Multiday race reports, Trip Reports » The Story of Eight – Tour Divide 2009


I’m Steve Wilkinson from the UK, a 35 year old guy who sometimes rides bikes. In 2009 I competed in the Tour Divide, and after the event I started to compile some words about my time on the route. Over time however, the number of words grew and grew as I began to add what was going on in my mind and why. I also wanted to write down, and get out of my head, all my thoughts about racing the Divide from my two trips down it. As my write-up expanded, I began to realize I also had a story to tell…

I was one of eight riders who finished up the 2009 race on the same day, some of us reaching the border together, and spending much of the race in each others company. We were in the middle of the pack and termed ourselves the peloton. This is my story of riding in that group, and my trip through the Rockies – The Story of Eight. I’ve saved it into a PDF document to download since it’s become more a short book than a write-up.

If you followed the race, and became a red dot junkie, I hope you are able to enjoy this, and are able to build a better picture of these anonymous cyclists who were behind the tags. If you didn’t follow the race, and don’t know much about it or the route, I still hope I’ve managed to explain enough about it to engage you. And if you’re planning on racing the Divide, I hope it gives you an insight into what such a journey is like.



Link to PDF docuemnt: The Story of Eight

Joe Meiser, Eric Brutjen, Alan Goldsmith, Steve Wilkinson, John Fettis (front), Cannon Shockley

Joe Meiser, Eric Brutjen, Alan Goldsmith, Steve Wilkinson, John Fettis (front), Cannon Shockley

My photos

John’s photos

Alan’s photos

Joe’s photos

Comments (12)

Andy BuchananMarch 4th, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Steve it is a pleasure to read all of the personal accounts of everyone that has completed this long adventure . I certainly appreciate it from a non finishing angle such as myself . I am in the process of committing to this years start , only if the stars line up . Cheers , Andy

Tony HustonMarch 5th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Steve, thanks very much for the lengthy account of your adventure. It certainly helps to paint a clearer picture of the divide racing life for us first timers. I’d say you did pretty damn well for having entered the race “lacking fitness!”

philMarch 7th, 2010 at 12:52 am

Steve, I really enjoyed reading your story. Alot of good tips in there for first timers like myself.
Thank you so much.

MarshalMarch 7th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Just finished your great read! As the 2010 TD creeps ever closer reading such a detailed ‘day by day’, ‘blow by blow’ account makes the whole thing seem both more impossible and achievable all at the same time.

jhl99March 18th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Interesting read. I have a couple of questions:
1. How did you manage to capture all the details in the report during the event for later recall and writeup?
2. Do you think elevation and acclimization were factors?
3. Training: It seems like you didn’t think that you did enough, how much did you do and how long did you start training before the event?

Steve WilkinsonMarch 19th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

In answer to your questions:

1. I simply remembered all the details. Once back home I looked over the route maps while I typed. In my mind the account is just a summary and misses all the finer details.
2. I never intended to seek any factors or excuses here, only to give an honest account of the race and my thoughts and feelings during it.
3. I keep no records of quantifiable data such as hours or distance to define ‘how much’ training I did, or mark a point in time when it began. I believe it’s better to think about cumulative experience over the years counting towards the next challenge. You learn what is necessary for the performance you want, however sometimes time does not allow it.

JefeMarch 21st, 2010 at 9:30 am

WOW, bad ass.

HeathApril 3rd, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Steve, Great Job on the write up! I read it myself and was totally pulled into your journey and struggle at times through the race. I felt how raw it was for you and others out there and it makes me want to do something like this one day. I am now reading it to my wife who is not as into bikes as I am but reads a lot of books. And I am pleased to say that she is enjoying your write up as well. As far as myself ever doing something like the TD. I would love to but I think I would need to do smaller but similar efforts to build up to it for sure. The Colorado Trail Race from Denver to Durango might be a good choice to prepare for the TD since it seems to be similar in effort but shorter and practically in my back yard from Colorado Springs. But reading write ups of the CTR on this site, the route is very ruff with lots of Hike a Bike and massive amounts of climbing and bivying above tree line. At any rate your write up was awesome and inspiring, and has gotten me thinking , 33 might not be too old to do something like this.
Thanks for sharing it with us Steve!

flipiddyMay 5th, 2010 at 10:34 am

Look forward to reading this Steve. Cheers.

BrianJuly 1st, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Just spent free moments over the past two days at work reading your report. It’s one thing to follow this race via the day to day updates, but another completely to read a first-hand account as detailed as yours. Thanks for taking the time to get your ideas down in print. It was really enjoyable to read.

Devyn RollerFebruary 18th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Truly moving and inspiring Steve. I just spent my evening reading your story and thoroughly enjoyed its ups and downs.
Thank you for the inspiration to push myself harder in cycling.

JamesAugust 24th, 2013 at 2:19 am

I thought drafting was a no no?

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