By Larry Langley
CDR is the acronym for the Continental Divide Ride. If you’re new to this blog, or to dual sport and adventure class motorcycling, the CDR is considered a premier riding challenge in North America.
Starting at the Canadian border in Montana, the CDR courses through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and new Mexico before touching the border of Mexico.
While there are terrain challenges during the 2,700 mile of mostly unpaved rough Forest roads, the true challenge is the amount of saddle time the riders have to face each day. Because of the length of the ride, the ride will take eleven days or more to complete so the rider’s physical and mental ability is tested.
Changes in weather compound the changes in terrain. Riders will encounter snow, rain, heat, even sand storms as they move from mountain elevations, down to lower deserts as they criss-cross the continental divide more than 25 times.
Surprisingly, a great deal of the route was scouted and connected by mountain bike riders. Taking this tour on a bicycle would certainly be a challenge, but soon the word got out and dual sport motorcyclist where soon taking the route under power. A fair trade as the world famous Moab, Utah mountain bike trails were originally developed by off-road motorcyclists.
As noted above, the CDR certainly taxes the rider nut it tests the equipment as well. The motorcycles used must be in impeccable mechanical condition, capable of being able to go well over 150-miles with the fuel onboard, and must be outfitted for comfort and able to carry the equipment necessary to survive the elements and an emergency.
For our CDR we have an selection of motorcycles saddled up by the six riders. Nearly all of them were expressly obtained and prepared for this ride. Here’s the break down of the riders and their bikes:
Bob Mueller (our trail boss): BMW F650GS
Larry Langley (logistics): Honda XR650L
Eric Bondy: Suzuki DRz440S
Jim Baldwin (ride support): Suzuki DRz440E
Larry Comstock: KTM 450 EXC
Avery Innis (technical support): KTM 950R Super Enduro
Our ride will commence from the Canadian border near Eureka, Montana on Monday morning August 18th. 11 Days later we hope to visit the Mexican border in New Mexico. We’ll be posting pics and info each day (if email connects). We are fortunate in that friends did the route last year and we were able to scam their route info including GPS tracks. But all rides ultimately depend on each rider’s resources in route selection and bike dependability. And we hope for as few crashes as possible.
Each rider is carrying tubes, tire irons, master links, tools. Four of the bikes are equipped with newly developed rack system by Turbo City and neat travel bags by Helmet House so we don’t have to utilize heavy back packs. New tires, chains, sprockets to start the ride as well. One rider (Bob Mueller) is a Iron Butt vet and he prefered to ride his 650 BMW to the start, ride the CDR and then ride it home to So Cal. The rest of us prefered to trailer the bikes to the start and home from the finish. We wanted a chase truck in case of bike problems or worse an injury. Each rider will take a turn or two rotating driving the chase truck each day.
As we do final bike prep on Friday Aug 15 in Colorado a storm front has moved through drenching the area and we hope it will have subsided by the time we drive to Montana (tomorrow and Sunday). Lot’s of miles on this adventure, both in the truck and on the trail but we’re all confident that we’ll see the finish.
August 17, 2008 – Eureka, MT
We completed our pre-ride prep and left the Denver area yesterday (8/16) morning with five (of the six) CDR riders. Larry L, Larry C, Eric, Jim and Avery all loaded up in Jim’s Chevrolet Silverado, crew-cab DuraMax diesel pick-up pulling the 24-foot strato-liner trailer loaded down with the five bikes, tools, extra tires, food, ice chests and who knows what. We have brought everything we could possibly think of in case of “What”?