Glide the Divide

Glide the Divide_Ralph & BruceGlide the Divide (North Routt Coureur des Bois), Steamboat Springs, CO

This year’s start-finish was at Columbine, about an hour’s drive north of Steamboat.  A 6 km spur (out and back) connects the start-finish to the main 45 km loop at rest stop #1 (Little Red Park). There begins a very scenic clockwise loop that initially heads due north to the Wyoming state line (rest stop #2, the “Wyoming Funny Farm”, where they had lots of goodies including whiskey and bacon!), then southeast back into Colorado for a very difficult climb up to the Continental Divide. After several kilometers (heading south) of sharply rolling terrain including rest stop #3 along the Divide, an exciting and technical downhill brings skiers into an open area called Big Red Park. Continuing west for about 10 km, rest stop #1 is again reached.  The one-lap 55 km course has about 3750 feet of climbing; the two-lap 100 km course has about 7200 feet of climbing (sounds like a couple nice bike rides, eh?) 

Spring conditions prevailed for Saturday’s race. Luckily, mostly overcast skies kept a lid on the temperature, preventing the transformed but clean snow from breaking down. Grooming was superb, so the skiing was fast and fun.  Ralph Johnson won the M60-69 age group (eighteenth overall) in the 55 km skate race (3:29:06). I finished fourth in the M50-59 age group (fourteenth overall) in the 100 km skate race (6:57:59). A highlight for me was racing against (Olympian) Johnny Spillane. I lined up right behind him for the start, and I managed to hang with him for maybe 10 seconds! This is a well-organized and very fun event: a great course with great views and great rest stops staffed with great people. Go do it!      -Bruce Pauly