After years of ogling at maps and photos of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route — daydreaming of narrow dirt roads winding through broad mountain valleys and over high rocky passes, imagining the sound of knobby rubber floating over lightly-traveled gravel, yearning for the cadence of a more simple life upon a saddle — I finally hit trail on August 4 outside of Canmore, Alberta.
With snowmelt from a late, wet winter overfilling many rivers and creeks in the Rockies I was forced to reroute from the traditional singletrack start in Banff and instead picked up route after cresting the pass to Spray Lakes out of Canmore. From there it was 50 miles of well-maintained dirt road through the beautiful Spray valley up and over the first Divide crossing at Elk Pass into British Columbia.
A day along the Elk River and a short stretch of pavement through the town of Sparwood brought me to the slopes of Flathead Pass, a gateway to the type of remote backcountry riding I’d been dreaming of. With nearly 100 miles of uninhabited dirt road spanning the Flathead and Wigwam River valleys to the border of Montana, this three-day stretch will go down as a highlight.
Not so much live but here’s a little video sample/test post of what I’ve been riding for the past week, from Banff, Alberta south, through the Kananaskis Valley into British Columbia’s Flathead and Wigwam River valleys before descending Galton Pass back into the US of A.
I have a full post on the way, highlighting my first week on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. So far the riding has been a spectacular mix of fire roads through quiet river valleys and over mountainous passes with the occasional stretch of singletrack, and a vertical, muddy, 1/2-mile hike-a-bike thrown in for good measure. I’ve been blown away by the quality of riding and hear it only gets better!