After taking the highway reroute into Cuba, followed by a longer-than-usual respite that involved self-reflection and ice cream, Tour Divide leader Mike Hall made peace with the lost chance at setting a record and set a new goal — pie.
“Pie Town next,” he tweeted after arriving in Grants on Wednesday. “Last time the Pie shops were closed. This time I AM getting pie. Even if I have to camp out til they open.”
With second position rider Jesse Carlsson more than 250 miles behind, Hall has some time to wait. After discussing further reroutes with Matthew Lee, Hall told Lee he missed the competitive motivation Stappler provided and felt some of his steam taken out by the road closures. But he believed he demonstrated what was possible on the GDMBR, and that was enough for him.
Carlsson was in Abiquiu, at the point where the first detour begins. Up to this point, Carlsson himself was only a few miles behind record pace while averaging 180 miles per day. Hall’s average continued to hover about the previously unthinkable 200 miles per day.
South African Alex Harris was in third position 200 miles behind Carlsson. Harris, James Olsen, and Liam Crowley were entering the region affected by the West Fork Fire complex in Colorado, which is under more control but still growing.
More information is emerging about the state of the Canadian section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route following the major flood events earlier this month, and none of it is good. Jason Kucey, owner of Soul Ski and Bike in Banff, reported considerable damage to trails, roads, and businesses along the route.
“Goat Creek Trail, closed: All three bridges are gone and massive trail damage,” he wrote.
“Smith Dorrian Highway, closed: Several road washouts and multiple mud and rock slides; Boulton Creek Store, closed: I’ve heard two stories — one it washed away and one just severe flooding; regardless, you cant get to it as the area is closed. Legacy trail (Banff to Canmore), closed: Several sections are simply not there, washed away, gone; Highway access to Bicycles, closed and enforced: The highway has just opened but is single lane in many spots and alternating one lane with pilot car max speed 60kph in one section.”
As for the Flathead Valley, no one connected with Adventure Cycling Association has been able to assess damage to the route in that region, but they suspect it’s extensive.
“ACA is suggesting riders do not attempt to Canadian Section of the Great Dive Mountain Bike Route until we get the full details of the damage. It may not be rideable at all this summer,” reported Casey Greene, a cartographer for Adventure Cycling Association. “The Tour Divide has folks scouting the damage further south, and looking into possible reroutes. Everything that has been scouted so far has been worse then expected.”
At this point, it’s a question of whether the Canadian section of the GDMBR will be open and rideable for summer 2014. Many of these roads are remote and seldom used, and would likely be considered low priority as Alberta begins the long rebuilding process.
The two remaining northbound riders, Cjell Money and Dylan Stewart, are reportedly not planning to continue beyond the U.S./Canadian border on the route.