matthew rightfully "relegate" her weeks after the alleged incident? How can the "race organizer" claim a lack of bias when he was a competitor in the event, too? This event can have no credibility if a competitor in the event gets to quarterback it AFTER it takes place (or even during it, for that matter). What's next, "relegating" somebody who beats him next year? Give me a break. This is as rank amateur as an event organizer can get. And I say that as a full-time professional event promoter, who also has the good sense to not compete in my own events.

The GPS units were not mandatory; it's not right or reasonable to turn around and try to use the data they provide in this manner. As for rewriting the rules based on this year's experience, by all means do so, but don't try to claim that you can retroactively implement them. That's a ridiculous presumption.

Do you really think that somebody with as much stacked against her as Deanna had - fixed gear converted road bike, female, limited financial resources, quit her job to race, epileptic, vegan, to name a few - would either intentionally cut the course, or be lazy about going back to re-do part of the course she'd done wrong??? Of course not.

Deanna is a woman of integrity and a true sportsperson. I know this because she has competed in several of our events, and ridden in our training camps. We stay in touch, I read her blog, I keep tabs on her. I know what kind of person and athlete she is: top notch. I've seen her DNF and I've seen her finish grueling races. I am proud of her as an athlete and a young woman. She's a fine person with absolute integrity. I respect her tremendously. Deanna Adams finished the 2009 Tour Divide, fair and square and as properly and truthfully as any other competitor did who has not been "relegated."

During the Tour Divide this year, she even rode through a forest fire to avoid cutting the course or risk being DQ'd. You think she missed 40 miles of the entire route? I doubt it very much. And if she did, unknowingly, does anyone really think that ALL of the "official finishers" rode 100% of the route legally, completely, and with absolute certainty? I daresay probably not one of them did (which is by no means to suggest that any of them "cheated". I"m just saying that Matthew's "standards" are unrealistic and impossible to claim were met with 100% certainty.)

Deanna doesn't believe that she cut or otherwise modified the course. Her word is all I need, and it's certainly all the word anyone else needs if they know anything about her. Furthermore, she's a role model to innumerable people out there: male, female, epileptic, vegan, fixie rider, or otherwise. That doesn't give her the right to "get away with" anything. In fact, she holds herself to a higher standard because so many watch and care about her. Now, if only the "race director" had as much class and sophistication, not to mention common sense.

Yours in sport,
Chris Kostman
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director, AdventureCORPS, Inc.
Promoter of Furnace Creek 508, Badwater Ultramarathon, and more:

Chris Kostman

Chris, something that never fails to amaze me about Divide racing, is the people who haven't the slightest idea of what they are talking about, are prepared to publically say so much negative about a race they'll never ride, the people they don't know, and a race ethos they don't comprehend.

As a Divide racer, I really take offence at your comments:
"... does anyone really think that ALL of the "official finishers" rode 100% of the route legally, completely, and with absolute certainty? I daresay probably not one of them did (which is by no means to suggest that any of them "cheated". I"m just saying that Matthew's "standards" are unrealistic and impossible to claim were met with 100% certainty.)"

Why would you write this? What would you know? And the fact you want to promote your events on here has nothing to do with qualifying you to speak! It is in no way unrealistic and impossible to ride the route legally. In fact I would say it is far easier to ride the route legally than not. Certainly to cut corners requires more effort. We ride to text route cues. If the cues don't stack up you are off course, so it's safer to go back to where you knew you were. To head forward and intersect the trail again, requires map reading, calculation and risk. The details once off course on the map are not clear or complete at all.

Matt, I know you are a man of true integrity voluntarily doing a very difficult job. Please keep it up. I offer all support to TD I can. It is not the viewers who are to be satisfied, but the racers, and WE are.

Show me the proof. Show me fair and consistent rules.

Steve, you claim to speak for ALL the racers? Really? Who voted you their spokesperson? I know of one racer who does not support your position and that's Deanna Adams. She is NOT satisfied with Matthew's "relegation."

And you think you know me well enough to claim that I "haven't the slightest idea" about the event or its ethos? Try doing a little research first. I first started doing ultra-endurance events, including seven Iditabike / Iditasport events, over 25 years ago. I was also teammates with John Stamstad (Team Bridgestone) back in 92-94 and he called me after his GD record to discuss the possibility of creating, together, this very event. (But it didn't fit my schedule, among other things, as I am always booked up in July.) So, I know a thing or two about being an ultra athlete, about organizing ultra events, and, most importantly, about what is fair and reasonable.

Matthew has offered no proof that Deanna missed part of the route. He has rewritten rules and applied them retroactively. He has taken the GPS Spots, which were not mandatory and were clearly stated to be "for entertainment purposes" only and turned them into the main tool of destruction wielded by his self-created lynch mob. And he's trying to be both competitor and rules-enforcer in the event simultaneously, the ultimate no-no for any legitimate race director. These are are not reasonable things to do.

I'm not criticizing the event in the least. I think it's a fantastic event. If I weren't busy producing another major event every year in July, I'd have already participated. I have tremendous respect for all the participants, and for the time and energy which goes into organizing it. But nothing gives Matthew the right to do what he is doing now. He's behaving like a playground bully.

Yours in sport,
Chris Kostman

PS Apparently now I'm "a roadie." (Oh gawd, I thought we had left those pejorative terms behind many years ago.). At least I use my own name to post here, unlike "anonymous" who puts me down for riding a road bike (most of the time), and puts Deanna down for being young.

Humble observations?

I don't hold an exalted place in the bike world, but may I put forth...

1) How does it serve Matthew to DQ Deanna for no good reason? What would be his motivation? This could only hurt him, not help him personally (given all the previous accomplishments of Deanna and her newfound well-deserved notoriety). TD admin, I am only guessing, would prefer warm and fuzzy feedback and press, not venomous language and veiled threats. This was likely a very difficult decision, grueling even, for the admin of TD. I doubt that it is personal unlike your post (BTW, DO you have a personal problem with Matt Lee?) Which brings me to my next observation...
2) Perhaps Matthew isn't making these decisions alone. Is there a steering committee of several....a board of directors? Are there people to whom Matt Lee must answer other than you and Deanna and her family?
3) Even if there were a conflict of interests in Matt Lee participating in a race he (helped create?), does this discredit him as a human being? Is it necessary to dismantle him, his actions, and attempt to throw mud on his achievements bc you and Deanna are feeling hurt?
4) As far as I can tell, no one is saying anything unkind about Deanna or attempting to diminish her accomplishments. She put in an amazing, truly awesome performance, but she screwed up. Hey! Dem's de rules! The integrity of the race is at stake, not Deanna's popularity rating!
5) What has been demonstrated is that these guys behind TD are attempting to protect the spirit of the event, maintain the integrity of the classifications by not straying from the rules (for ANY reasons for ANY persons), and proceed with as much dignity as possible under the baseless attacks of hysterical spectators. What has not been demonstrated and remains to be seen is whether Deanna and others will embody good sportsmanship through gracious acceptance of their own mistakes.

Furnace Creek/Badwater under the bridge

Furnace Creek/Badwater Promoter,

It's probably the case that if you simply wrote the race "organizers" -not promoters, (there is a simple contact form in the right margin of this site), you could get a proper explanation/details of what Deanna or Brad or others were not compliant on. A safe bet is TD is being respectful of those relegated racers' right to some privacy in their inquiries. In fact, I dare say if you really meant well with your efforts you would have done that from the beginning rather than attempt to smear the race. You essentially very promptly turned everything you said about amateur behavior back on yourself (although "amateur", read: lover, was the wrong word to use). Too bad you posted late at night when, as Google's "Mail Goggles" (http://tinyurl.com/4vf5ek) suggests, folks ought not email/post, drunk or otherwise affected lest they regret it the next day.

