|The idea of going on a long ride can be taken many ways. What does a long ride mean for you? Is it having to hike-a-bike your DH ride to the top of the mountain then rip your way down? Maybe it means being out on the trail all day. For some it is finally hitting the 100 miles in a day mark. No matter what you personally consider a long ride, the riders that have embarked on the Tour Divide route in 2011 can all agree they are in the midst of an insanely long ride.|
|The 'TDR' or Tour Divide Route, could be nothing further from the common idea of what a race would be considered. The riders that set off from Banff Canada on June 10th heading to Antelope Wells, NM, were starting what was surely the longest, most dangerous, and life changing bike ride of their lives. The 2,745 mile route known as the Great Divide Mountain Bike route, weaves its way up, down, through and around the Continental Divide of North America. This long stretch of mountains separates our fine continent into East and West. From the beautiful Canadian Rockies all the way South through New Mexico, and into Mexico.|
|With record breaking snowfall experienced this winter all through out the Continental Divide, the route saw a few changes. The valley bottoms everywhere through out Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado were experiencing major flooding, while high mountain pass areas were still sitting nine plus feet under snow. The late winter brought on a harsh spring that seemed as though Ullr was not ready to release his grip.|
|To simply make your way into and out of Montana requires a self determination and preservation seen by few. Of the 89 riders that started more then 63 riders are still out grinding down the miles as of Monday June 27th. Some riders chose to start from the south and head north, while most rode southbound.|
| The leaders of the grand ride completed their battle, finishing in Antelope Wells, NM just past 5am on Sunday June 26th after 15 days and many many long miles. Kurt Refsnider of Boulder, CO was able to edge out Gunnison Colorado's Jefe Branham in the final paved miles. Branham led most of the race, all entirely on a single gear. That's right, a single speed!|
Sometimes putting together words in a way to display the difficulties of what these riders are experiencing can be quiet difficult. The saying of "a picture is worth a thousand words", well sometimes that isn't even enough. The small bit of the TDR that I was able to experience was just the tip top of an iceberg. The endless stories of experiences would flood the world in comparison to what I was able to experience and capture. I hope you enjoy this small gallery from my adventure while covering the TDR. Maybe it will spark an interest for some of you to pack up your bike and go for a really long ride.
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