3rd Friday in June Every Year Start Date
n July 1997, Gabriela and I were having lunch in one of our favorite Abiquiu eateries, when this guy in cycling gear came in totally wound up on endorphines! I could tell he had a story, but lots of others sensed the same thing and began engaging him in conversation.
After awhile..we paid our check and left to go up on "31 mile road" into the green meadow and ponderosa pine forest area across the valley from us.
Up there, we spotted a guy with a very sophisticated cycle/tent get-up taking a snooze! We knew there was something up. Not 5 miutes later ..but a couple hours after the "sighting" at lunch, we saw the original guy who we had seen at lunch!
I stopped to chat. Well..he was part of The Great Divide Race" he said ..and was forlorn because he feared he has left his only cycle tool back at the lunch place. I made a deal.."Tell me about this Great Divide Race and I have a very nice bike tool in my bag that I'll give you!"
Seems we had stumbled into the longest off paved road race in the world!
Well..his name was Ashley McKenzie he said..and that 'it starts at the Canada Border and winds it's way down along the Continental Divide to the Mexico border.' Furthermore..he said that lots had already "bagged it" ..but began interrogating us about who we had seen, in order, possibly to catch them!
Well, on the way down we saw 3 more guys who were walking their bike up a 3,000 ft gain as there was a major "monsoon" storm approaching. We said.."you'd better hunker down"..but they ssaid they'd been thru so much that it really didn't matter. One was from New Mexico, who said that was the ONLY reason he was determined to finish. He couldn't bare the thought of "bagging" in his home state!
Over the past couple years..Great Divide Race has shown itself as pretty private and secretive! I've written them on several occassions about more info..but never even got a returned e-mail! If Ashley McKenzie ever sees this..please write! Dan
Great Divide Race
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Painting By Featured Artist MJAckley "Sunset Behind Fall Tree II"