The Tour Divide mountain bike race is underway

The Tour Divide mountain bike race got underway last week in Banff, Alberta, Canada, where nearly 50 hardcore fat tire enthusiasts set off on the longest off road biking trail in the world. They’ll now ride the entire length of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, a distance of 2745 miles, before reaching the finish line along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

The trail ranges from practically non-existent all the way up to jeep trails, with just about everything in between. The entire route is unmarked, so the riders have to navigate their way along the GDMBR on their own. They’ll also have to go completely unsupported, carrying all of their gear and supplies with them along the way. Aside from that, there isn’t much in the way of rules. The race clock runs non-stop, there are no checkpoints, and it is up to the rider to decide how far they’ll ride each day, and when they’ll stop to take breaks.

The full route winds it’s way through Alberta and British Columbia, before crossing the border into the U.S. and continuing south through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and finally New Mexico. The riders will gain more than 200,000 feet of altitude along the way, as they ride through some of the most stunning scenery that the U.S. and Canada has to offer. The mountain passes will challenge their legs and leave them breathless for sure.

To give you an idea of what kind of athletes ride in the Tour Divide, last year’s winner, Matthew Lee, finished the ride in just 18 days, which works out to more than 152 miles per day across some very unforgiving terrain.

[Photo credit: Tour Divide Mountain Bike Race]