Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by mike, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    I posted this at another Southern California mountain biking web site which is now on the fritz...


    *********************

    A few photos from the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. We decided to not bring a dedicated camera; just snapped the occasional phone pic. I really like to cover part of the lens with my hand, too.

    We rode the US portion from Rooseville MT to Antelope Wells NM in 61 days (including five rest days) – around 2500 miles at a touring pace. It all went pretty much as we planned/hoped. We shot for a 40-mile/day average so we could finish in ten weeks. We circumvented a few sections that were snowed in or otherwise not so loaded-tandem friendly. We dealt with rain about half of the days. We were on the move 7-12 hours a day, and we initially rode 31 days straight without a rest day (a mistake I would pay for). We probably pushed the bike over a hundred miles. We got two flats, broke one spoke, replaced chain and rear sprockets once, did one hub oil change, a few adjustments…otherwise enjoyed a very trouble-free MTB Tandems Fandango Tourista.

    Getting the Divorce Horse to The Canadian border took some special equipment that served double duty. Valley of Fire campground:

    gdmbr_01b.jpg


    Whitefish Bike Retreat is an hour drive from the Canadian border. If you lodge there, you can get a ride. The place has a discernible gravity…who would want to leave?

    gdmbr_04.jpg

    gdmbr_03.jpg


    At the start of the ride I felt like the hard part was over. All that was left to do was ride and camp.

    gdmbr_05.jpg


    As Californians, we were envious of all the water we saw in Montana.

    gdmbr_06.jpg


    Hehe...

    gdmbr_07.jpg

    gdmbr_08.jpg


    We didn’t avoid all the snow. Avalanche debris over Whitefish Pass, the warmup.

    gdmbr_09.jpg


    About ten spots were impassable by any means but foot. This one took some work and was hundreds of yards wide. You could only guess where the road would reappear.

    gdmbr_10.jpg


    Obligatory shot with Glacier NP backdrop.

    gdmbr_12.jpg


    Top contender for Mosquito Hell on Earth: The otherwise idyllic Holland Lake MT.

    gdmbr_13.jpg


    No phone, no pool, no pets.

    gdmbr_11.jpg


    All day and only this to do.

    gdmbr_14.jpg

    gdmbr_01.jpg


    I know how to make Boreas Pass more fun.

    gdmbr_16.jpg


    Da bear…where? Didn’t see a single one. Just moose, elk, antelope, badger, fisher cat, mountain lion, turtle, bald eagle, golden eagle, hawks, trout, bobcat, fox, coyote, wolf, deer, horned toad, snakes, mustang, marmot...

    gdmbr_17.jpg


    Basin, Montana was a welcome stop. Pizza joint, quick bivy, cafe…in that order.

    gdmbr_18.jpg


    With a gorgeous view of the highway.

    gdmbr_19.jpg


    These two guys were each going their own way. We all wondered how the guy on the right got his rig to weigh 150 pounds.

    gdmbr_20.jpg


    Nice, shady rest spot.

    gdmbr_21.jpg



    Rainfall/snowpack had been above average, leading to green everywhere. The bull moose wasn’t too happy about our presence, so we were happy to move on.

    gdmbr_22.jpg


    The Big Nothing, Montana style. Near Medicine Lodge NF.

    gdmbr_23.jpg



    The Big Nothing, Wyoming style. Great Divide Basin. No trees for over a hundred miles.

    gdmbr_25.jpg


    Lots of great riding through Colorado, on par with the good Montana sections, but higher elevation. Laid over in Steamboat Springs for some bike maintenance and a day off. Met some friends for dinner in Frisco. Rode around a couple passes due to nasty weather. Spent hours working through muddy road above Salida, arrived at 2am.

    gdmbr_24.jpg


    We started to get summit fever sometime in NM. Probably at the northern border! We jettisoned some items in Cuba NM, and hit the remaining backcountry sections with fervor. Next thing we knew, our trailhead hand, Jeff, was snapping our pic at the border station.

    gdmbr_26.jpg


    Info on the GDMBR from Adventure Cycling Association:
    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/great-divide-mountain-bike-route/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes- ... ike-route/</a>
     
  2. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    I read this same report on that other website... And I read it again now! Absolutely amazing ride.
     
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  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Hey Mike,
    This story is pretty amazing. Seriously, I would like to to do a full story of this over on the magazine. I'm sure you limited the pics. Also would like to find out more about how you prepare for a ride like this, the actual route, some of the bizarre thoughts that start rolling through your head, and how you prevent getting divorced ha ha! :lol:

    Let's talk on this. This is awesome and awe inspiring...
     
    Poofighter, Tom the Bomb and mike like this.
  4. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    This ride is amazing and hard for me to comprehend! I would love to hear more in the magazine.
     
    Tom the Bomb and mike like this.
  5. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Thanks for the kind words, guys.

    I'd be happy spew ad nauseum about what went into this. I default to keeping my reportage brief cuz, well, we are average riders and this ride was done in very average style. You know, nothing Red Bull about it. But if people want to know...I can beat gums with the best of em. Mikie, I'm happy to work with you for a mag piece. Can expand on any aspects you think are of interest.


