Rules for the Tour Divide Race

The ‘official’ Tour Divide web site has been down and so with the race starting in five weeks I thought it would be good to make sure the ‘rules’ were readily available. So I pulled them out of ‘web.archive.org’ (thanks for the tip Justin!) and have combined the rules and the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ to a single page. Was good to refresh my memory on some of the more esoteric aspects of what really are a simple set of rules. They come down to: do this race alone, with no outside help, and be honest about it…

The Tour Divide challenge is based on one guiding principle: Cycle the GDMBR end-to-end, as fast as possible in a solo, self-supported fashion.
The Particulars:
  1. Any determined cyclist may challenge the GDMBR at any time, in either direction to qualify for the Tour Divide (TD) historical general classification (GC).

    All attempts are intended to be solo, self-timed, and observed as one stage, i.e., one’s clock runs non-stop. There are no required checkpoints or designated rest periods on course. The challenge is complete upon arrival to the opposite GDMBR terminus from start. There is no finish time cut-off, however, current convention considers a competitive Divide Route finish time as approximately 155% of course record times. Currently this = 25days (~110 mi/day) for men, and 29.5 days (93 mi/day) for women. See Item 1 FAQs below. [Note from Tri-duffer: In 2012 Jay blew the record out and so if we apply the 155% rule to his time the closing for men should be 24 days, 8 hours].

  2. To complete the Route a rider may resupply food/equipment, rent a room, launder clothing, even service their bike at commercial shops along the way. The intent is to ride unsupported between towns, and function self-supported when in towns. Any services utilized must always be commercially available to all challengers and not pre-arranged[1]. No private resupply, no private lodging.

    Tour Divide strives for ‘equal opportunity’ within the GC. Whether riding an independent time trial or tackling a grand départ, TD requires that every challenger—from those living along the route to those living on other continents—have an equal playing field. Therefore, outside assistance[2] with navigation, lodging or resupply (especially receipt of supplies from a non-commercial shipper) is prohibited. Visitation: Divide racing is not intended to be a spectator sport! However, route-town locals only may interact with (i.e. visit briefly, cheer on) thru-racers as they pass through their locale. Out-of-town visitation to the GDMBR mid-race from challengers’ family or friends—even if only a  ‘loosely-planned’, remote possibility for rider rendezvous—is prohibited. See Item 2 FAQs below.

  3. TD Route: Aside from the exceptions listed below, challengers must always ride 100% of the ‘main’ ACA Great Divide Route as defined by the most current edition of the ACA maps.For TD`12, the 2011 printing is the most current edition. Previous map editions may not be used unless updated with the most current ACA Addenda. Addenda ‘sets’ are specific to each map version. *Don’t disqualify a perfectly good time trial simply because your maps are outdated and/or you paired them with the wrong addenda. There is a supplemental GPX file of the official TD ‘race route’ revised annually. Refer to it, even if not navigating by GPS.

    ACA Alternates: At times along the GDMBR, ACA provides cues for alternates to their main route. All ACA-mapped alternates are strictly forbidden except the three (b, c, & d) listed below.

    TD-specific exceptions to the ‘100% main route’ rule: Below are four exceptions to the ‘ACA main route’ integral to the TD ‘race-route’. Two of the exceptions are required (a & d) and two are optional (b & c). Although b & c are optional, they are somewhat de facto for TD ‘record-seekers’. 

    1. Required: (for Southbounders only). Gold Dust trail south of Breckenridge, Colorado must be navigated southbound. This segment is not listed on the ACA section Map covering this area. Optional for Northbounders. See complete details here.
    2. Optional: The 116-mile ‘Chaco Alternate‘ is a TD-legal, ACA-official alternate segment between Cuba and Grants, New Mexico. The main route is impassable, potentially dangerous when wet, so riders have the option to follow the Chaco Alternate (paved) route. See ACAMap 5-B for cues.
    3. Optional: The 40-mile ‘El Malpais Alternate‘ is a TD-legal ACA-official alternate segment between Grants and the Pie Town Rd., through El Malpais National Monument. Zuni Canyon (main route south of Grants) is commonly closed for fire danger. See ACA Map 5-B for cues.
    4. Required: The ~12-mile ‘C.D.T. Alternate‘ is a very challenging ACA-official alternate between Sapillo Campground on NM Hwy 35 and NM 15 (just North of Pinos Altos / Silver City). It must be navigated by all TD challengers, north or southbound. It features 7 miles of narrow singletrack and 5miles of forest roads. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE DIFFICULTY OF THIS SEGMENT!

