They're off..

Well, they've been off for a while now - three days to be precise, plenty of time to have come to terms with the fact that they've now finally begun what for most will probably be the biggest adventure of their lives. It's a shame about the race having had to be re-routed - no Flathead, after having already established itself as one of the highlights of the route, no Whitefish Divide or Red Meadow Lakes (by the looks of it), no Richmond Peak either, and there seem to be plenty more detours that most of the riders haven't reached yet - but I think it's worth trying to avoid the trap of thinking it might be a lot easier than in previous years.

It will certainly change the complexion of the race and, sure, a bit of rough ground, bear country and post-holing through snow will have been lost. But a lot of the challenge of the TD is in the sheer scale of the event - the distance, the commitment - and that hasn't changed. Besides, riding a long way on a bike can be tough in even the most benign surroundings. I've just finished a 600km audax event, my final qualifier for Paris-Brest-Paris in August. I actually passed within 2 miles of home, but that didn't make my left knee any less painful when something happened to it with 100 miles to go. Then there's the need to be adaptable in the face of whatever conditions come your way, and arguably the uncertainty surrounding the re-routes this year will make that an even more important attribute.

With that in mind, the fact there's already a three day spread from first to last in the southbound race suggests the new route hasn't neutralised the challenge too much. Kurt Refsnider, second two years ago, is living up to pre-race billing as one of the favourites. Behind him, most riders are spread out down the Swan River valley from Whitefish in the north to Seeley Lake in the south. My sometime companions from 2009, Cadet Bryant and Ray Porter, seem to be making steady progress - keep up the good work. Less promisingly, Rob Colliver from the UK, riding an ITT, appears lost past Seeley Lake, just when he could begin to look forward to some morale-boosting company from the faster riders from the Grand Depart. Get back on track Rob and you'll have someone to talk to.

Apart from that it's difficult to know from here how things are panning out on the ground. What's the weather like? Have the greater numbers this year created problems with accommodation or re-supply on the route (unlikely, and let's hope not)? Has anyone had the misfortune to have to pull the plug yet? Certainly, the start list was a moveable feast right up until the flag dropped, and some people who'd been on it for a while seem not to have set off - if anyone knows who and why, or has answers to these other questions, feel free to post a reply to let me know.

That's all for now.




I always love to follow the riders every year. Are they doing the "call-ins" this year? I couldn't find them anywhere on the site. Maybe I just can't find them. I always enjoy hearing about their adventures first hand.


The Call-ins can be found directly at their historical source until we can figure out why the RSS feed we're to pick up keeps breaking as we upload the podcasts. Check here:

How Cool

That you're gracing us with your input again, Squire. Blather on.

How was the Colorado section??

I see that some of the racers have made it through Colorado. We have record snowpack this year. Were they able to stay on the great divide route? Or did they have to make major course changes?? If so, where? thanks...

Racers in NM

Tush--those you see in NM (assuming that's what you mean) came from Antelope Wells. Tour Divide features it's first 'race to the middle' this year with simultaneous Grand Departs from either end of the GDMBR. It's neat to watch the dots converge, although, we're not sure the Northbounders' attempt to avoid the snow puts them in any better position, as they ride / breathe through hazy smoke from early season AZ wildfires.

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