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Great Divide Race Updates

Updates for the Great Divide Race, the world's longest non-stop mountain bike race! Great Divide Race Home.

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Name:Tom Purvis
Location:Salida, Colorado, United States

I am a bike fanatic, mountain biking advocate and bike shop flunky from Salida, CO.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

5:16 AM MDT July 16 (2006-07-16 11:16:34 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado, it is 5:15 AM, uh Mountain Time. It's July 16. I just wanted to--I am out of the race. I stayed in Rawlins a day to rest up and, the next day I got to riding, and I just--I just couldn't do it. It was just--it was just alot to do. I took a look at the map, and it was just--it was too daunting. You know, and I went to the library and I saw that I was 2nd place and I figured, you know, if the race was over there was really--there was really not much going. I was just completely lacking motivation, and my body was just too worn to go on. I just wanted to let you know that I'm on my way home. And I wanted to say thank you to Tom for the updates and thank you to Mike for organizing the event and thank you to everyone who was checking up on the race. It was, uh, it was hard but it was a good time. And uh, maybe I'll be able to do it again someday. Thank you.

Thank you Kenny. Thank you for inspiring us all with your perseverance and your gumption. You sound tired; beyond tired. You were out there for nearly a month, and you deserve a rest. You are a winner for getting as far as you did.

The 2006 Great Divide Race is
as of 6 AM MDT, July 16

The racers all deserve a round of applause. Your courage and determination in the face of the huge challenge you took on has kept us all on the edge of our seats. Rest now, and think about another summer, another chance to pit yourselves against the divide. -Tom P.

Friday, July 14, 2006

7:16 AM MDT July 14 (2006-07-14 13:16:30 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado. The time is 7:15 AM. It is July 14th. I'm in Rawlins, Wyoming. The weather is--not a cloud in the sky, beautiful morning. To give you aspect, well, that was one big goddamn desert. Yeah, it was alot of nothing and it was really hard riding, and I busted my ass to get out of there as fast as I could. Luckily I carried an extra pint of water with me, so I wasn't too bad on water, but towards the end I was really starting to ration how much water I was drinking. And uh, God bless HammerGel, seriously, because that stuff's great. That's about it, I'm going to stick around Rawlins for a while and have some breakfast. And that's my update.

Thanks for the update Kenny, you da man! Way to stick with it. As you approach the end of your third week on the Great Divide route you're showing the world that you can take a licking and keep on ticking! -Tom P.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

WE HAVE A WINNER! Matthew Lee finished the '06 Great Divide Race at 10:30 AM on July 11th. His time on the course was 17 days, 22 hours, 30 minutes (17:22:30).

1:23 PM MDT July 11 (2006-07-11 19:23:45 GMT) - Hey Tom, Matthew Lee here. I got my stamp at Antelope Wells from officer Richardson at 10:30 AM today, Tuesday July 11th. I had a nice tailwind and relatively low heat as I cruised the final stretch, it was nice. I'm happy and sad to be off the route. It's such a fun and albeit painful existance for a few weeks. In my third year in the race, I again saw so many new and different things and met many new folks. It was awesome. The weather got crazy again too. I cut my time by about 30 hours, and considering my 24 hour respite in Salida I feel good about what I'm capable of. Now I'm heading to Colorado to reward myself with some of Mother Nature's best singletrack in the Crested Butte 100. It should be a good time. Thanks everybody for following along this year, I look forward to reading some of your emails when I get off the road. Cheers!

Check out a photo gallery put together by Aaron Teasdale of Adventure Cycling:

Also check out this video shot at Absolute Bikes while Matthew Lee was here:

GDR Video
Photo by Aaron Teasdale,
© Adventure Cycling, 2006

12:34 PM MDT July 11 (2006-07-11 18:34:29 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado, the time is 12:33 PM. It is July 11th and I am in Boulder, Wyoming. Came out of after, uh, Pinedale was the last town. The weather is hot, it's a little bit cloudy but it's nice. The ride has been flat for the most part. You can't really complain about that, and beautiful. Other than that, yeah, it's been great. Going through Idaho was a fun trip. A short 70-something miles. And that's about it, thank you.

5:55 AM MDT July 11 (2006-07-11 11:55:26 GMT) - Morning, it's Matthew here. It's 5:30 and not quite light yet, Tuesday, 7-11. I just passed under I-10, our nation's southernmost east-west corridor, so I crossed the final threshold of sorts. I'm coming off an amazing full moon desert crossing. I just had to stop and call in about it. Lance Armstrong referred in some of his tours to "No Gifts". In a sense, the same could be said of Tour Divide, "No Gifts". But if one looks carefully enough, and waits patiently, small gifts are bestowed. Like last night for me, I was cooked from the Gila, and the legs were not motivated. I wanted to make some time, but it got dark as I entered the desert south of Silver City. Just as it did, a massive full moon crept up the horizon illuminating everything across the landscape with low-angle light. It was an energizing switch that beamed life into me. I was able keep cruising at nearly full speed for several more hours. It was nature's Red Bull of sorts. The moon gave curious relief to the terrain, and backlit all the yucca trees as if they were humans, all standing around in various poses, sporting Bart and Lisa Simpson afros. This time, the night was truly a gift, and so perfect at that this far south in the heat and the sand. Now to the east the sun rises on this new day and behind me, the moon is checking out on the old. I have 70 miles to pedal before I check out. I'm looking forward to the best. OK, more later today. Bye.

Monday, July 10, 2006

6:48 PM MDT July 10 (2006-07-11 00:48:46 GMT) - Hi, this is Matthew Lee calling from Silver City. I'm pretty worked over. But uh, it was a beautiful day today. It's very lush down here. It wasn't too hot. Starting to get hot. So, I think I'm going to make some time tonight towards the border so I don't have to finish in the horrible heat of the day down there. Especially now that the community of Hachita is closed down, and the last water stop is 75 miles from the border. So, I'm going to get a burrito and uh, try and put some more time in. It's almost 7 o'clock. On, man, what day is it? I don't even know. Monday I think. OK, bye.

From my map, Silver City to Antelope Wells is 123.9 miles on the route. If all goes well for Matthew, this could be his last 24 hours of the race. Long way to go, sounds like he's ready to be there. -Tom P.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

10:58 PM MDT July 8 (2006-07-09 04:58:41 GMT) - Hello, Matthew Lee here, Grants, New Mexico. It is 11 pm, I'm just checking into a awesome 25 dollar hotel room to clean up before I head south tomorrow. And, luckily they have Outdoor Life Network, so I'm watching the boys suffer in their time trial today. And, uh, I hope they feel my pain, from my 120-mile time trial across the desert. Some of my images from today were: flooded arroyos, big lightening storms, huge double rainbows, washed out roads, high UV rays, all kinds of stuff. Cars buzzing me. I was crossing a uh, desert on a Great Divide Route alternate, about a 120-mile alternate, and frankly I'm glad I wasn't out in the mud, crossing the flooded arroyos, but anyway, the road was probably equally as hard. So tomorrow it's off to Pie Town, and, if I make it that far, the Black Canyon in the Gila. So, it's rest for now. OK.

Matthew's voice has taken on a weary quality in all of his recent updates. Could be from his weeks on the trail, but I suspect it's at least partially because of the weather. The rains enhance some beautiful landscapes, with greener than usual plants, colorful flowers, wispy clouds gathered in the grooves on the land, and the rainbows and lightening, but it's also created peanut butter conditions on the roads, washouts, and few inviting places to camp and sleep. He's in the stretch, and at least he isn't being roasted by an unrelenting sun. But rain and more rain can wear you down. -Tom P.

2:55 PM MDT July 8 (2006-07-08 18:55:55 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee here. I'm in Cuba, and getting ready to head across the desert. I've got a slight tail to cross wind, and that's good. Should be able to be there by 10 or 11 o'clock tonight, I hope. OK, ciao.

Friday, July 07, 2006

8:36 PM MDT July 7 (2006-07-08 02:36:16 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee here. Just finished supplying up at Bode's Store in Abiquiu, and I'm headed out to the Polvadera Mesa tonight. The rain wasn't quite as bad as they predicted today. Few showers, soft roads, but generally OK going. Nice and cool. So, I'm going to try to be on the road to Cuba by mid-morning tomorrow--or on the road to Grants, excuse me, by mid-morning tomorrow, which would be Cuba. So, yeah, I'm a little tired, but I'm gonna push through. My hip is hurting me a little bit. OK, bye.

Matthew sounds as tired and worn down as I've heard him during this whole race. He was really energetic and up-beat when he was here in Salida, but now he sounds like he's slogging. Hang in there Matthew! -Tom P.