    See Item 3 FAQs below.

  4. Advancing (forward) on the route by any means other than one’s own pedal power is strictly prohibited. No drafting. Use of any type of air scoop or umbrella sail intended to harness wind power is also prohibited. TD is a solo challenge, however, racing in the company of other challengers is tolerated. Again, no drafting (inline OR side-by-side). Each rider must maintain separate gear. One complete survival kit per rider.

    4a. In the event of a serious mechanical that renders a bike unrideable, a rider may hitchhike[3] by motor vehicle in ANY direction to repair the problem. The location of the incident must be well-documented by SPOT tracker or other GPS logger. A rider may also receive assistance returning back to the exact location of breakdown to begin forward progress. Again, the entire incident, from breakdown to return to the trail must be well-documented by GPS. See Item 4 FAQs below.

  5. Shipping/receiving supplies (to the course): In the name of equal opportunity for international riders, and to minimize the TD ‘footprint’, challengers are encouraged to race as reliant as possible on commercial services along the route. However, in advance of a start, a competitor may cache food or equipment resupply at US Post Offices only, care of general delivery. Typical practice is to ship a replacement chain and fresh bike shorts to the halfway point on route. If a racer misses a resupply due to PO closure, that box may be forwarded to another PO, and only a PO, down route.

    5a. Once the race clock begins, a rider may be assisted by a third party in receiving emergency repair/replacement items only. Food resupply is not considered an emergency. No cookies from mom! Emergency items must be shipped using a commercial shipper such as USPS, UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL, etc. Items may not be delivered privately by family, friends or even anonymous persons. Items may only be shipped to a commercial address (P.O., motel, bike shop, restaurant etc.), provided that address is equally available to all racers. Use of a private address (residence) along the route is forbidden. Use of the Race Updates blog to ‘broadcast’ for help (ie. conjure ‘trail magic’) is also forbidden. See Item 5 FAQs below.

  6. GPS navigators are permitted but non-essential. SPOT GPS trackers are strongly recommended but not required. Mobile phones are also permitted, however, mobile service on the GDMBR is spotty, at best (~15% of the route). Reliance on a mobile phone as a rider’s sole means of outside communication is not advised. Carry a calling card. See Item 7 FAQs below.
  7. Tour Divide is a web-administered, do-it-yourself challenge based on the purest of wagers: thegentlemen’s bet or agreement. Nothing to win or lose but honor.

    Divide racing may be challenged at any time, however, TD emphasis is on a 2nd Friday in June (southbound) ‘grand départ’. For this common start:

    • There is no Banff pre-start meeting
    • There are no checkpoints or officials on course
    • Riders alone alone are responsible for their safety
    • Riders alone must police their conduct
    • There is no mechanism to communicate to riders on course
    • Riders alone are responsible for communicating with their loved ones
    • Updates to the blog from rider call-ins are time-delayed and not intended ensure rider safety
    • Online GPS tracking is also not intended to ensure rider safety. It is for info-only, and validation of course compliance

    Again, Tour Divide simply provides a web-based framework to present rider progress. This is where TD responsibility ends. See Item 7 FAQs below.

  8. Relegation: Tour Divide reserves the right to relegate a rider from the TD General Classification (GC) for confirmed rules violations.

    No rider will be notified of possible relegation mid-race. It is the sole responsibility of all riders to know the rules, police themselves, and in cases of course deviation, recognize their error + correct it before proceeding on route. Ideally any rider who defaults on any part of rules 2 through 5 will honorably scratch from the GC. As stated in rule 7, “TD is…a do-it-yourself challenge…racers alone must police themselves“.

    Note: If a racer voluntarily scratches from the GC mid-race, yet continues on to finish theGDMBR, their individual tracking page will remain online/updated for informational purposes, however, they will be removed from the group (GC) tracking map. See Item 8 FAQs below.


Rule 2. endnotes

[1] Pre-arranged is defined as prior to the start of the race clock.
[2] Outside assistance is defined as any third party assistance in navigation or lighting and any non-commercial assistance in food resupply and/or lodging. A service is deemed ‘commercial’ when it is for sustainable commerce, equally available to all racers (ITT + group-starters) year-to-year, preferably listed in the ‘services’ guide on ACA Route maps.

