Tour Divide is one of the longest and hardest mountain bike races in the entire world. The ride begins in Banff, Canada and runs south along the Continental Divide Trail until it reaches its terminus in Antelope Springs, New Mexico, covering some 2745 miles (4418 km) in the process. It is a grueling affair with competitors traveling in self-supported fashion along single track, dirt roads, and jeep tracks.
This year's version of the race began back on June 13, with 159 riders setting out for the trail. One of those riders was a man named Josh Kato, who went on to set a new course record, arriving at the finish line last week. Kato was able to ride the entire course in an unbelievable time of 14 days, 11 hours, 37 minutes, which means he was able to average close to 190 miles (305 km) per day on trails that aren't exactly made for speed.
The 40-year old may have set a new mark with his impressive performance, but he wasn't alone. The second and third place riders – Jay Petervary and Neil Beltchenko respectively – were just 25 and 45 minutes back. That is practically nothing on such a long race. In fact, Kato caught both of those men in the final 100 miles (160 km), taking the lead on the way into the finish line.
To put things in perspective, there are no stages of the Tour de France that approach 190 miles in length, and those riders have plenty of outside support to assist them throughout the course. On top of that, Tour cyclists ride smooth roads, while riders in the Tour Divide are on off-road routes that are incredibly demanding and difficult.
Congratulations to Josh on setting this new speed record. Impressive work indeed.