Josh Ibbett, winner of the 2015 Transcontinental Race, will be bringing his racing knowledge to bear on the Tour Divide with daily recaps on DotWatcher.
Its brutal out there. The 2018 Tour Divide is turning out to be an incredibly tough edition of what is a tough ride in the best of conditions. Kevin Kinton sums things up quite nicely in his latest Instagram post. Hiding from the rain in a public toilet eating cold breakfast leftovers he lets us know how unpleasant it is out there. Rain adds to the physical toll with extra levels of discomfort. You are never dry, your stuff gets wet, your sleeping kit gets wet, you get cold quicker, and sweat quicker in rain jackets. Kudos to all to those riders out there who are trucking on through the worst of it.
The elements are affecting riders further up the field too. Australian singlespeeder Gareth Pellas who was mixing it up in the lead early on has started to succumb to the effort and elements. Wet weather plays havoc with tendons and ligaments and constant hike a bike sections through snow drifts will not help avoiding symptoms of tendonitis. For Gareth tight muscles and tight tendons mean tendonitis has set in. It reaches a point where it’s foolish to fight, and Gareth has made the smart choice of resting up for a day to allow his body to heal so he can complete the route. The main challenge of the Divide is to survive and complete the route, racing comes second.
Out race leader Lewis Cidor maintains his 100-mile advantage as he ticks off the high passes of Colorado. As I type Lewis is taking on the highest pass of the Tour Divide route, the 11,910ft Indiana pass. It could be argued that Lewis will have broken the back of the Divide despite the 750miles remaining. Once over Indiana there are a few passes remaining but the altitudes are lower before the drop down into New Mexico where other challenges await, such as heat and few resupply points await.