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Ride the Divide

by Meghann on January 28, 2013

I watched a great documentary last night called “Ride the Divide.” The movie followed a handful of participants as they they attempted the world’s toughest race, which traverses over 2700 miles along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains.

It was a great reminder that no matter how crazy you think you are, there will always be people out there who are ten times crazier. Next time someone makes a “crazy” comment about training for a race that will take me 16 hours to complete (fingers crossed!), I’ll think of the Great Divide Mountain Bike race and be thankful that at least the Ironman won’t take me 2700 miles and three weeks to complete. Suddenly 140.6 doesn’t sound so bad.



That’s actually what I love about extreme endurance sports, there really are no limits when someone puts their mind to something. The participants featured in the movie weren’t money-driven elite athletes. They were normal folks with a passion for riding. They funded their own way, were there own support, and went at their own pace. Even better was their determination to finish. Mary, the race’s first female competitor, was sidelined due to injury a couple of times, but managed to hop back on the bike each time. She finished 9 days behind the lead competitor with tears in her eyes and a huge smile on her face. Heck, I was tearing up with her!

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 3.24.48 PM.png

Photo credit: Stephen Gleasner

Though I have no desire at all the take on that race myself, the participants were truly inspiring. I would recommend the film to any cyclist who needs a little inspiration.


Have you seen “Ride the Divide”? What did you think? Are there any other documentaries out there that have inspired you recently?

*side note: “Ride the Divide” did not compensate me for this post, nor do they even know who the heck I am. I simply found the video on Netflix Instant Play (per the recommendation of a fellow XP teammate) and was so inspired by the movie that I had to share!

1 Natalie @ Free Range Human January 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

That’s really awesome! I actually would love to do something similar. The Continental Divide Trail is one of three major long distance hiking trails in the U.S. It’s the one my husband and I would love to do. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have jobs that would let us take off for the 5-6 months in would take. Someday!
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2 Meghann January 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I had a photography professo who once spent an entire summer hiking the Appalachian Trail taking photos, I thought that was pretty amazing. I’ve only hiked parts of it (the longest stretch was a two-day overnight trip), but think it would be cool to do the whole thing one day.

3 Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles January 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I just added it to my Netflix list! I think someone was making a documentary about the Barkley Marathons as well. Crazy sauce.

The Kidless Kronicles
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4 Sabrina January 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

That’s a heavy and powerful ride! Those people are one of a kind.
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5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

oh gosh, that looks pretty extreme but super amazing! I think I’d do it more as a trip than a race… haha I doubt I’d be anywhere near competitive and racing for over 3 weeks would probably kill me… I’d rather go for a bike ride across Kansas or something…
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6 Anna January 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I downloaded an audiobook to listen to on my runs, about sports as well, I love the motivation I get through it and I think all of these stories are so inspiring!
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7 Kassidy January 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Wow, that would be a tough race. Those are some awesome people in competing for something so long and draining.
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8 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats January 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Oh my. There is not one teeny tiny part of me that would ever, ever dream of doing that race. But props to all of the athletes that have that in them! That is intense!
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9 Claudia January 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

We, my boyfriend and I, watched it on Saturday night. He is a documentary nut and a former semi-pro cyclist (having raced against people who rode with some guy named Lance) so this one was a must. We loved it and were also rooting for Mary to finish.

10 Ashley @ Running Bun January 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I’ve never seen it but I am definitely going to watch on Netflix!! Thanks for the rec.
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11 Alice J January 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I actually cycled with a group of crazy college students this past summer from Baltimore, Maryland to San Francisco, California with an organization called 4K for Cancer. We individually raised over $4,500 each for young adults with cancer. It was an amazing experience, and each of us had different backgrounds in fitness (I had zero bike experience before I left for the summer). If you have time, you should check it out: I never cycled before, but now I am signed up for my first triathlon to raise funds and awareness for young adults with cancer, again! Loved reading about all your triathlon experiences as well πŸ™‚

I think I’ll watch the documentary some time this week, sounds right up my alley!