BTW, if you haven't seen it, http://tinyurl.com/q9nbpr organizer of the other Divide race has some poignant things to say to the "double-posting" of your comment over on bikepacking.net. If you wanted to distribute it to the masses, why not publish it on adventurecorps where you can own the negativity for real.

As for Tour Divide, I truly hope this can be Badwater under the bridge going forward.

Admin/Rules Criticisms

"Disgusting!", is what I say about these attacks on the TD Admin and rules.

I don't know any of the participants or organizers, but I do know that I have been following the adventures of TD racers, GDR racers, and GDR tourers for a few years now and have been jealous of their will power and integrity. I, like many I'm sure, have been playing with the idea of participating in the TD for a couple years now, but I have yet to be courageous enough to toe the start line.

Now, I don't know if I ever will as it appears the spirit of the adventure has begun it's inevitable demise. As it becomes more popular the race attracts a wider range of personalities (racers and watchers) and the original ethos is weakened. Sad, but it can't be helped in our Western society. Look at what even the orignal Tour de France was about vs. today's version - very different beasts. The original was quite TD-like; the existing is full of bickering, politics, cheating/doping, and accusations. Hmmm...

While I understand this process, it gravely saddens me nonetheless.

Congrats to all racers/riders who have morallly grown through their participation in such a personal endeavour.

I know that it must be very

I know that it must be very difficult to police all the potential rules violations. I give it to all the riders for their tremendous accomplishments. However, as I was listening to the calls from the racers, I couldn't help but wonder how it was not considered "support" when a lead rider met his wife and stayed in a hotel with her part way through the race. How can a rider get this kind of support while on the route and still be considered a "finisher" over Deanna. Maybe Matt has a soft spot for Dave Nice are wants to make sure he'll get another chance to be the first fixie finisher.


Because the support rules are very clear.

As a "lead rider" who met his wife along the way, I got nothing from her but her company which is legal via race rules. She did not bring me any supplies, nor give me a massage, nor even take home a one tenth of an ounce memory card of pictures. When we had breakfast I paid. When I wanted water in the hotel room that I bought on the spot, I got up and got it myself as if I was alone. I wouldn't have even let her hold the bike for me while I lubed the chain.

I received all supplies I wanted via a package sent to Absolute Bikes and sent a package of things I no longer wanted home via the post office in Salida. Would it have been far easier for me to do those things directly through my wife? Sure it would have and in the privacy of a hotel room no one would ever have known. But it's against the rules, which I read, knew and followed to a T.

I hate just as much as Matt and anyone else that Deanna and the others have been relegated. But the issue is ironclad. If they broke the rules (skipped part of the course), then it doesn't matter if it was intentional or not, it merits the DQ.

I'm interested to see how (or

I'm interested to see how (or if) the admins respond to this. My buddy is doing the race next year and I was hoping to ride with him, while respecting the no support rule, for a few hundred miles.

I still haven't decided whether just seeing a friend on the route -other than just a brief encounter of course- would cause a DQ though. In my gut I'm OK with it but I would understand those who are not.



Hey Eric,

There is no entry fee so just say you are in the race and then DNF whenever you like. That way you are a fellow competitor, not a friend.


True... But...

True but that seems wrong. I don't want to mislead organizers. I also wouldn't want to give the Admins any reason to make further changes to the rules.

Besides, I wouldn't want to be forever listed as the guy who scratched in Elkford!


humor + or -

Hi Eric,

I was making a bit of a "tongue-in-cheek" comment there.

I would check with Matt. I believe that Race Admin is primarily concerned with 2 basic rules: 1) follow the exact course and if you get off course, back up and get it right and 2) no outside pre-planned support, or deliveries made by non-commercial means in any case.

I had actually asked Matthew a while back about some of the smaller stuff:

"I just kind of wondered about the small stuff - loaning a spare
tube, food, sharing a motel room, etc and whether that is ignored as long
as it isn't pre-planned."

His reply:

"as for the hotels sharing, tube sharing, tools, etc., that's allowed as long as not preplanned. each racer must carry their own separate kit."

So if you 2 are out there and your buddy gets a series of flats and runs out of tubes and patches it really comes down to whether his/her experience of the race needs to be "pure" to the point of pushing the bike to the next town or getting a tube from you.

There really are too many permutations for Race Admin to be able to (or want to) control. What if some fan offers a tube - what if someone sets up a van at intersections and SELLS tubes/supplies to anyone who passes- is that a store? What if a bike shop employee offers to open the shop for you after hours? If 5 racers are traveling in a pack and one has a GPS that may advantage all of them even if the others don't borrow it.

I think in the end the Administration of this race is going to need to be mostly concerned with assuring a level playing field as much as possible and leave the "purity" level of the experience up to the individual riders. Anyone desiring an absolutely pure experience can forgo the race format and do an ITT on a rigid steel bike with canti brakes, make no call-ins, and accept no help from anyone along the route (or whatever combination satisfies their quest).

BTW - I think this race has REALLY helped the image of the GDMBR immensely. When locals get excited and informed about something that is a very good thing and bodes well for the future of the route, both for racing and touring. Riders are a kind of celebrity instead of a perceived nuisance.

Oh. well. Enough for now.


Team Kostman-Adams

Folks, don't let the likes of Kostman and Adams bring this instant classic down. Krissy Kostman is a roadie. Deanna is also a roadie. Why would any of you expect him or her to understand the off-road self-support ethos? From the sound of his post, Deanna has rallied him against her DQ because she (& he) think we might be influenced by his spew and his "emminence" as a "Race director". He knows nothing about self-support. If he wanted street cred here he would have left off all his titles and posted as a normal man. A rider. A doer. Not some idiot with a bull horn. It appears deanna is behaving like the teenager she was only one year ago.


Kostman... How can what you seem to be asserting be true? Are you saying that the race admins picked Deanna out for relegation without the slightest indication she was off route and then conjured up justification? Are you saying that her relegation was malicious?

I don’t think this forum is appropriate for what is going on here but if what you claim is true; if her relegation was random and wicked and that there are no witnesses (electronic or otherwise), then perhaps she should make her own case. If, on the other hand, there is reason for relegation but you just don't happen to agree with it then I suggest you stoically accept disappointment and heartache.

Eric Bruntjen

humble observations?

I don't hold an exalted place in the bike world, but may I put forth...

1) How does it serve Matthew to DQ Deanna for no good reason? What would be his motivation? This could only hurt him, not help him personally (given all the previous accomplishments of Deanna and her newfound well-deserved notoriety). TD admin, I am only guessing, would prefer warm and fuzzy feedback and press, not venomous language and veiled threats. This was likely a very difficult decision, grueling even, for the admin of TD. I doubt that it is personal unlike your post (BTW, DO you have a personal problem with Matt Lee?) Which brings me to my next observation...
2) Perhaps Matthew isn't making these decisions alone. Is there a steering committee of several....a board of directors? Are there people to whom Matt Lee must answer other than you and Deanna and her family?
3) Even if there were a conflict of interests in Matt Lee participating in a race he (helped create?), does this discredit him as a human being? Is it necessary to dismantle him, his actions, and attempt to throw mud on his achievements bc you and Deanna are feeling hurt?
4) As far as I can tell, no one is saying anything unkind about Deanna or attempting to diminish her accomplishments. She put in an amazing, truly awesome performance, but she screwed up. Hey! Dem's de rules! The integrity of the race is at stake, not Deanna's popularity rating!
5) What has been demonstrated is that these guys behind TD are attempting to protect the spirit of the event, maintain the integrity of the classifications by not straying from the rules (for ANY reasons for ANY persons), and proceed with as much dignity as possible under the baseless attacks of hysterical spectators. What has not been demonstrated and remains to be seen is whether Deanna and others will embody good sportsmanship through gracious acceptance of their own mistakes

Change is good, especially the subject.

