The Tour Divide

By | June 9, 2018

Over the past few years Blackwater Triathlon Club’s James Slowey has found more extreme events to take part in. He has competed in Ironman races in sub zero conditions in Norway and up and down mountains in the Pyrenees.  This year he and two of his friends have decided to take on The Tour Divide in America in June. The Tour Divide is an annual mountain biking race traversing the length of the Rocky Mountains, from Canada to the Mexican border. Following the 2,745-mile (4,418 km) Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, it is an ultra-distance cycling race that is an extreme test of endurance, self-reliance and mental toughness. The race format is strictly self-supported, and it is not a stage race – the clock runs continuously from the start until riders cross the finish line, more than two weeks later. The race has a very low profile, and is entirely amateur. There are no entry fees, no sponsorship, and no prizes. Although “letters of intent” from likely starters are encouraged, any rider may turn up on the day to participate. Challenges along the route include mountains, great distances between resupply towns, risk of mechanical failure or injury, bears, poor weather, snowfall, and significant unrideable sections that require pushing the bike. Riders usually adopt a “bikepacking” style, carrying minimal equipment sufficient for camping or bivouacking, and only enough food and water to last until the next town. In this way, riders ride huge distances each day, the current race record averaging over 174 miles (280 km) per day. James and his crew will be setting off this Friday, the 8th of June and we will be following their progress over the following 25 days or so as they attempt to complete this challenging race. We wish James and all the other competitors good luck in their endeavours.