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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been getting many, many requests for more info about the '06 race, and have finally gotten around to updating the website.

Race start is Friday, June 23, 2006. High noon.

http://greatdividerace.com/index.html

If you'd like answers to questions that aren't covered on the site, please post them here, in this thread, and those in the know will answer as time permits.

Thanks,

MC
 

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Really I am that slow
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shelter for the GDR

Mike,

I was wondering what most folks used for shelter, bivy snacks, tarp tents, or tents....?

I think I'm going the tarp tent route It's what I like to use for backpacking.

Thanks for getting the website going :)
 

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just a guy with a bike
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Gimme Shelter

SlowerThenSnot said:
Mike,

I was wondering what most folks used for shelter, bivy snacks, tarp tents, or tents....?

I think I'm going the tarp tent route It's what I like to use for backpacking.

Thanks for getting the website going :)
I used a Tarptent with a sewn-in floor and bug netting. It's pretty quick to set-up and take down and much comfier than a bivy. If I was going real minimalist, I'd go with an ultralight
bivy (no hoops or stakes or such). Scott Morris used a thermolight emergency bivy (about
$20 from Campmor) and I've used one of those on various brevets. But on the GDR bugs are a bigger deal than rain and I was glad I had something bug-proof.

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/
 

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Thanks Kent!

kentsbike said:
I used a Tarptent with a sewn-in floor and bug netting. It's pretty quick to set-up and take down and much comfier than a bivy. If I was going real minimalist, I'd go with an ultralight
bivy (no hoops or stakes or such). Scott Morris used a thermolight emergency bivy (about
$20 from Campmor) and I've used one of those on various brevets. But on the GDR bugs are a bigger deal than rain and I was glad I had something bug-proof.

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/
 

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GDR Start Date Question

mikesee said:
I've been getting many, many requests for more info about the '06 race, and have finally gotten around to updating the website.

Race start is Friday, June 23, 2006. High noon.

http://greatdividerace.com/index.html

If you'd like answers to questions that aren't covered on the site, please post them here, in this thread, and those in the know will answer as time permits.

Thanks,

MC
Hey Mike,
Thanks for getting things rolling. Can you mention why the `06 rendition is scheduled to start a week later than in the past? If i'm not mistaken, the two weeks of longest daylight are 6/14-6/28. Seems like the traditional start of 2nd Friday in June (6/16) would max on that window and put riders in a better position to beat the early July monsoons/heat once in NM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
mathewsen said:
Hey Mike,
Thanks for getting things rolling. Can you mention why the `06 rendition is scheduled to start a week later than in the past? If i'm not mistaken, the two weeks of longest daylight are 6/14-6/28. Seems like the traditional start of 2nd Friday in June (6/16) would max on that window and put riders in a better position to beat the early July monsoons/heat once in NM.
Good question.

The start has always been scheduled to coincide (as close as possible) with the summer solstice. The start date takes into account the snowpack in the high mountains (start earlier and you'll be postholing through drifts in Montana and Colorado) as well as thunderstorms, monsoons, and heat. The reality is that when you're planning a race that spans as many climate zones as the GDR does, there is no ONE good start date, there are only varying levels of compromise.

Planning on racing?

MC
 

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mikesee said:
Good question.

The start has always been scheduled to coincide (as close as possible) with the summer solstice. The start date takes into account the snowpack in the high mountains (start earlier and you'll be postholing through drifts in Montana and Colorado) as well as thunderstorms, monsoons, and heat. The reality is that when you're planning a race that spans as many climate zones as the GDR does, there is no ONE good start date, there are only varying levels of compromise.

Planning on racing?

MC
Hey Mike, its Matthew Lee. Not sure if I'll be racing this year or not. Its the 30th anniversary of Bikecentennial and Adventure Cycling Assoc. It will be a cool year to be out there in observance. I hope some the GDR racers will join up (ACA membership) in support.

If i ride the route, it will be from the top again (Banff). That section is unsurpassed in beauty. If I TT the route, I would love to race head-to-head with the `06 GDR field but will also be inclined to embark the Friday before the race start (6/16). Here's why:

You're right that when dealing with many climate zones it tough to set dates. But do we guide by conditions we expect to see on the northern 20% of the route, when our legs are fresh and forecast conditions current? Or do we look towards the later stages of a 2500mi ITT when rider fatigue and lack of surface water in the desert exact pricey tolls? Its tough to say when mom-nature is concerned.