Bummer...and on the public forum.

I would have loved to read more of this:

Hey Matt, that new section thru CND was so sweet, thanks for making that section happen this year! I can only imagine how boring the old road would have been.

Admin/webmaster, thanks for your time. My friends, family and fans really appreciate you keeping them abreast of what's happening and where we were, via SPOT. How about when we went off course in MT? It was probably more fun for the followers watching us than it was for us. Good thing we didn't just take that road that cut across the valley to get back on route, although we discussed it, we back tracked instead. I think you can see that on the SPOT archives. We did get to visit/see a beautiful lake that nobody else did. Jealous?

Remember the mud? When was it worst for you? I think that section before Lima was pretty gumbo-like. Amazing how the tandem would just sink in the soft gravel not even mud.

Most interesting sleeping spot - school playground kiddie playhouse or maybe in the back of a U-haul trailer. Worst spot - Basin's town park amoungst/on top of dog poop! Best spot - Brush Mountain Lodge, Kirsten is so awesome, what a home comforting feeling. Thanks!! She even commented above.

Thanks to all involved once again, riders and admin. We all do this out of pure passion, there is no business here and no costs for the event, which helps bring the right atitude to the forefront. Unlike events that are business driven, charge money, sign releases, have insurance, etc. these promotors MUST have guidelines, rulebooks, referee's, etc. and a paper written thought process and atitude that goes along with it. Not here...

Would love to read a few funny, sad, memorable, classic times or situations of some other RIDERS in this years TD.

Remeber crazy Larry at the start, a classic himself. I have a great picture with him at last years 24 Worlds, fake hair, huge glasses, boobs and all...

Keep ridin'.

Change is good

You betcha...

Worst mud... Forest Road 515 on Tog-A-Whatchamacallit Pass in WY. Oh, God it was awful. Sticks and stones and pine needles throughout; rebar for the mud! I had bone-dry conditions outside Lima but someone ahead of me had written "This Effing Bites" in the goo they's pedaled through. The letters were at least an inch deep. I tried to leave my own message but even with a tire lever to scratch with I couldn't mark the dry road by then.

Funny moment... I spent the night in a campground in Steamboat with Dario, the Italian. I got Pizza and Dario wanted beer so I bought some Fat Tire. When I next saw Dario he told me he didn't need the beer because he bought some already. He tried to stiff me for his 1/2 of the six pack and I started to get mad but then I saw he'd bought himself a couple of Root Beers from the soda machine. "OK Dario, enjoy your beer". That was great.

Worst Sleeping Spot... Elkford, first night. Right above the band. I didn't sleep a wink until the bar shut down at 2AM.

Best Sleeping Spot... Top of the pass outside Silida. I woke up, pedaled 100 yards before pointing my tires downhill and then flew down into town through a magical Colorado sunrise. Unbelievable, wonderful.

Eric Bruntjen

some good change

worst mud! It had to be the dirt beyond Polaris to Lima for the three amigos, Joe, Chris and Kurt. I walked/run up the hills, racing through pouring rain and desperately trying not to break my chain as thick mud built up in my stays repeatedly. Later we were reduced to walking, me with my bike on my back and Joe eventually bending his der hanger so bad that it would snap off when he fixed it, this all while knowing just how dangerous the mud was. Thankfully every down has an up and the restaurant in Lima let us use the hose to clean up the bikes and we soon found Matt's message "this effing bites" written in the mud further up the road towards Idaho which graciously greeted us with one of the most impressive rainbow displays I have ever seen.

Worst sleeping spot! A cold rainy night in a bathroom at the lakes beyond Sargents with only a cold Hot Pocket for dinner. I eventually had to give up on the awning itself and seek shelter in the bathroom itself due to the rain blowing in so hard.

Best sleeping spot! The bear lair! Sleeping 10 feet off the ground on a barely standing random unwalled structure we found off the route near where a campground was supposed to be. The mosquitoes were terrible and we all thought the loft might fall down in the night but it kept us away from the Griz and out of the rain.

Best trail magic! The snack shop opening up for us before El Rito on their day off. Kirsten at Brush Mountain Lodge and Gary and Patti's hospitality both get a close second place. Oasis on the trail!

Best sunset! A day after one of my worst trail days riding into Kremmling, I made Salida earlier than I ever dreamed of and dropped 3,000 feet into town watching the sun set spectacularly among the 14ers of the Sawatch range. I couldn't decide whether to cry, laugh or smile the biggest smile I could. For the first time I thought I would make it to Mexico.

Best piece of trail! Riding into day 2 through the flathead valley. Continuing the awesome scenery of the Canadian section with even more climbing and remote trails and wildlife.

Worst way to wake up! Riding down the rail trail into Wyoming was a brutal wake up on my butt. At least the views of the Tetons provided amazing scenery.

Keep them coming boys and girls :)

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Best train encounter: Jumping over a coal train near Corbin on the Canadian re-route with Rick Ashton. Those coal trucks are pretty big when you get close to them, but we’d already waited ten minutes as truck after truck rumbled slowly by. When they finally stopped, with no end to the train in sight in either direction, Rick seized the initiative – thanks Rick, otherwise I might still be there…

Best light-entertainment: Singing Karaoke (Alyson Krauss ‘I’ll fly away’) at the bar in Sargents. It was fun for us, but I’m not sure about the audience…

Best recovery: Discovering that the dingiest looking motel in downtown Whitefish actually had a free hot-tub; a Jacuzzi after the snow of Red Meadow Lakes was greatly appreciated.

Best setting: The rest of you may have been too quick to benefit from it, but we enjoyed several beautiful full moons rising above the desert in the last week; when simultaneous sun-set and moon-rise was accompanied by snow-flurries of white moths, the beauty really was other-worldly.

Best sleeping spots: Were camping in the Gila – and knowing that any dangerous animals would have a go at Per first as he was in a bivvy bag while Trevor and I sheltered in our tents; the coyote (or was it a Mexican wolf?) that provided an impromptu alarm call at 3.30am on our penultimate morning from about five yards away provided added excitement…

To the stars of trail magic already mentioned should be added Scottish Joe in Wise River, who did well to mask his disappointment when he discovered I wasn’t Alan – who he’d cooked breakfast for last year – and who provided laundry and lunch in spite of preparing for a party for a hundred guests later that night; also, ‘Uncle’ Jack at Ponderosa Pines campsite in Horca, who squeezed us in on the eve of July 4th when the place was heaving; to Oscar Pena at Thorn Ranch before Separ for coming to the aid of Per after his crash.

Finally, a request to all those ‘way too cool, way too serious’ bike riders between Silverthorne and Breckenridge – get a life. Does it hurt to say hello? If SUV and ATV drivers can slow down to let the dust settle as we pass, can you not show a little bit of camaraderie with fellow cyclists, even if we weren’t quite as smart as you?