Rule 4. endnote:
[3] Riders may accept motorized transport assistance from bystanders, passersby or commercial transportation ONLY . A racer may not contact friends or family (private parties) living along the route for direct assistance.


FAQs

Rule 1 reads…

Any determined cyclist may challenge the GDMBR at any time, in either direction to qualify for the Tour Divide (TD) historical general classification (GC).

All attempts are intended to be solo, self-timed, and observed as one stage, i.e., one’s clock runs non-stop. There are no required checkpoints or designated rest periods on course. The challenge is completed upon arrival to the opposite GDMBR terminus from start. There is no finish time cut-off, however, current convention considers a competitive Divide Route finish time as within approximately 50% of record time for men, and 30% of record time for women. Currently [2010?] this = 27days(100mi/day) for men, and 31days (90mi/day) for women.


Rule 2 reads…

To complete Tour Divide a rider may resupply food/equipment, rent a room, launder clothing, even service their bike at shops along the way. The intent is to ride UNsupported between towns, and function SELF-supported when in towns. Any services utilized must always be commercially available to all challengers and not pre-arranged[1]. No private resupply, no private lodging.

Tour Divide strives to be an ‘equal opportunity epic’. Whether doing an independent time trial or tackling a grand départ, TD requires that every rider—from those living along the route to those living on other continents—have an equal playing field. Therefore, outside assistance[2] with navigation, lodging or resupply (especially receipt of supplies from a non-commercial shipper) is prohibited. Visitation: Divide racing is not intended to be a spectator sport, however, route-town locals ONLY may interact with (i.e. visit briefly, cheer on) TD thru-racers in their locale. Out-of-town visitation to the GDMBR mid-race from challengers’ family or friends—even if only a  ‘loosely-planned’, remote possibility for rider rendezvous—is prohibited.

endnotes:
[1] Pre-arranged is defined as prior to the start of the race clock. It refers to arrangements like motel reservations or special orders of parts or food
[2] Outside assistance is defined as any third party assistance in navigation or lighting and any non-commercial assistance in food resupply and/or lodging. A service is deemed ‘commercial’ when it is for commerce, equally available to all racers (ITT + group-starters) year after year, preferably listed in the ‘services’ guide on ACA Route maps.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on April 3, 2010 – 11:13am.

Can I (the racer) ship items to a commercial address prior to the clock starting? – Or would this be considered “pre-arranged” (even though this is available to every racer)?

Answer

The short answer is, “No”. Please see Rule #5 for more explanation.

Basically, no caching supplies along route in advance of start EXCEPT to US PO boxes (only).

Generally speaking, sure, commercial addresses on route are equally available to all challengers, however, pre-race caching of supplies to just any commercial address (ex: diner or motel) is an ‘unintended use’ of that commercial service. Unintended use (abuse) over time will strain the system designed to serve hundreds of GDMBR thru-riders annually. Therefore shipping to commercial addresses is only allowed in the event of an emergency (once the race has started). Past examples of emergency shipping: toasted derailleur, destroyed wheel/tire, broken pedal, seized BB, lost glove, hat, armwarmer, leg transplant, etc.

Submitted by Bob on April 21, 2010 – 6:38am.

1) Hostelers Gary and Patti in Del Norte are listed in the Services Directory of the map as offering basic bike repair and camping. Should they choose to offer a room/shower/food, as they have done in the past, can we accept or are we limited to the services as listed in the Directory?

2) Trail Magic. Any limits?? People in the past have accepted beds and meals but this seems to be a bit much to me, although there is a time penalty for accepting this kind of help. Others have gone around begging food.

3) What can a rider offer to do for another rider? Endnote 2 seems to say navigation and lighting help only.

Sorry if this seems nitpicky, just that past practice has been pretty loose.

Answer:

Q: Hostelers Gary and Patti in Del Norte are listed in the Services Directory of the map as offering basic bike repair and camping. Should they choose to offer a room/shower/food, as they have done in the past, can we accept or are we limited to the services as listed in the Directory?

A: A legitimate commercial service may extend or curtail its range of products at any time. Commercial = for revenue, sustainable enterprise, preferably listed in the Services section on the respective ACA map.

Q: Trail Magic. Any limits?? People in the past have accepted beds and meals but this seems to be a bit much to me, although there is a time penalty for accepting this kind of help. Others have gone around begging food.

