The Tour Divide is a mountain bike race along the continental divide from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico (on the border with Mexico.) It’s “self-supported”, which means that you can’t pre-arrange any outside help, though you can buy food and bike parts as you go. And it’s “one-stage”, meaning there’s no rest off-the-clock (unlike that wimpy Tour de France bike race).
This year’s winner, Matthew Lee, finished the 2,745 mile course in under 18 days. It rained on 16 of those days. There’s a great interview up on Outside’s blog. Here’s my favorite snippet:
There are certain elements you have to try not to think too much on: comfort, eating well, sleeping well, safety. All those cares are cast with the winds. You establish a new, temporary regime on day 1 and just stick with it religiously. When the alarm on your wrist watch beeps at 4:40am, you don’t roll over. not even once. you sit up, rip the sleeping bag off and suddenly you’re freezing! The only solution is to get dressed. Then the only way out is to saddle up and ride. This forced routine is the key to success. If you get up and go, the biking takes care of itself. after about an hour you start to feel okay. the soreness is masked, the beauty unfolds before your eyes, perhaps a bear gives you a shot of adrenalin.