Mass finish

Sure enough, Marshal Bird, Matthew Arnold and Mike Prochaska – in that order – all rolled through the night to make it to Antelope Wells in less than 22 days. Congratulations all round, and all the more so considering Matthew revealed riding out of the saddle for 5 ½ hours through the Gila to protect his rim due to a partially deflated tyre, and Milke confessed to having branded a calf with his tyre after riding into it in northern New Mexico. The Tour Divide is nothing if not an adventure.

John Foster and David Goldberg were next across the line in 10th and 11th place respectively. John had a punctured bladder, costing him three litres of water, and two flats to contend with on the last day. ‘There ain’t gonna be no rematch,’ said David.

Now it looks as though Grant Crosby, Derek Richert, Tom Moriarty and Jacob Johnsrud are all having a party at the border after finishing a couple of hours ago. Intriguingly, the split chart actually suggests something of a sprint finish, with Jacob apparently having clocked in two minutes faster than Tom and Derek, with Grant three minutes further back. Guess we’ll have to wait for the call-ins to see how that panned out.

Shawn Sheppard’s last call-in from Silver City suggests he’ll be at the finish by now as well, and Dave Preston is within an hour or two of joining them all. Well done all. It should be noted that Dave’s arrival comes in spite of his laying to claim to the unofficial TD title of dirtiest racer – there’s likely to be some pretty stiff competition out there, but he said he’d not managed to have a bath since Rawlins, which is impressive stuff.

Nicolas Senie’s siesta appears to have done him some good as he’s now only a few hours outside Grants on the alternate. Looks like he’ll get Pie for tea tonight or breakfast tomorrow, and will also be the next to take on the Gila. Cricket Butler, Stephen Huddle, Brad Perry and, I presume, Jon Billman and David Tremblay have all obviously heard of Dave Preston’s accomplishments on the personal hygiene front (or lack of them) and decided the task of exceeding them is too difficult, having stopped early in Cuba for, among other things, the chance to wash their clothes.

It’s not Pie that Patrick Tsai is after but Platoro’s famous peach cobbler. Last year the restaurant in Platoro had a check list for TD racers passing through – they recorded time in and time out. Unsurprisingly, Per, Trevor, Stephen and I were among those who stopped the longest (the cobbler really was that good). Now it appears Patrick has taken cobbler appreciation to new extremes, though as his SPOT last updated 13 hours ago (before 3pm local time) it’s again possible that’s he’s now much further down the route. There’s a limit to how long even peach cobbler can keep you from New Mexico.


Paul Howard


Two Wheels on My Wagon


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