Home on the Divide

Whitefish man riding 2,711 miles of the Great Divide crosses into Montana for home stretch

By Tristan Scott

In the three weeks he’s spent perched on his saddle, Tim Hinderman has crossed the spine of the continent 25 times.

Hinderman, 62, of Whitefish, is riding the Tour Divide Race, a 2,711-mile bicycling battle royale that tracks along the Continental Divide. It’s the longest, most rarefied and arguably most difficult mountain biking event on the planet, and before he finishes the ride from Antelope Wells, New Mexico, to Banff, Alberta, Canada, he’ll cross the Divide another five times – a feat he hopes to accomplish by the week’s end.

Unmarked, unsupported and featuring more than 200,000 feet of elevation gain, the race braves mountain passes and wind-scoured valleys, crossing the rooftop of North America from the badlands of the Mexican Plateau to the hinterlands of the Canadian Rockies.

On July 7, Hinderman updated his blog, which readers can find at http://www.30cdxings.com, and notifying his supporters of the following news:

Butte today – now I’m REALLY back in Montana! “Only” 89 miles today but 1 big climb + 1 very hard climb + 1 absolutely impossible climb (imagine pushing a loaded bike straight up Heep Steep, only twice as long).
Anyway – made it to Butte and got a great bike check-up from Rob Leipheimer at the Outdoorsman. Thanks Rob!
Helena tomorrow – also rumored to be a tough day.

What makes Hinderman’s progress especially exciting is that he’s been collecting pledges for miles ridden in support of the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation. Before starting the ride, he’d raised nearly $25,000 for the ski foundation, which formed in the early 1970s, when local high schools dropped skiing as a sport. The foundation helped organize ski races on Big Mountain and continues to run the events today.

Hinderman said as long as there has been a ski foundation, there has been a dream of opening a museum in Whitefish, and he hopes to buoy the prospect with the money he raises on the ride.

To make a pledge, visit Hinderman’s website at 30cdxings.com, and to follow his progress go to tourdivide.org/leaderboard.

The Montana section of the Great Divide Route has been called “a glorious 800-mile medley of fire and logging roads, jeep and singletrack trails,” and as a north-bound rider (participants can complete the ride in any direction so long as they follow the prescribed route) Hinderman is ecstatic that he’ll be riding through his hometown on the final stretch.

According to his blog, he hopes to arrive this Friday, July 11, and he’ll be cruising through Whitefish via Red Meadow Lake.

So turn out and cheer on Hinderman as he completes the home stretch of one of the most challenging bike rides in the world.

The Flathead Beacon caught up with Hinderman before he left. Check out the previous story here.

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