Author Topic: Gt Divide ground conditions  (Read 8537 times)

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Offline Lowly Swale

Gt Divide ground conditions
« on: October 08, 2010, 05:12:47 pm »
Being English I often come across wet muddy conditions and ride much of the year with mudguards.
A long ride under a wet spray from the back wheel would lessen my enjoyment of a tour.
I'm expecting dust on the Divide in summer but I saw some photographs of bikes which had completed the Gt Divide race. They looked quite muddy.
I'll be going much slower in fact I'm intending 1 in 3 days off for distractions and I could just wait for wet days to pass.
Can riders who have completed the route inform how many wet days there were please?
Are there places where mudguards would be worth taking?


  • Guest
Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 08:23:57 pm »
I did the GDMBR this summer with SKS Shockblade front fender and a SKS Mud-X down-tube "shield" on my hardtail.  I jury rigged a plastic sheet under my rear rack to serve as sort of a rear fender.  My partner had Planet Bike full fenders (Cascadia?) on his rigid 29er.  Both of our drivetrains stayed much cleaner than those in our "extended" group who had no fenders.  Our clothes and sometimes our shoes would be spared too.  I have to admit, however, that full fenders work better and they never clogged with mud - despite my expectation from the get-go that they would - not even with the "wheel sucking" mud of New Mexico.

But mud is not what you worry about on the GDMBR.  Cow poop in quantities unimaginable; in all colors, in all textures, in all stages of decomposition.  There is also elk and deer poop, bear poop (both black and grizzly), and in the Great Basin even antelope poop.  It seems as if animals seek out roads to do their business.   ::)

Through New Mexico there are hordes of locusts that one eventually tires of sparing: instead one runs right over them, their carcasses forming roostertails - but for the fenders.

But as for rain and mud, from July 1 to August 24 we had only a few days of rain, but it was sometimes torrential.  But because of the poop and locusts there is no question that when I do the GDMBR again I will bring full fenders.   

Offline Candrus

Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2010, 10:06:27 am »
I also did the Great Divide Ride this summer and encountered wet weather throughout Colorado and New Mexico.  While fenders would have been welcome on some days the gumbo mud collecting on the tires would have more often stopped the bike in its tracks on a number stretches of road.  Even without fenders the mud would collect in the frame to the point the wheels would barely turn.  It would have been nice to sit out the rain and let the road surface dry but this summer it rained many days in New Mexico and it would have been quite frustrating to sit in the middle of nowhere (there is a lot of nowhere in New Mexico) and wait it out. If you do use fenders make sure you have them set up so you can easily take them off on gumbo days.  By the way, the earlier you can start and end your ride the less likely you are to end up in New Mexico during the monsoon season.  All said, 2010 was a very wet summer for New Mexico.  The previous writer makes a good point about the cow crap -- it is everywhere.  Bring a good water filter and lemonade powder to cover up the taste of cow piss which a filter cannot remove. 

Offline Lowly Swale

Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 05:12:27 pm »
I'm accumulating allsorts of useful bits and pieces here.
I'm starting to think dates for time off work and air tickets now.
Early start, early finish suits my window best and sounds like it could be good to avoid mud too.
I'll keep watching here, clocks go back here next week so there'll be some long evenings to fill.
Nice to think of a long hot summer, fingers crossed.

Offline beardog

Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 08:17:23 am »
I rode the TDR this past race - 22 days from the June start to the finish and there was only 2 days I wished I had mud guards--those were early on when we road in mud, snow, rain and sleet (sometimes all at the same time) in Montana north of Butte--I think the extra weight is not worth it and you are better off with bomb proof gear like that made by epic (does not leak). Save the weight for extra rain gear (or plastic bags).

The cow dung can definitely goop up your drive train but the locusts are a fun diversion on the black top detours --the crunching sound they make as you run them over keeps you awake--

See you at the start in '11?? That would make another Brit finishing this time after Aiden's grand effort in '10.

Ft Collins, CO

Offline Lowly Swale

Whiz kids
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010, 02:12:19 pm »
I think I might like it better long and slow, especially at my age. This is a trip I promised myself before I pass a certain milestone and July next year will be the start of that 50th year. There was a time when I would have been up for a race and just endured the discomforts.
But I have gone softer or maybe wiser, my bike is getting heavier with the Rohloff 14 speedhub and the mud guards/fenders and my schedule is looking like 11 weeks from about 15th June. I'm betting the time I lose to weight might be saved from washing my kit and maintaining the drive train.
Any remaining deficit might be made up in comfort rating.
Don't you racers feel a need to go back and do it again to see the bits you didn't have time for?
Why is the race start so early in the season? It would have been interesting so see the field as it passed me by, also looks like I'll be too early in Colorado to catch any of that pro road tour.
still can't wait for next June.

Offline Sarah_G

Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 09:58:59 am »
This is an issue i've often come up with. I don't live in England, but I live in a place with a lot of dirt roads, and I have been meaning to find a good mudguard for a while. I've been around for a while quietly and decided to ask is there any good place to order a mudguard online?

Offline jamawani

Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 11:44:40 am »
When are you doing this?

June may be summer in Britain, but it is not in most of the Rockies.
I disagree with the north to south direction that ACA suggests.
Starting in the north in early summer is just after the wettest period of the year in Montana
not to mention that heavy snows have just started melting the previous month.

On the other end, the monsoon season in the Southwest usually begins in July.
It is usually in full swing by August.
The caliche soils of some of the dirt roads turn into glue.

An early June start from the south end is way better.

I say this as someone who has not ridden the GDMBR per se -
But I have done many different sections as part of my 100,000 miles touring.
(Mostly in the American and Canadian Wests - including lots of dirt)
I used to live in Jackson, Wyoming - and know all of those roads well.
(I saw you posted something about Gros Ventre Road.)
My sister lives in northern New Mexico and I have lots of experience there, too.

I would have to look, but I have precipitation charts posted somewhere -
that show how Montana has peak precip May/June - much lower in Aug -
while New Mexico has peak precip in August - very little in early June.

Trust me - from someone who has had to carry a "locked-up" bike -
You do not want to get caught in wet caliche - it is like cement.