Mathew Lee on record pace for 2010
Race report and images by Eddie Clark
(June 22, 2010) RAWLINS, WY—The 2010 Tour Divide Race is well under way and looking to have a few records broken this year. Challenging conditions took their toll on the field, but blues skies are drying up the mud which is a nemesis to Tour Divide racers.
On Friday, June 11, 2010 forty-eight endurance and adventure athletes took the line in Banff Canada to embark on their Tour Divide Race adventure. Unlike any other race, the Tour Divide tops the list for its sheer magnitude of mileage and unrelenting battle with Mother Nature. Racers ride the entire 2745 miles of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Banff Canada to the US/Mexico border in Antelope Wells, NM with no outside help or support for their entire journey.
After leaving the civility of Banff, riders headed into the rugged untamed wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. With a high density of Grizzly Bears, most racers pushed on to the first cabin, 160 miles in, to take shelter from the bears.
Like last year, Mathew Lee used this section to get his first gap on the field by riding another 35 miles (195 miles total!) to get to the second cabin. “Sleeping in the woods is just a bad idea with all the Grizzlies in that area”, said Lee. At the second cabin, a group of partying high school kids had a sour effect on Lee’s sleep, which put him into a slight deficit for the first few days.
As racers made their way into Montana, several snowy passes were encountered, which took varying tolls of sprained ankles, sore knees, and even hypothermia and colds for a few unlucky souls. Within the first few days, almost twenty entrants had already dropped out due to myriads of physical ailments and health issues.
Heading into southern Montana, Eric Lobeck of Steamboat Springs, CO was gaining steam and closing ground on TDR leader Mathew Lee. However, once again rain and mud claimed another bike, and Lobecks Moots YBB succumbed to a wasted drivetrain and back tire leaving him stranded just hours outside of Lima, MT as Lee rode off to bolster his lead.
In an interesting twist, last years’ oldest finisher, 47 year old Blaine Nester of Canada, hit his stride, and passed Lobeck going into Lima.
Going into Wyoming, TDR veterans were wary and humble about the roads and passes that lay ahead. Last year, heavy rains, mud, and snow covered passes battered racers, and laid waste to their bikes. This years’ crossing proved to be slightly milder with little rain, drying mud, and only one snow covered pass to contend with on the way up to Brooks Lake Lodge.
Currently, Mathew Lee is making his way into Summit County in first place. Eric Lobeck caught up with Blaine Nester, and both are making their way through Steamboat Springs after getting thorough bike overhauls. Half a day back is Eric Nelson, single speeder Aidan Harding, Forest Baker, and Dave Bluementhal whom departed from Rawlins, WY and are expected to cross into Colorado later today. Behind trails the remnants of the TDR field, which are currently making their way through the Wind River Mountains and the barren Great Divide Basin of Wyoming.
Stay tuned in to the Mountain Flyer Magazine for more Tour Divide Race coverage! Regardless of personal ambitions and physical merit, the weather and the course have no mercy for those undertaking this great odyssey.
For complete results, please visit Tour Divide Race
For additional photos, please visit Eddie Clark Media