A: TD defines trail magic as an inconsequential amount of serendipitous support from a bystander as the Divide racer carries on the normal business of pedaling to Mexico. If this means water, fill your bottles once. If food, accept a snack–not a full day’s resupply. If borrowing a tool for maintenance or repair, remedy your issue and pedal on. If offered a bed or shower, decline and take the porch or a barn.

Note: TD differentiates between non-commercial lodging (i.e. indoors, electricity, heat, shower, bed) and non-commercial, out-of-doors shelter (i.e. covered area, barn, etc.) that may facilitate a normal racer bivy. Shelter OK. Lodging not OK.

Again, legitimate trail magic is serendipitous. A bystander is a chance participant only. This excludes anyone who follows Divide racing.

Q: What can a rider offer to do for another rider? Endnote 2 seems to say navigation and lighting help only.

Submitted by Bob on January 14, 2011 – 1:41pm.

Any guidance yet on this question:

What can a rider offer to do for another rider? Endnote 2 seems to say navigation and lighting help only.

Thanks. I wouldn’t want to be a jerk by not loaning a pump, tool, or candy bar but I also wouldn’t want to be relegated for doing so.

Submitted by Anonymous on June 16, 2010 – 11:08am.

As one of the records is held by someone who spent two nights with a significant other, shouldn’t that record be invalidated or at least asterisked? Even when it happened last year I thought it was a bit beyond the spirit of the race. If the rule that prohibits this was passed after the race, then those following aren’t playing by the same rules.

Answer

Anon, TD appreciates your concern for fairness. It’s a large part of what Divide racing is predicated on. The racer you speak of was playing by the established rules in that race-year.

Rules evolve and addenda are born from new scenarios presented annually, but it’s not fair to retroactively apply new rules to old editions of Divide racing. When inequity is exposed, we process it, learn from it and decide if TD moves forward with a stricter or more focused rule. That’s the nature of self-support racing. The goal is always to have fewer rules, not more, but human evolution doesn’t seem to support that.

Editorial: It is doubtful that time spent with loved ones during such an extreme event has ever made anyone ‘faster’, nonetheless, we are disallowing outside visitation (especially overnight visitation) going forward.

Submitted by Anonymous on June 26, 2010 – 9:31pm.

It seems pretty apparent that many of these rules have been seriously bent if not broken by past racers. They have even blogged about it. So why suddenly get all draconian about this one thing? Weird.

Answer

Anon, the above rule speaks to a number of ‘don’ts’. forgive us, but you’ll have to clarify which element you consider too draconian? Again, the rules were originally designed to be as sparse as possible. As time goes on, myriad scenarios present themselves and we deal with them as we can. no ruleset remains perfect through the growth and evolution of a competition.

Submitted by NMex Divide Fan on July 12, 2010 – 4:32pm.

Rule 2 states: “Emotional support: Only route town locals may visit with, cheer on thru-racing TD riders. Out-of-town visitation to the GDMBR mid-race from family or friends–even if only a remote possibility for rendezvous–is prohibited.”

This seems to discourage race fans or followers (unrelated to any racers) from watching along the GDMBR. Am I to take this literally? If I happen to be riding or packing in the area of the race, coincidental (or even intentionally) to the racers passing, am I somehow “interfering” with the race? Seems you could be a bit better in the PR area, admins.

Answer

We’re sorry if this seems like bad PR but Tour Divide is ultimately for the racers themselves, out there on solo journeys. It is not organized for the fans. All that is secondary. First and foremost, we want to avoid the temptation of fan interference. There can be no help for racers; no hand-ups, no water offerings from super fans out on the course. The rule for route locals is, ‘look, but don’t touch’. Second, TD preaches small footprint on the GDMBR. This applies to everything from how racers tread to what affect even fans may have by coming into an area to ‘spectate’ the race. Obviously it’s small potatoes right now but it may not always be that way. The event grows exponentially in viewership annually.

Again, the race is not really meant to be seen on the ground. As an underground event, it cannot afford to be much higher profile to local land managers than it is today. Fans flocking to the course has the potential to cause problems.

We intend to improve video coverage along the way so viewers have more media to ingest. We hope this will help satiate superfans who do not live along or very near the route.

Submitted by Washington, DC on November 10, 2010 – 12:41pm.

I would have never been inspired about this race had I not seen the movie recently. Please make sure to expand the video coverage. It adds a lot to inspiration for future racers.