10:05 AM MDT July 7 (2006-07-07 16:05:46 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado, the time is 10:04 AM. It is July 7th. I am in Lima, Montana, or Lima, however you want to pronounce it (first pronounced Lee-ma, then Ly-ma). The weather is pretty good right now, but, uh, the past few days it's been really wet. And I've just been taking it slow trying to stay out of the rain. I read that I am in 3rd place currently, all the way back here in Montana, and that Matthew is all the way in Colorado. I have to say that motivation has been lacking. But, I'm going to stick in it, I'm going to faithfully end, and see how far I get. Just wanted everyone to know I'm still here, I'm still participating and still going. Even though it's kind of slow going, I'm still going. But, I want to thank everyone. And, I will try to update as soon as I can. Because this next stretch is probably really long until I hit a pay phone. Thank you very much. Bye.

Thanks for checking in Kenny. Good to know you're still on it, and that you're OK and making progress. You are actually in 2nd place, not 3rd. You are one of 2 out of the original 8 still racing. Keep us posted, and keep those wheels rolling! -Tom P.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

10:47 PM MDT July 6 - hi, tom, this is matthew writing from horca colorado. i did not get very far today as it stormed rain in del norte from when i got up at 4:30am until 9am. i got a bit more sleep than i wanted and rode out sometime just after 9:30 or so. I arrived in horca around 5:45pm. i had only two showers on route but the roads (especially the epic 12k indiana pass) were like peanut butter. i stopped in at the rocky mountain lodge store just north of horca at precisely the right time this eve to hear about (and have the shop keep insist i attend) a local's potluck dinner at the picnic shelter just behind the store. it started in 30 minutes. hmmm...heading into NM no-man's land i couldn't resist. it was by far the best meal i've had in the race. it was pretty cool and quite the social affair. I was announced to the group, allowed to get in line first and had my pickings of meatloaf, beef brisket, fried chicken, cooked cabbage, casseroles, lasagnas, fresh veggies and so on. i was in heaven. i probably overate. i take back every bad thing i've ever said about the platoro to horca road (FR250) and its reputation as being the worst washboarded road on the divide route (it broke my cargo rack last year).

as i rode off, food coma ensued and i only got 10 miles or so down the road before I started to consider my sleeping spot. As many of the locals had been warning me, overnight storms are expected tonight. they say NM is flooding. I didn't want to be up on top of brazos ridge if it gets bad tonight. at the bottom of la manga pass i was looking around for a place to set up my sleeping bag, tarp when a couple from the dinner, harris and jan, passed by me. they pulled over. it was obvious to them i was lost or looking for someplace to sleep. after looks were exchanged and we had a few words about having seen each other at dinner, they asked me to come stay with them. and here i am. tapping out this update b/f crashing at their charming cabin. its just what i need as I eye NM. The hospitality code of the west is alive and well. i am touched by their generosity. THANK YOU GUYS, if you ever read this update.

i looked at dopplar radar and NM looks pretty scary for tomorrow. the route thru is going to be dynamic to say the least. I am ready to crank it out as quickly as possible but i can't imagine its going to be fast going.

i also read that john nobile has thrown in the towel. bummer. who's still back there? anyone? This has been a strange year on the route. very hot but fairly calm up north and down south very very wet and even somewhat cold. (high tomorrow is supposed to be 70).

more from el rito or abiquiu down the trail. -matthew

Kenny Maldonado is still back there, at least as far as we know. Last update from him was in Butte, Montana on July 2. He has not notified us if he chose to stop racing, so we operate under the assumption that he's still out there. -Tom P.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

10:51 PM MDT July 5 (2006-07-06 04:51:23 GMT) - Hey guys, this is Matthew Lee. I'm in Del Norte (pronounced like Coloradans do, Del Nort), or Del Norté as it's correctly pronounced. And I'm getting ready to bed down. I rolled in here about 8:30 and had a good meal. And, uh, I'll be heading out first thing in the morning for New Mexico, yeah, the Land of Enchantment. OK, take care.

I got email this morning from Gary in Del Norte. He sat with Matthew while he had dinner. Apparently the fork fix is working for Matthew so far, so kudos to Scot at Absolute. Hopefully it'll stay greased up and active for the remainder of the race. Gary tells me that as of 5:20 AM rain was falling in Del Norte. It rained here in Salida well into the evening, and it's mostly cloudy here this morning. We are having some wet weather for sure.

6:03 PM MDT July 5 (2006-07-06 00:03:45 GMT) - Hi, this is John Nobile, checking in. I'm still in Steamboat. Looks like the race is going to end for me here today. This is Wednesday. I have not been able to shake this cold I've had since Monday. It's just really making it--making it tough to put in those long days. It's not--riding 150 miles a day is not a good way to get rid of a cold it turns out. So, anyway, I'm going to have to end it here. I had a great race. I want to say thanks to everyone for leaving me encouraging messages. And, it was a great adventure, but I think this is as far as I'm going to go. So, um, thanks alot, and, bye.

This is a disappointment John, but you have to think of your health. Here in Salida, where normally we have dry, warm evenings turning cool and dry in early summer, it's dripping wet and clammy cold at 7 PM. Another pounding thunderstorm drifted slowly by this afternoon and it looked like near an inch of rain fell. Usually they move through fast followed by clear evenings with pretty sunsets. A man with a cold trying to make 150 mile days could soon be a man with pneumonia in this weather.

We are proud of you John. You are one tough dude. Starting late, then catching up to some fast racers. Riding long days with a cold. Hat's off to you man. Hope you feel better soon. -Tom P.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

11:40 PM MDT July 4 (2006-07-05 05:40:30 GMT) - Hi, this is John Nobile checking in. It's the 4th of July, still, just barely. It's about 11:30 at night, hope everyone had a good holiday. I rode from Rawlins this morning at 8 o'clock, got into Steamboat Springs at 8 PM, so just about exactly 12 hours. It was a fairly uneventful ride except for I realized that my rear tire was completely bald so I put on the spare this evening. Plan to try to shoot for Silverthorne tomorrow, if I'm feeling up to it. I feel OK, the aches and pains are starting to catch up with me a little bit. But uh, I'm going to try to make it. And I'll check in from there. That's it, bye.

Looking forward to hopefully seeing you in Salida, John. We had a nice visit with Matthew yesterday, and I hope you'll stop by the shop when you're through here. Should be late Thursday or some time Friday if you keep your current strong pace. I want to check out that rack and fairing setup you built! Keep on truckin'. -Tom P.

landslide photoAn update from Salida: Matthew Lee left here late late last night on a broken, locked-out fork. He was headed into a part of the GDR route that he considers to be among the most beautiful, memorable parts of the whole thing. Everything was wet, and he quickly encountered the remnants of the scene shown in the picture, yesterday's massive landslide which closed highway US285 for hours. After climbing for a few miles up the wet, muddy Marshall Pass road in the clammy darkness, he decided to return to Salida. He got a room in the American Classic motel (no connection to the bike parts manufacturer).

Today when I showed up for work at Absolute Bikes around lunchtime, there was Matthew Lee, consulting with Scot Banks and both of them pouring over a schematic diagram of the Lefty fork found on the web. Matthew had been working from the assumption that his damping cartridge was bad, but Scot pointed out that the lockout wouldn't work if that were the problem. So Matthew dropped his plan to acquire a new damping cartridge and several hours of work on the fork was begun. Matthew has given up on his goal of breaking the record. This just isn't his year for that. He intends to finish the race, and as long as he's going to finish riding it, he's going to enjoy it. Scot has made a diagnosis of the problem with the Lefty, and he and Matthew have rebuilt it. It had gone quite a while without service, and now it should be ready to rip for the rest of the GDR.

Tonight Matthew is going to stay in Salida again, he's going to watch fireworks and relax. He rode his recently repaired bike in Salida's 4th of July parade. Tomorrow he'll head on out at first light, and he'll travel through some of the beautiful southern Rockies during daylight, so he can enjoy the scenery. He'll check in again on Wednesday.

So lucky me, I got to visit with Matthew after all! -Tom P.

8:57 PM MDT July 3 (2006-07-04 02:57:35 GMT) - Hey, this is Great Divide racer Matthew Lee, sitting out in front of Mama D's deli in Salida. And, man, I am one broken dude, at the moment! My shock is done, again. Another shock. And I got completely wasted by a storm today between Hartsel and Salida. Brutal. They must have had two inches of rain. Lasted for almost 3 hours, and I tried to take a nap under a bus. Which didn't work so well, but I stayed mostly dry. And, after waiting for the roads to dry out I worked my way down here to Salida. So, I've got some serious thinking to do here, figure out how to move on from here. But uh, pretty disappointed. Definitely seeing the record ride, speed record ride, going out the window here. Slipping away, for sure. Which is disappointing, but now I'm thinking about finishing. And that's the important part. Tom, if you get this, I'm hanging out at Mama D's for a little bit.

