Saturday, 9 July 2016

Tour Divide 2016 - Summary

4,351 km (2,704 miles)

49,608 m height gain (162,756 feet)

18 days 15 hours 51 minutes

That was hard! Really hard.

Every one of those 19 days on the trail was tough in itself. All of them were well over 100 miles, the longest was over 200 miles. The height gain is the real killer though - the biggest day for height gain was over 4,000m (13,400 feet).

Taken together with no rest days this amount of riding is brutal.

At the end of day two I was in serious trouble with knee pain and thought I might have to quit. Fortunately I made some changes on the morning of day three which made the pain bearable. After that it steadily improved. From then on I felt stronger as the ride went on and never felt that I was in serious danger of not finishing.

Saddle sores, foot pain, hand numbness. These are the long distance cyclist's almost inevitable complaints. They became more or less tolerable at various points, but never threatened to stop me.

I lost a lot of weight in the first week. After that I made a real effort to eat plenty and never passed up an opportunity of a proper meal. Also it became much warmer so my body didn't need to burn as much energy keeping warm. My weight stabilised and from then on I felt like I was stronger than the other riders who were doing a similar pace to me.

The weather varied from cold rain (not quite snow) to desert heat. I slept under beautiful starry skies and awoke with frost on my bivvy bag.

I watched the sun rise and set almost every day of the ride - so many beautiful moments.

The seasons changed from late spring in the north to high summer in the south, and the days grew shorter as I moved towards the equator. The moon moved from first quarter through full and ended as a waning crescent.

Parts on the bike which started out new gradually wore out. Fortunately the only bits I had to replace were the brake pads, and those only once. The tyres, chain and cassette were all toast by the end of the ride though.

Finishing was an amazing feeling - some slight sadness that it was all over, but most of all relief that I would not have to get up and ride a bike the next day!

Here are the links to descriptions of the different sections of the ride for those who are interested in the detail (or just looking at the pretty pictures).

Part 1 - Canadian Section
Part 2 - Montana
Part 3 - Idaho and Wyoming
Part 4 - Colorado
Part 5 - New Mexico

Tour Divide 2016 Kit


  1. great achievement, well done...hope you can give us some insight into your kit also

    1. I've added some info on kit here:

  2. Hi Tom,
    that is good summary. By the way have you got some good photo from the finish? My pictures are not very good as you can see here:
    Can you please contact me via my mail I would like also asks some questions related Higland Trail.