A busy afternoon on the lonely highway down to Antelope Wells yesterday, with Erik Lobeck and Blaine Nester both finishing and apparently settling for an honourable draw in their own battle for second place. Joint second – hats off. Good racing and good sportsmanship too.
Their time of 18 days, 11 hours and 38 minutes was just under half an hour slower than that recorded by Kurt Refsnider, last year’s second-place finisher, and a bit more than an hour faster than the Petervarys’ love-shack tandem, so a very handy performance. It was also nearly two full days quicker than Blaine recorded last year, while Erik Lobeck made it as far as Pie Town in 2009 at a similar pace before succumbing to giardia. Hopefully the satisfaction of making it all the way to Antelope Wells this time will offset his frustration at the mechanical issues that cost him his chance to challenge Matthew more closely as looked set to be the case.
The next finisher looks likely to be Aidan Harding. He’s stopped for the night a touch behind where Erik and Blaine were 24 hours ago, so should finish tonight, though I guess it depends partly on the ground conditions in the Gila and how well his singlespeed gearing copes with the last 120 miles from Silver City which are pretty much flat. And surprisingly gruelling – Trevor Browne had to resort to his I-pod for only the second time in the whole trip; I didn’t have such luxuries so had to resort to children’s songs to wile away the miles – ‘59 green bottles, standing on a wall…’ That used up nine miles and reaffirmed the sense of achievement that comes from completing even the most apparently futile task which, after all, is a fairly apt description for the whole Tour Divide. Read more »