Decidedly not for sprinters, this battle royale braves mountain passes and windswept valleys of the Continental Divide from hinterlands of the Canadian Rockies to Badlands of the Mexican Plateau.


The 2019 Tour Divide kicks off on Friday 14th June, and the original #Masonite Josh Ibbett is racing it.

We caught up with Josh as he was completing his last proper ride before the 2745mile epic. Its THE ultimate bikepacking route & race.

A couple of weeks ago we rode out West towards Amberley where we had a rough plan to meet with Josh, accompanying him back East along the South Downs Way. This wasn't necessarily a training ride, but more of a final systems check before the race. The previous day Josh had ridden the Ridgeway NorthEast > SouthWest finishing near Winchester. 

On and off the bike, Josh has a captivating air that puts you at ease and fills with you confidence. In fact, he was a little late (1hr!) because he kept stopping to chat with mates he bumped into along the SDW!

Let's take a look back in time, thinking about the journey from TCR to Tour Divide, because the shape of MASON-today is intrinsically connected with the adventures of Josh.


Dom Mason  |  Mason Cycles Founder & Designer


In 2015, a good friend of mine Josh Ibbett, said he was going to have a second try at the Trans Continental Race or 'TCR' and could we supply a Mason Definition for him? Of course we could! Josh became our first supported rider.
2015 was a big year for the TCR, ultra-distance and adventure riding was starting to make waves and this year the race blipped on many people's radar, 'Dot watching' became a compulsive pastime! The race took in some serious off-road/gravel sections and mountain climbs/descents and after covering 4000km in just a whisker under 10 days, Josh WON the TCR 2015!
This became a defining moment for me and for Mason Cycles and was really the start of our #FastFar ethos.
The TCR win ignited something and soon Josh was off riding his Definition on rocky trails in the Pyrenees. He had wedged a set of 33mm CX tyres in there but the bike was at its limit when things got rougher and steeper. We started talking about the ideal Multi-Terrain machine for FastFar adventuring and the Bokeh 'AdventureSport' concept was born.
Josh's next plan was to ride his Bokeh around the world. One evening he WhatsApped me from his bivvy in the Mexican desert, his bike was loaded with kit and extra water and he had been travelling through deep sand and large rocks. Once again, he was reaching the limits of his bike, this is what we like! Funnily enough, around the same time, I was smashing down blue runs in the Alps at Les Carroz on my BokehTi and was reaching limits in other ways! Josh wrote some ideas on a torn scrap of rice box from his tent in the desert and work on the Mason 'InSearchOf' commenced.
Now we have both reached another very exciting and possibly defining moment. Josh has touched down in Calgary Canada, and is riding to Canmore en-route to Banff and the start of the world's longest and most challenging off-road cycling route, the incredible Tour Divide. Josh has long had this ride in his sights and I designed the new Mason InSearchOf with extreme rides like this firmly in mind.
I feel a deep sense of personal pride to have shared the journey so far with Josh and I am very happy to have supplied the bike to help him follow his dream.
The journey continues and we'll be watching that dot!

Bike Check

It was near here that Josh ticked over 200 off-road miles, firing on all cylinders and a sweet running rig. So, we had a brief pause to check out his InSearchOf.

This InSearchOf is pretty much as per our factory Force1x build, but with a few ultra-race spec changes.

Starting from the front, the first obvious additions are the pair of Deda Superzero TT 'bars clipped onto the factory spec Ritchey VentureMax WCS, to offer a better position to battle prolonged headwinds but, most importantly, a more comfortable position, resting tired wrists and fore-arms over the long gravel stints in the Tour Divide.

He's got some fast wheels too. As Hunt's first employee and heading-up their 'Beyond' project, of course he's rolling on specially built carbon wheelset designed for the sharp-end of this type of bikepacking race. He's running C-Bear Cermaic bearings, WTB Nano 29 x 2.1" tubeless tyres and featuring a dynamo front hub.

The 'Mason Shutter' front fender is unique to our InSearchOf bike and is designed to help protect the rider, packs and headset from dirt and water that get thrown off the big tyres in wet conditions. This is especially important on extremely long off-road rides such as the Tour Divide and this year could be a wet one! The load platform at the front, helps to free up space on the bars, will take 2kg and has multiple slots for strapping on a load. Josh will use this for an additional 2l bottle in the long, dry and isolated stretches of the ride.

A full helping of custom Italian MissGrape bags complete his set-up, carrying his DHB Ultra riding kit. The complete set-up weighs around 18kg and Josh has packed sensibly, so he can ride consistently through all weather conditions.


The next 2 weeks of dot-watching will be thoroughly nail-biting and exciting racing, and whatever happens we're honoured to be supporting our friend Josh on his journey.

Engage with your inner dot-watcher and follow the entire race HERE. Expect to stay tuned into this for around 14 days.

You'll also be able to follow Josh' progress in greater detail on his IG channel. We'll do our best to keep all of his news at the forefront of our social media, and you can track this on the exciting new HUNT Beyond too.