I spent a solid chunk of a past life racing bicycles across vast chunks of landscape. One of the more ambitious (given the era) of these was the Great Divide Race on the GDMBR, a ~2400 mile dirt road sufferfest paralleling the continental divide.
I organized the first race on this route in 2003, but no one else showed up so I ITT'ed it. My frame and rear rack were broken and my psyche considerably bent before I arrived at the halfway point of the route, forcing a DNF and a long year before I could head back to finish what I'd started.
I've been outspoken in my dislike of this route since forever, primarily because even though it was labeled and sold as a mountain bike route it has nothing in common with mountain biking. 97% of this route could be driven in a low-clearance 2wd sedan. Calling it the Great Divide Gravel Grinding Route would have been more apropos, more honest, and would have pushed me in a different direction from the get-go. I don't know what I would have cooked up instead, but I know that today I'd have a lot less nerve damage in my hands and ankles and would probably still be able to ride a solid mile of gravel before vomiting onto my shoes.
After finishing the GDR in a virtual photo finish with Pete Basinger in 2004 I pretty much walked away from racing, and never really shared much about that running of the race. Consider this the initial installment of those stories, anecdotes remembered 13 years later with accuracy assistance courtesy of the snapshots I took along the way. I have no plans to give a play-by-play, rather to simply share some of my favorite anecdotes.
Back with the first of those in a bit. Thanks for checking in.