Most of the Tour Divide takes place on unpaved roads and trails. 2010 has been a wet year, so that meant racing through a lot of mud. I didn't take pictures when it was actually raining and I never made it to the nastiest mud which is down in New Mexico, but these photos show a bit of what the mud was like in Canada and Montana.
The two pictures above show some of the Canadian mud. Sloppy, but not clingy. And at least I had plenty of tracks to follow.
This is the start of the Montana mud. Looks a lot like the Canadian mud, eh?
The Poorman Creek Trail is muddy
and rooty and steep.
While you'd expect something with a name like "Poorman Creek" to be kind of primitive, a name like "John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway" might make you think of limousines, town cars and wide lanes of smooth pavement. Think again. Think mud.
The road to Brooks Lake featured mud as well, up until the point it turned to snow.
But the worst mud in Montana was back on the old Bannack Road and the Sheep Creek Divide. You can't say they don't warn you.
This is the sticky mud, rich in clay. It jams in everywhere. Wheels don't roll. You carry your bike. Your shoes get heavy. Eventually, you get through it, the sun comes out and you knock enough mud off the wheels so you can roll again.
There are many challenges on the Divide: steep climbs, wind, rain, snow, bears, and distance. But ask any Divide rider to name the worst problem and I'll bet you get the same answer: Mud. That damn mud.
Keep 'em rolling. Rolling is something you don't take for granted on the Divide.
Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson