A few questions that have come up:

So I’ve gotten a lot of feedback regarding my post.  Most of it has been very positive, and I thank everyone for their kind words.


I have also received a few questions about my time spent out on the Divide.  I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.


Could I ask how much weight you lost during your tour?

Yes, you may.

I weighed in at 178-180 pounds when I started the race.  I was strength training on a regular basis, as well as attending yoga classes.  Sometimes I even rode my bike.

I weighed in at about 168-170 when all was said and done. This was at the hotel room in Demming, NM. I figure I lost somewhere between 8-10 pounds.  This is an estimate, mind you, since water fluctuations were pretty common out there.  I believe 8 pounds is a good conservative estimate, though. I am 6′ tall, if that gives any idea to build.

Absolutely amazing write up, I’ve been glued to it. I was also wondering what had happened with the rear brakes, but figured you just hadn’t mentioned it.

Why thank you.  I had this asked a few times, and perhaps I wasn’t as clear as I should have been.

I had to replace my rear wheel after I ground the rim into powder on my way to Rawlins, WY. In Rawlins, the tiny bike shop only had 90s era MTB gear.  I managed to find a newer, very cheap (no name) wheel that would accommodate my 9 speed rear cassette.

However, this wheel did not support a rotor.  So I simply bagged up my rotor, took my old wheel apart (kept the rear hub and shipped it out in the next town) and rode with a single front brake.

This made for a very interesting descent heading towards Steamboat Springs, CO.  There, I managed to purchase a new rear wheel that would fit a disc rotor. I shipped all my unused parts back home and fitted myself with two working brakes again.

However, my rear rotor became badly warped from a crash in the Gila.  I only noticed it was dragging terribly the night before the final day of the race.  I figured I didn’t have any bad downhills ahead of me, so I simply unbolted the rear caliper and tied the caliper to my seat-stay to keep it out of the way.

You mentioned not having done endurance racing, but had you done long 75-100 mile rides or multiday rides in the past? Did you train for this? Just trying to figure out if the average man would have any shot whatsoever at this. Awesome read.


I had never done a multi-day ride.  I had never bike-packed.

The only time I rode a 100 miles at once was on my road bike, and the only reason I did that was because I missed a turn and got lost.

I had only done short XC races and team 12 hour races up to this point.   Can an “average” man do this?  If that average man has the willpower, then yes.

But if I were to do it again, I’d probably do some more training.  Montana damned near killed me.

 Do you have pics of your bike setup and gear?



Not sure you can see much in this picture.  This was one of my “training” rides.  I simply filled the bags up and went and rode for a few hours.

Tires: Maxxis Crossmark, 2.1″ 26″

Frame: Sette Edge, 20″

Wheels: Mavic Crossride UB

Tubes: Slime

Bags: Relevate Designs, out of Alaska

Build: Sram X0

Saddle: WTB Rocket V, Titanium

Brakes: Avid Elixer CR

If anyone has anymore questions about the ride, feel free to leave them in the comments.  If I come across anymore information, I’ll update this posting.




4 comments on “A few questions that have come up:

  1. Rob says:

    Hey Nicholas,

    I have to say, your blog has got to be one the best written, informative, and hilarious accounts of the TD I’ve read. I’m planning to ride the TD in 2015 and I have a quick question about your bike. I’m currently riding a 26er and I running into the mental debate where logic says that a 29er would make more sense for a ride like this, but from all accounts, the 26er did OK for you (minus the wheel issue). Did you find that you had a disadvantage riding the smaller wheels? When you look at what everyone else is currently riding (and recommending), it seems unconventional to ride a 26er. I “think” my bike (2011 Kona Caldera) can handle the ride, with perhaps some minor component upgrades done on the cheap, but I’m not sure. I have some time to consider the options, but I thought I would get your take on the debate for the larger wheels.

    Again…great blog and hopefully I can get some insight from you.

    • Nicholas says:


      I took long enough to reply!

      I think the 29er size makes sense on a trip like this, but I also think that a high-ish volume 26″ tire would do just fine. Like I’ve said, it really depends on what your goals are. The guys winning it are on 29ers, but I doubt the wheel size is making the difference.

      My advice is to save the new-bike money and focus on gear and training. If you want an excuse to buy a new bike, then by all means go to the bigger wheels! Make it geared with plenty of options and totally rigid. The bike should be durable and efficient for distance riding over mostly double-track and dirt roads.

      Hope that helps!


      • Thanks for the advice Nick.
        As I write this, I’m committed to sticking with my 26er and trying to fulfill my gear list. I still have over a year to go, and with winter coming shortly (not to mention a chaotic work schedule), my ride schedule is getting more and more limited. I plan to train through the winter by staying indoors. The real “heavy lifting” will come this spring when the countdown is at the 1-year mark.

        If cash frees up, I’ll look at switching my rig closer to race time. In the meantime however, I have to chip away at the conditioning and the gear.

        Thanks again!

      • Nicholas says:

        Hey Rob!

        I don’t think wheel size means as much as most people tend to heap onto it. It’s what’s above the seat that matters.

        Good luck with your training. My advice is: less is more. I understand the work schedule chaos, I’m in that boat right now. If you aren’t comfortable with what you have, go ahead and pick something up that is a reliable tool. Then go put a bunch of miles on it. Fix what needs to be fixed and ride on!


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