Well I wish this

Well I wish this adventure/race well... and just remember:

You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time…

Thank you

To Matt and the others involved behind the scenes,

You are being attacked unfairly though not unexpectedly for making the hard choice to DQ those who didn't follow the rules, intentionally or not. Thank you for doing so and keeping your integrity by making that very hard decision when it would be FAR EASIER to just do nothing.

If a RACER has a problem with their relegation, they should email or post THEMSELVES, otherwise the opinion of family and friends is really moot. The race is put on by the racers, for the racers and there is no reason to suspect Matt would ever have any malicious intent to relegate any rider.

Please, Matt loves this race and route more than any of us, just look at how much heart, soul and effort he has put into making this event accessible to everyone and for the course to grow in a beautiful manner.

Also please keep the race as it is, minimally free of rules and up to the racers to know and understand them 100% before taking the line. This is the very essence of self supported racing, for the participants to take responsibility themselves for their race and their actions.

Thank you to all those racers who I got the chance to ride with this year, to all those businesses and individuals on route who offer of themselves to make it easier for us and to those who had the courage to stand up and DQ themselves.

Chris Plesko

Response to decision of relegation

Dear Tour Divide Steering Committee,

I received your final decision about placing me as a relegated racer last Thursday night 3 full days after completing the race and approximately 3 weeks after the accidental course deviation I made prior to Helena, Montana. I disagree with your decision and think it is a poor one. In the 40 miles I was off course in a storm, partially in the dark, I did not think I was lost or was intentionally cutting corners. I didn't even know this was an issue until after returning to work two days after reaching the border with Deanna Adams. If I knew I was going to be relegated I would have dropped out of the race and returned to work saving 2 weeks vacation for some other adventure. My efforts are not validated because of your decision and my investment was great in money, energy, and six months training time to prepare.

It seems that communication was not good. At no time were rules verbally given before the race started. After completing the race it seems like the rules are being scrutinized like an olympic event rather than an underground, web based mountain bike competition. Also I think that their is a conflict of interest having one of your most competitive racers be the director. Speaking to Matt on two occasions he seemed very inflexible about events and his interpretation of the rules. When Matt called me with the final decision he said he felt sick to his stomach about having to inform Deanna and I of the decision. I think he felt that way because he knows the decision is a poor one and we did the race with honor. If he felt confident that the right decision was made he would not have felt sick to his stomach.

Deanna Adams and I met and rode much of the route together. The only thing in common is we are both from Arizona. This young woman's drive, determination, and unwillingness to give up for anything was unparalleled. She performed like a champion and with full integrity, just ask the racers that rode with her. She delivered the BEST performance of any tour rider that I could see. Put her on the front cover of Sports Illustrated. And Chris Kostman thanks for your input. You are right on!

I love adventure and testing my limits. The race almost broke me a couple times but I hung in there. I enjoyed the suffering, the mtns, and most of the racers I met. I cannot describe the positive feeling I felt when hitting the border. I was on top of the world for a couple days until returning home and hearing there was a controversy. The bureaucracy surrounding the final decision leaves a bad taste in my mouth after delivering a Herculean effort to complete. This was a once in a lifetime shot for me and I did the best I could.

Brad Mattingly

Please explain

Hi Brad,

Another watcher here. If you don't mind, could you please tell us how you traveled 40 miles, apparently missing 3 Divide crossings, and didn't know that you did so when none of the cues would have matched? Not dissing you - just can't figure our how you could have no clue that you were off route.

Great effort, and congratulations!


my spectators $0.02

I've become a diehard blue dot junking the last couple of years. I'm certainly not a Divide racer, but following everyones race efforts on all these huge races the last few years has really inspired me to ride more, longer, and with an exploritory mind. Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

I cann't help but throw out my 2 cents...I know...2 cents is about worthless, but I'll throw it any how. I can't put myself in any racers shoes, but I may be able to put myself in a future racers shoes. From that percpective, I don't see Deanna nor Brads rides this year diminished at all. They accomplished amazing feats no doubt. You two should be proud and hold your heads high. Deanna, you and Jill inspired my wife (and I) and we then did a 5 day bike packing trip together. It was great. Brad, you're one of a couple dozen people to ever ride that far that fast.

If I were in that future racers shoes, I'd first only be riding for personal reasons and what someone else said about my personal accomplishment would mean little. I'd always know what I did and I'd always have what I did for myself by doing that. And a place on a record board wouldn't matter. Second, if I was lining up at the start of anothers race, I'd be excepting their rules. If I didn't want to do that, I'd do it on my own time. Third, in those shoes, if I was of the super competitive type who would enjoy seeing my name on that record board, I'd not see it totally fair to have my time (assuming I road 100% of the route) compared to someone who didn't. I know it's splitting hairs, but if I was that competitive to care (as it appears some are) if I came in a few minutes behind someone who cut a few hard miles off the route, knowingly or not, I'd feel cheated.

Deanna and Brad, I hope you two feel very proud of your accomplishment! It was awesome! But assuming you cut a bit of the course (and Brad your track shows you clearly did, and the call ins say you two were riding together) I hope you just simply think about the people behind you who want to compete for time and let it go at that gracefully.

And in closing, something a State Trooper told me once as he was peering through my driver side window comes to mind here "ignorance of the law excusses no one from a ticket".

Vive' le Tour!

~Shaun Moore

Apples and Oranges

Hey Chris,

I personally find your comments very unprofessional. To read such negative and insulting comments about another race and race organizer, (especially in a similar ultra endurance-type event), is so disappointing. Since it seems necessary you make your opinion known as that of a 'professional' organizer, I will also take your comments as representative of Badwater itself.

I don't believe its actually you, since I know Badwater has been criticized in the past for high entry fees, and a questionable selection process. THus, I wouldn't think you would go so low to criticize another organized ultra race which doesn't cost anything or select which participants they do and don't allow in (although I'm sure you'll still argue you don't do that).

Your comments clearly indicate you are emotionally attached to one of the participants, but I would hope as a "pro" race director, you would have the ability to maintain objectivity, and look at both sides.

My list...

Mud~ Its a tie between just north of pie town and in the gila just before the ranger station which, by the way didn't have any soda when I rode though....

Sleeping spot~ I think just after platoro was my fav...

Best trail magic~ Patti's chili, folowed by cold bud outside of cuba

Best trail~ man it beat me up but el rito to colorado border was just cool...

most depressing town i rode through was grants, nm

thats about it...

Let Sportmanship Reign


I must say I compliment all who went the distance of this arduous trail. It is an accomplishment of noble and notable value. I also compliment all the riders that started but did not finish for their willingness to dare the hard thing to do. It is better to try and fail than to fail to try.

I do not have all the details of the issues of the race and disqualifications that ensued. I am familiar with a couple of riders and have enjoyed the blogs of most of the riders as they left them for all of us to enjoy.

Bitterness towards others is a waste of energy. It does not accomplish anything except shows the frail weakness' of our personalities.

Deanna's heartbreak of disqualification prompted emotions that one could expect after accomplishing such a feat. Being young, she perhaps has expressed some things in emotional distress to try to prove innocence. I believe her words and actions were not intended to be vindictive to other riders, rather, they were trying to make sure all others had followed the rules as closely as she was scrutinized. I do not feel for one moment that she would want to take away the accomplishments and well meaning of any other riders. She was just attempting to apply the justice she received to all the other riders.