Answer

Thanks for the comment. TD does have plans to slowly expand video coverage, however, it’s important to remember this race is primarily for the racers to lose themselves in a very personal, ‘solo’ cross-country experience. Coverage for ‘fans’ and families is secondary and should never become invasive to racers. There’s also the issue of limited resources. TD is 100% non-revenue, non-commercial. It takes time and money to document TD along such a vast route. TD has no budget. It’s organizers sink thousands of dollars of their own money annually into executing the event.

Submitted by Russ McBride on February 16, 2011 – 1:29am.

Rule #2 seems for the most part hard to defend to me. Here is my understanding of its reasons, some potential complications, a couple of reason against it, and an attempt at a better solution.

1: We don’t want to give U.S. citizens or locals an unfair psychological advantage by enabling a lot of visitation for them which wouldn’t be available to non-locals (and non-U.S. citizens).

Response: In some ways this rule is *worse* for non-U.S. citizens, many of whom come over with a wife/husband and make the race the focus of their entire trip. It’s more painful for them because the partner that would normally be meeting their racer in most of the towns has to go out of their way to ignore their racer for a few weeks while the race is taking place. “Come to the U.S. with me dear, just figure out something to do with yourself for a few weeks in a foreign country without me, but make sure we don’t cross paths or I’ll be DQ’d.”

2: We don’t want to attract any additional attention with hordes of fans flocking to the course.

Response: “Hordes of fans”? Like hundreds of fans waiting in, say, South Park for days between each racer to catch 15 seconds of them as they pass by at 10mph? “Hordes” like on Alpe d’Huez in the TdF? This seems fantastically unlikely to ever occur in a race this slow and spread out.

3: We want to keep a small footprint on the GMDBR.

Response: A small footprint on dirt roads that ranchers drive over with pick-ups? A small footprint in the city of Whitefish? It doesn’t seem like the footprint compares to the average local motorized vehicle traffic in any given area for the month of June. Talk of “footprint” is usually reserved for trails and genuinely remote areas, not dirt roads and paved roads where vehicles travel, so talk of keeping a small footprint is a little confusing, especially when friends and family will typically want to meet their racer in an area with amenities, i.e., a populated town. But there is the long-term prospect of the very enthusiastic friend or family member driving up and down the entire course cheering on their racer almost constantly. This seems like a legitimate concern and one that needs to be avoided if this concern is part of what was meant by “footprint”.

4: We don’t want to increase the likelihood of unfair and illegal resupplies from friends and family

Response: This seems like the best of the reasons and a real slippery slope because it’d be very easy for endearing support from friends and loved ones to turn into for all matters of help—food retrieval/preparation, errands, laundry, bike work, etc. And of course there is huge psychological support that one who lacks friends and family present wouldn’t get as well.

(4) appears a reason with real weight behind it, as well as the possibility of an “over zealous supporter” (3).

But there are at least a couple reasons *against* the rule:

(1′) Actively preventing people who want to show love and support for both a race and those they care about who are racing seems at the very least unfriendly and at worst downright socially demented. Good will is actively been curtailed which, at least as a general rule of thumb in life, it seems we want to encourage as much as possible.

(2′) Allowing visitation is not all necessarily beneficial for a racer. There is a very real likelihood of making it harder for the racer to once again leave those he/she cares about after spending time with them in a fragile mental state.

It seems to me that there is a fairly simple possibility for a solution that satisfies almost all of the above concerns. Here it is: Allow visitation, but only in a small number of pre-designated cities, say, one town in each of the four principal states.

This allows the expression of good will (1′); it limits (1) the advantage that U.S. racers have in that it forces both local and non-local supporters into the same limited pre-designated areas; and it satisfies the “footprint” issue (3) because it keeps visitors to the cities (and in addition supports the economies in those cities). It doesn’t prevent the problems that could arise from (4) where a supporter uses a visitation to provide extensive illegal aid to their racer. But much prevention could be gained here from being explicit about the need for the racer to not receive such aid (i.e., passing a pitcher of water across the dining table at a restaurant is o.k. but having your husband drive across town to purchase water jugs for you is not o.k.).