I'm regretting having missed the chance to visit with Matthew. I was worked from my ride yesterday, so my computer was off and I dozed on the couch through the evening, and I was in bed by the time Matthew left this message at 9 pm. I did not transcribe it until the morning of the 4th. I talked to Shawn Gillis, owner of the shop I work for, Absolute Bikes in Salida, this morning. Shawn usually goes down to the shop after his kids go to bed to straighten things out for the next day. He tells me he ran into Matthew around 9:30 PM. They consulted about the wasted shock, and there wasn't anything in the shop that could help. Then Shawn sold Matthew 4 cans of Red Bull and Matthew took off to ride through the night with his fork locked out. Pretty good strategy given the storms we're having, starting by late morning every day this week. Good luck Matthew. Sorry about how tough it's looking for you to stay on record pace. Keep it up, and don't lose your resolve. -Tom P.

8:18 PM MDT July 3 (2006-07-04 02:18:55 GMT) - This is John Nobile checking in. It's Monday about, uh little after 8 PM. I'm in Rawlins, Wyoming. I started off this morning about 9 o'clock from Atlantic City and went to the basin. It actually wasn't a bad ride, I had a favorable wind most of the time. I stopped at the reservoir halfway, or at mile 83 and filled up with water. Kind of a small reservoir but if was fine, so I never had any water issues. There were some thunderstorms in the basin that kind of chased me out of there. It was a pretty good ride until I--trying to get out was a struggle because the wind shifted and it was a battle. But, I made it to Rawlins OK, so hopefully I'm going to start out very early tomorrow and try to make it to Steamboat. That's going to be tough, it's going to be another long day, but that's my goal. I will check in tomorrow.

Monday, July 03, 2006

12:02 PM MDT July 3 (2006-07-03 18:02:46 GMT) - Hey, this is Matthew Lee. It is 12 o'clock. I'm in Hartsel and it appears that the monsoons have arrived to Colorado on time this year. They are supposed to be here by the 4th of July basically I guess. It's what the usual arrival time is. I've already been rained on once today. I tried to leave Breckenridge last night at 7 and got hammered with rain on Boreas Pass climbing out of Breckenridge. That pretty much froze me for the night. So, again, behind schedule, and more rain to come. It's all around me. I would say by 2 o'clock it'll be raining pretty much everywhere. Brutal. Anyway, I'm on my way to Salida, so I hope to see those guys before too long. OK.

The monsoons have started, with a vengeance. I finished a ride yesterday first getting soaked and threatened by close lightening, then rolling off Monarch Pass toward Salida into a hard, cold headwind at 1 PM. The rains are a blessing (you’ll never hear a real Coloradoan complain about precipitation) but they are early this year. Normal monsoon seasons set up in the last half of July or early August. FYI. -Tom P.

And then there were three...

A testament to the difficulty of this race; 8 very qualified starters, and today only three are left out on the course. Matthew Lee drives into the heart of Colorado. John Nobile rolls into the Great Divide Basin. Kenny Maldonado works to finish out the very challenging Montana leg.

Good luck to the three who still work under the huge sky, and a salute to the others who started, and who confronted what turned out to be insurmountable barriers.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

9:46 PM MDT July 2 (2006-07-03 03:46:35 GMT) - Hi, this is John Nobile checking in at 9:45 on Sunday night. I'm in Atlantic City. I started off with Kevin this morning at a campsite on Union Pass. We ended up seperating, I think his knee was bothering him a little bit. I wanted to go fast, I wanted to try to make 150 miles. So, anyway I had very favorable winds up until the very end, the last 20 miles I got a thunderstorm and some head winds. Other than that it was a nice, fast ride. And I'm heading into the basin tomorrow. Alright, check in later. Bye.

8:58 PM MDT July 2 (2006-07-03 02:58:15 GMT) - Hey this is Rudi. I just wanted to call to say that I'm pulling the plug. There's many things I could talk about that were difficult and challenging. The main thing is, it's a totally great route. I really look forward to actually accomplishing it someday. Maybe not on a fixed gear. (chuckle) Because, it was pretty tough. You know, there are lots of things that go on when you're trying to race something. For me? Aside from the sore butt, the inability to go to sleep at the end of the day. Made things pretty tough the following day. Man, I totally cheer those guys for keeping on going, and they're doing an awesome job. Thanks for all the great love out there. For helping Dave, for all the cheers for Matt. You guys have just been great. So, thanks. And, I sent my bike back home, and, I think I'm going to head back home and, enjoy a week of relaxing, and then get back on the bike and play rather than race. Because that's where it all starts, huh? Alright, take care, love you all, bye.

7:44 PM MDT July 2 (2006-07-03 01:44:12 GMT) - This is Kevin Montgomery with part II of my signing off message. Essentially I feel like I'm in a high-fructose hellhole. And, my body isn't used to processing all these refined sugars. I feel sick. Right now I'm feverish. My knees are just killing me. I don't know if this is tendonitis, or I sprained them, or the malnutrition. I've never had knee problems before, and I don't know any riders who have had knee problems. I know nothing about them, I don't know what to do. I've been taking Advil, but it hasn't done anything. It does no good at all. I really don't enjoy taking pills in the first place. So doing that was rough. I tried eating the red state diet. When I'd go into cafes I'd have chicken, hoping that would snap me out of it, but it didn't work. So essentially this is it for this year. I hitched a ride back to Jackson, and I'm flying out in the morning, back to Western Mass. You know, the truth is, I got about 1000 miles in. I feel good. And, this is the first time I've ever seen the West Coast. So, you know, even all the knee pain and the fevers can't take away that level of enjoyment. So I definitely don't regret doing this, even though at times it was nothing short of torturous. So, I know what I need to do next year, if I come back, which I hope I can. I know what I need to carry, and how much bananas I need to stock up on in advance. And, I hope I can give it a better shot next year with a better diet. Hopefully, next year I can finish. You know, I would really really enjoy finishing this route and doing the race in the entire capacity. So, until a future race, this is Kevin signing off.

7:41 PM MDT July 2 (2006-07-03 01:41:37 GMT) - Hi this is Kevin Montgomery, I'm calling from Jackson Airport. I guess this is my final message, and kind of a confessional, if you will. The truth is, my knee pain never really fully went away, it just was feeling a lot better. I was just really trying to keep a positive image on my progress. Essentially, evey morning I would wake up and have grueling pain in my knees, but it would work itself out after, you know, as little as thirty minutes or as much as two hours into the race. Essentially, I was able to deal with that, it wasn't a big deal. The past two days it has been worse. Yesterday, I had horrible shooting pain in my right knee that actually caused my knee to start twitching. However that didn't last very long, so I didn't think anything too much of it. However this morning I woke up and both my right and left knees were in tremendous pain and I rode for 4 hours and did 40 miles. It was just too unbearable. That coupled--I've been facing some serious malnutrition issues. Back on the east coast I pretty much keep vegan and all I eat is organic foods. I'm not used to having refined sugars and meat. Basically, the red state diet does not mix well with me. I feel very feverish right now, I'm clearly malnutritioned. I've been having minor headaches, today I've had some severe headaches. I haven't had a banana in like four days. The last apple I tried to buy, tried to buy it four days ago, but it was so mealy and bruised, I couldn't get it down it was too disgusting. I haven't had an orange in a week and I haven't had grapes in longer. And essentially my inability to find nutritious foods that I'm used to consuming on a daily level is taking a huge toll on me physically and mentally. As I ride I do nothing but crave tofu and granola and soy milk, and, you know, Indian food, I really miss all-you-can-eat Indian buffets. I'm just craving like paneer, and other, like, Indian spices. Every time I take some high-fructose corn syrup infested candy I feel like I'm going to puke. Almost all I can find. For some reason they label convenience stores that sell nothing but soda, beer, chips, and candy as grocery stores on the map, and that's so not true. I show up there anticipating fruits and vegetables and all I find is peanuts and nutrolls, and, just crap basically. I feel like I'm in a high-fructose hellhole, and I can't take it... (call ended)

7:38 PM MDT July 2 (2006-07-03 01:38:55 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee here, I'm in Breckenridge. I've been waiting out a really bad storm. And uh, it's finally broken up, so I'm headed out to try to get some time in under my wheels. Definitely another delay, but a bad storm. I'm glad I didn't ride in it. OK. Oh, it is 7:40. OK, bye.

5:48 PM MDT July 2 (2006-07-02 23:48:39 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado. The time is 5:47 PM, July 2nd. I'm in Butte. Yesterday was the most fun I've had on the ride so far. Going down Lava Mountain Trail was just a blast. It was absolutely incredible. And then going all the way into Basin. It was just so much fun. Um, today however, I seem to have lost my Platypus, my 2 liter Platypus. I was riding down the trail and I stopped to get some water, and I guess it must have fallen off my rear rack. So my 2 liter water bag is gone. So I hope I can pick one up, here in Butte if everything is open. Other than that, I don't have much to say, I'll probably just tomorrow try to get another Platypus, or maybe just some kind of jug to carry water in. And probably get another tire for my rear, because my rear tire is going bald, and I'd rather get one here while I can rather than take a chance down the road because I've been slipping in the gravel a little bit. OK, that's my update.