Nothing can be taken away from any of you that finished the race.The integrity of the race is soley contained in the simple rules and the application of those rules by the riders. No one can really ascertain 100% complicity unless there were some technology used to do so. The race is over, I hope the owner(s) of the race learn from this years race and are more successful next year and that the racers are excited to race again.

Again, I compliment all others who completed it to its destiny at the border. No one will ever be able to take this away from you. I hope future rides will provide greater rewards of fulfillment and that success will follow in everyones endeavors. Let the sportsmanship return and lets all move on!

losers did their best, winners go home with the prom queen

losers did their best, winners go home with the prom queen.

People lie, people cry. Honor is a thing of the past. Go to a museum and look at a little cart someone pulled across the country 150 years ago, they didn't cut any corners. They didn't have their mom bring them a bottle of water and a bowl of cold spaghetti. They died when they couldn't make it. They died with honor. Today; people cry about having to follow rules. Are these the same people who would have died in a crossing 150 years ago?

enforce all the rules

Staying on route is an integral part of the TD challenge

Having and applying navigational skills is an integral and important part of the TD challenge. While I have not raced the TDR, I have traveled well over half this wonderful route at a tourist pace.

While I consider myself of excellent ability with map and compass, and the AC GDMBR maps are outstanding, I have nevertheless many times found myself at a spot where, for any number of circumstances, I was initially uncertain of where I was and which way to go. This is a fundamental nature of mountain biking. I consider route finding one of the beautiful and fun challenges of mountain biking, and the GDMBR in particular.

NW of Helena, on Poorman’s Creek, the route change up the south fork is easy to miss. When I got to the top two or three years ago a GDR racer was approaching from Stemple Pass. I remarked to him that the route came up the south fork, not from Stemple Pass. He shrugged and admitted he had missed the turn, but also said he wasn’t going back. To me, no matter how fast he was, he didn’t use sufficient navigational skills to stay on route, and was unwilling to correct, so he didn’t do the route.

Staying on route is difficult, and requires mental discipline and skill, but is part of the race. If one gets off route, for whatever reason, and fails to correct, they simply have not risen to one of the important challenges of the TDR: staying on route. It doesn’t matter if the off-route route was longer or harder, they were off route.

The TDR isn’t just about endurance and aerobic capacity; route finding is an inherent part of the race. One cannot ignore, brush aside, or trivialize this important aspect of the TDR or GDR.

I know that turn!

Yep, that turn onto S. Fork is easy to miss - I missed it in '06 in broad daylight, rode two miles up the road and then back down pissed, soft pedaling looking for it...to find it much easier to see on the way down. It looks like a dang driveway with the houses there. It'd be difficult to see at night (and in bad weather), and tempting to circumvent that whole *very* difficult climb with the "easier route" suggestions from the cues. There are a couple of headscratcher junctions in MT for sure - despite the map and the descriptions, at least it was that way 3 years ago.

I'm sad for the unnecessary direction the tone of this comment section has taken - and for those speaking harshly and pointedly from a position of little experience with truly self-supported cycling. I feel for those that missed some of the route and can understand their being unhappy with relegation. But, getting upset and feeling your effort was not "validated" by a time on a chart misses the entire point of the enterprise. Small potatoes. You've done something that so many people (including me) haven't been able to do nonstop, or even in multiple tries - that's pretty rad and you're in select company...except you Deanna, you stand alone in your amazing tenacity. There's only one "first to do it" and it's you.

Can I urge those that are interested in pursuing this race to first cultivate a love for non-competitive bikepacking and its ethos before taking on this sort of racing? That and that alone will preserve the quiet, self-sufficient spirit of this sort of event and make the electronic spectator question become a non-issue. I don't expect anyone to listen to me - but I thought it should be said.

There's a marked difference between being in love with something and being in love with the idea of something. Cultivate the former first and your experience will be that much better!

Lingering Effects?

Any racers out there having lingering health effects?

I had terribly numb/weak hands, especially the right, at the end of the race. When I got back to work I found it very hard to type. Even opening my "flip phone" one handed was impossible. Things are much better now but I gather from Billman's Outside article that it can take several months for a full recovery.

I lost 14 pounds off of my 6-6 frame which was something I was told would happen but completely disregarded as impossible before the race. It was shocking to see myself in the Demming hotel mirror. Of course that could just have been the grade-A farmer's tan I was rocking back then.

My cravings for fresh fruit, something hard to find and impossible to take along on the route, is still nearly bottomless. I've also had one or two shamelessly hedonistic nights of beer and pizza since my return.

Thankfully my relationship with my wife and kids (2 years and 4 months) appears unaffected if not stronger. I can't say that for the rest of the world however; I've caught myself being overly annoyed with tough guy t-shirts, bumper stickers and tattoos. They're annoyingly trite all of a sudden. Yeah, I know, it's small, arrogant and petty... I don't expect it'll last.

Work seems banal and I spend too much time staring at a map of the route I pinned to the wall over a year ago. My whole office rooted for me and burned up the Internet between Yakima and the TD/SPOT servers so that was nice to come back to.

I feel really good about the money I raised for Evan Mettie's new off-road wheelchair. The account is north of $10K now which just blows me away since my town is more like Rawlins than Breckenridge if you know what I mean.

All in all my return to "real life" has been pretty easy and I expect the lingering issues to fade away soon enough. I'll always have the 880 pictures I took from the saddle (they're all a bit blurred) and the incredible memories. What a feeling coming into Antelope Wells! My heart was vibrating; I'll never forget that.

Anyone else?

Eric Bruntjen

Lingering effects call for Healthy Balls

There's a Divide Notes & News post on a TD-endorsed solution for numb-nubs. I can't say enough about this kind of hand work for MTBers, not just post-divide. Good luck Eric, and any time you're struggling to readjust to the daily grind, just bivy in the back yard for the night. It helps. That disconnect from sleeping in the dirt is subtle but real.

29ers vs 26

Hi 2009 TD racers and fans -

Anyone know how many of the 2009 TD finishers and/or starters rode 29ers versus how many rode 26-inch wheels and care to share the information? Seems like from all the rider blogs pics I've seen, mostly 29ers out there this year. I am looking for informatin to help me evaluate and choose whether or not to invest in a new 29er for next year's TD. Thank you.

- Mike

re: 29er vs 26

Jacob, Trevor and myself rode 26" bikes.


I rode a 29 hardtail as did a lot of other riders. I didn't count but I'd guess a slim majority rode 29ers. I have no idea which style finished in the majority though, I doubt wheel size could in of itself make or break a TD ride.

I love the big wheels myself but it's all personal preference. There's a ton of information online about the advantages of both.




I didn't know what a 29er was until Matthew said it would be the best option (about Christmas time) for the Tour Divide. I didn't even have a mountain bike, in fact, and then bought a 26er as 29ers are a bit thin on the ground over here and it seemed a step too far. The 26er seemed fine until I tried a Marin Nail Trail 29er (hardtail) - I was converted pretty much straightaway. I've nothing to compare it to on the GDMBR, having only ridden it on a 29er, but it definitely seemed to smooth the bumps when I was training here in the UK, and the position was better for longer rides.


