Solo Continental Divide: The Hard Way

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mountainman13, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    13,473
    Location:
    In my natural state
    Sending pm. Wife and I are doing the CDT this summer.
    #41
    guavadude and mpusms like this.
  2. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,136
    Location:
    Dixie
    I'd love to do your route. Depends on who I convince to go with me. I've got some friends in their 50s who just did the TAT. Very good riders. I'd take my DR. If I go with another guy who has a 990, I'll get your input. He's 66, too. Thanks.
    #42
    Mountainman13 likes this.
  3. outbacktm

    outbacktm Bullrun Bison Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,108
    Location:
    Bullrun, Or
    I am in
    I have three riding friends and we have been talking about and planning to do this ride for years, maybe 2021 is the year.
    #43
  4. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    252
    Colorado Part One:

    New Mexico ended on a damp note, basically everything I was wearing when I came into CO was soaked due to rain and the failed water crossing the day before. Thankfully I was able to dry most everything out. Into Colorado the riding between Antonito and Sargents mostly follows the COBDR route and is fun but pretty chill, there are a couple short two track sections between there but nothing particularly challenging. Once at the top of Marshall Pass the entire route changes. The Monarch Crest Trail runs from the top of Marshall Pass to the top of Monarch Pass and is the longest continuous single track section of the entire route. While I really enjoyed this section, it was definitely the most challenging 3 hours or so of the entire ride.

    From Monarch it is up and over old Monarch Pass which is quite easy and had several distributed camping spots and up Tomichi Creek. Tomichi Creek/Pass was surprisingly difficult, I hadn't really been able to get much information on Tomichi but it was narrow, rocky, and you cross Tomichi Creek about a dozen times as you work up the east side of the pass. I took a break on the way up Tomichi and met up with Mark from Silverthorne, CO. We agree to ride up together and help each other out. On the west side of Tomichi there had been a rock slide which resulted in a 300 yard section of the loosest gravel I've ever tried to ride in (up until I got to Fleecer Ridge). Mark dropped his 350 on the way down the slide, I managed to get up and over the hardest part and then dumped it at the top.

    My route continued from there over Hancock Pass, into St Elmo and over Tincup Pass into Taylor Park. However we started getting into moderate rain and thunder coming down Tomichi so I decided to divert over Cumberland and direct to Taylor Park. This ended up being a good call as I rode into Buena Vista in heavy rain. If I had tried Hancock and Tincup I probably would have been in a world of trouble. As it was I pulled into Buena Vista for a scheduled rest day at about 3:30PM and settled in for some bike maintenance the next morning.



    DSC01113.JPG 10CPROI110101-011514.JPG DSC01130.JPG 20200827_153817.jpg 20200827_165959.jpg 20200827_170923.jpg 20200827_173215.jpg 20200828_093447.jpg 20200828_115749.jpg

    Attached Files:

    #44
  5. TCalwaysoff

    TCalwaysoff Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2019
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Peterborough Ontario
    Love it bud! Keep it coming!
    #45
  6. mpusms

    mpusms Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Saint Simons Island GA
    Great looking tracks and similar to my style of riding minus the camera gear.
    #46
  7. JPDenny

    JPDenny Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Greater Sapulpa
    This is awesome!
    #47
  8. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,264
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    Great to see the good and bad....the tip overs are part of the Adventure...good for you to show to good and bad on your video.
    #48
    xcsks and outbacktm like this.
  9. Milkweed

    Milkweed It's not me, it’s the bike.

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    840
    Location:
    Fleming Island, Florida & Coeur d’Alene, ID
    Very much enjoying your adventure. The video work and commentary are a great service to those of us who may follow your tracks, or for those who just want to enjoy the vicarious adventure. From experience, I know the challenge of creating original off pavement routes (locked gates and fade away trails, etc.). This looks way more in my wheelhouse than the Great Divide Ride, and I hope to experience a close approximation to your route in 2021 or 2022.
    #49
    mpusms likes this.
  10. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,248
    Location:
    Gardnerville NV
    I applaud you for doing this ride solo that is cool and looks epic, but really the video and drone footage must be all the work.
    #50
    outbacktm likes this.
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,609
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Catching up after losing track of your report for a bit. Damn man - great job on the footage and sifting through all those hours to get the videos edited. Being a hack, I know how far down the rabbit hole you can go when trying to get clips to put together.

    And big thanks for posting your tracks! The riding you're documenting is exactly the type of stuff I like to do and ride. I need to go back and re-read the first page of your RR - how much time did you take in doing the entire trip? I'm hitting the big five-oh this coming August and would like to do something of the epic nature like this. Don't know if I could manage the needed days off, but think riding the CDT would be a brilliant way to bring in the next half-century.

    Look forward to keeping track of this RR and the next update @Mountainman13
    #51
    Ginger Beard, mpusms and LewisNClark like this.
  12. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    252
    I had between August 20th and September 14th available to do the trip. I took 2 days to get down to Antelope Wells and I finished at the border on September 6th. Because of a storm system moving in I ended up having to push hard the last three days to beat the storm (3 days of 250-300 miles) and just barely made it. I had one rest day in Buena Vista and two short days of less than 100 miles. Otherwise I averaged about 150 to 180 miles a day.