8:46 PM MDT July 1 (2006-07-02 02:46:55 GMT) - Hi, this is Kevin and John checking in. It's 8:45 and we've so far have done 126 miles today. We just stopped off at a lodge in the middle of Union Pass, Wyoming. We're going to get some dinner and then we're going to keep on going. We're probably going to end up doing about 150 to 160 miles today. We want to get pretty deep into the basin. We probably won't be able to check in when we go to bed tonight because I doubt there will be any pay phones or service so we'll check in when we hit Pinedale.

If Kevin is referring to the Great Divide Basin when he says "We want to get pretty deep into the basin", I'm afraid he's mistaken. He and John won't enter the basin until after they get past South Pass City. They'll probably actually enter the basin on July 2.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

5:26 PM MDT July 1 (2006-07-01 23:26:13 GMT) - Hey, this is Rudi. After about 20 miles of riding today, I just couldn't handle the saddle anymore. It just--too much pain. Feel like my sit bones been crushed. So I found my way over to West Yellowstone, and uh, I'm going to take a bit of a break for about 3 days, see if I can recover, and uh, then get back on the trail. And we'll see how it goes from there. As well as, I had to get a new saddle because that soft one I got, was, well it was making me numb too. And I'm not going to risk permanent injury. Anyhow, if you care, I'll get back online and let you know how things go after a couple of days. But I'll tell you one thing: riding a fixed gear on this route? Pretty tough stuff. And uh, you know, it might be more than I can handle. But I'm going to keep on going and trying. Thanks, and I'll talk to you later. Bye.

Rudi, you better believe we care. I've been hearing lots of chatter from individuals, from media sources--lots of folks all over the world are tracking this. Your story is one of the many stories of determination and courage in this year's race that are keeping folks on the edges of their seats.

DO NOT risk permanently injuring yourself. No race is worth that. I'm personally very happy to hear that you're taking a break.
Even if you stopped today, you'd have my admiration. And I damned well care about how you're doing. Eat, sleep, rest, and then make a rational decision once your body has had some time to heal. Good luck, and please keep us informed to the extent that you are able.

5:17 PM MDT July 1 (2006-07-01 23:17:49 GMT) - Hey guys, Divide racer Matthew Lee calling from Clark Store in Colorado. I had a heinous experience coming up the back side of Steamboat Lake. My seatpost broke and I ended up walking about the last 5 miles of the climb. I'm going to limp into Steamboat and buy another seatpost and uh, try to put in a few more miles tonight. Try to get a little closer to, um, Radium or somewhere like that. So, yeah. Exciting day. OK, bye.

Matthew sounds like he's getting a little travel-weary. Today must have been hard. I'm still blown completely away that he's pretty much a whole friggin' western state ahead of the next racer. VERY impressive. He'll be passing through my neck of the woods (Salida, CO) probably Monday?

12:06 PM MDT July 1 (2006-07-01 18:06:24 GMT) - Hi, this is John Nobile, checking in. Kevin and I just got to Flagg Ranch. It's about noon on Saturday. It's been a pretty good ride so far, it was pretty much all uphill and lots of mosquitos, but um. Anyway so we just kind of passed out of Yellowstone and gonna be heading off toward the basin in a few minutes. We'll try to check in again--we may have one more opportunity to check in again today, otherwise we're going to be camping in the basin. Maybe check in tomorrow. Alright, bye.

8:53 AM MDT July 1 (2006-07-01 14:53:13 GMT) - Hello, this is Rudy. I'm by Henrys Lake now. Actually I got here last night and camped out. I made a wrong turn and camped on the other side of it. Now back on course. Had a really rough day yesterday. You know it's funny, flat and kind of rolling stuff is just brutal to me. My butt! (chuckle) My sitbones are just like--felt like someone pounded on them with a hammer. So it was a tough 90 miles that I just spent the whole day working on. But uh, I don't know, I'll just keep on moseying along. I picked up a different saddle too, at Lakeview. Just trying to get off my little lightweight racing one. I'm on uh, a Specialized Airgel. When I get to Pinedale, I'll change that out. Alright, thanks alot. Bye.

8:11 PM MDT June 30 (2006-07-01 02:11:27 GMT) - This is racer Kevin Montgomery and John Nobile checking in. We covered about 140 miles today, 6 of them were off-route, as we got lost. We are currently a little bit east of Ashton, Idaho, and we are going to spend the night underneath a barn structure off-route about half a mile. Nothing too exciting happened, neither one of us had any mechanical trouble and physical trouble this time. It was a pretty good day, we got rained on a little but nothing major and we survived the hailstorm. That's about it, we'll check in when we get toward Jackson tomorrow.

Friday, June 30, 2006

5:32 PM MDT June 30 (2006-06-30 23:32:18 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee here; Rawlins (Wyoming). About 5:25. I'm getting ready to leave. I really don't feel like riding though. I had one of the most brutal days of my life! Out, in the Great Basin, it was like 105 degrees out there. Scorching. Ran out of water by the end. It was rough. The entire route through there is badly washboarded this year too. Much worse than I've seen it in the past. So, I'll see what I can do about getting towards Steamboat tonight. OK, Bye.

Tom P here. Wow. That's all I can say. He's already in Southern Wyoming. He may cross into Colorado before he stops riding for the night. Wow.

3:02 PM MDT June 30 (2006-06-30 21:02:39 GMT) - Hi, this is racer Kevin Montgomery checking in. Made it about 100 miles so far today, it's 3 o'clock. Currently it is thunderstorming and hailing. (laughs) We are seeking refuge underneath a porch. We're going to try to push forward closer to Wyoming, although we might end up staying in Idaho tonight. Yeah, I'm with John Nobile so John and I will probably find a hotel or something, in Wyoming or near the border in Idaho. Anyways, when it stops hailing we'll hit the road again, and we'll check back in when we find a place to sleep tonight.

10:48 AM MDT June 30 (2006-06-30 16:48:15 GMT) - Hi everybody on mtbcast and those checking the greatdividerace blog. This is Dave Nice. I'm just calling to express a huge amount of thanks for everybody that's contributed to getting me back on a bike. Scott let me know that, there's like $1200. I'll be able to replace all my gear. I'm just in utter, absolute amazement, and it's just overwhelming on the warm and fuzzies. I also got a call from Kristi from the Daily Inter Lake Newspaper in Big Fork ( , and they are going to run a whole little story and description of my bicycle there, so maybe something will show up. Anyway, I just wanted to thank everybody and just wanted to cheer on Rudi and Kevin and John and Matt Lee and everybody that--just keep on pedalling, keep 'er rolling. And just wanted to thank everybody. Yeah, I guess that's it, and thanks guys for doing the mtbcast stuff. This is really cool, and it's a really neat thing to follow the riders. Talk to you guys soon. Bye.

Folks, Dave sounded like he had been really deeply touched by the outpouring of support, empathy, and good old-fashioned greenbacks that have been sent his way. This really makes up nicely for what was taken from him by someone who probably lives a poor, empty, and sad life. Dave is enjoying the wealth of caring and empathy from people he knows and people he doesn't know. That's worth so much more than money or bicycles. When you get ripped off, it's faith in people that you lose, and it's nice to see him get that back. Thank you, to everyone who has contributed to helping Dave, however you contributed.

Thanks also to Kristi Albertson from the Daily Inter Lake newspaper, which is actually out of Kalispell, MT. If Dave could get his own bike back, I'm sure it would mean lots to him. If he's like me, he has an attachment to his bike. It's a special thing. The new bike he'll be getting will be special too, I'm sure. And we all know that it's a long shot that he'll get his original bike back. But Kristi helped give him hope. And hope is worth plenty.

Here is a 1st week summary of the 2006 GDR. The race will have been going for 7 full days as of noon, Friday, June 30.

Racer positions:

1. Matthew Lee: probably entered Pinedale, WY around noon Thursday. Matthew has at least 300 miles on the next nearest racer, if my analysis is correct. Last checkin 11 AM, June 29 at the Green River crossing near Cora, WY. He could be as far as South Pass City, WY by noon June 30.

2. Kevin Montgomery: made Lima, MT by 5 PM Thursday, planned to stay over there. Last checkin 6 PM, June 29, Lima, MT.

3. John Nobile: made Lima, MT by 9:30 PM Thursday. Effectively tied with Kevin, assuming that he stayed over in Lima Thursday night. That is significant since he started nearly 24 hours later than the others. Last checkin 9:20 PM, June 29, Lima, MT.

