Sunday, August 06, 2006

What we have here...

... is more than probably anyone would want to know about the Divide. But maybe not -- when I was doing my research for this trip I didn't find much on what to expect going north to south. And details on what to expect and what to bring weren't always in place.

So, here is a collection of stuff I wrote while I was on the trip. A little guide to what's here may help. First, there are posts that are lifted from the notebook that I took along. I typed those up over the last few days, and they are in order from beginning to end below. Second, there are some summary posts I put together that have to do with equipment. Those are found after the notebook posts. After that, there are posts that I wrote as I went along. Those are more for friends and family but do contain useful information for riders from time to time. Those are in reverse order because of the way this blogging program works. To get to those directly, look at the archives for May, June and July. The May archive also contains some information about getting ready that I wrote up before I left.

I always like to read everything I can about places I'm going either while I'm there or beforehand. So this is offered in that spirit.

It's also offered in the hope that people planning to ride the Divide will consider the south to north direction, starting earlier in the summer, as a viable option. This year, the south to north route opened up in Colorado around June 1, allowing a start around May 15-May 20. The New Mexico section was hot (and dry), but from Colorado on the route basically followed spring north, with some snow on the ground from time to time throughout. Because it reached Colorado early in the season, it missed the major part of the monsoon season.

Going south this year (at least according to what I've heard) meant hitting the major part of the monsoon season in Colorado and lots of wet in New Mexico. Plus, I imagine (although this is just a guess) that temperatures in Colorado were significantly higher in July than they were in June. Plus, if a person rode the route at a high pace (say in 45-50 days or so) they would end up in New Mexico while it was still at least as hot as it was in late May.

This is only one year, and perhaps we got lucky. But my prediction is that the south to north route will be a better route in hotter years (because the passes in CO clear out earlier, allowing an earlier start). If current trends hold true, more of those years are on the way.

In any case, I hope that this account will be helpful, and encourage anyone thinking about doing this not to hold back. I really can't think of a better way to spend a couple of months.

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