My limited experience as a 2yr vet of the route (and research w/ NM locals) has shown me that heat/fire/Monsoon onset arrives in NM each year by 7/1 more predictably than snow lingers in Canada/Montana into mid-June at 4kft elevation. In a Montana 100%snowpack year, snow is pretty well off the route by 6/15. So my sense is that avoidance of climactic shift in NM is a better guide to set a start date by. I'm sure some will find this controversial to say, but i honestly think starting the race 6/23 puts riders at a slight disadvantage to past fields. In July in NM, the difference between 7/2 and 7/9 can be significant, as locals will tell you.

I would urge you to consider leaving the start date flexible, perhaps even letting the field of `06 racers have input (as snowpack info unfolds this winter/spring). Historically, by about 6/23, GDR racers have been crossing Wyoming's Great basin, closing in on Colorado. If i ride this year, that's where I would hope to be by then too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
mathewsen said:
Not sure if I'll be racing this year or not. Its the 30th anniversary of Bikecentennial and Adventure Cycling Association. It seems a cool year for lots of peeps to be out on epic tours in rememberance.
Groovy.

mathewsen said:
I hope all the GDR racers will join up (membership) with ACA this year.
A very good suggestion.

mathewsen said:
If i ride the GDMBR, it will be from Banff again. That section of the Divide Route is unsurpassed in beauty. If I TT the route, I would love to race head-to-head with the `06 GDR field but will also be inclined to embark the Friday before the race start (6/16).
Looks like you have a decision to make. Good luck with however you decide to do it.

mathewsen said:
You're right that when dealing with many climate zones it tough to set dates.
Yep.

mathewsen said:
Q: Do we guide by conditions we anticipate at the beginning of a race, when our legs are fresh and forecast conditions are more current? Or do we look towards the later stages of a 2500mi ITT when rider fatigue and certain lack of groundwater in the desert can affect progress?
The key word in your sentence above is "anticipate". You can make all the plans you want, but until you're standing on the start line, you don't know what you're going to get. And at that point it's a little late to change your plans, especially if you've traveled any distance to get there.

People plan over a year in advance to come to this race, taking time off work, booking flights, canceling family plans, etc... They accept that they cannot know what the weather will be like a year away, or even a month away. You should know that too.

In '03 I pushed my start back a week (to 6/22, day after the solstice) and still postholed through snow in Montana and Colorado.

Lack of groundwater is a certainty in the desert stretches of NM even in early June. No chance any of the racers will be getting there before early July, so it's a moot point any way you slice it.

mathewsen said:
Its tough to say when mum-nature is concerned. My limited experience as a 2yr vet of the route (`04=90%MTsnowpack,`05 100%MTsnowpack) has been that heat/fire season and monsoons reach NM each year by the first of July much more predictably than snow lingers in Canada/Montana into mid-June at 3kft elevation. B/c of this, my sense is that the climactic shifts in NM are to be avoided/seem a better guide to race by.
If we could plan the race the week before, and have everyone ready and at the start once we "knew" what the weather was going to be like, I'd say "Great! Let's do it!". But that ain't possible, literally or figuratively. We pay our money and take our chances--a lot like life.

mathewsen said:
I'm sure its controversial to say, but i honestly think starting the race 6/23 puts riders at a slight disadvantage to past fields. In July in NM, the difference between 7/2 and 7/9 can be significant, as natives will tell you.
I respect, and disagree with, your opinion. Fact is, heat is a guarantee in NM anytime after June 1. The average temp in the low desert of NM on 7/2 is 96 degrees. The average in that same spot on 7/9 is 95 degrees. That's 1 degree cooler, but 7 days later. 1 degree (in either direction) is not going to make or break anyone's race.

mathewsen said:
I would urge you to consider leaving the start date flexible, perhaps even letting the field of `06 racers have input (as snowpack info unfolds this winter/spring).
The start date is flexible; you can ride the route anytime that you want.

As mentioned above, people have already made arrangements for the race. Time off work, rescheduling commitments to allow them to attend, rescheduling family vacations, etc...

If you want to start with the rest of the GDR Class of '06, that date is 6/23/06.

mathewsen said:
Historically, by about 6/23, GDR racers have been crossing Wyoming's Great basin, closing in on Colorado. If i ride this year, that's where I would hope to be by then too.
Your history is only semi-accurate. In 2003 I didn't hit the WY/CO border until 7/1. That year I had snow and rain the first two days, but near-perfect weather for the remainder.

And again, Matt, good luck with however you decide to do it.