12 Theresa January 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Two off my and my husband’s friends have attempted the Great Divide ride! Unfortunately for both of them, neither finished. Months and months and miles and miles of training (not to mention lots of money later) and they just couldn’t make it. The first crashed out with a completely wrecked bike frame (and a wheel that literally folded in half on itself) and the other just didn’t have enough in him to get through it. I don’t even know how far these guys rode but it was certainly amazing to see all of their preparation for it and their updates while they were on the trail. Karlos, the one that bonked, is giving it another shot and is training again! Karlos also organizes multi-day mountain bike races/events here in Florida. I’ve never been brave enough to even consider attempting one! I attempted a 50 mountain bike ride this summer and only made it 45…I can’t imagine riding hundreds of miles for days on end!

13 Courtney January 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I love the craziness that is extreme endurance. It’s like, just being able to say, I did that, makes it all worth it. Makes me feel ALIVE. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to watch it on Netflix! Thanks for sharing!
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14 Sara @ fitcupcaker January 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm

WOW looks intense. I have not seen it, but wow…
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15 Timi January 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I live near the Continental Divide in Montana. There are a lot of folks who ride their bikes through this way. I met a gentleman this past summer who had done the race before and now he and his wiffe were doing it at their leisure. Uh, ya….leisure.
I’ll watch the documentary a little later, thanks!

16 Timi January 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Ok, this is funny, but I just watched it and the town I live in is at the end. The Peat bar is shown. Lima, MT is where that was shown!
So cool!

17 Ashley@cupcakesncrunches January 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

What a neat film – I would love to watch that. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to read more about your ironman training! You’re such an inspiration!
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18 Angela January 29, 2013 at 12:39 am

Wow! I would have zero interest in doing something like that…. but it sounds so intense!! You would feel so badass after finishing something like that… but for me, I would feel pretty badass finishing any race. πŸ™‚
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19 Sarah January 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

Here is another documentary on an extreme race called the Trans-Sylvania Epic. The film focuses on my cousin who has cystic fibrosis and completed the entire thing! Definitely is a source of inspiration!

20 Mike Dion January 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Meghann – Thank you for taking the time to write this post about Ride the Divide. We love that people are still discovering this film. It is very rewarding to know that this project continues to inspire people and perhaps divert their path in life to try something they might not have otherwise.
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21 Matt Storlie January 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

RtD is a great film. I’ve been fans of Hunter (and now Mike’s) work for a long time. If you’re looking for the genesis of Hunter’s film-making, be sure to check out “10mph”, also on Netflix, I believe. And be sure to check out the “sequel” to RtD, “Reveal the Path”, a beautifully shot film that will capture your imagination and Wanderlust, and ensure that you keep getting back on your bike time and time again. πŸ™‚
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22 Mary Collier January 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed the documentary. Thanks for the writeup and thanks for continuing to spread the word and inspiring people to get off the couch and live.
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23 Scott andrews January 29, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I did it in 2012. It is one of the best times in my life.

24 Laura January 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm

That’s definitely going on my list of things to watch on Netflix!
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25 Pearson Smith January 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I have been to a presentation on this Tour Divide here in Lander, WY by the fastest guy to have ridden it, so once you posted that video, I was so psyched to sit down with my fiance last night to watch it. It was awesome and a great night time video. Now, as Wyoming-ites and Mountain Bikers (more him than me– I dabble) we are determined to do at least the Wyoming portion. We will see what kind of crazy adventure we can come up with. Thanks for the post
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26 Meghann January 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

That sounds like a great idea! Keep me posted!

27 Gregg March 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm

My wife and I watched Ride the Divide within the last year and really got inspired. We are newly weds, and were basically overweight and out of shape. We both were inspired to challenge ourselves to start eating right, and excersizing and to hold each other accountable. My wife Cindy has lost 60 pounds and I have lost 70. This all started in June of 2012. We decided we were going to start cycling and went out and bought mountain bikes and are now enjoying the trail systems here in Tulsa Oklahoma. We are building up to a challenge and I am wondering about any kind of East to West route that would be user friendly to cyclists. Any links or suggestions for trails would be greatly appreciated. We are in Broken Arrow Ok.

Thanks… Gregg

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