Congratulations to Aidan Harding for finishing in a very impressive time of 19 days, 14 hours and 12 minutes. That’s fourth overall and first singlespeed rider this year, as well as fastest finish by a British rider in the Tour Divide itself (Carl Hutchings rode the GDR in 2008 but actually started in Banff, taking 19.11.18 overall).
Next to finish will be Eric Nelson and Forest Baker, who now only have the 120 straightforward, if hot, miles from Silver City to negotiate. It doesn’t look like they’ve kept going in a bid to break twenty days. Probably enjoying some well earned food and rest before finishing it off tomorrow.
Aidan’s last call-in said New Mexico had been the hardest state – not many services, lots of dust and almost as many angry dogs. It’s hard to disagree with that assessment. Matthew Arnold, currently just south of Grants, said two ferocious dogs had welcomed him to NM, and there had been seven more dog encounters – he was glad he still had his bear spray. But the beauty of the state should not be forgotten either. Matthew’s travelling companion, Marshal Bird, called in to say how much he’d enjoyed high altitude northern New Mexico – not just how beautiful it was, but he’d enjoyed the rocky trail too: ‘Most of it was rideable at a nice plunk along pace.’
The plunking along and the self deprecation – ‘I’ve had lots of recovery that’s keeping me up with these stronger, younger guys’ – might yield to competitive instincts, however. He and Matthew had caught Mike Prochaska at Cuba and were chasing John Foster, a few hours ahead at the time and now the same distance up the road in Pie Town. Marshal said he and Matthew had been riding together but that Mike and John, although crossing paths, had not. ‘The race strategy will be interesting to see how the four of us play it out over the next few days,’ Marshal concluded. Read more »