MC
 

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Navigation Questioin?

What is the policy on racers using a GPS. For some reason I thought that the rules prohibited GPS but it looks like at least one racer last year had a GPS and I don't see anything in the posted rules that says a racer can't use a GPS. Since route finding is a component of the race is there any rule on how that route must be found? Actually my question isn't as broad as I just stated it, basically I am just curious if the use of a GPS for navigation is prohibited.

Adam
 

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Scott in Tucson
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Gps

Adam said:
What is the policy on racers using a GPS. For some reason I thought that the rules prohibited GPS but it looks like at least one racer last year had a GPS and I don't see anything in the posted rules that says a racer can't use a GPS. Since route finding is a component of the race is there any rule on how that route must be found? Actually my question isn't as broad as I just stated it, basically I am just curious if the use of a GPS for navigation is prohibited.

Adam
That was me with the GPS this year. It is allowed by the rules, just as a cyclometer is allowed. There used to be a rule on the web page that states "GPS is OK, but not necessary" but it looks like that one was taken out for brevity.

The reason you think GPS is not permitted is that in one of the GDR 04 threads mtbr guy Francois erroneously stated that GPS is not allowed.

GPS has the potential to be a small advantage for GDR racers, but right now it takes a lot of pre-race data crunching and a fair amount of knowledge and experience. Of course, in '05 I didn't have much of a chance to use it (dropped out at the 1/4th mark).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Krein said:
That was me with the GPS this year. It is allowed by the rules, just as a cyclometer is allowed. There used to be a rule on the web page that states "GPS is OK, but not necessary" but it looks like that one was taken out for brevity.

The reason you think GPS is not permitted is that in one of the GDR 04 threads mtbr guy Francois erroneously stated that GPS is not allowed.

GPS has the potential to be a small advantage for GDR racers, but right now it takes a lot of pre-race data crunching and a fair amount of knowledge and experience. Of course, in '05 I didn't have much of a chance to use it (dropped out at the 1/4th mark).
It's still in there: "GPS systems are allowed, but not necessary."

I'll echo what Scott said--it takes a lot of pre-race knowledge (knowledge that's just about impossible to get until you've been on-course) and number crunching to make a gps worthwhile. It's not a disadvantage to have one, just not a clear-cut advantage.

My $.02 (keep in mind that I did not use a GPS on any of my 3 attempts at the route) is that most racers would be better served with a properly calibrated cyclometer (and a backup, you never know...) and a clear head. Sometimes too much info can be very confusing.

On the other hand, I'd sure like to be able to look back at the daily elevation profiles and distances covered. Makes me wish I'd taken one with me...

MC
 

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Scott in Tucson
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mikesee said:
It's still in there: "GPS systems are allowed, but not necessary."
Ah, it's on the "General info" page, not the rules page.

mikesee said:
I'll echo what Scott said--it takes a lot of pre-race knowledge (knowledge that's just about impossible to get until you've been on-course) and number crunching to make a gps worthwhile. It's not a disadvantage to have one, just not a clear-cut advantage.

My $.02 (keep in mind that I did not use a GPS on any of my 3 attempts at the route) is that most racers would be better served with a properly calibrated cyclometer (and a backup, you never know...) and a clear head. Sometimes too much info can be very confusing.
I'd agree. It's more likely to be a disadvantage for most people.

mikesee said:
On the other hand, I'd sure like to be able to look back at the daily elevation profiles and distances covered. Makes me wish I'd taken one with me...

MC
Don't forget the time component also! Then we'd know how much time per day you were spinning the wheels in '04. ;)

That's the real reason I lugged the GPS along. I like to record any big ride I do.
 

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Thanks

Thanks for the info guys. I need to read those informational pages more carefully.

I generally agree that a GPS is more useful for seeing where you've been than where you are going. I tend to use mine more for taking rides apart than putting them together. But it makes one heck of a cycle computer.
 

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Trains, Planes, Cars

What have people used for ride on both ends of the GDR.... I think I will be taking the train up to MT and then catching a ride back... Just wondering what anyone has done in the past.

Thanks, Dave Nice

mikesee said:
I've been getting many, many requests for more info about the '06 race, and have finally gotten around to updating the website.

Race start is Friday, June 23, 2006. High noon.

http://greatdividerace.com/index.html

If you'd like answers to questions that aren't covered on the site, please post them here, in this thread, and those in the know will answer as time permits.

