By Eddie Clark
(September 12, 2012) BOULDER, Colo.—In a year of new Tour Divide records, veteran Divide racer Jay Petervary of Victor, Idaho has done the unthinkable by besting the previous record set by Kiwi Tour Divide rookie Ollie Whalley earlier this summer. Officially, JayP set the new record for completing the 2745 mile self-supported race with a time of 15 days, 16 hours and 14 minutes, which chopped ten hours and forty minutes off of Whalley's time.
While most of us were sound asleep, Petervary was banging out the last miles of the Tour Divide to roll into the finish at the Antelope Wells, NM border crossing in the wee hours of this morning. Riding through the night and in brutal conditions is all familiar territory for Petervary who also holds the Tour Divide Tandem record that he set with his wife, Tracey, in 2009. Besides the Tour Divide, Petervary is an accomplished adventure racer extraordinaire with numerous Iditabike and Eco Challenge victories and thousands of hours of experience in conditions that are unfathomable to most mortals.
For his ITT (Individual Time Trial) Tour Divide ride this year, JayP had only one goal, and that was to give his personal best performance and in doing so hopefully set a new Tour Divide course record, which he did exceptionally on both accounts. "When I set the record previous to Ollie's last year, I had a lot of bad weather that slowed me down, and I knew I could do a better ride", said Petervary while I interviewed him as his bike was being worked over at Absolute Bikes in Salida last week.
This year, JayP planned to set the bar even higher by starting his attempt on the week leading up to a full moon so as to maximize his ability for riding at night. There was also his choice to start later in the summer due to his experience of having generally more favorable weather in late summer as opposed to early summer when afternoon storms have been known to render dirt roads into a quagmire of mud.
On the technical notes, Petervary set the record on a new titanium Salsa Fargo hardtail equipped with gears and no suspension that was dialed-in by one of his main sponsors Fitzgerald Bikes. He relied on Princeton Tech lights to illumiinate his way, and had nothing but praise for their dependability. On the finer points of his kit, he used a sleeping pad and bag which he carried, along with the rest of his gear, for the entire ride. To put in the large mileage on a daily basis for this record, he also relied on a diet based on whole foods and regular meals as opposed to the convenience store candy aisle that is overly tempting to all who embark on the adventure. And lastly, his strict regimen of stopping to resupply only when necessary, and limiting himself to only 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day were key to his historic record.