Part of Lael’s preparation for this year’s Tour Divide was to ride from Boulder, CO to Emporia, KS where she raced the Dirty Kanza XL, which is featured in today’s gallery! Leave it to Lael to ride 700 miles before racing 350 miles! She’s going to be prepared and ready for the TDR this year!
Salsa Cutthroat, Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig
Words By Spencer Harding, bike photos by Spencer Harding, with action shots by Locke Hassett
While I was able to finagle this incredibly snazzy bike solely for the purpose of reviewing a framebag on it, I figured why not squeeze a bike review out of it as well? First things first, I’m not a huge fan of riding drop bars and as I mentioned before I’m no ultra-endurance racer, which is precisely what this bike is designed for. So, I may be a fish out of water in that regard, but I think there is still plenty of potential in this bike for us humans who enjoy riding less than 200 miles a day and more than 2 hours of sleep a night. At face value, this bike is fast, when you point this thing down a dirt road and put some muscle into the pedals it fucking moves, it doesn’t much care for going slow. When using a combination of the magtank 2000 and two stem caddy style bags, the bike actually couldn’t turn sharply at low speed, but this bike was designed to haul ass on the Tour Divide, not make low speed technical turns. Lets delve into the specifications and all that jazz…
In 2017, Rickie Cotter and Lee Craigie rode the Tour Divide, a 2745 mile, self-supported route from Canada to the Mexican border. Shot entirely using a Go Pro and an iPhone, this film documents their journey.
It’s been a dream of mine to complete the TDR, after sampling three days of it a few years back, but I’d want to take my time, just like Ben Weaver’s journey!
When you’re dead set on breaking the Tour Divide single speed record this year, ultralight is the way to go. Bailey, who is currently working at District Bicycles, recently built up his 2018 TDR race bike. He chose the Salsa Woodsmoke for the geometry, tire size, and most importantly weight. Even though he’s racing single speed, he still needs to keep the bike as light as possible. As it sits now, the bike weighs 30lbs on the nose, with everything he needs. It’ll weigh 35lbs on the trail, with water. The parts selection is spot-on, with components that will withstand the 2745 mile trek from Canada to Mexico.
An unexpected snag Bailey ran into while building this bike was that the elevated chainstay caused a lot of lateral sways and without a large chainring and large cog, would cause the chain to kick. Problem-solving like that is always best to do before you find out on the trail…
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As Lee Craigie nears the end of her journey at this year’s Tour Divide, it’s incredible to think that after 19 consecutive days averaging 131 miles each, she’s still out there considering cooperation, collaboration, mutual care, and remaining connected to each other and the environment. Thanks for the inspiration yet again, Lee!
With the growing popularity of events like the Tour Divide, more and more people are riding and sharing their stories from this memorable journey. This Saturday night, join the Angry Catfish team in Minneapolis for a Tour Divide Recap!
Does bike travel in the backcountry have to look a particular way? No, of course not. As you can see by the range of bikes being ridden in Spencer’s gallery, the #DFLtheDivide crew was a group that largely did not fit the mold of bike touring or bikepacking. That ride was all about doing things differently, living on the fringe and pushing the ideas of what traveling by bike looks like.
The Crust Bikes DFL occupies that space: not quite a touring bike, not quite a mountain bike – simply a bike built for traveling over whatever terrain you want to cover. John looked at Matt’s early version of this bike – at the time called the Evasion – and over a year later the DFL remains an intriguing idea that gets people asking questions and thinking about how they might build their own adventure bike.
Mark’s DFL hosts a great mix of domestically produced hard and soft goods, with a parts bin build kit carefully collected and selected over the years. The 9-speed XTR derailleur is hooked up to an indexed 10-speed Dura-Ace bar end shifter, using a Wolf Tooth road link to help the derailleur wrap around the SunRace 11-42 cassette. The Schmidt dynamo and Nitto racks and Carradice bags, so many details to pore over…
I’ll leave the rest to Mark because he captured the essence of this bike so well…
Seeing videos like this are always inspirational, especially when it’s from a woman’s perspective:
“Megamoon is a film about a journey by bike where love and adventure come together. Hannah’s personal story of how she came to be pulling a heavy trailer across the world’s longest mountain bike trail known as the Great Divide.”
For more info visit Megamoon!
Stories. We all have to have stories to coincide with photos right? Nowadays, someone has to get lost, or their life threatened, or lose a battle to nature’s mood swings. Catastrophe, calamity and someone’s a casualty of what everyone seems to be dubbing “adventure.”
Truth is, a bike ride is hardly ever an “adventure.” Much less a bike launch. I don’t like that word: “adventure.” It tends to envelop so much of our day-to-day lives, especially those of us who spend a great deal of time outdoors. Was it an adventure? No, it was a hike. Or we went swimming. Or we got lost for an hour. “Adventure.” It’s been watered down, branded, packaged and delivered to us in a freeze-dried, waterproof pouch. We share our curated lives exposed through meticulously VSCO’d / Photoshopped vignettes on Instagram.
While this may seem cynical, I can assure you it’s far from that. It’s more of an explanation, or a primer if you will and here comes to the top coat: while the word adventure’s definition is subjective, the spirit of conquest is the thing that ties all facets of that word together. For some people, conquest lies in what others might deem an obtainable task. For others, it’s something so far-fetched that it’s more of an impossibility than a probability… Whatever it is, “adventure” means different things to different people, but we should all be more creative in how we define it. According to my opinion anyway.
Over the next few days, I’ll be rolling out coverage from what we all began to call the “Tour Divide Simulation Ride” but first, I’d like to begin with a quick gallery from the Grand Depart in Banff, Alberta.
Traditionally, the race begins in the YWCA parking lot, just across the river from the main tourist thoroughfares in Banff. This year’s turnout was the biggest yet, with around 150 people registering for the race. A quick headcount revealed around 130 at the start, with a handful of people beginning a day early or later that morning.
Still, to see a Grand Depart this size for a race like the Tour Divide was more than I expected and quite the scene. Men, women, old, young and even a canine left Banff with aspirations of finishing this grueling challenge. Over the next few weeks their mind, body, bike and soul will be put to the test…
Our trip was a bit easier but even after three days on the road, I have a new found respect for anyone willing to tackle such a feat. Best of luck to all the racers and riders still out there on the TDR.
For the next few days I’ll be riding sections of the Tour Divide with Salsa Cycles. Last night we flew into Missoula, drove the Whitefish and Stayed at the Whitefish Bike Retreat. This morning, we’re heading to Banff to meet some of the racers, pack our bikes up and depart in the morning…
Expect coverage to follow and don’t worry, there will be content flowing in while I’m out…
In celebration of the The 2014 Tour Divide mountain bike race, Ty is selling prints of some of his favorite 35mm photos from his 2013 run. He’s only selling five of each and doesn’t plan on selling them again. Head over to Tytanium Life to order.
If you’re interested in tracking the 2014 Tour Divide, do so at Trackleaders.
The above photo, entitled “First Day” is one of my personal favorites. See four others below.