Records & Reconciliation: The 2024 Tour Divide

The 2024 edition of the Tour Divide is one for the history books, with long-standing records falling as riders made their way across the 4,300 km route.

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Meaghan Hackinen Tour Divide

 

Prior to this year’s race, Mike Hall’s Tour Divide record of 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes had stood unbeaten since 2016, with those who have actively tried to break it finding a new-found respect for one of the most long-standing records in ultra-distance racing. In fact, 2023 Tour Divide winner Ulrich Bartholmoes stated prior to this year’s race that he was no longer focused on bettering the record. 

Ulrich Bartholmoes Tour Divide

For the returning champion, an entirely different challenge was in his sights – the Triple Crown Challenge, with the Tour Divide being just one part of that three-piece puzzle. However, the returning champion would go on to break Mike Hall’s Tour Divide record anyway with a time of 13 days, 22 hours and 13 min, but, he was not the only rider to break the record, with a role reversal from the last edition that saw Justinas Leveika take the win with a time of 13 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes.

Ulrich Bartholmoes Tour Divide

The fact that a second place finish for Ulrich involved beating Mike Hall’s record is a testament to the pace of racing at the Tour Divide, which is increasingly becoming a focus event for European racers looking for new and more complex challenges outside of the standard European ultra-distance calendar.

A rider competing in their first Tour Divide was Meaghan Hackinen, an experienced ultra-distance racer with a varied win-record which would see her be many spectators’ one-to-watch before the race had even begun. From the off, Meaghan rode with a strong pace, sitting comfortably within the top 10 for the entire race, tracking close to another long-standing record set in 2015 and belonging to Lael Wilcox, with a time of 15 days 10 hours and 59 minutes.

Meaghan Hackinen at the Tour Divide finish

Meghan arrived in a time of 15 days and 23 hours, a time that would put her 7th place overall and set a new women’s records for a Tour Divide Grand Depart. By comparison, the record time set by Lael Wilcox was part of an ITT (individual time trial), where a rider chooses their own start time, ensuring weather windows and course conditions are at a premium, a luxury not afforded to those undertaking the Grand Depart. Complexities of records aside, Meaghan’s result is a prime example of a race-plan executed to the letter, resulting in new record and a top-10 overall finish for the first-time Tour Divide participant – the question we all have, is if Meaghan will be back in 2025?

Meaghan Hackinen Tour Divide finish

With multiple records falling, the 2024 edition of the Tour Divide was the fastest yet and although Ulrich had to settle for 2nd place, his blistering time puts him in a fantastic position going into the second part of the Triple Crown Challenge, with some 15 hours standing between Ulrich’s Tour Divide finish time and the time of Triple Crown FKT holder, Jay Petervary, who finished the route in 14 days 11 hours and 48 minutes during his successful Triple Crown attempt. The next part of the challenge will be the Colorado Trail Race, commencing on the 11th August.