Riding the Great Divide Event Recap

Written by Nancy Stone, Education & Sustainability Director ([email protected]trail.org)

Moving from big dreams to being at the end of a 2,496 mile bikepacking trip takes a lot of things, most of which is an incredible amount of grit. Last week, Alyssa Hirsch, Megan Horst and Stephanie Keske shared their experience of riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from the border of Canada to Mexico in the summer of 2021 with the NW Trail Sister’s at Hopworks Urban Brewery. 

The three women candidly shared the story of their trip, including the now-laughable hiccups experienced along the way, memorable landscapes that they traveled through, interesting characters that they met along the way and the emotional challenges faced when traveling by bike with close friends for 42 days. 

The audience was not only treated to a fantastic tale of three women biking from border to border, but a show and tell of how to plan your own ambitious Great Divide MTB Route (or similar type adventure).  Each woman brought the bikes that they used on their journey, including their individual gear set up. They shared the pros and cons of their bikes, gear choices and overall weight of those two things combined. 

Diving deeper into the logistics of planning and executing their trip, the women took turns covering topics like nutrition, lodging, weather, maps, trail conditions, bike repair and more. They were very forthright in sharing what a trip like this looks like financially as well as what it took to take 42 days off of work. 

As the women welcomed questions, it was evident that they had sparked a lot of interest. This turned into a perfect segway for them to share that they are partnering with the Northwest Trail Alliance in offering a Trail Sisters Bike Packing Weekend in August. (sign-ups are here.)

A special thank you to Alyssa, Megan and Stephanie for generously sharing their memories, expertise and advice. Thanks to Hopworks Urban Brewing for being fantastic hosts to the Trail Sisters once again as well as being a generous platinum sponsor of NWTA. Shout outs to Broken and Coastal, Breadwinner Cycles and Sugar Wheel Works for supplying us with some fantastic raffle prizes.