Response to Bob's question

Dear Bob,

Please read a few of the comments below yours. At least 2 riders know this section of the route has difficult routefinding. Another racer mentioned he knew the area and turns that looked like someone's driveway. I also heard a rider got off route last year and didn't realize it until he hit the pavement with sings marked to Helena. I struggled to remember the route in that section but after over 2,700 miles I cannot. Also the Montana section was over 750 miles. All I remember was heading out of the mountains close before dark and high tailing it to Helena in the rain, arriving well after dark. I believe more riders will get off route in the future. Also numerous roads are unmarked along the entire ride and in New Mexico forest service road signs are faded or spray painted over the numbers.

Once again I just want readers to know Deanna Adams dilivered a stellar ride. This young lady is tenancious. I was inspired by watching her perform through difficult situations. It is scary to think of how she would do on a bike with gears. Just watch out if she eats red bull and burritos.

I've had numb fingertips on 4 fingers, a sore left knee, and I messed up a tendon or ligament in my shoulder. I lost 15 pounds. This was no suprise I expected this. I have lost this kind of weight climbing big walls before.

I rode a couple days with the 2 GDR racers, Cullen and Tommy, we had some good times together. Those guys were gunnin strong. The day after riding with Cullen across the reservation I was trashed. We all got attacked by rez dogs, more than once, on a 15 mile section.

This was my 2nd mountain bike race ever and I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets.

The responses by Annonymous people bother me. I think if you feel strongly about a point you should be willing to have your name stand by your position!

Brad Mattingly

relegation vs disqualification

Hi Brad,

Thanks for the reply. You're right - it seems that navigation is a big factor (and test) in this race. Jon Billman recounted in his Outside article how he missed a turn just prior to Helena and had to backtrack uphill several miles to rejoin the route. I seem to recall Matthew Lee himself a year or 2 ago missing a turn somewhere and having to backtrack.

One point, though - no one was disqualified this year, only relegated. Relegation, as I understand it, is a loss of position in the race. Disqualification results in a DNF, no matter how far you have come. Check out the 2007 results on the GDR website. Jon Billman is listed as the final finisher, even though another guy (can't remember the name right now) finished several hours later. That rider missed the time cutoff and was DQ-DNF. Now look at the 2008 final results page here on the TD website and you will see that Dominik Scherer was relegated for a course violation; he is listed with his finishing times, but does not have a place in the standings. He is an official finisher.

You and Deanna are, to my understanding, official finishers of the Tour Divide, it's just that your placing cannot be determined since your actual times, had you backtracked and completed all route segments, is unknown. Had you taken a taxi to Helena you would no doubt have been DQ, even if you subsequently made it the rest of the way to AW (flagrant, knowing violation). Because the course error was deemed accidental you were relegated (race admin - correct me if I am off base here).

Again, unless I am badly mistaken, Deanna will always be the first official finisher of the Tour Divide on a fixie, there is just no official record time to attach to the effort.

I'm willing to bet that every year there will be innocent mistakes that will result in relegation.


Re: Tour Divide Equipment

I hope it is not part of the racers strategy to keep bike equipment secret. I would love to know what equipment racers used, what worked, what did not, etc. Jay and his wife and a few others gave shout outs to equipment suppliers, though not much on specifics. It is pretty hard to discern from the pictures. Any chance you (Matt?) could get Adventure Cycling to do some sort of recap of this type of info in an article? I'd love to know bike specs, camping equipment, total weight of bike and bike and gear, food, bike pack/rack, etc. My only disappointment in this race (again) is that it seems to get no mention in places like VeloNews. As a long-distance backpacker, frequent mountain biker and one who has riding the Great Divide on my life list (not as a racer!) I think I can appreciate, at least a little, the rigors of this race and the great accomplishment felt by everybody who completes the route. My congratulations to you all, including those who missed some of the route. You are an inspiration to me on a par with Lance and his ride this year. Completing the distance of this route, with this year's conditions on a fixed gear bike is incomprehensible to me. Special congratulations to you, Deanna!

bikepacking setups

Like Dave Nice mentioned, you'll find a lot of info on bikepacking.net or MTBR. I've posted a general list in the past as has MikeC. I'll eventually post a fairly complete list on my blog but I'm still catching up with all the things I neglected for a month of riding and sitting down to figure and type all that out (even with my spreadsheet) will take me a little longer.

I was on a 29er this year BTW as were the other members of the top 4. All on Nanoraptors too.

TD Kit


I won’t bore you with a full kit list as the basics are fairly self-explanatory, but the things that stood out for me were my rain trousers and coat. I had one full day of incessant rain (out of Butte) and several other prolonged downpours. The fastest riders might be happy to do without the extra weight, but I ended up faster through carrying them: it was thanks to being able to ride through the bad weather that I caught up with Trevor, Stephen and Per, who had taken shelter.
I don’t know if you can get them in the US, but the kit that kept me dry was the Altura Attack Extreme Waterproof Jacket and the Attack Waterproof Trouser. I ended up with damp arms and a damp collar after about seven hours riding in the rain into Wise River, while my legs were completely dry. The trousers were plenty comfy enough to ride in, too, which was a concern before I set off, having previously dismissed overtrousers as too cumbersome and uncomfortable to be worthwhile for cycling (as opposed to walking).
I had no trouble with numb hands, either, which may have been something to with new my Altura track mitts with gel pads. Or maybe I just rode too slowly for vibration to be a major concern.
The other piece of kit that inspired admiring glances from others was my tent – Terra Nova Laser Competition. Apart from not allowing me to see the stars at night it was perfect, weighing in at about 2lbs and providing a very comfortable home away from home and shelter from nasty critters.


Bikepacking setups

Morgan check out http://www.bikepacking.net

Racers - Where You Mounted Your Spot?

A question for the racers,
Where did you mount your Spot? I have been thinking about getting one and started reading reviews on them and they are not reviewed very well overall. Most people say they don't work, unreliable, and have to be mounted flat. Well I followed all of you and they seemed to be pretty reliable from a tracking standpoint.
And you all did a fantastic job and my hat is off to each and everyone of you.

I mounted mine on the aero

I mounted mine on the aero bars... for the CTR i'll be mounting it to the handle bar

SPOT Mounting

Yup, flat is best.

I think also the mostly southern aspect helped too. When the route turned to another direction for long periods of time the SPOT's seemed to be less reliable.

I mounted mine on my Camelback strap and got pretty good results during the race. When the lights blinked out of synch -poor signal- I moved the unit to my handle bars and that usually solved it.

The key seemed to be to start the unit in the morning and not not move or touch it for a 10-20 minutes -just let it get a really good lock. If you do that it seems to work better for the rest of the day.


The Story of the 8 Guys?

It looks to me like there's a story that I'm seeing as I read between the lines for the eight riders who finished between 5th and 10th places. So what happened?

I saw Eddie Clark's "Mountain Flyer" report that said they made a truce not to duke it out through a huge storm and to wait until it passed, but they were all darn close together before that, too. So did these guys have fun riding together, or what? Was there a lot of back'n'forth? Did they hang out, camp together, party hearty?

I love these huge races where great stories happen throughout the entire line-up. ...But 5th thru 10th caught my eye.

...All the others did, too! And I've greatly enjoyed following them online.

I'm not one for rules, but...I like the idea of groups riding together. I recall there's a no-draft rule, but sheesh, if a big bunch of racers are riding together and they're going into a huge headwind, c'mon... I'd think that Self-Support can fit together with Community. But then I'm not into Theory and haven't put in the thousands of hours of trail-time thinking like those who've actually done this event or anything remotely like it.

