Divide News & Notes

Numb Hands Post-partum?

It happens to the best of us on the GDMBR. That much time in the saddle and a cyclist's hands take a beating. Blood vessels and nerve endings simply take time to open back up. What is Tour Divide's ancient Chinese secret for numb hands post racing? Baoding Balls. Also called "Healthy Balls" (Hmmm?) or Chinese exercise balls. In addition to rejuvenating hand strength they are said to interact with acupunture points and stimulate finger nerves. Check out some YouTube footage on how to begin using them. Gare-on-teed to help - or your money back.

Ode to Divide Riders

(Originally submitted as a blog comment by Diana Gleasner on July 3, 2008 - 6:21pm.)

For those who made it and those who didn’t. And especially for the guy at the back of the pack still out there somewhere working the pedals.

Tour Divide

Listen my friends and you shall hear
A lone mountain bike in the granny gear.
You started in Banff seventeen strong
But this is a tale of things that go wrong

Achilles tendons and drifts of snow,
Grizzlies, big cats, nightmares-to-go.
Miles to go before you sleep
And all those promises to keep.

With lagging spirits and constant grief,
Utter exhaustion with no relief,
Wet, hungry, legs like concrete
Can’t feel your toes, can’t feel your feet.

Lugging your stuff, not to mention your bike
On this Rocky Mountain obstacle hike.
Some say that it was just never clear
They would need the skills of a mountaineer.

Swarming mosquitoes and one sore butt,
Mud everywhere, your wheels in a rut.
You’ve climbed 200,000 feet
And endured the desert’s relentless heat.

Emotional ups, emotional downs
Mysterious maps, vanishing towns,
Swollen ankles, fever and chills
Slippery paths and a hundred spills

Awesome country these racers have seen -
Canada, Mexico and all parts between
from Banff in Alberta to Antelope Wells.
Each rider enduring their personal hells.

The prize isn’t money, nor is it glory
It’s just being part of an epic story.
It’s you, your bike and your winning smiles.
You made it through nearly 3,000 miles. Read more »

Not Bushwhack, Singletrack

The preliminary news is in from Flathead reroute scouts, Bill and Kathy Love of Whitefish, MT. The beta can be reduced to one critical word: Singletrack! They spent the greater part of three days sussing out the passes and looking for a connector between Wigwam FSR and Rabbit-Phillips FSR. They returned with exalting news: confirmed trail between the two FSRs. It was getting pretty tenuous at two weeks out from TD's grand depart, so the beta comes as grand relief. 2009 Tour Dividians will, indeed, be rewarded with first tracks along this remote backcountry passage. If this summer is successful, it's tentatively slated to become the ACA main route in the Fall reprint of the CA map.

More images and cue narrative to follow ASAP.

Trail on the "missing link" between Wigwam FSR and Rabbit-Phillips FSR

Above: Loamy 1 mile Singletrack Connector

Below: Cabin Pass, the 2nd of 3 passes in Flathead reroute

Tandem Category for TD?

"Demonstration Sports" were officially introduced in the 1912 Summer Olympics when host country Sweden included Glima, traditional Scandinavian wrestling, in the Olympic program. Many a successful demo sport--like Badminton--has gone on to full Olympic status.

2009 marks the inclusion of Tandem as an official demonstration category in Tour Divide. Though racing tandem is not a solo enterprise per se, it does satisfy the important "no-drafting" rule, and they are certainly no easier to navigate than a solo bike--so why not extend the challenge? Self-support is still the guiding principle, however, sharing gear between captain and stoker is permitted. Some say Divide racing is 75% mental. That would make Tandem 150% mental? TD would have to agree.

Mountain tandems are known for catching big air when stoking the flats

There have been successful attempts to Tandem the GDMBR but at this time we have no data on a benchmark for elapsed time. Two questions we hope to answer from this demonstration category are: Who decides when it's time to get off and push, and, is it possible for the stoker to get some shut-eye on the fly?

You Save 70 cents

It's time to squirrel away a few extra pounds TD Start-listers.

Photo Cred: Brendan Collier

TD Launches New Divide Racing Format

In recognition of the 10th anniversary of John Stamstad's Individual Time Trial (ITT) that spawned it all, TD embraces original Divide racing with the creation of ITTDivide (ITTD), a season-long SPOT Leaderboard and updates blog dedicated to following ITTs. ITTD will be much like group racing coverage, only lonelier. Whilst we recognize the format will never replace the drama of mass start divide racing, ITTs are no less harrowing, no less difficult and certainly worthy of documentation.

The ITTD mission is several-fold:

  • Renew respect for ITTs as the original form of divide racing by recognizing and documenting them
  • Alleviate focused pressure on the GDMBR from the growing popularity of June group racing
  • Provide a forward thinking alternative should the unsanctioned group format ever become prohibited on GDMBR
  • Give soloists who desire a pure ITT experience a virtual audience to motivate them and a GPS track to validate their performance
  • Provide an arena for proponents of bidirectional racing to further pilot South-to-North records
  • Lend impetus to those who want to race but simply can't make the annual June group start

ITTD Provisions: Race by Tour Divide Rules, carry a SPOT tracker and maintain a finish pace no more than twice the standing course record. If successful, any ITTD finisher is eligible for the annual GC (General Classification). ITTD recognizes both full GDMBR efforts as well as US border-to-border splits; North-to-South as well as South-to-North attempts. As Tour Divide is a SPOT GPS Messenger-supported organization, a limited number of loaner SPOT tracking devices will be available to ITTD racers on a first-come, first-served basis. More info soon.

TD Course Change For `09

Up to ~2745 Miles Now?

Tour Divide is keen to collaborate with cartographers at Adventure Cycling Association to pilot a GDMBR route change at the 140 mile mark in Canada. The reroute will not be made official until a 2010/11 printing of the ACA maps but the general idea is to avoid the dangerous Hwy 3 segment between Sparwood and Fernie, BC by sending riders down the Upper Flathead Valley.

In anticipation, TD is poised to race the proposed reroute for the 2009 edition. It's important to preempt the change for the sake of future racing comparisons. For the first time since 2004 all Divide racers (TD + GDR) will be competing on the same course. The reroute trades 65 miles of mostly pavement for ~105 miles of virgin dirt, but most significantly it carries riders through the primeval upper Flathead Valley. Headwaters to the very same Flathead River known as the North Fork of the Flathead once it crosses into MT, in 2004 the NY Times declared it the wildest river on the continent. The upper valley is also famous for it's wildlife populations, often referred to by biologists as the "Serengeti of North America".

View Larger Map Read more »

Coverage 2009

Welcome to the News & Notes blog. Use it to stay abreast of general Divide happenings. Whether race or route-related, regional interest or breaking news, find it below. Comment inside.

We've got nuggets to post soon. Stay tuned.