Cheers,
russ


Rule 3 reads…

Racers must always ride 100% of the ‘main’ ACA Great Divide Route[3] based on the most current edition of the maps; otherwise inter/intra-year comparisons are meaningless. Previous map editions may not be used unless updated with the current ACA Addenda. At times along the GDMBR, ACA maps provide cues for alternate routes. No alternates to the main route can be used with the exception of the following THREE in NM:

  1. The 116-mile section between Cuba and Grants, New Mexico. The main route is impassable and potentially dangerous when wet, so racers have the option to follow the alternate paved route.
  2. The 40-mile section between Grants and the Pie Town road, through El Malpais National Monument. Zuni Canyon (main route south of Grants) is commonly closed for fire danger.
  3. The ~12-mile section of Continental Divide NST between Sapillo Campground on NM Hwy 35 and NM 15 (just North of Pinos Altos / Silver City)

FAQs:  If you have a question re. Rule 3 not answered below, post it using the comment form

Submitted by Bob on April 10, 2010 – 7:03am.

What if a part of the route is officially closed for fire? I read in the past that Pete B said “just ride through anyway”. What is the rule in that case?

Answer

Road/forest closure along the GDMBR due to fire is an ‘act of god’-type occurrence. No racer will be penalized for taking a mandatory detour.

If a racer encounters a closure boundary, there may be little or no info on the ground as to the degree of closure (ie. automobile vs. all travel). How a racer proceeds is up to them. TD does not advocate riding through any active fire without approval from powers that be.

Asterisk: The down side of mandatory route detours is they make it difficult to compare the affected efforts/elapsed times to the record books.

Submitted by Bob on April 11, 2010 – 6:03pm.

Thanks. I would ignore simple “Road Closed” signs as these usually only pertain to motor vehicles – an important point for international racers to know. I was more concerned about cases where officials (in person) tell racers that a route is closed due to fire (and will not be re-opened within a reasonable time i.e. a few hours). In most cases the alternate will be a longer route to loop around back to the main route anyway, so “penalty paid”.

Answer

To “ignore” unmanned closure barricades is the rider’s (solo) prerogative and done at the rider’s own risk. Just b/c a closure boundary isn’t manned doesn’t mean the area is not closed to all thru-travel. Fire crews are often shorthanded and unable to man closure boundaries. That said, use your judgement and you’ll be fine. It goes without saying that blowing through a manned closure is asking for trouble and damaging to all GDMBR thru-riders.

Submitted by Bob on April 12, 2010 – 5:53am.

No problem. I’m unfamiliar with the term “closure boundary” – I was referring to a plain old Road Closed sign that may be leftover from winter road closures or because of washouts, etc. Obviously if a barricade says “Closed for fire” and there is smoke ahead I will try to track down additional info.

Submitted by Anonymous on April 20, 2010 – 10:27pm.

I’ve read stories of pacecar confusion during the race. Is it required to take the pacecar thru major construction zones?

Answer

It is generally required to follow all DOT rules through construction zones. If the flagmen require cyclists to take the pacecar, then racers must take the pacecar. Always check what the policy is first before blasting past a flagman. Same goes for route detours (construction or otherwise). Follow detours if they are mandatory.

Submitted by Stephen on April 22, 2010 – 6:39pm.

Previous map editions may not be used unless updated with the current ACA Addenda.

The addenda only addresses any changes that apply to that years maps.
Updating the the 07 maps with the 09 addenda will not help with course changes.
There are some significant changes between some of the 07 and 09 maps.
i.e. the course reroute in Steamboat Springs comes to mind.`

Submitted by Erik Lobeck on April 28, 2010 – 9:29am.

I am in need of clarification for fire closures. This has been a dry winter for some parts of the Rockies, and significant stands of beetlekill pine abound. So, I foresee a higher than normal fire danger. So following hypothetical scenario:

Leaving Steamboat Springs, the route to Radium is obstructed by fire closure. I learn this at Stagecoach lake. I now have multiple route choices. I could take the “easy” route, south on HWY 40 and reconnect with route in Kremmling, or I could, with some knowledge, cobble together (invent) a route that approaches the length of the original route section and proceed south on HWY 131 to Toponas, head over Gore pass and reconnect with route in Kremmling. This of course presumes knowledge of surroundings, or maps on hand.

Q: What is the appropriate strategy in everyone’s opinion?

Answer

When faced with route closure a conscientious Divide racer tries to ride the maximum amount of official GDMBR possible (within reason), detouring at the last possible safe opportunity, rejoining at the earliest safe opportunity.

In your specific example, TD would probably favor the hwy131 detour because it includes Lynx Pass (max GDMBR miles). Unfortunately, there can be no real ‘wrong’ detour route when GDMBR closure confusion looms.

