Considering a solo Continental Divide Ride.

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Harpomark, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Harpomark

    Harpomark n00b

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    Would like to ride the CDR from Banff to Antelope Wells NM this summer. Could really use some input. How technical is this ride? ( I rode the TAT last summer but my riding skills are very modest.) Can it be done safely alone? Is it possible to use hotels along the route or will I need to camp most of the way? Best source for maps, GPS routes etc?

    Any advice is appreciated.
    #1
  2. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    Solo ride has risk a group ride does not .. if you comfortable with the extra risk...then go for it
    #2
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  3. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    In my opinion, the CDR is no more difficult than the Colorado/Utah portions of the TAT…it's probably a little easier from a technical perspective. So you should be fine. Just make sure to avoid Fleecer Ridge (trail heading north of Wise River Montana) and Lava Mountain ATV area in Montana. Most of the recent ride reports and tracks do not take/follow this route anymore….and would highly recommend that you do not either!

    I rode the CDR solo and took along an InReach Tracking/SOS device for emergencies. Additionally, I took minimal camping gear just in case…..but stayed in motels the majority of time.

    Check out Cannonshot's ride report "A CannonRide Down the Great Divide (Solo)" for a very thorough description of the ride and use his gps tracks.

    Have a great trip!!
    #3
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  4. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

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    SWMBO & I did it alone in our sidecar.

    I wouldn't call this technical and this was about as technical as it got for an overloaded 1 wheel drive sidecar that idles at around 10 mph.

    [​IMG]

    And I mean overloaded!

    [​IMG]

    You do get out into some seriously remote areas, this is about 1/2 way across "the big empty" looking towards the mountain range the route takes you way off in the distance:

    [​IMG]

    I highly recommend doing this route We followed Cannonshot's tracks from south to north, but bypassed the section mentioned north of Wise River as we have property about 15 miles from there (towards Anaconda). The Mt. Hagen Wilderness lies between Wise River and Butte, a good work around would is to take Montana Hwy 43 Northwest towards Wisdom to Hwy 569 (about 10 miles) and then 569 to Hwy 1 just east of Anaconda (about 22 miles). It is a real pleasant little 2 lane paved road that gets you close to Butte without much interstate slab.
    #4
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    The most dangerous thing about it is lightning. I had some really close calls, was struck in the shoulder in Wyoming. I resorted to riding well after dark, getting a super early start and spending the afternoon hiding in barns, bars and cabins.


    Lightning bolt stripe going across the road, struck a tree to my left, 75 mph.

    [​IMG]


    Letting a storm pass.

    [​IMG]


    No trip planning for me, read a few ride reports, gathered that I needed to fuel up any time I saw a gas station and used my GPS when I wasn't sure where the next fuel was.
    #5
  6. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    The southern and central NM part can become impassable in wet weather due to the clay soil. I've never done it, but have read several accounts of having to wait out the muddy conditions. Saludos.
    #6
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  7. Harpomark

    Harpomark n00b

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    Man, that really is big and empty! What a neat way to do the trip. Well done.
    #7
  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    #8
  9. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

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    We came across 4 different riders going the opposite direction from us, all were riding alone. We also had the pleasure of encountering the bicycle race as it worked it's way south. Most of the bicycle riders were alone. The lead bikes were encountered outside of Breckenridge, the main "pack" was seen spread out across the "big empty" where it takes them 2 days to cross. Remember that these racer do the entire CDR route totally unsupported!! We came across this guy who was also doing the route from south to north where the route crossed Interstate 10. Notice how Spartan he is with limited gear carried. It was around 110* in mid June when the pic was taken.