4. Rudi Nadler: was in Lima, MT as of 9:15 AM Friday. Not clear if he arrived there Thursday night, or if he had ridden in to Lima that morning. Very close to Kevin and John. Last checkin 9:15 AM, June 30, Lima, MT.

5. Kenny Maldonado: made Helena, MT by 8:10 PM Thursday. His stated intention was to stay over in Helena for all of Friday, but it is unknown whether he is there or has moved on. Last checkin 8:10 PM, June 29, Helena, MT.

Matt Chester - DNF. Left the race on Wednesday the 28th of June.
David Nice - DNF. Left the race on Sunday the 25th of June after his bike was stolen.
Mike Gibney - DNF. Left the race on Saturday the 24th of June.

I think it's worth pointing out that all the racers who started last Friday have much to be proud of. I personally hold anyone who has the guts to even start this sort of endeavor in high regard. Not finishing is an experience to learn from, and nothing to be ashamed of. Each of the 8 who trained, planned, and paid for their chance to do this race are heroes. Those of us who are observing: let's not forget that these folks had the courage to start. We should not forget how hard that was, and how much each of them sacrificed for the chance to succeed.

Best wishes to all of the current racers out there under the big sky. Our attention is on you, and we're wishing you all success and safety.

9:16 AM MDT June 30 (2006-06-30 15:16:54 GMT) - Hello this is Rudi, I'm in Lima, Montana now. Let's see, it's 9:15 in the morning. The ride yesterday from Wise River was really good. Until towards the end, I got a little tired. I had to pull it together, take a break for a little while. Got rained on a couple times. Man, the road miles? Man, road miles on a fixed gear just hurt. So, anyhow, I'm going to have a nice warm meal, and then I'll head on. Bye.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

9:22 PM MDT June 29 (2006-06-30 03:22:46 GMT) - Hi, this is John Nobile checking in. I made it to Lima today, I didn't expect to but I got up real early and tryed to beat the thunderstorms up in Basin and someone must have been praying for me because I just missed a bunch of thunderstorms and they closed in behind me. So, I feel sorry for whoever, I think it was Rudi, probably left a few hours later than me because it's definitely coming down. But anyway, made it through all that and felt pretty good or better than I have for the last couple of days. I finished up in Lima, and uh, hopefully it's not too bad. I heard there's some flooding on the trail up ahead and I'm going to go on ahead. If those trails look good, hopefully I'll make it to at least Idaho, and possibly Wyoming tomorrow. If not, I'll still be in Montana. Check in tomorrow. Thanks, bye.

8:10 PM MDT June 29 (2006-06-30 02:10:15 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado, the time is 8:09. It is June 29th. I am in Helena, Montana. It is a little bit rainy. I just came in from Lincoln. Rode all the way here. I'd say about (16? 60?) miles from here it started raining and there was heavy wind, and I got caught up in the adrenaline and just rushed over here... I'm tired, and I'm just about to fall apart. I think I might just stay here a day and just relax from my heavy ride.

Kenny sounds tired. His words are a bit slurred and hard to hear. I might have transcribed his statement a little wrong. It's clear that he dug deep to make it through this day. Hang in there Kenny. Rest up and hit it on Saturday.

6:02 PM MDT June 29 (2006-06-30 00:02:46 GMT) - This is Kevin Montgomery checking back in to make a few additions to my update. Many people have been asking me how far into the race these cities are, and so I forgot to mention that puts me about 630 miles into the race. Also today was my first problem-free day of the race which is great. Yesterday the only major issue I had was, I flatted about 20 miles before Polaris. So in light of that, I decided it was a good opportunity to rotate my tires since my rear one had become pretty much entirely bald. So, now I should be able to use the set of tires I have on now to get to the next bike shop. Also, I wanted to make a quick statement about Dave getting his bike stolen. A few of us racers, myself included, threw some money into a pot and mailed it out to him to put toward him buying a new bike. I don't know if Dave mentioned this or not, I didn't get to read his post, but that was his only bike and it was his only means of transportation out in Denver. If someone associated with the Great Divide Race could set up a paypal account, and publicize that, you know we could get a fundraiser going to get Dave a new bike. Because I think it's kind of unfortunate that it got stolen and I don't think he should be confined to not being able to ride anymore because of this. So, if someone could set up a fund for Dave's bike, I'm not sure if Rudi had mentioned that or not, but I know that was Rudi's initial idea in sending Dave the money. So any support that the GDR community could show to Dave would be really appreciated by the racers who definitely feel his pain. So, I'll check back in next time I'm in a city with a pay phone.

This is a truly worthy cause. Dave Nice is a good person who was touched by some really bad luck. A paypal acount has been set up to help provide funds for getting Dave a new bike. That account is and any funds you can afford to send Dave's way would really be appreciated. You can help send some good toward Dave to help offset the bad luck that visited him last weekend.

5:41 PM MDT June 29 (2006-06-29 23:41:33 GMT) - Hi, this is racer Kevin Montgomery checking in. I finished map 1 yesterday, accept I couldn't call in because Polaris had absolutely nothing in it, including no pay phone. I ended up spending the night 17 miles south of Polaris and I slept in a teepee which was kind of cool, and it kept the mosquitoes away. And I woke up early, and I took off, and I did aproximately 80 miles, and I ended up in Lima, which is where I am now. And I rolled into town about 4. I decided to spend the night here so I can let the thunderstorms move through, and do my laundry because there's a laudrymat in town and replenish food and get a good nights sleep. And I'll probably wake up at the very crack of dawn tomorrow and do a big day. I want to see if I can start pushing the limit because I feel really good, my knees are in good shape and my bike is working alright. So, I think I can start tackling some bigger mileage and tomorrow is supposed to be a little cooler than it was today, a front's moving through. So I'm going to see if I can push well into Idaho and maybe if I'm feeling up for it get into Wyoming and get around the Jackson area if possible. I probably won't be able to call in until I get to Idaho because there's no real city in between Lima and Idaho, so I'll check in probably tomorrow afternoon.

11:02 AM MDT June 29 (2006-06-29 17:02:54 GMT) - Hey there Matthew Lee here, it's 11 o'clock and I'm between Green River and Cora which is just outside of Pinedale. On my way into Pinedale. It's already scorching hot! What is up with this high pressure. Killing us. Can't get a break. I guess we'll be in better shape for the heat in the south though. OK.
Matthew LeePhoto courtesy of Aaron Teasdale, Adventure Cycling
(click the pic to see other photos of Matthew Lee)
©Adventure Cycling, 2006

10:31 AM MDT June 29 (2006-06-29 16:31:58 GMT) - Hey Matt Chester again, still in Butte, making a second phone call as I promised. Ah yeah, you know Rudi and I rode from Sandpoint up to the start, uh, which is about 180 miles of pavement, just loping along on low-geared fixies and everything was great, except on the second day of that little pavement prologue I got a very small saddle sore and it's the first time in nearly 20 years of riding bikes that I've ever had one. And I ended up not taking care of it properly and it really became an issue that multiplied into more. It got steadily worse, and with the saddle sore then I couldn't really sit properly on the saddle so you end up shifting weight to your other contact points, that obviously being your hands and your feet. And I already talked about the shoe/pedal issues that I had, my feet are pretty beat up. And then uh, I've never had hand issues before, although it would have been wiser for me to take precautionary measures like Rudi did, padding my bars straight away. Ended up doing it on the second day. But I ended up having to put so much pressure on my hands trying to keep weight off my butt whenever I could, that both my ring and pinky and the butt of my hand on both hands are totally numb. Although glove change helped alot in Helena, and it's slowly coming back, and I know that alot of other people have had similar issues like that as well. The small tires? I know people think I'm insane, but it really wasn't an issue. I might run something slightly bigger, especially now that I've got to get a new fork fabbed up, so I'll probably be rolling Kenda Cross Supremes like Rudi's riding. I think it's a really great tire for this ride. I can already hear Mike Curiak slapping his forehead listening to that, but that's OK. We were both fine on the skinnies. It really wasn't an issue. Both of our bike fits were really good. But yeah, you know, a saddle sore can just cause so many other issues when you try to compensate for it on a fixed gear because the descending is just what kills you. Having a hydration pack and having clipless or at minimum, very stiff shoes and power grips is an absolute necessity. So I'll probably show up next year with a very similar setup, long reach sidepulls, medium size cross tires, very light front panniers, a frame pack and a hydration pack and probably show up with my bars heavily padded already. Maybe a slight light change, similar gear, maybe a touch lower... (call ended)

