Booked in early 2016, talked about for half of 2015 and dreamed of for what seems like a (cycling) lifetime, we’re now actually getting ready to set off, flying out from London to El Paso, Texas (via LA) in less than four weeks to embark on what a fellow blogger recently referred to me as a ‘classic route’ – the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Needless to say we’re excited, peeing-our-pants-kind-of-excited!
Despite the route – the longest off-pavement, mapped route in the world thanks to the great work of America’s Adventure Cycling Association, now existing for almost 20 years, it’s definitely only really become known and popular in the past 5-8 years, not least because of for the Tour Divide, the annual racing format, having drawn attention to the 2700+ mile route (traditionally) leading from Banff in Canada to Antelope Wells on the Mexican border. But whereas the fastest guys and girls in the race tackle the route in not much over two – incredible – weeks (we hear this year’s race will even be joined by Guy Martin..), we’re giving ourselves two months and we’re also riding it in reverse.
Having a competitive side to myself, I have the utmost respect for the racers and, who knows, I may one day feel tempted to join the….fun?…but for now I’d hate to see this massive undertaking fly by, I’d hate not to be able to stop and take in the views and I’d hate not to be able to take a day off should we feel sick and tired. After all it’s about making the most of being away from it all not chasing the end of it. But still, with a planned average of about 50 miles a day (off road, on fully loaded bikes) and camping out most nights, it’s hardly going to feel like a luxury spa holiday. Thank goodness.
More inspiration has come from Richard’s good friend Patrick and his wife Hannah who went on the GDMBR as part of their honeymoon in 2013. That’s pretty amazing, right, and certainly stuck with us. Check out their award-winning short about it below..
But personally, both working in the bike industry, often reporting on other people’s amazing cycling trips or helping them getting ready for their epic riding adventures, it simply got to the stage where we thought: ‘Right, why don’t we just do this?” So we’re doing it.
With less than four weeks to go I feel we’re pretty organised already, although saying that we are yet to try out some of the new camping equipment, ride the bikes fully loaded, ride the bikes fully loaded for more than a day, modify the set-up and generally panic about having forgotten something essential the day before we leave…