We hope never to need to split hairs in comparing riders’ detour routes, but it’s possible with numerous Lodgepole beetle-kill in-holdings, a major detour may one day be necessary.

Generally an entire field of challengers loses when big detours are necessary, as it’s next to impossible to compare affected times to the record books. Sure, there can be race results, but times always have an asterisk in the historical GC.

Submitted by Jefe on May 31, 2010 – 6:19pm.

Just curious, seems from my bit of TD watching that everyone takes the two NM detours mentioned, is it true? is it common practice for racers to always take the detours even if dry and no fire danger? Thanks Jefe

Answer

Jefe,
Yes, generally most racers do take the chaco and el malpais alternates regardless of weather. Having ridden both the main route and these alternates, I can attest the alternates are definitely faster–and contain resupply. These alternates were at one time a heated GDR steering committee discussion but they were never outlawed, I’d say mostly due to the power of ‘Stamstad precedent’. Sure, all that pavé does go against our better mountain bike sensibilities but as for me, I’ve tried to pick my ‘race route’ battles carefully.

FWIW, currently the main cuba to grants route is closed due to private land closures so it hasn’t been an option since `08.

-Matthew


Rule 4 reads…

Advancing (forward) on the route by any means other than your own pedal power is strictly prohibited. No drafting. Use of any type of air scoop or umbrella sail intended to harness wind power is also prohibited. TD is a solo challenge, however, racing in the company of other racers is permitted provided all racers maintain separate gear. One complete survival kit per racer.

4a. In the event of a serious mechanical that renders one’s bike unrideable, a rider may be assisted[3] by a motor vehicle in moving backwards or directly off the route, but never forward (on route). A racer may also receive assistance[3] returning back to the GDMBR, however, the moment a racer rejoins the route, further forward assistance is prohibited, even if a racer has already ridden that stretch prior to leaving the route. The intent of this rule is to encourage racers to exhaust self-rescue options first, and ensure any rider who must hitchhike will still always ride the entire TD course (+ a few penalty miles). Again, any assistance moving forward on the route, in any circumstance, is forbidden.

Endnote:
[3] A challenger may ONLY accept motor vehicle assistance off/back to route from bystanders and passersby or, in the case a commercial transportation source is available. ‘Bystander/passersby’ refers to purely coincidental encounters. A racer may not accept a ride from a race spectator (a.k.a ‘super fan’) or contact friends and/or family (private parties) living along the route for direct assistance.

Comments

Submitted by Bob on March 15, 2010 – 4:30pm.

What constitutes “forward on route”? If my bottom bracket seizes up 30 miles prior to Helena and I hitch a ride into Helena, not following or crossing the official GDMBR route, get the problem fixed, and return to where I left the route and continue, is that OK? If not, how far away from the route (forward) is considered “directly off route” rather than “forward on route”?

Answer

Good question, Bob. The direct answer to your above hypothetical is, “yes, that scenario is fine”. As TD interprets the original 1999 rule, you can even cross the GDMBR en route to help.

‘Off-route’ means lateral movement on a side road or trail away from the designated route. Occasionally off-route movement is more advantageous than backwards movement. At the point your bike is not rideable, it’s all going to be a crap-shoot. It may be faster to hoof it forward to the next possible town or available off-route road than to hitchhike backwards.

This rule can be a bit problematic to think about in the depths of trailside fatigue so it’s important to be clear on it. How well one chooses can be the difference in hours or days of time lost and even relegation–or not. FWIW, the original intent of prohibiting forward (on-route) hitchhiking is A) to ensure a challenger rides the entire GDMBR (one cannot cheat, i.e. fudge a re-start when only hitchhiking backwards), B) to prevent the reconnaissance of the route ahead and C) to penalize a rider for getting in a car.

Submitted by Paul Draper on April 8, 2011 – 1:14am.

Advancing (forward) on the route by any means other than your own pedal power is strictly prohibited.

Surely it’s permissable to walk at times!?!

Answer

Thanks Paul.

Definition 6. for ‘pedal’, in dictionary.com is “of or pertaining to a foot or the feet”.

We consider walking as pedal power.

Cheers.


Rule 5 reads…

Shipping/receiving supplies (to the course): In the name of equal opportunity for international racers and to minimize the TD ‘footprint’, challengers are encouraged to race as reliant as possible on commercial services along the route. However, in advance of a start, a competitor may cache food or equipment resupply at US Post Offices only, care of general delivery. Typical practice is to ship a replacement chain and fresh bike shorts to the halfway point on route. If a racer misses a resupply due to PO closure, it may be forwared to another PO down route.

