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Do you know what the continental divide is? I’m going to admit that, until just recently, I didn’t. According to Wikipedia:

“A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connected to the open sea.”

Cool, eh? Water on one side goes to the Pacific. Water on the other side goes to the Atlantic. I learn something new every day!

You may or may not also be aware that approximately following this divide, running through parts of Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, is a mountain bike route mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association. On this path, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), an amateur race is held each year to see who can complete the 2700+ mile journey the fastest.

The race, referred to as the Tour Divide, officially begins in Banff, Alberta and ends at Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The record time to complete the race is 13 days, 22 hours, and 51 minutes (do the math… that’s an insane pace), and was set last year (2016) by endurance racer Mike Hall. Yes, we were following his progress!

Not too long ago we knew nothing about any of this, but somehow, somewhere, we got turned on to a movie called Ride The Divide, a documentary of sorts which followed several riders competing in the Tour Divide. While watching the video (for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th time) hasn’t inspired us to race the route, – because given our complete lack of experience, that would be just silly – we are super stoked to ride it. So, weather depending, that’s our current plan for making our way through the US.


  1. Mike, That is great and it will be the experience of a lifetime! When my wife and I returned from 2-years in China, I decided to bike across the US using Adventure Cycles “TransAmerica” route. You can check out my blog at searching for my last name “Rector”. You will also likely find other blogs of the ride you plan to do there. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you regarding cycle touring! Have fun!


  2. Hey Mike & Rebecca. Very familiar with the continental divide….grew up about an hour and a half (by car) from it. Another bike tour you might be interested in is the annual Ride the Rockies here in Colorado. It’s not really a race, but a bike tour that is not for the faint of heart through some of the prettier portions of Colorado. You might want to check out some of their current and past routes for some interesting rides in the area.

    Good luck on your new adventure…I’m still trying to figure out what ours will be.

  3. You two are bad-asses! You’re just straight up goin’ for it! Very daunting and beautiful route. You’ll have to get used to some thin air biking over those 14ers. The Pacific Crest Trail is amazing too. I don’t know which I would choose.
    Love it! Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

  4. I read the book Eat Sleep Ride a few years ago and have always been interested in the ride! Recommend it for a humourous view!

  5. Yes, the Ride the Rockies is a road tour. And it would be rough to do on a mountain bike (particularly if you have more aggressive tires), but might give you an idea of places to visit or alternative routes. Good luck with the plan!

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