Last June (2015) a quietly determined high school teacher from Cranbrook hopped on his bike in Banff, Alberta and kept on pedaling all the way to the Mexican border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Ryan Hamilton was taking part in the annual 4418km (2745mi) Tour Divide Mountain Bike Race. This race attracts elite cyclists from all corners of the globe to test themselves in what is arguably the world’s most grueling cycling event. The route follows as closely as possible to the Continental Divide by stitching together dirt roads, jeep trails, single track trails, forest service roads and every once in a while a little pavement. Racers climb close to 200,000 feet (Mount Everest 7 times over) while making their way through Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and finally New Mexico. On top of this, the riders are truly on their own. No help from the outside, food is on them, sleeping is on them, mechanical repairs, on them. Moral support? Yep, on them too. Even with all of these challenges and intimidating numbers, Ryan was able to complete the race in 18 days, 14 hours and 35 minutes, easily putting him into the world of elite cyclists. Finishing the Tour Divide in less than 20 days is seen as a super-human feat. After averaging 238 grueling, often sandy, muddy, windy and definitely uphill kilometers each day, Ryan was able to reunite with his supportive wife and daughter at the finish line in Antelope Wells.
As you can imagine, this adventure comes packed with endless tales and some great pictures, and Ryan is going to be happily sharing those with his trademark smile and giggle Wednesday May 25 at 7pm in a slide show and story telling session to be held in the meeting room above Baker Hill Dental (100 9th ave s). Another chance to hear the great stories that can go by un-noticed in a town so full of great stories.