Heck, I like the idea of a Self-Supported RAAM, so what do I know! : ) (The record is 14 days, from 1958... low-hanging fruit, people!)

(Say, I put up a couple TD reports and a video of a mid-race chat I had with Matthew Lee in Salida up at my http://OutYourBackDoor.com website.)

--Jeff Potter

Lone racer until the end


Hopefully one of the other finishers will be able to give you a group story. As for me I ran solo for almost the entire race. I caught up with Alan, John and Canon on the last night and had breakfast with them but that's all the story I have. I was a lonely man for 21 days and 12 hours.

I did ride with Jeremy, Ray and Cricket at the start but we drifted apart after Whitefish.

Blaine finished about 6 hours ahead of me but we never rode together. He stopped his car on the Lonely Highway when he saw me to chat. It was kind of funny because we each thought the other was some kind of GDMBR touring rider. I was trying to give him the website until he told me he'd just finished himself. It was a little weird; 3000 miles and we're less than a day apart but still complete strangers.

He kept asking me... "You're on the Tour Divide, not the GDR, the Tour Divide?" and I was just "yep, yep, yep. Are you sure you started in Banff?"


>"Blaine finished about 6

>"Blaine finished about 6 hours ahead of me but we never rode together. He stopped his car on the Lonely Highway when he saw me to chat. It was kind of funny because we each thought the other was some kind of GDMBR touring rider. I was trying to give him the website until he told me he'd just finished himself. It was a little weird; 3000 miles and we're less than a day apart but still complete strangers.

He kept asking me... "You're on the Tour Divide, not the GDR, the Tour Divide?" and I was just "yep, yep, yep. Are you sure you started in Banff?"


Well, that's funny! ...And ironic. A doubleplay! --JP

Playing "gotcha" games

I watched the TD as it unfolded, and I have a couple of comments about the issue of relegation in the absence of any intent to not completely follow the rules.

I understand that there was not an emphasis on the importance of exactly following the route before the race began so that the riders would know that this was a "zero-tolerance" race they were being involved with. Yes, the rules were stated once in writing. However, wouldn't it have been fair notice to give the racers notice of the degree to which the rules will be enforced, without exception and without common sense, weeks after someone has made a techical error.

I understand from the posts that one or more racers accepted food that was offered to them. Should they all be relegated?

I understand that several of the signs on the reservation were defaced and/or missing. What if the signs were intentionally changed so that everyone went the wrong way? (I have driven on the Navajo Reservation and have seen deliberate vandalism to harm traveling non-Navajo's.) Would every racer be relegated that year?

What if a racer makes a wrong turn, and then comes back to the race course, but does not backtrack to the precise point where they started to make the wrong turn, but instead come back to the course and continue on his or her way. I mean, hey, they would have only missed a dozen feet of the course if they didn't completely backtrack, but rules are rules, aren't they?

Young children will often walk on a low retaining wall instead of on the sidewalk where the adult is walking with them. However, most children, upon encountering someone sitting on the low retaining wall, will jump off of the retaining wall, pass that person, and then get back on the retaining wall. Would applying the "zero tolerance" rule here mean that that child should crawl over the person who is sitting on the wall, or demand that that person get off of the retaining wall so that the child can have a "perfect" record.

The mania for purity strikes me to be akin to someone who suffers from Obsessive-Complusive Disorder, for example who cannot walk without stepping on a crack, or who loves to play the game of "mother may I."

I know that one of the relegated racers ran out of water while on the course and did not seek water from a third party. It appears that all of the finishers (but one) acted in wholly good faith in their completion of the course. At what point do we accept good faith?

What if a rider goes around a bear, instead of staying 100% on the trail? Should that rider be relegated if they go fifty feet off of the trail? How about 5 feet? How about 5 inches? How far off of the shoulder of the road or trail is acceptable? Or is even the shoulder of the road considered to not be part of the road?

What happens when a rider stops to go to the bathroom. Assuming that the rider does not relieve himself of herself on the road or trail itself, the rider would pull off of the road or trail to do their business and then would rejoin the road or trail. But wouldn't the rider have to backtrack to where he or she started to make their turn to leave the road or trail? And wouldn't the rider have to do that each and every time he or she went to the bathroom? And if the rider failed ONCE, shouldn't the rider be relegated?

I appreciate that this is a competition that stresses adherence to a set of inflexible rules. My point is that the competitors should be given fair notice of the nth degree to which these rules will be enforced without question.

There is a rule in the NFL that players must keep their shirts tucked in on the field and so forth. I doubt that after a game has been played, a team would need to forfeit their victory since it had been discovered on tape that one of the players had not had his shirt tucked in.

I wasn't there. However, it is likely that either only Brad or Deanna made the wrong turn, and that the other rider can be blamed because the second person believed the first person. Should both be punished for the error of one of them? Should both riders be relegated, when only one of them made the mistake? Or is the second rider's error that he or she trusted the first rider?

It appears that the problem is that Brad kept his SPOT recorder on after he failed to make the driveway turn. Deanna honestly stated that she was with Brad on the approach to Helena, and that they shared a room in Helena. She was "caught" fair and square. Or was she? Should Deanna have been first told of her right to not incriminate herself? Should she have been told: "Deanna, you are suspected of having gone off of the course. Anything that you say to me can be used against you in relegating you from this race. If you admit that you were with Brad as you entered Helena, you will also be relegated as he failed to make the turn up into what appeared to be a driveway."

Of course, neither Deanna nor Brad had any idea that they had committed a violation until after completing the course. Therefore, in the future, the smart thing to do is for riders to turn off their SPOT recorders during the day and to turn them on only when they are at an obvious landmark that is precisely on the course. Is this the rational consequence that the race directors want to create?

One last question. If Deanna goes back and does the few miles that she missed when she and Brad missed the turn into what appeared to be a driveway, would she then have an official time, albeit being on the order of 60+ days for her completion, instead of 31 days, 7 hours and 30 minutes? (Does anyone seriously think that if Deanna had realized, say, two days late, that she and Brad had missed the driveway turn, that she would not have doggedly gotten back on her bike, backtracked the entire distance to the missed driveway turn, and then then taken the driveway turn?)

There needs to be some balance. I am suggesting that playing gotcha if someone has not been 100% pure is not emotionally healthy.

Brad and Deanna did the course. They should not be relegated. And Deanna should have established the new record of 31 days, 7 hours and 30 minutes to ride on a fixie.

Gary Robbins

stop crying: you wanted out

stop crying: you wanted out of the rain: you didn't ride the great divide.

2 cents worth

Your comments in quotes:

"a couple of comments about the issue of relegation in the absence of any intent to not completely follow the rules"

That's why they were relegated rather than disqualified.

"I understand that there was not an emphasis on the importance of exactly following the route before the race began so that the riders would know that this was a "zero-tolerance" race they were being involved with."

Anyone who has followed the TD or GDR knows this, but it would be nice if a pre-race meeting could be held to emphasize it for those who entered the race not knowing anything about it.

"I understand from the posts that one or more racers accepted food that was offered to them. Should they all be relegated?"

No, and they weren't. Pre-planned assistance is the big no-no.

"What if a rider goes around a bear, instead of staying 100% on the trail? Should that rider be relegated if they go fifty feet off of the trail? How about 5 feet? How about 5 inches? How far off of the shoulder of the road or trail is acceptable? Or is even the shoulder of the road considered to not be part of the road? "

Good questions, and so far race admin has not paid any attention to these sorts of things. "Materiality" has been, I think, the guiding principle - what you referred to earlier as common sense. Would the deviation, left uncorrected, have changed the person's finishing time materially?

