• 04-23-2013
    VO2 Lax
    Tour Divide, North to South or South to North?
    For those of you that have ridden the Tour Divide which direction would you recommend as the starting point. The traditional North to South, or South to North?

    Iím thinking North to South, but a part of me thinks why not from the South? From your experience, what are the pros and cons?
  • 04-23-2013
    FNFAL
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by VO2 Lax View Post
    For those of you that have ridden the Tour Divide which direction would you recommend as the starting point. The traditional North to South, or South to North?

    Iím thinking North to South, but a part of me thinks why not from the South? From your experience, what are the pros and cons?

    I rode North to South back in 2011.

    I believe that some of the climbs coming from the South would be tougher, as in steeper, but honestly I believe that the weather would be better. You would miss much of the snow (Well, at MY speed you might!) and have a much better endpoint.

    I'm sure you know, but Antelope Well is little more than a gate, small portal patrol building, and outhouse. And it's a good 70 miles from I-10.
  • 04-23-2013
    VO2 Lax
    If you were to do it again or recommend it to your friends, would you go South to North instead? Or would you say go the traditional way so you can experience it as mapped by Adventure Cycling Association and original race route?
  • 04-24-2013
    jbphilly
    Never done it, but I want to someday, and I think south to north would be better. Reasons: the scenery gets to its most spectacular as you finish, rather than its most bland; you get the long stretches of desert without water supply out of the way first; and you have the sun at your back instead of in your eyes.

    However, I don't know about the possible factors of climb steepness and wind direction. It just seems like heading north would be more enjoyable for a lot of reasons.
  • 04-24-2013
    Saddle Up
    I'm doing the full trip summer 2014, I live in Calgary, my home is 128kms away from Banff. South to North is starting to make more sense. As far as harder climbs, it's always been my experience that the end of a climb is greeted by a decent.
  • 05-02-2013
    Yukon Alvin
    Racing the Tour this year and going south to north because of the heat, would rather do New Mexico early June than mid July. I've studied the profile on the ACA maps and it comes out pretty even for elevation. If you have a possitive attitude the wind is always at your back... right? :)
  • 05-02-2013
    FNFAL
    With as much snow as the route is getting this year, I think racing South to North (Nobo!) is the most logical option.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Yukon Alvin View Post
    Racing the Tour this year and going south to north because of the heat, would rather do New Mexico early June than mid July. I've studied the profile on the ACA maps and it comes out pretty even for elevation. If you have a possitive attitude the wind is always at your back... right? :)

  • 05-03-2013
    Yukon Alvin
    Hey FNFAL,
    do you remember the direction of the dominent wind in New Mexico? Would love a tail wind, please, please!!
  • 05-04-2013
    Jeff Stevens
    I'm a huge fan of the Tour Divide race. I've never done it, but if I was I think I would go "traditional" and go North to South. Seems like I would want to earn Pie Town.
  • 05-07-2013
    VO2 Lax
    Going North to South, the traditional route after getting advise from veteran racers.
  • 05-20-2013
    1 Speed
    Tour Divide, North to South or South to North?
    I've done north-south (last year) but have heard south-north is harder due to prevailing winds.
  • 11-13-2013
    Saddle Up
    I have heard the opposite about the wind. Now that winter is coming it's the Northern wind that brings the cold. In the middle of summer it's hotter the farther south you go. The warm prevailing winds seem to be from the south. The weather here can truly suck in June, it's the wettest month of the year in Southern Alberta, we experienced the worst floods in history this year. August is spectacular in Alberta and British Columbia.

    We fly in to New Mexico July 1st 2014 and are riding home. We are taking 45-60 days.
  • 12-04-2013
    fastmtnbiker33w
    Winds in the southern part tend to blow from the west. BIG storm systems can cause issues and they usually start to show up in July. I'm doing NOBO this summer mainly because I live about 200 miles from Antelope Wells. I also want to avoid the heat (thought it's already hot as balls by June down here) and hopefully avoid ridiculous snowpack up north.
  • 12-14-2013
    fastezzie
    I rode it SoBo this year and am planning a NoBo in 2014. Banff is a much nicer destination than AW and I look forward to meeting some of the SoBo guys on the route.

    Still not sure though. The Grand Depart is pretty neat.
  • 12-21-2013
    SlowerThenSnot
    i think nothbound is a bit harder do to a few climbs, the wind coming out of the west most of the time through the basin and reversed cues if your using the maps can be tricky
  • 04-30-2016
    andrew k
    any other thoughts on this? anyone done both?
    N to S seems like better weather, better snow (less) and better finish but the potential for more headwinds.
  • 01-10-2018
    bwanajames
    1 Attachment(s)
    South to North sounds more appealing to me. It gives me the opportunity to start earlier in the season and avoid some desert heat, but equally important, avoid the monsoon rain cycles that turn New Mexico dirt roads into axle grease. And it gives time for snow to melt in the north country. Elevations at AW and Banff are both approximately 4,500 feet, so no advantage there.
    I struggled with the prevailing wind direction factor. Wyoming is the worst. It ranks 1st in the US with an annual average wind speed of 12.9 mph. But when I did some digging, the WY wind direction was SW as often as NW (based on where you are in the state). So it could be at your back/face equally Sobo or Nobo.
    I rode the Continental Divide Trail on a BMW 1150GS in 2016, and will be touring it in 2018 on a mountain bike. From my limited experience, New Mexico was the most desolate and challenging by far. And it will be nice to have hell behind me early.

    Attachment 1177262
  • 01-10-2018
    bwanajames
    1 Attachment(s)
    A lot more south winds in New Mexico in June, which means southbound riders will be battling headwinds. Advantage northbound.

    Attachment 1177263
  • 01-13-2018
    Ailuropoda
    I'm definitely going northbound on my next attempt in 2019. The Grand depart in Banff is fun but, now that I have learned a bit, I want to cut the weight of my bike and gear substantially for the next attempt. Definitely will need less clothing than starting in the unpredictable late Spring weather of Banff and Montana.

    I think a lot more people will be doing Northbound in the future. The high desert is hot but not oppressive in June...