Thanks,

MC
 

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Scott in Tucson
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SlowerThenSnot said:
What have people used for ride on both ends of the GDR.... I think I will be taking the train up to MT and then catching a ride back... Just wondering what anyone has done in the past.

Thanks, Dave Nice
The train is a great idea if you live close to the line. I flew into Kalispel (there's a flight from Salt Lake City on Delta that wasn't too much $$$) and rode my bike ~12 miles to Whitefish.

I never made it to Antelope Wells. But I had a ride lined up back to Tucson, which is only ~4.5 hrs away. If you've got someone to pick you up, that's ideal, because you'll be fried.

I believe Pete and Allen also flew into Kalispel this year. Kent rode his bike, and Matt flew to Banff. I think everyone that finished had someone waiting there. I know Brad, Trish and Kent all did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SlowerThenSnot said:
What have people used for ride on both ends of the GDR.... I think I will be taking the train up to MT and then catching a ride back... Just wondering what anyone has done in the past.

Thanks, Dave Nice
I bribed a friend to drop me at the Canada border. Used my truck and paid for his gas/food/lodging both ways. He spent a few extra days touring on the way home, and said he had a great time doing it.

At the end, my fiancee picked me up. I'd been calling her for the last four days of the race, giving her updated finish time estimates as I went. I was 15 miles from the finish when she drove past, on a 107 degree day, holding up a cold jug of chocolate milk...

It bears mentioning/repeating that you probably don't want to finish in the dark, and you definitely don't want to camp within 50 miles of the border. Lots of illegals coming across, lots of helicopters and searchlights all night long. Some good friends of mine camped ~60 miles from the border and said they didn't get any sleep due to all the 'traffic' in the desert.

Good luck.

MC
 

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Krein said:
The train is a great idea if you live close to the line. I flew into Kalispel (there's a flight from Salt Lake City on Delta that wasn't too much $$$) and rode my bike ~12 miles to Whitefish.

I never made it to Antelope Wells. But I had a ride lined up back to Tucson, which is only ~4.5 hrs away. If you've got someone to pick you up, that's ideal, because you'll be fried.

I believe Pete and Allen also flew into Kalispel this year. Kent rode his bike, and Matt flew to Banff. I think everyone that finished had someone waiting there. I know Brad, Trish and Kent all did.
i payed a bike shop employee from gila hike and bike (out of silver city) 80 bones to scoop me from a-wells. he brought me back to silver city where one can find super cool peeps and cheap hotels, good food. there are also cheap shuttles twice a day from the border but i don't know where they go (maybe deming, NM or lordsberg). call the antelope wells border patrol OR the store in Hachita, NM (on the route) for more of that shuttle info. seems like its used mostly be mexicans coming into the us.

from silver city there is a freight van to deming (the closest greyhound stop) that charges 5 bucks to ride and another 5 bucks for your bike. you ride with some biohazard materials from the silver city, nm hospital, but its safe. from deming it costs 30 bucks to ride greyhound to albuquerque. in my estimation that seemed to be where the cheapest flights departed from.

the grehound ride from deming is equally close to el paso, tx. another place to get cheap flights but not a place to hang out too long.

scott m, is right that one is fried by the end. forget riding back to silver city. it would be a huge anti-climax.

regarding the start, one way rental cars are available from all the majors (avis is chepaest on 1-ways). they can be left at kallispell airport. trish and i drove 36 hours straight from nc in one to make the start in 04. i don't recommend it.

one cheap, interesting way: flights to calgary, alberta are cheap from the US (i paid 225 last year) and bikes fly free to canada. the only catch: you have to ride 220 miles of wilderness from the top of the route in banff to the start. its a good warm-up, but the problem is, its very beautiful.
 

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registration? time limit?

hi i am making plans to do the race which will get more solid as the new year begins but i am wondering

a. is there any type of registration or do we just show up?

b. is there a limit to the amount of time racers can take?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
clarinda said:
hi i am making plans to do the race which will get more solid as the new year begins but i am wondering

a. is there any type of registration or do we just show up?
There is no registration. Some of the riders may get together the night before to socialize, eat some food, and ask questions/get to know each other. That's about as formal as it gets.

clarinda said:
b. is there a limit to the amount of time racers can take?
There is no time limit--no one is going to remove you from the course.
You have my curiosity piqued--how long are you planning on being out there?

MC
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
mathewsen said:
i payed a bike shop employee from gila hike and bike (out of silver city) 80 bones to scoop me from a-wells. he brought me back to silver city where one can ...
Great info, Matt. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.

Cheers,

MC
 
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