10:27 AM MDT June 29 (2006-06-29 16:27:24 GMT) - Hey this is Matt Chester in Butte. Obviously I've DNF'd the race, but I thought I would give you guys out listening there some thoughts just on what I learned before I ride the old dirty dog out of here, that being Greyhound. Yeah, my bike setup was actually pretty good, I was pretty happy with it. The only places where it didn't work very well were very technical steep ups and steep downs and what I learned as far as riding a fixie is that a camelbak or hydration pack of some kind is an absolute necessity. Never really liked using them, but boy, it was a killer this time. Not having easier access to water was something that really really hurt me on this ride. Not to mention added alot of weight as far as carrying bottles in my front panniers. It just made things a little bit more difficult once I got sore as far as riding over technical stuff. Another thing about riding a fixie on this kind of ride, I think clipless or at minimum extremely stiff shoes with at minimum power grips are an absolute necessity as well because I really had some difficulty with my feet. That direct connection is really necessary with the amount of pressure that you have to put on your foot. I had to lower my saddle, probably an inch, and move it all the way forward because of the saddle sore issue. I'll probably talk about that on the second phone call because I'm on a two-minute limit here. But you know, even though I was probably in the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life, that includes multiple broken bones, Rudi can attest to what sort of pain I was in. It was pretty brutal. I was already making notes on the way down into Basin about what I was going to do next year as far as making changes. I'm definitely coming back in '07 and uh, going to give it a shot again. Probably with a similar setup but with some marked bike changes. I did end up padding my bars, saw some comments on the internet, thought I was crazy riding bare-handed and with light tape. I did have two peices of thermarest with me that I used to pad the bars with and when I got to Helena I taped up the bars really heavy with some cork bar tape which worked pretty well. And I ended up switching to clipless in Helena as well. New shoes, new pedals, swapped my gloves because of issues that were starting. It all started because of one little feet, it's just amazing how you have no where to hide on a fixie... (call cut off)

8:14 AM MDT June 29 (2006-06-29 14:14:27 GMT) - Hey there, this is Rudi Nadler. I'm in Wise River. I got here last night close to 11:00. And it's 8 o'clock this morning, about ten after, and I'm going to start moving on. Almost got stuck on top of Mt Fleecer, trying to find, uh, "fence" (this comes right out of the GDR map directions). Found a downhill that was kind of challenging for a fixed gear. But uh, we'll see. I'll just going to keep moving on. Alright. Hey, I just wanted to say, you know, Matt put in an effort that was beyond anything I've ever seen. I just can't believe the suffering he endured to do this ride. So, you know, I'm going to miss him. Alright, take care. Good bye.
Rudi Nadler
Photo courtesy of Aaron Teasdale, Adventure Cycling
(click the pic to see both photos of Rudi Nadler)
©Adventure Cycling, 2006

9:19 PM MDT June 28 (2006-06-29 03:19:08 GMT) - Hi this is John Nobile checking in. I'm in Wise River after a pretty awful time getting up on Fleecer Ridge and an even more awful time trying to get down off the ridge. Did a little damage to the bike, but I think everything's OK. I'm still sick, so I did a short day today, just whatever 45-50 miles. I'll do another hopefully 90 tomorrow. I'm not going to get all the way to Lima, but I'll get most of the way there. And I will be, uh, checking in as soon as I can. Bye.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

4:08 PM MDT June 28 (2006-06-28 22:08:50 GMT) - Hey, this is Rudi. It's 4 o'clock in Butte and I'm on my way to my next stop, which I'm not sure where it will be. We'll see how far I can push it tonight. Kind of lonely without Matt around to ride with. Let's see, and uh, I don't know, riding pavement sure hurts my butt. Talk to you later. Bye.

2:29 PM MDT June 28 (2006-06-28 20:29:12 GMT) - This is racer Kevin Montgomery checking in. I'm at mile 490 in the center of Wise River. Today I expect to finish Map 1, which makes me happy. Everything is working good. I didn't stay in Butte last night, I decided to keep on going. I got about 12 miles out of the city and my chain snapped and I'm like "ah I don't feel like fixing this in the dark" so I pulled over and camped for the night. Woke up in the morning and found out it was only the powerlink that had gone bad, so the chain was fine. I'm not too worried about that. Another interesting note about the trail, about mile 216 on Side B of Map 1 there's a 3 mile stretch of road that is now closed off and there's a big sign that says if you trespass you will be arrested. And, not knowing where I was, I went through it anyway. About 2 miles into this three mile stretch a cop car and one of the ranchers pull up, and I figured I'd be doomed. They pull up, and I talk to them, and I told them about the route and told them about the race. And they told me that they had just purchased the land 2 weeks ago and didn't really know about it. They said that I could go through and they would extend the other racers the same courtesy, so that's good news, but somebody should probably find an alternate around route for future editions of the map. Other than that, it's another nice day, it's about 90 degrees out, fairly sunny. And I'll check in when I make to the border, or rather Polaris, the end of Map 1. Thanks.

1:05 PM MDT June 28 (2006-06-28 19:05:03 GMT) - Hey this is Matt Chester in Basin, Montana. As Rudi mentioned earlier, I've had to drop out of the race for quite a few reasons actually. On of which, I actually twisted my forks uh, twisted both the blades and one dropout pretty far out of plane, actually when I dropped the bike in order to throw up. This whole deal has been quite an eye-opener for me. It's been really really really difficult. I've basically been battling issues from the start, mostly since day two. I've got two badly infect saddle sores. When I was filtering water on day two I fell in the creek and soaked my shoes. I was running skate shoes with Suntour XC Pro clip and strap pedals, which pretty much blew out the midsoles of my shoes. So, both of my big toes are badly bruised. My feet are badly bruised. Both my achilles are super swollen up to the point where it's difficult to walk. And I've just had two days of complete bodily shutdown. I mean uh, coming into this race I should have probably been a little bit fitter, uh, cuz it's just an unbelievable workload doing this on a fixed gear. I'll talk more about that. I'm going to hitch a lift to Butte on the highway and once I get stuff situated there a little bit more I'll give everybody a little insight on what it's like trying to ride this route direct drive. It's uh, pretty incredible really. That's it, and I'll call you guys soon. Bye.

12:16 PM MDT June 28 (2006-06-28 18:16:50 GMT) - Hello this is Rudi Nadler. Matt and I have arrived in Basin. It's noon, and uh, we've had a hell of a couple days. I wasn't sleeping very well, and it kind of took alot out of me. So we ended up stopping in Park Lake and called it an early day. And we got over here and uh, well Matt's got the rest of the story to tell you. Looks like I'm going to go on by myself. I'll talk to y'all later. Bye.

8:33 AM MDT June 28 (2006-06-28 14:33:28 GMT) - This is John Nobile checking in. I'm in Butte right now. I pulled in just about 11 o'clock last night after a pretty long 15 hour ride. Crossing the divide 4 times; that was a pretty crazy ride. Lots of steep, steep, steep riding through the woods. Anyway, I'm kind of sick right now. Actually had a cold on Sunday and then Monday took that half day to try to get better. But after that long ride Tuesday I feel pretty lousy right now. So, I'm going to try to take it easy today and just take a half day or even less than a half day and just ride on to Wise River and stay indoors and try to get better so I can continue this race. So, I will check in I guess tomorrow or tonight from Wise River. Hopefully I'll make that without any problems. Alrighty, Bye.

11:01 PM MDT June 27 (2006-06-28 05:01:13 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee here. It's 11 o'clock. I'm in Idaho, in Big Springs, Idaho. I've been installing my new shock on my bike, because the damper on my old one was leaking. And it's going alright. I should be able to get into bed by midnight. I'm in the first hotel since the start of the race, which feels really good. I'm completely filthy. Today was kind of rough. Started out nice, hot but clear. And then I got caught in some storms on the Centennial Valley Road from Lima into Idaho. And that was compounded by the fact that they are having serious flooding there. I feel for the racers coming behind me because the road is impassable in a number of sections. Hike-a-bike is sort of manditory. Although it's more like "run the bike" because the mosquitos are so bad that you cannot... You'll get swarmed if you walk the bike. For all you GDR racers out there, run your bike, and maybe it'll be better by the time you get there, but I doubt it. The road is washed out in one section where a creek jumped the culvert and washed the road out. So, more hairball conditions on the Great Divide. So, anyway I'll be leaving early in the morning for Wyoming. OK, everybody have a good one. Bye.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

8:00 PM MDT June 27 (2006-06-28 02:00:55 GMT) - Hi, it's Kevin Montgomery checking in. I made it to Butte about 7:30. My, uh, god damn shifter is acting up again, so clearly it wasn't, it didn't just need opened, it didn't just have too much dust. It's obviously about to shit the bed. I missed the bike shop by about 30 minutes. And I have a dilemma, do I stay in Butte another, stay in town and wait for the shop to open until 10:00, which I did yesterday and I did in Whitefish already--I'm kinda getting sick of doing this, or do I risk it and wait until Pinedale, which is 450 miles away? So, I don't know if the shifter can make it or not, so I'm kinda just going to gamble with this. I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. Other than that, my knee feels just about 100% again, and, uh, some straps on my pannier broke off so I had to jury rig that with some rope. And uh, other than that everything is going good. I'll check in later.