    [​IMG]

    Every time I saw one of the bicycle guys coming we would pull over say a few words of encouragement and offer any supplies we were carrying. Of all the riders encountered, only one took us up on our offer of water just as we were leaving (and he entering) the "big empty".
    #9
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  10. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    Respect.
    #10
  11. ybracing

    ybracing Been here awhile

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    I rode it with a group of guys last year and have a spreadsheet with daily mileage and motels/gas/stores if you are interested. We did 200 to 250 miles per day. You should not have any problems solo. I did it mostly solo in 2011 on my 950 with 110 pounds of gear. Way to much stuff!! Pack light and you will not regret it. Cannonshots tracks are good or I can send you the ones I used last year. I broke them down to 250 point files and 500 point files, motel to motel. PM me if you want them. BTW, it is a fantastic adventure!
    #11
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  12. SKINNY

    SKINNY Been here awhile

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    With a little pre-planning, you can find motels all the way thru New Mexico...
    #12
  13. Scoutman

    Scoutman Old Enough to Know Better

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    I am riding this one South to North with the wife this year..... I went through Cannonshot's tracks, and several others to put my own GPX file together. My mileage counts are pretty conservative, about 220 miles/day, and each day is broken up between gas stops. I can send them to you if you like.
    @ybracing - If you wouldn't mind sending your tracks from last year, I'd like to compare to the route I have laid out?

    Here is the itinerary I use to help plan the trip. It works well to organize the days, and is easy give out to somebody at home so they know about where you should be and can leave a message if needed.

    CDT Rough Itinerary-page-001.jpg
    CDT Rough Itinerary2.jpg
    #13
  14. ybracing

    ybracing Been here awhile

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    Tracks from 2016 north to south is the first one.

    Tracks from 2011 south to north is the second one.

    I created a similar spreadsheet for my rides. It is the easiest way to keep everything in perspective.

    I'm not sure why the 2011 file is so much bigger then the 2016. It does take a long time to load. I usually try to use the .GDB format because it condenses down nicely.

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

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    I set up a similar spread sheet for our sidecar trip as I was planning our fuel stops and projected over night stays. Our overall average was around 195 miles per day.

    First thing that happened was a side trip to a spot in NM (Chaco Canyon) SWMBO studied in college. Then our intercom died, so we had to deviate to Albuquerque to buy a new set. Arrived in Albuquerque on a Sunday, and no bike shops open on Monday. A day later after getting back on the route, we had a structural failure of the sidecar's shock tower so we had to once again had to deviate off the route to Taos for 3 days for parts and welding.

    Sidecar in the motel room while frame getting welded:

    [​IMG]

    Now we had a drop dead date in Pinedale and had to bypass a full day of route to get back on schedule.

    So yes, the spread sheet is awesome to plan with and it also yields a great quick reference guide on the route, but you have to remain flexible. While there is no real "technical" terrain on the route, it can be fairly difficult to predict (while planning) just what your average speed will be through any particular section.

    Enjoy the adventure!
    #15
  16. shutterman

    shutterman some call me bop

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    I did it solo in two different years. In Sept 2014 I started in Eureka, Mt after riding for a week on the WABDR. I rode my Triumph 800XC and got as far south as the Grand Tetons and then headed back home to Boise. I don't remember any challenging sections in Montana. I camped the whole time.
    In Sept 2015 I started in Ashton,ID and rode the route to Chama, NM. I rode my DRZ400 this trip because I was going to return north on the COBDR and didn't want to tackle the passes in Colorado on my 800XC solo. Again nothing challenging except the section between La Garita and Del Norte which had been washed out in the past years. Just had to figure out the route around.
    I saw more cyclist than motorcycles on the route. Again I camped until I reached Chama.
    #16
  17. Anciano

    Anciano Bushpilot

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    I did it solo for my 70th birthday. How hard can it be.
    #17
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  18. HeidiHo

    HeidiHo Adventurer

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    On a serious note.....I am up for, and wanting to ride the CDR either later this year, like in Fall, or most anytime next year, 2018. I will prefer to ride it with one other rider, or in s small group of 4 riders total, so...three other riders aside from me.

    If I can find (on here) 1 to 3 other riders that are willing and able to ride the CDR, either North to South, or South to North, I am 100 % in.

    I have the time and resources and experience to do this ride, so that is not a question. But having spent 90+ % of my riding life by riding all alone, in long distance endurance riding, I am tired of riding all alone. Yes, it gives you time to find yourself, and reflect on who you are as a person. Done that, and found out I don't like myself, :imaposer, so I am happier riding with one to three others.

    Take this post seriously, as I am now looking for one to three other riders that want to do the CDR, in the Fall of 2017, or anytime in 2018.
    #18
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