Tour Divide

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tour Divide is an annual mountain biking ride 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 ride that is an extreme test of endurance, self-reliance and mental toughness. The ride 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, usually more than two weeks later.

The ride 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 ride record averaging over 174 miles (280 km) per day.

The Tour Divide has been ridden and completed on both single speed bicycles and tandem bicycles. It usually starts on the second Friday in June - at an event called Grand Départ.[1] The ride can also be completed at any time as an individual time trial (ITT).

Due to the extreme distances, inaccessibility of the route, lack of television coverage and small number of participants, spectating is impractical. However, many riders carry SPOT Satellite Messenger tracking devices, allowing their progress to be continuously monitored on websites.


Ride records are maintained in several categories, and do not distinguish between times set during the official annual ride, or in individual time trials set at any time. Categories include male, female and tandem. As the route changes fairly frequently, the overall length and difficulty can vary, meaning records from one year cannot be exactly compared.

  • Male: 13 days, 21 hours, 51 minutes by Mike Hall (cyclist) in 2016 "Mike Hall completes Tour Divide in record time – and this time keeps the record".


Year Male winner Male winner's time Female winner Female winner's time
2008[4][5] Matthew Lee 19 days 12 hours 0 mins Mary Collier 29 days 17 hours 37 mins
2009 Matthew Lee 17 days 23 hours 45 mins Jill Homer 24 days 07 hours 24 mins
2010 Matthew Lee 17 days 16 hours 10 mins Cricket Butler 26 days 9 hours 36 mins
2011 Kurt Refsnider 15 days 20 hours 51 mins Caroline Soong 22 days 9 hours 59 mins
2012 Ollie Whalley 16 days 2 hours 54 mins Eszter Horanyi 19 days 3 hours 35 mins
2013 Mike Hall 14 days 11 hours 55 mins Sara Dalman 22 days 19 hours 05 mins
2014[6] Jefe Branham 16 days 2 hours 39 mins Alice Drobna 22 days 6 hours 36 mins
2015[7] Josh Kato 14 days 11 hours 37 mins Lael Wilcox[8] 17 days 01 hours 51 mins
2016 Mike Hall 13 days 22 hours 51 mins Jackie Bernardi 19 days 21 hours 41 mins
2017 Brian Lucido 14 days 22 hours 50 mins Marketa Peggy Marvanova 22 days 18 hours 04 minutes
2018 Lewis Ciddor 15 days 2 hours 8 minutes Alexandera Houchin 23 days 3 hours 51 minutes
2019 Christopher Seistrup 15 days 11 hours 24 mins Alexandera Houchin 18 days 20 hours 26 minutes
2020 cancelled, Covid-19 - - -
2021 Jay Petervary 14 days 19 hours 15 mins Lauren Brownlee 20 days 05 hours 43 mins
2022 Sofiane Sehili[9] 14 days 16 hours 36 mins Ana Jager 19 days 00 hours 44 mins
2023 Ulrich Bartholmoes[10] 14 days 3 hours 23 mins Lael Wilcox[11] 16 days 20 hours 00 mins

Media coverage[edit]

The event remains a niche phenomenon, receiving little coverage in mainstream media. A documentary film, Ride the Divide was produced during the 2008 running.[12] It followed several riders, including eventual winner Matthew Lee. The documentary won the "Best Adventure Film" Award at the 2010 Vail Film Festival.[13]

Live reports for the 2018, 2019 and 2021 races which weaves together information from TrackLeaders, the riders' social media, MTBCast and direct contact with the racers to build a comprehensive picture of the race.

Similar ride[edit]

The Trans Am Bike Race (TABR) is similar to the Tour Divide in that riders have to be completely self-supported and a fixed route is used, the main difference is that the TABR is on paved roads. The TABR uses the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, which runs from the Pacific coast in Oregon, United States, to the Atlantic Coast in Virginia, and like the route of the Tour Divide, was developed by the Adventure Cycling Association.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]