5a. Once race clock begins, a rider may be assisted by a third party in receiving emergency repair/replacement items only. Food resupply is not considered an emergency. Emergency items must be shipped using a commercial shipper such as USPS, UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL, etc. Items may not be delivered privately by family, friends or even anonymous persons. Items may only be shipped to a commercial address (P.O., motel, bike shop, restaurant etc.), provided that address is equally available to all racers. Use of a private address (residence) along the route is forbidden. Use of the Race Updates blog to ‘broadcast’ for help (ie. conjure ‘trail magic’) is also forbidden.

Comments

Submitted by phil on May 7, 2010 – 10:09pm.

I wanted to ship a package to Orange Peel bikes in Steamboat, before the race starts. Is this allowed? Or does it have to be a US post office?

Answer

In advance of the start, racers may ship to USPOs only. Only in the event of emergency may a competitor ship an item to a non-USPO commercial biz such as Orange Peel. If you will miss, or have missed a cached item at a USPO, you may call to have it forwarded to another USPO down route for a more likely rendezvous.


Rule 6 reads…

GPS navigators are permitted but non-essential. Mobile phones are also permitted, however, mobile service on the GDMBR is spotty, at best (~15% of the route). Reliance on a mobile phone as a rider’s sole means of outside communication is not advised. Carry a calling card.


Rule 7 reads…

Tour Divide is a web-administered, do-it-yourself challenge based on the purest of wagers: the gentlemen’s bet or agreement. Nothing to win or lose but honor.

Divide racing may be challenged at any time, however, TD emphasis is on a 2nd Friday in June (southbound) ‘grand départ’. For this common start:

  • There is no Banff pre-race meeting
  • There are no checkpoints or officials on course
  • Racers alone are responsible for their safety
  • Racers alone must police their conduct
  • There is no mechanism to communicate to racers on course
  • Racers alone are responsible for communicating with their loved ones
  • Updates to the blog from racer call-ins are time-delayed and not a safety device
  • GPS tracking is also not a safety device. It is for info-only, and validation of course compliance

Again, Tour Divide simply provides a web-based framework to present racer progress. This is where TD responsibility ends.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on August 10, 2010 – 6:49am.

 

Hi,

I was wondering if a SPOT tracker is compulsory for the race as I don’t have one and would only ever use it once on the TD. It is also another thing to worry about / change batteries / remember to turn on / etc…

I will be mapping the route on my GPS as I go, would that suffice for inclusion on the GC board? If not how are the pre-SPOT times validated against the the on-line tracked 24/7 ones?

Answer

SPOT is not required, only encouraged, as the show is really quite fun to watch from the live online tracker. TD is in partnership with www.findmespot.com to provide those who do not own a SPOT, or care to invest in one, with a loaner.

We understand why you might want to use a GPS for nav. but honestly the aca road books (map cues) for the GDMBR are so detailed and well-kept that GPS is totally unnecessary. talk about maintaining batteries and fussing with electronics, GPS is far more high-maintenance than SPOT. One simply turns it off at night and back on again in the morning.


Rule 8 reads…

Relegation: Tour Divide reserves the right to relegate a rider from the TD General Classification (GC) for confirmed rules violations.

No rider will be notified of possible relegation mid-race. It is the sole responsibility of racers to know the rules, police themselves, and in cases of course deviation, recognize their error + correct itbefore proceeding on route. Ideally a rider who defaults on any of rules 2 through 5 will honorably scratch from the GC. As stated in rule 7, “TD is…a do-it-yourself challenge…racers alone must police themselves”.

Note: If a racer voluntarily scratches from the GC mid-race, yet continues on to finish the GDMBR, their individual tracking page will remain online/updated for informational purposes, however, they will be removed from the group (GC) tracking map.

FAQs:  If you have a question re. Rule 8 not answered below, post it using the comment form.

Comments

 

Submitted by Anonymous on April 11, 2010 – 8:08pm.

Exactly what infractions constitute relegation from the GC?
-James

Good question. For starters:

-Material course deviation – significant chunk of course missed or skipped. Racers must ride 99.9% of course. This leaves only a mile or so to screw up. Don’t screw up if you can help it.

-Illegal support – pre-planning, private deliveries, illegal caching, private lodging, hitchhiking forward on route, allowing a friend to leap frog down route.

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