Tour Divide Update: Ute Pass, CO

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Lael bares her teeth as she packs her seatbag at the Brush Mountain Lodge Monday morning, a friendly place for Divide riders to resupply in remote northwestern Colorado. Photos courtesy Brush Mountain Lodge.

From her four day push across southern Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming into Colorado, Lael has caught the second fastest group in the Tour Divide 2015.  The lead group of six riders, about 300 miles ahead, are all riding ahead of the current record pace set by Jay Petervary in 2012.  However, leaders JayP and Neil Beltchenko are still short of Mike Hall’s blistering 2013 pace, calculated by the times in which they pass through certain towns.  Mike’s ride to Mexico was spoiled by a technicality as wildfires forced a reroute from the sanctioned TD track.  He finished more than a day faster than Jay’s 2012 ride.  Jay and Neil aren’t far off Mike’s pace, and they’re trading punches from early morning to late at night.  Jay has held the upper hand, but Neil hasn’t flinched.

Lael’s is tackling the riders in her group one at a time.  She’s caught three of the six, with three more just ahead.  I expect she will begin to outrun them by the time she reaches Salida, if not sooner.  Thereafter, she’ll enjoy wide open roads to Mexico.  She has less than 1000 miles to go.

Yesterday, Lael stopped at Orange Peel Bikes in Steamboat Springs, CO to have her bottom bracket replaced.  The SRAM PF30 has been in service for just over a month and came stock on her Specialized Stumpjumper.  JayP also stopped at Orange Peel to replace his PF30 bottom bracket on his new Salsa Cutthroat.  Lael called from Steamboat and reported that she was feeling good.  She hasn’t said those words exactly since before the race, so I am relieved to know that she is finally enjoying her ride.  While in Steamboat she also purchased another headlamp, as she had lost hers the previous night.  She also reported that the Great Basin was as famously windy as expected, and that she was wasting a lot of time on that day.  She stopped to talk at the Brush Mountain Lodge, to a woman in Clark, CO touring the Great Divide on a Bike Friday, and in Steamboat for service.  No offense to those that she has met along the way, but she is working hard to cut the fat from the day and stay on the bike.  I’ve also noticed that her riding speed has dramatically increased since the illness has faded.  She is climbing faster than most of the riders around her.  

Once in Breckenridge, Lael will be riding familiar terrain for some time, at least to the New Mexico border.  We rode the Divide and assorted dirt roads down to Santa Fe in 2011 with Cass, Nancy, and Greg.  I continued to Silver City, before joining Lael in Alaska for the winter.

Follow the Tour Divide 2015 at

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15 thoughts on “Tour Divide Update: Ute Pass, CO

  1. wow what a comeback. this is terribly exciting to watch….and on the back of a commute from Alaska to boot. Crush ’em Lael!

  2. Nick, thanks for taking the time to post all the detailed updates. Its been cool to follow the prep time and lead into the race, as well as following it live. This is quite a change from your usual more relaxed posts of landscapes and people you meet.

    Btw, is Lael’s name being linked to the Salsa ‘Cutthroat’ some sort of subliminal message? Nice to see her gaining momentum after being ill. Amazing!

    • Well, she is cutthroat, if that’s what you are asking. If you read some commercial subliminal message in there, I could only hope. The Cutthroat looks like a great bike.

      Thanks for the support!

      • I was referring more to Lael and the focus she seems to have in a race like this. She appears to just get stronger as she goes.

        The Salsa Cutthroat does look really nice. I have a Salsa Big Mama and the stuff they’re designing now is way beyond that bike.

  3. Now into 9th place! I’m finding Lael’s comeback as she gradually overtakes her way through the peloton way more exciting than watching the guys at the front of the race – Go Lael Go!

    • Ah no, she is still in 10th (for now) it’s just that Alex Harris isn’t being picked up on the leaderboard at the moment. Won’t be long though 🙂

    • More exciting for me too, although the current standing of the men in Abiquiu is fascinating. Now that the end is near, the race is on. Lael is likely to ride on into the 250 mile void between the two lead groups. Looks like you might have a new target for next year.

  4. Lael is truly amazing. She looks like a slip of a girl, but under that exterior is fantastic athleticism, stamina, and absolute determination in the face of adversity.

  5. ..what a comeback!!! thanks for updating us on the TD race and in particular Lael’s. Been monitoring hers and the Father&Daughter (Team Rice Burner, Billy and Lina Tour Divide 2015) tandem ride.
    (one query, is she using Pika Revelate Design seat bag??)

    all the best.

  6. Hey Nicholas. We’re just leaving Bellingham today. Lael will be well into NM by the time we get back to Del Norte. Bummed we’ll miss her. Have her call if I can give her any local advice, we have an all you can eat Mexican buffet now.

    I think we’re all blown away by her pace. Wow!

    • If you drive the car like a TD racer, you’ll be there in time to clean up at the Mexican buffet. Sorry she’ll miss you guys this time. She might be in ABQ or SF for a few days if you have any plans down that way.

      • If she needs any help at all in ABQ I’m sure Mike and Dallas would be glad to help out. A bike box, packing, a hot meal and shower/bed.

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