1:09 PM MDT June 27 (2006-06-27 19:09:56 GMT) - Hey this is Matthew Lee calling from Lima, leaving for Big Springs, and it is 1 o'clock. Bye.

Can you hear me now?

Here's an update from Kevin Montgomery, obviously using a cell phone with the ubiquitous spotty connection:

10:54 AM MDT June 27 (2006-06-27 16:54:04 GMT) - This is Kevin Montgomery checking in it's ah ... (garbled) ... 75 ... (garbled) ... it's 10:30, already 82 degrees and I just ... (garbled) ... (chuckle) hit the washboards and ... (garbled) ... ha ha ... (garbled) ... I really hope I don't have to deal with many more (chuckle) ... (garbled) ... miles. Bye.

He sounds really happy and amused, like something happened that shook him up, maybe could have been a near crash that ended well. I think we can assume that his knee is OK, cuz he's out there doing it. Go Kevin! Use a payphone next time man!

11:10 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-27 05:10:29 GMT) - This is Kenny Maldonado. It is 11:15 on the 26th of June. I'm in Seeley Lake staying at the motel. Weather is good. Just got done talking to Mike Gibney. Really funny guy, we just met here at the hotel. And he told me that people have been wondering about me, that I'm not checking in. So I'm calling to check in. And I will be doing so more often. I'm going to be riding the ride at a more leisurely pace, probably doing about 70 miles a day. And, see how far it gets me until I build up some more endurance and start doing those 150 mile days. Thank you.

10:59 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-27 04:59:15 GMT) - Hey, this is Rudi Nadler and I'm calling in for myself and Matt Chester. We had a wonderful day going over the Continental Divide three times and we're now in Helena and we got here around 11:30. Quite a scenic experience, and pretty awesome climbs by the way. Yipee! We're done for the day! Alright, thanks and we'll talk to you later when we have more things to say. Bye.

9:57 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-27 03:57:42 GMT) - Hi. This is racer Kevin Montgomery. It's about 10 o'clock and I just pulled in to Helena center. My knee is feeling quite a bit better. So, I covered, I'm going to say close to 100 miles, just a hair under that today. I'm going to try to stay in a hotel tonight and ice my knee and hopefully it will be fine in the morning. And then I'll keep on going down towards Mexico. Anyway I'll check in probably tomorrow morning as I have to go to a bike shop and fix my shifter because all the dust inside is starting to clog it up and it's starting to shift funny. And, uh, I'll leave a longer message with more details about what has been going on.

6:18 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-27 00:18:13 GMT) - This is John Nobile checking in. I'm in Lincoln today, rolled in here early this afternoon. Decided to take a half day because I woke up pretty sore this morning. Saw my first big ol' grizzly bear just before I left Lolo Forest, sitting in the middle of the trail. Decided to run away from me, thank goodness, so I chased it down the trail as far as I could and finally it decided to run off into the woods. That was exciting. Also, coming out of Huckleberry Pass this afternoon I ran into a bunch of loggers who said they saw a group of riders go through about 4 hours before me. And I've been seeing tracks on the trail so I knew a bunch of guys were definitely up there in front of me. Anyway, hopefully I'll make it to maybe Butte tomorrow if the weather continues to hold out, and I'll check in then. Bye.

5:40 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-26 23:40:51 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee calling from Wise River, Montana. It's 5:30 and I'm headed into the Pioneers south of Wise River. On my way to, I guess my next destination would be Lima. I'll probably be there some time tomorrow. It looks like I got my fork situation worked out. I'm having one sent to Big Springs, Idaho, down the route. So I'll be able to swap that out. Probably loose about an hour of riding time doing it but, gotta git 'er done! OK, you guys have a good one.

Monday, June 26, 2006

1:45 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-26 19:45:53 GMT) - Hi, this is racer Kevin Montgomery checking in. I'm in Lincoln, it's quarter of two on Monday. About 82 degrees out and sunny. My knee is still bothering me, it's not quite as bad as it was yesterday. I just climbed Huckleberry Pass and it didn't bother me too much, although that's one of the easier climbs. There's three Continental Divide crossings before I get to Helena and I kind of want to get there and potentially check out my knee to see if there's anything disastrous going on, but otherwise I'm going to keep trucking and hope that it all turns out for the best. And, I'll check in when I get to Helena.

1:01 PM MDT June 26 (2006-06-26 19:01:52 GMT) - Hello, this is Rudi. Matt and I just got into Lincoln, you can hear the traffic behind us. We went over Huckleberry Pass today. And uh, we're going to go into our first Great Divide Pass. It's just past 1 o'clock right now. I heard about Dave having his bike stolen. When I get to Helena, I'm going to put $20 in the mail and send it to Dave so it can help get him a new bike. Maybe some other people on mtbr will be willing to pool in and help him get on some fresh wheels. All right, thanks for the care. Good bye.

11:12 AM MDT June 26 (2006-06-26 17:12:17 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee here leaving Butte at 10 after 11. I've been working on my shock this morning, trying to salvage it. Doesn't look good. I'm going to have one shipped to me down the route. For now I'm riding rigid. And, uh, hope it's for the best. What else? Weather is cooling off finally, so that's nice. And, my body is starting to feel good. Just need to get my fork issue resolved. OK, I'm headed for Wise River. Bye.

Here's a race summary as 8:00 AM Monday morning, as the 3rd day nears completion:

Mike Gibney left the race after making it to Seeley Lake, MT late Saturday night.

David Nice had his fixed gear bicycle stolen as he slept beside the road. Efforts are being made to find him so that he could possibly continue with borrowed equipment, but so far no contact has been made. Our hearts go out to David, hang in there man!

Matthew Lee has gotten past Helena, MT as of 6 PM Sunday evening, and is making his way to Butte, MT. He is having trouble with his shock, but is currently in the lead, as far as we know.

Kevin Montgomery made it to Ovando, MT early Sunday evening, but was suffering from knee pain. Still in it as far as we know. Here's hoping the knee stays fit enough for Kevin to continue!

Matt Chester and Rudi Nadler are travelling together and are making conservative but good progress. They are in good spirits, and have no mechanical or physical problems as of Monday morning.

John Nobile started a day late, but is making good progress. He had made Seeley Lake by Sunday evening.

Kenny Maldonado has not yet reported in, so we have no information about his progress or whereabouts.

10:41 PM MDT June 25 (2006-06-26 04:41:45 GMT) - This is John Nobile checking in from Seeley Lake. Another beautiful day out there. Alot of tough trails and big hills so I didn't get quite as far as I wanted to today. Also had a late start getting out of Big Fork last night, made a couple of wrong turns, but, anyway generally it was a good day. Looking forward to making some more progress tomorrow. Bye.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

7:42 PM MDT June 25 (2006-06-26 01:42:02 GMT) - Hey this is Matt Chester and Rudi Nadler checking in. We got to Ovando, Montana at about 4:30 PM on Sunday the 25th, and yeah, this fixie thing, um, it's pretty bomber. We're definitely playing it kind of conservative, sort of trying to get ourselves worked down to bare wood over the next few days. It's been difficult, but we're keeping a good attitude. Rode alot of really beautiful trail and road today. Big bomber climb to Seeley Lake, and a pretty killer singletrack descent down it. So, yeah, we're suffering a little bit, but we're trying to take it mellow and pull the whole longevity thing. Fixie is, uh, difficult. Very difficult, definitely. We'll check in with you tomorrow, and that's it. Thanks.

6:04 PM MDT June 25 (2006-06-26 00:04:38 GMT) - Uh, well, everybody in mtbr-land and everybody else watching the GDR stuff, well, I hiked it about 25 miles to Polson from Big Fork where the bike got stolen. Anyway, again, I'm out of it, uh just giving everybody an update. Like, hey, I'm still here. I'll be back in Denver, and I'll be following everybody else's race real closely, and I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

6:03 PM MDT June 25 (2006-06-26 00:03:08 GMT) - Hey guys, Matthew Lee calling from Helena, Montana. It is 6 o'clock, I'm rolling out towards Butte. See how far I can get. I'm having some trouble with my shock. It's leaking oil. Uh-oh. So I've been riding with it locked out, and uh, that hurts. I gotta figure something out though, if not, I'm going to get Cannondale to ship me one, to maybe Lima, or somewhere. So, yeah. I'm a little tense at the moment. But, it's a beautiful day. Still hot. Wondering where everyone else is. Hope they're having a good time. OK, Bye.