"However, it is likely that either only Brad or Deanna made the wrong turn, and that the other rider can be blamed because the second person believed the first person. Should both be punished for the error of one of them? Should both riders be relegated, when only one of them made the mistake? Or is the second rider's error that he or she trusted the first rider?"

Navigation is one of the tests involved with this race and each rider is responsible for knowing here they are. They have the option of carrying a GPS if their nav skills are weak. The ACA cue sheets offer precise mileage cues.

"...If you admit that you were with Brad as you entered Helena, you will also be relegated as he failed to make the turn up into what appeared to be a driveway."

This is not professional football or hockey; getting away with a rule violation is not a part of the challenge as it is in many pro sports where referees are on the field of play. It's SUPPOSED to be the case that all racers behave ethically. If they do not, and are not caught, they get the huge grand prize of a placing in a race that pays out no prize money and they get to go through life knowing they cheated.

"Of course, neither Deanna nor Brad had any idea that they had committed a violation until after completing the course."

We must take their word on this. They rode 40 miles along a road where none of the mileages or cues would have matched. A good portion on pave instead of dirt/gravel.

"Brad and Deanna did the course. They should not be relegated. And Deanna should have established the new record of 31 days, 7 hours and 30 minutes to ride on a fixie."

What does that say to the racers who actually follow the rules? If 40 miles off course is OK, how about 400? It's a public route so if someone wants to have a race where racers start in Banff and get to Antelope Wells by any route with whatever assistance they want to arrange, they are welcome to do so.


Nice Post, Robbins

Nice, thoughtful post, Robbins. Gets right to the heart of the problems...secret evidence, used to make mysterious calls made long after the facts played out, sporadic interpretation of the clearly written but mostly unenforceable "purity" clause, the statements by a number of TD racers that it is "their" event, and they need not answer to or explain to "outsiders" who are not members of the good ole boys club, etc.

Credibility comes from uniformity, clarity and transparency, folks. Not from keeping secrets, not from sneaky judgments, not from elitist insiders saying it is nobody else's affair, not from ignoring questions, but from addressing them. In an open, timely fashion. It is this lack of openness that is the point of all of the questions on this thread.

Followed by another useless "Anonymous" post. Is this the same coward posting every time or a series?

I do not agree with everything Robbins says, but he is not "crying", Anon, he is thinking. And then sharing those thoughts with you...man up and say something intelligent, Anon.


Another 2 cents

There is no ‘good ol' boys club’, or elitist and outsider division. This website and race has built a great and friendly community of followers and racers, and I’m sure Brad and Deana have everyone’s admiration – certainly they get mine. However, those that wade in publicly and speak so rudely and negatively, with twisted words, about the race organisation are not going to win friends in it. My sense is that by far the majority support Matt Lee, and the others involved in the race organisation, and trust he is a man of integrity.

It's unfortunate you see it this way, and seem to be forming a camp who believe that the race rules should be a grey area; open to personal moral interpretation, and that following them 100% is some kind of unachievable 'mania'. That racing ‘pure’, or with ‘zero-tolerance’, is a ridiculous concept. It is not, and nor is it an obsessive compulsive disorder to do so.

If you do not understand people having the integrity to self-police, to take responsibility for their own actions, and you think following the rules is too difficult to achieve, it does not mean The Race has to be brought down to a level where You think it acceptable – the ethos is bring yourself up to the level of the race. Personally, I love the rules, and it’s the challenge they provide that draws me to this race. I did not find it a problem to understand or race under them, and neither did any of the many racers I have ridden with. It is not difficult to self-police and suggestions on here such as racers slip-streaming is offensive.

It is also not unreasonable for those with knowledge and experience of racing the route to object to the speculation and conjecture made by those watching from afar. Or be offended by many of the aggressive comments. This difference of opinion has nothing to do with being elitist, but viewing the race from completely different perspectives.

Brad has admitted to his deviation on here, and his SPOT markers clearly show he was off course. There is no secret evidence, sneaky judgements, or mysterious call made. I can't imagine why a racer, or supporter, would believe riding the complete course is NOT mandatory. I'm not aware of any other races where detours are permissible? How could times ever be compared? Are there any other races that also warn racers that if they are not sticking to the rules, that they must be careful not to accidentally incriminate themselves?

'It appears that the problem is that Brad kept his SPOT recorder on after he failed to make the driveway turn.'

No, the problem is Brad missed 40 miles of the route. You're coming at this from the wrong angle. You're saying its okay to cheat, as long as you don't get caught. That is a philosophy Divide Racing doesn’t need.

Solo and self-supported means other people are not going to take responsibility for reminding you of the rules while you’re on the course, or enforce them. How can that be practical, even on far smaller courses? If one racer follows another going off course, that is no excuse, this is a navigational event and it is your responsibility to know where you are at all times.

Overall the route instructions are not difficult to follow. Every racer makes the occasional wrong turn, but those are moments of great anxiety. Once off course you are essentially lost, and those feelings will drive you back to where you knew you were. Missing 20 route cues and ending up by chance intersecting the route 40 miles down the road never knowing you were off course is impossible.

The rules are perfectly clear and transparent (even without recent clarifications); and it is only by not enforcing them, allowing interpretations and protestations to concede ‘special cases’, that will create grey areas and a downward spiral of Divide Racing. Also what about the rights of the people who follow the route and rules? As a racer I want to see the rules maintained as is, and race again under these rules, not a mess of grey rules that have been opened up to personal interpretation in the past, allowing the floodgates on riders not prepared to follow rules or course. This is not being elitist; it is simply wanting a fair race system.

Tucking this comment thread into bed

Thanks to all who weighed in on this year's relegations. The Provisional Results comment thread has been open for a month now and covered just about everything there is to say on the matter, so we're closing it out and re-posting as Final Results.

If next year Divide racing sees fewer course violations as a result of the dialog, we're all the better for participating in it. For those who want specifics on relegated racers, please contact us and we can connect you with those racers directly. If you must publicly beat this dead horse, you can express your indignation on the TD race discussion thread at bikepacking.net

As a note to future racers, TD is organized entirely over the web. By design there is not a pre-race meeting to discuss race rules ad nauseum. It is each racer's responsibility to arrive in Banff with a strong understanding of the spirit of the rules as well as their intricacies--just as would be the case if a rider was embarking on a solo ITT. Think of TD organizers merely as part of a Divide racing academy, of sorts; humbly committed to furtherence and protection of the format's welfare; striving to remain true to covenance as we "guide" the racing--but mostly just manage the race coverage. To be sure, we do not call shots from an ivory tower. We are still Divide racers first, and true fans of the experience. Just as grand tour Road racing has its politics to manage, TD is not immune to the drama--even dissension--that 3 weeks of roller coaster suffering can evoke. Amidst such fussing, we do our best remain nonpartisan but, again, it cannot be emphasized enough that self-gratification and personal accountability are primary to the challenge. No one from TD can/will tell you when you're lost or otherwise non-compliant. No one will contact you or your family mid-stream to warn you if you might not be ranked a finisher.

From TD's inception its organizers have worked tirelessly throughout the year, 1v1 with prospective racers on any subject relating to divide racing, self-support or bikepacking in general. We have no secrets. We are happy to discuss route and gear strategies, what-ifs and what-nots. Anything you need advice on, the TD doors are open.