    It is certainly possible you could do it faster, I think if you didn't take any rest days you could do a little under 200 miles a day and finish in about 2 weeks but you'd probably be pretty tired. I wish I had more time to spend in MT, I had planned a tourist day in Glacier and ended up not being able to do it because of the storm. I had planned another two days to get home but it ended up taking four due to the weather and some other issues (I'll get to that when I edit the videos).

    Definitely plan on some "shit happens" days so if you need to do maintenance, reroute, etc. it doesn't ruin your trip due to a one day schedule change. Overall I was pretty lucky in how my schedule worked out, but I went into this trip knowing I had extra time if I needed it and not being in a rush (except at the very end) was super helpful at being able to enjoy the experience.
    #52
  13. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,466
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm reading and comparing your route to the tracks I have, from Countdown I believe, and questioning which you are using. There are some "hard" sections shown in my version, but mainly in NM. All the same towns are visited, but for some reason I was thinking that the main route was big bike rideable, if not friendly. I rode the section, or "a" section from Yellowstone up to the Canadian Border a few years ago and although I was on my WRR it was definitely all OK for liter adv bikes. 'Just head scratching a bit because I want to ride the Pacific Crest route (all paved or nearly so) north to Canada, then down the Divide, on my Africa Twin. Some dirty small bike rides are on the dance card as well, but a big bike loop sounds interesting.
    #53
  14. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    252
    As I said, I didn't follow Cannonshot or GPS Kevin's route. For NM I had some suggested tracks from a former ADVrider whch I modified as needed. Colorado has https://cts.state.co.us/cotrex/desktop/# which shows just about every trail in the state and what is allowed to ride on it and when. Wyoming and Montana I did the best I could from maps and Idaho has https://trails.idaho.gov/ . The biggest thing I did was take a GPX file for the actual Continental Divide Trail and do my best to find roads and trails which were legal for me to follow the CDT as closely as possible. The Cannonshot and GPS Kevin routes are based on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route which is very mellow/big bike friendly. GPS Kevin's newer International Continental Divide Ride is slightly different but was basically him trying to cross the continental divide as much as possible. I would not recommend that route at all as it is pretty clear he's never ridden it and has no idea of the difficulty levels he is asking people to take on.

    For portions of the route I'm on the same roads and routes that GPS Kevin or Cannonshot suggest. That's more a matter of how few roads are in some areas than anything else.
    #54
  15. Tizianomercante

    Tizianomercante Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2020
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Miami
    Great trip Sir! I just bought my 690, working on it to make it ready and this summer (COVID permitting) I will be following your path. :):)
    #55
  16. F150

    F150 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Nashville
    Super envious, especially with the technology. Friend and I did ABQ-Missoula in 1987 on mountainbikes. My "technology" package was a Minolta 202 with Kodachrome 64 slide film. Someone stole his Nikon point and shoot off the bike in Chama. Would have killed for a GoPro!
    #56
  17. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,609
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Just finished watching Colorado part one, looks like stellar riding! Some of that single track looks gnarly - what percentage of the 72 mile day (or the two day combo) would you estimate as single track like that? Reminds me of riding trails in Gifford Pinchot - big frickin' rocks with some sketchy side-hill tracking.

    The more I see of this, the more I'm seriously interested in working the logistics to make it happen for my 50th. Not sure how requesting 3 weeks off from work will go over as I haven't even hit the 1 year mark after leaving my old company of 23 years, but hope management understands you only cross the half-century mark once.

    Stoked to see the 2nd part of Colorado.
    #57
  18. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,305
    Location:
    Bellevue
    I read a lot of ride reports and this is one of the better ones. Thanks for taking the time to put all the media together.

    Gl! And thanks again.
    #58
    outbacktm likes this.
  19. Mountainman13

    Mountainman13 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    252
    Of the 619 mile GPX track I posted above, about 35 miles of it would be true two track or single track. Basically all of that is between Sargents and Taylor Park. I count Hancock and Tincup passes as basically being 2 track because they are consistently technically challenging, the switchbacks on Hancock are probably as difficult as Tomichi or the single track on Monarch. The riding in Colorado is more challenging from a riding perspective than basically anything else on the route. It's higher, rockier, and consistently more difficult than anything in any of the other states.

    If someone is looking for an easier diversion around the single track or really difficult passes the best thing they can do is follow the regular COBDR route into Buena Vista and then reconnect to the route by taking Independence Pass into Aspen. That is actually what I ended up doing, but only because I needed the rest day in Buena Vista and fire diversions made it a toss up on if I would be able to connect directly from Taylor Park into Aspen.
    #59
  20. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,305
    Location:
    Bellevue
    This is great stuff. I was a bit surprised at how wide open and untechnical the Colorado section of the CDR was. I wish I looked around for some more cool stuff. Co is full of the goods. Thanks.
    #60