5:27 PM MDT June 25 (2006-06-25 23:27:04 GMT) - This is racer Kevin Montgomery reporting in from Ovando, Montana about 260 or 270 miles into the race. Nothing major is happening except for the past 20 miles I've had some terrible knee pain. I'm going to try to sleep tonight, and if the pain is still there in the morning I'll have to re-evaluate the rest of the race. As of now I plan on sleeping off and hoping that it feels better in the morning. Check in tomorrow.

11:22 AM MST (2006-06-25 17:22:20 GMT) - Well, um, everybody. This is Dave Nice. I'm outside of Big Fork. I will be out of the race. I was riding into Big Fork to get a chain replaced, and I stopped on the side of, I think it was 206 or 36 or one of the highways and took a nap, and guess I was really out. And someone nabbed my bike while I was out, taking a nap, just on the side of the road. So, I guess that's it for me this year. I'm going to have to figure out how to get home. Anyway, good luck, the rest of you guys. Mike, Matt, Rudy, Kevin, and two other guys I don't know. But anyway, good luck to the rest of you. Hopefully you don't have any trouble like me. Talk to you soon. Bye.

9:56 AM MST June 25 (2006-06-25 15:56:00 GMT) - Hey there this is Matthew Lee calling it's 9:45 and I'm leaving Lincoln and headed toward the state capitol of Helena. Looks like it's going to be a better day today, maybe not quite so hot. And the wind seems to be coming out of the north instead of the headwinds we had yesterday. Anyway, things are good, just working through all the pain of the first few days. And uh, we've got another, or at least I have another difficult day ahead. It's quite technical between here and Butte, which is my goal for tonight. OK, hope everyone else is having a good time. Bye.

11:30 PM MDT June 24 (2006-06-25 05:30:52 GMT) - Hey this is Mike Gibney. It's about 11:30, Saturday the 24th. I'm in Seeley Lake. Nothing really significant to tell you other than, um, I think I'm going to pull out of the race. Mostly I think I bit off a little more than I could chew. And, I want to tell everybody that I totally appreciate everyone's support, and I'm very sorry for letting everyone down, but, there's just no point in this. So, thanks to everybody. Good luck to everybody else that's continuing on, and, um, sorry. Thanks alot. Bye.

10:02 PM MDT June 24 (2006-06-25 04:02:37 GMT) - Hi, this is John Nobile checking in. I finally got started, I got a flight in late yesterday just before the bike shop closed, so I got my bike together and rode up to Eureka for the evening. So I got up this morning at about 7 and headed to Roosville. Crossed the border back into the United States at exactly 8 AM. It was a beautiful day. It was a great ride. I ran into a rider from New York City at uh, right about Red Meadow Lake, right where the snow slides were blocking the trail. Anyway, I'm spending tonight at Big Fork. Gonna get some rest, and hopefully have another good day tomorrow. Weather is looking good, so I'll be checking in then. Bye.

9:19 PM MDT June 24 (2006-06-25 03:19:56 GMT) - Hey this is Rudy and Matt's with me. We just had a good day rolling up and down the hills, playing with our caves of pain. We got to see a Kent Petersen sign, a tortoise crossing the road, reminding us to back off and take it easy. We were going by the Swan River most of the day. Now we're at 83 and Flathead National Forest. Looks like we're going to head a few more miles into there and have an evening. So, by the way, it's nine o'clock if I hadn't said so. Good night!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

2:02 PM MDT June 24 (2006-06-24 20:02:34 GMT) - This is Kevin Montgomery checking in. It's about 2 o'clock on Saturday. I just rode through Ferndale about 15 minutes ago. I've covered about 46 miles today. Nothing too interesting happened so far, um, because the preponderence of roads are paved or populated dirt roads and fairly flat. I didn't get to depart Whitefish until 10 o'clock because I had to wait for the bike shop to open so I could fix my chainring that broke and get a bungee cord so I could strap down the pannier that had a broken safety hitch that popped off. I plan on doing another 100 miles today so I'll have 250 completed by the end of the day, then I'll set up camp and hopefully find a good, hot breakfast in some restaurant wherever I pitch a tent. I'll check back in probably some time tomorrow as I don't think I'll be passing through another major city before then. Bye.

11:43 AM MDT June 24 (2006-06-24 17:43:52 GMT) - Hey this is Rudy. Matt and I are together. Riding along. Let's see, last night we slept in Columbia Falls and right now we're in Big Fork. Did some plenty good road riding in that microscopic gear to get here, and uh, had a good meal. And now we're going to head out toward Seeley Lake. So, um, let's see, what time is it? It's 11:42, so we're heading on out of this location and we'll talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

7:10 AM MDT June 24 (2006-06-24 13:10:21 GMT) - This is just an update for Dave Nice. Rolled into Whitefish about midnight crashed out. Day before the race stared I got stung by a bee, had my leg swelled up pretty good on me. Had to get all hopped up on the antihistamines, and uh, epinephrine shot. Rode pretty good, you know about 110 yesterday with riding up to Roosville. There's a pretty interesting burn areas right after the first crossing of the divide, and uh, quite the fun little descent after the 2nd crossing of the divide, especially on the fixie. That'll be about it. Today probably a little bit, uh, lighter in terms of mileage just cuz I still think I'm getting over the effects of the epinephrine and the antihistamines. Anyway, talk to you soon guys. Bye.

12:13 AM MDT June 24 (2006-06-24 06:13:26 GMT) - This is Kevin Montgomery I rolled into Whitefish about an hour ago, that being 11:30. Covered about 100 miles today, I'm at a campground right outside of Whitefish about 2 miles off the course. Uh ...(garbled)... to a grizzly ...(garbled) ... my smallest chainring broke off so I'll be fixing that in the morning so I'll be staying in town probably getting a good breakfast. And one of the security straps on my panniers broke, but that wasn't a big deal I could fix it with a bungee cord. Um, I'm actually at the campground with David who I met up right as I was pulling into Whitefish. Everything else seems to be working good, my lights are good. It was pretty warm today, it was around 8 ...(call ends)

Ah, the cell phone. Pinnacle of 21st century communications.

11:26 PM MDT June 23 (2006-06-24 05:26:25 GMT) - Hey Matt Chester and Rudi Nadler checking in again just to show you that we're not totally wasted. It's around 11 o'clock and we're in Whitefish. And uh, yeah, like I said before we would have been here alot sooner if we didn't have the, uh, longest tire change in history. So, that's it. Everything is going really well and it's been a really beautiful day to ride. And, uh, we'll talk to you guys tomorrow. Bye.

11:24 PM MDT June 23 (2006-06-24 05:24:59 GMT) - Hey this is Matt Chester and Rudi Nadler checking in from the Great Divide Route. Really beautiful weather today, much better than last year. Uh, Rudi and I have been riding really well, just keeping it mellow, spinning circles. And uh, we did lose about an hour and forty minutes today with one of those totally mystery tire maladies that we all have experienced at one time or another. Took about three tries to fix but uh, all is good. Really beautiful. Going up the North Fork Road looking at all the beautiful mountains. Had to cross a few avalanches along the way, but other than that we're just keeping it steady Eddy and uh, saving ourselves for the whole big slow burn. So, thanks alot, and we'll talk to you guys tomorrow.

8:47 PM MDT June 23 (2006-06-24 02:47:10 GMT) - I guess I start talking now. This is Mike Gibney. It's uh, about 8:30 or quarter to 9, um Friday after evening, the 23rd in Whitefish. The weather is absolutely perfect, the route couldn't have been any better. A little bit of mechanical problems, otherwise, great day. Later.

8:34 PM MDT June 23 (2006-06-24 02:34:28 GMT) - Hi guys, this is Matthew Lee calling from Whitefish. I'm getting ready to leave town and head for, um, as far as I can get tonight, maybe Ferndale if I'm lucky. And today was really hot. I hope this isn't a harbinger for the rest of the trip but, pretty hot in Montana. Anyway, I'm slumming a little bit from the Prologue, but I'll work my way through it, and uh, things are good. OK, ciao.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Folks, the race has started!

We don't have a camera man on the scene, and we don't have perfect information about the start, but here is the most complete roster that is available as of Friday afternoon:

Matt Chester (
Mike Gibney
Matthew Lee (
Kenny Maldonado
Kevin Montgomery
Rudi Nadler

John Nobile (will be starting ~24 hours late due to a cancelled flight)
David Nice (

Others may have started, some of these listed racers may not have started. We'll try to peice together an accurate race roster as the updates come in, and we'll pass along all the information that becomes available.

I wish the racers luck and tailwinds! May the bears find food tastier than you and yours!

Monday, June 05, 2006

The 2006 Great Divide Race will start on Friday, June 23, at noon from Port of Roosville, Montana. This page will be the place to see news and updates.

This year, the racers will be able to quickly call an 800 number any time 24 hours a day and leave voice messages with their progress and experiences. The messages will be transcribed, hopefully within 12 hours. So we hope to be able to provide you with more dynamic on-line race info than ever before.