Wild fires and wild dogs
A word of warning about the fires that are still burning near Los Alamos (and that even made it into the UK press the other day with a full spread picture in the Independent. The main Tour Divide route from Abiquiu to Cuba over Polvadera Mesa (where the rainbow gathering was in 2009) is closed, with all those riders currently between Cuba and Grants having had to take the paved alternative route along 84 and then 96. Jackie Bonn is about to reach the junction between main route and detour, and I guess watching her SPOT is probably the best way to find out if the traditional route is considered passable yet.
Some, the most recent arrivals to the Cuba-Grants section – David Horton, John Umstead and Markley Anderson, for example – also had to detour round the amazingly beautiful Brazos Ridge Overlook section. I don’t know for sure if that was due to fire warnings/closures (for more info check out the discussion forumand rider call-ins). The next riders to arrive there look set to be Greg Philips and Simon Harling, so that’s another reason to watch their progress closely.
If the route into Abiquiu is closed then they miss out on possibly the most beautiful part of the whole route, if also one of the roughest. They also miss out on the famously bad-tempered dogs near Vallecitos, but those in the reservation shortly out of Cuba are more than enough to make up for this absence – prepare for a sprint.
Three more riders have now finished – Justin Voss, Dejay Birtch and Ben Oney (and apologies for missing Aidan Harding, Marco Costa, Saemi Burkhart, Reto Koller and Mike Hall in the interim). Hats off to one and all. Markus Meier, John Richardson, Dylan Taylor and Derek Bentley should all be done today, with Danny Hill and Caroline Soong a bit less than a day or so behind.
Northbound, Craig Dolwin from the UK is within perhaps two days (assuming he sleeps and the snow is a little less thick than three weeks ago) of Banff and seems set to continue to hold off Frenchman Denis Chazelle for second place. Maybe they’ll get a cheer from Paul Attalla when they ride through Fernie? Roland Sturm, Ross Delaplane and Steve Moore are all now comfortably – if that’s the right word – into Montana, and will soon meet Stephen Huddle and Cricket Butler who have just set off on their ITTs southbound. One race is coming to an end, yet more are just starting.