By Shane Hutton
So I am on a bus. It's 9:33pm and we have just pulled out of Deming. Now it's sinking in. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has been completed with a few alternates in between.
It didn't finish the way I had planned with a slight deviation off the planned route from Grants to Deming. It was something I had no control over and in the end I learnt to just roll with it.
As with all plans, the adventure starts when it all turns to shit :) However I have really enjoyed riding a different part of NM. It was also possibly a blessing in disguise as I was hit with some huge storms in the last few days which turned the trail into a quagmire forcing some others off route.
The storm I had at Elephant Butte was absolutely spectacular verging on scary when the ground was shaking with each thunder clap and blinding lightning strike,they were so close.
The flat tyres URGHHHHHHH holy shit I think I had 6 in 1 day. Then Another 2-3 the next that was frustrating. They have a thorn here called the goat head and man oh man does it suck.
The elevation was relentless until the final day down and back to Colombus the border where I only racked up 300mtr over 117km. My average since leaving R has been 117km and 1,300mtr a day.
I don't really know where to start with this ride. It has been everything and more than what I had imagined. The billions of stars at night the coyotes howling the huge Bald and Golden Eagles soaring through the sky. 1 bear and a huge Bull Moose and a huge rattlesnake.
The glaciers the rolling plains the meadows the desert and the Aspen stands wow the ASPENS. We got to see them in their full colours and as I got further south I got to relive them as summer has stretched out here.
Every single person we met along the way contributed to this trip. Here goes : Mark, the Alaskans Tom,Chris & Dave, the English Sam, Claire & Andy, Larry , Brian ( legend So Cal) , karen & Ray, Dan & Bev, the Kiwis Josh & Sammi, Joe, Dave & James ( Aussie ) , Ray & Desi ( Canadian) , Chris who we got to share the trail with for an extended period and what an absolute legend, Ray & Karen, JD, Peiter & Carolyn , Brad & Michelle from Eureka, Wolt, Stephan, SunJ, the Canadian family with the 2 12 year old girls pulling their own BOB trailer and doing the full trail. The 3 guys heading north, North bound John, the 2 hikers. Matt who donated me $100USD man I nearly fell over the random stranger who left me $20 to help fix my pannier. Randy and Sharon for taking me out to a nice restaurant and paying, Harry for the beer & who cooked me eggs and toast randomly before I set out 1 day.
Every other person we didn't meet but did hear about you all made this trip special.
Last but not least Richelle. You are amazing and if anyone should have the word inspirational thrown at them it's you.
You went so much further than any of us thought possible ( including yourself ) you amazed me over the course of 9 weeks and almost 4,000km. To keep on pushing along was astounding and I am so proud of you.
In summary the last 12 weeks or so have been absolutely jaw droppingly??? Beautiful. The quiet nights and days, the quirky towns and the beautiful crazy mountains
This trail Is a must do for anyone whether you are a road rider mountain biker or just a weekend warrior.
You MUST find a way to do this. Ray & Karen ( touching 70 years young) would car shuffle and ride the distance between. They went from New Mexico to the Wyoming border this summer and will do the rest next year. AMAZING
You can even hike the route, known more commonly as the Continental Divide.
I am looking forward to leg 3 of the trip but am really quite sad this part is done. I guess I hadn't thought too much past This stretch and now it's finished.
Like all big plans it takes sometime to let it settle in.
If you have any questions about this trip or would like to plan you're own ride the divide and have son questions drop us a line. We can also help in planning and or guiding trips along this route.
I am an ultra runner, Mountain biker, Packrafter, Climber, Ironman, Endurance Athlete