    Thanks for hosting the pix, Mikie. Adventure Cycling likes to put links in their Bike Bits email newsletter to related stuff like this. I got hosed in that regard posting it at STR. Here it's now members only, doh! I finally posted them in the running report thread at mtbr (where I should have originally I guess). If anyone wants to read more blow-by-blow account of the ride, it's here:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://forums.mtbr.com/passion/honey-wanna-go-bike-ride-914081.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://forums.mtbr.com/passion/honey-wa ... 14081.html</a>


    Cheers! :cool:
     
    Tom the Bomb likes this.
  6. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Custom XTR 29er
    EPIC!

    First, that cowboy hat / bike helmet thing ROCKS! I need to get one :)

    I'm getting ready for a bikepacking trip on Catalina. Nothing crazy like this, but getting stoked about getting all my gear on my bike. Got my rear rack dialed in and bandoliers and tent, now just have to figure out my sleeping pad and all the "big" stuff is taken care of. Good news is that it's Catalina, so they will drop water and firewood for you at your campsites (as long as you order it in advance).
     
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  7. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    That sounds wicked awesome, Bonsai! You'll have a blast; it sounds like you've been there before.

    That was our first bikepacking outing together, in fact our only multi-day outing together before the divide about six years ago. Four days of bliss. We hit Little Harbor, Parsons Landing via Two Harbors, biked/hiked to Lands End, Rancho Escondido Rd to Blackjack CG, back to Avalon. I think Escondido is no longer open to bikes, but if I'm wrong you should try to include it east to west. We did it W-E and were dreaming how fun it would be the other direction. Whatever, you can't go wrong. Enjoy and post up when you get back!


    PS: I would actually skip Da Brim and just make one yourself out of foam or something. I did that twice previously. They're kinda pricey and don't really give you that Panama Jack sun protection like a homemade can. My old lady's fell off and was lost; attachment design not great. If you're near Santa Ana, A-1 Foam and Fabric is a great materials resource. The place is amazing.
     
    Tom the Bomb likes this.
  8. imtbtrails

    imtbtrails Guest

    Bringing this amazing Ride Report back to the top!
    Congrats mike! It is now featured as "Ride Report of the Month" over on Singletrack Minds...

    Here: <a class="postlink" href="http://imtbtrails.com/magazine/?p=1271" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://imtbtrails.com/magazine/?p=1271</a>

    Should have never been missed in the first place, this is an amazing adventure... :thumbup:
     
    Tom the Bomb and mike like this.
  9. Danimal

    Danimal Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    Rocky Mountain Altitude
    A good read, and fun pics. Quite the adventure.
    Thanks for getting it back on top!
     
    Tom the Bomb and mike like this.
  10. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Wow I just can't imagine!
     
    mike likes this.
  11. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    I lost count how many times I've gone back to read this!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    Picture Slot Machine Strikes Again!

    This should be required reading. :thumbsup:
     
  13. schillingsworth

    schillingsworth Member

    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Name:
    John Schilling
    Current Bike:
    Motobecane Ti 29er
    Well done @mike Being relatively new to this site, it's nice to read all these reports. I have my eyes set on the Tour Divide, hopefully in either '19 or '20. I'm hoping to get it done in under 25 days. Great pics & 'Divorce Horse' Haha!!
     
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  14. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Thanks for the kudo, John!

    You will cruise the Divide...25 days sounds fast from my vantage, but you know the drill well. It'll be a blast! I went back last year and tried to repeat the route we tandem'ed. I made a massive mostly-road detour around the Yellowstone fires; fun to get some new America : ) It ended up a 40-day pace at a spartan 6X mi/day with one day off. It felt perfect in every way, and I would approach it similarly next time – solo or tandem, low stress mileage days/good sleep, rest days, motel splurge every couple weeks, late season if snowy. Clearly no race DNA in me, for better and worse... I ran updates on this blog: https://ousleycreative.wordpress.com/

    I'll have to holler if I ever make it down the AZT, which I have been vapor spraying about for an embarrassing length of time. I have roots in the Phoenix area, so I get back there frequently. In winter, hehe. Hold down the fort in QC; it's been a great sport climbing area, but you know the situation. Cheers!
     
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  15. schillingsworth

    schillingsworth Member

    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Name:
    John Schilling
    Current Bike:
    Motobecane Ti 29er
    I really don't have the race DNA either, actually kinda hate it. To me, the big events don't really feel like races anyway, it's more about you and the course. Getting to the finish line at all is a huge accomplishment, that's more my speed. I do like the group starts & meeting all the other crazies, then the ride starts and everyone pulls ahead. I prefer fast-touring pace. I'd love to do a true touring pace like you did, but I just don't have the time available.

    Hit me up next time you're coming over to PHX and we'll go for a ride.
     
    mike likes this.
  16. Sidewalk

    Sidewalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Unknown
    Name:
    Josh
    Current Bike:
    N+1
    That's a pretty incredible trip. This is above and beyond a once in a lifetime thing for most people, and you did it twice?!? Awesome.

    If I can hold down this job for long enough, I eventually get enough vacation time to do this...hmmmm.....

    I know Mike already said don't bother, but...

    Those things are real popular with people who ride horses and smart enough to wear a helmet. My wife has one on hers (I wear my MTB lid). I've never used one. But you could find them pretty easily at a western store (not hick store, but somewhere with actual horse supplies).
     
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  17. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Custom XTR 29er
  18. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    It's a Pic Slot machine extravaganza today. So may awesome and talented riders and ride reports!
    Yeah @mike!
     
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