Brit Wins, Sets ‘Tour Divide’ MTB Course Record

Mike Hall, of Yorkshire, England, finished his Tour Divide journey in the early hours of June 24th, 2016, to beat the previous course record by over half-a-day. The new Tour Divide record is 13 days, 22 hours, and 51 minutes, more than 12 hours faster than the previous best time.

The Tour Divide is a 2,745-mile mountain bike race from Banff, Canada, through the Rocky Mountains of the U.S., to the border of Mexico. Racers are self-sufficient, hauling all their gear and food.

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Photo: Mitchell Clinton

Mike Hall won this year’s event in a stout field. You may recognize Hall from the documentary Inspired To Ride, which covered the inaugural Trans America bike race. Hall won it by a large margin.

For the Tour Divide, Hall rode the super-light Pivot LES hardtail 29er. He chose the extra wide (28mm) Reynolds Enduro carbon wheels, which are actually not super light but are very strong (and still come in under 1800 grams).

Electronic shifting was provided by Shimano XTR Di2 drivetrain and components. We are not sure what seat that is but it looks as stiff as his bike.

He is a true hard man. Hall said he spent the duration of the event relatively unaware of what was going on with other competitors in the race, as he chose to take no mobile phone and ignore the SPOT gps tracking on other riders, focusing instead solely on his own riding and pace.

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Apidura bike bags held Hall’s race gear. Photo: Anthony Pease

Hall led the race almost from the beginning. Speaking to him briefly after the finish, he said, “I’ve not been connected [to the world], am feeling a bit strange not knowing what is going on.”

This year, his goal was to take the record back with authority and have it stand in the books. He added, “It’s been good to have a clear run at the course. I have given it my best effort and am satisfied this is the best time I could have done.”

Ultimate 'Tour Divide' MTB: Bike-Packing Build For 2,745 Miles

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The Tour Divide is a premiere mountain biking event with an international field of racers. When complete, a thru-rider of the Tour Divide will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical and travel 2,700+ miles to get to the end.

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Photo: Anthony Pease

Considering the course record was set last year in a highly contested three-way battle that included both Josh Kato and Jay Petervary, Mike’s solo effort shows that he was riding on another level this year. Congratulations to Hall on an incredible feat.

Finish line at the Mexican border
Finish line at the Mexican border. Photo: Pivot Cycles

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Contributing Editor Tom Puzak, a former attorney, found himself more interested in his bike than filing copies in triplicate. Now as GearJunkie's resident "bike junkie" he makes less money but enjoys a more creative work atmosphere. Puzak is based out of the Minneapolis office.

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