I have done the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and my head is spinning with it. I write this one day after finishing. I learned some things, I wonder about some things and I (dis)liked some things.
So, time for lists!!!
Stuff I learned
1. I want to do more of this.
2. The USA is an awesome place, full of great people.
There’s more, for instance, I now know how it is to shoot a gun. Or how huevos rancheros taste.
Ah. I forget one other thing.
3. The type of bike & setup you use on this route, doesn’t _really_ matter, as long as you yourself like it. I’ve seen trailers, guys with framebags, panniers & backpack, full-on front&back panniers + rack pack & handlebar bag (e.g. me) and all that on 26″ wheels, 29″ wheels, steel, titanium, aluminum AND carbon frames, front suspension, full suspension, fully rigid, disc brakes, rim brakes, Rohloff, derailleurs, leather saddles, foam saddles… And all of it worked. So don’t worry too much. Just be prepared for all food & water situations, make sure bike & gear are tuned-up and ride that baby. It’s awesome.
4. A kickstand is a thing of beauty. Get one!!
Stuff I wonder about
1. Bagels. Why the hole in them?!? A waste valuable potential space for calories!
2. The generous sunday opening hours of stores, offset against the religious character of many regions I came through. The Netherlands is one of the most secularized countries in the world, but you can forget about decent shopping opportunities on sundays in most places.
3. The default item to put into a gin-and-tonic seems to be lime around here, whereas I was, and am still, of the firm conviction this should be lemon.
4. Classic: by default, no mayonaise is provided with french fries. A sad fact.
5. Choices choices. For instance with eggs: how do I like my eggs? No idea! How do you like them? Over easy, over medium, sunny side up and whatnot… Confusing!
Stuff I disliked
Not much! Just two things.
1. Headwind. Really…
2. People saying it’s all flat/downhill from here. I know it’s well intended, but it’s WRONG. A flat-faced lie. Don’t say these things. Please don’t :-(.
Stuff I liked
1. I really liked the dogs in the back of pick-up trucks, barking up a mighty racket against everything and everyone, made me laugh!
2. All the bullethole-ridden traffic signs. Made me laugh too!
3. Fooooooooood. Om nom nom nom nom nom.
4. All the comments on my blog, emails, tweets, etc. Thank you, that stuff makes it fun!
5. The people of the western USA. Thank you all for making this trip unforgettable.
Peter in Calgary — Fat Tire Ale for life!
Craig in Eureka, first night in USA for me and it couldn’t have been in better company.
The Hall family in Montana City — made me feel SO welcome and hooked me up with friends too.
The Espelin family in Butte, I’d love to pop some more caps with you!
The Plutes in Lima, those burgers and your company were the BEST after a tough day.
Dawn in Jackson — thanks for having me, it was hysterical, and great fun too!
Tara & friends in Pinedale — I’ll never forget that Strohm Bomb Stout.
Huybert & family in Boulder — to be continued!!
The Sideways crew in Colorado, for the copious food and company.
Nita at the Toaster House and actually all of Pie Town.
The crew at the Little Toad Creek Tavern & Inn for letting us camp at their lawn, getting us smashed and building a huge fire with it.
Alyssa in Silver City, for having me one night and giving me a good story by locking me out.
Sam Hughes and Mighty Bear Dawg for providing shelter, beers and transportation in the middle of nowhere.
I’m sure I’m forgetting people… But I love you all!
6. The people I rode with.
Started with Mathieu — thanks for introducing me on the Divide.
Jacob, Emma, Michael & Margaret — awesome riding with you guys. I hope you will find time & opportunity to do the rest of this route.
Mat — so cool meeting you in the desert. And on-and-off riding until the border, hell yeah!
Anders, Colin & Ben — I’m envious of you two Canucks & one Dane, enjoy the rest of your adventures.
Kate & Lee — hope you made it in time to Austin! Very nice to do the Gila with you & to get smashed at Little Toad :-)
For now, I’m done. I am continuing this website, however. At the very least I’d like to discuss some gear (when I’m back home). And my other bike endeavours will appear here, as well. So… I’ll see you when I’ll see you! Stay safe & keep riding.