12th June 2019
#FastFarGnar | TCR TO TOUR DIVIDE
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.
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.
FROM TCR TO TOUR DIVIDE
Dom Mason | Mason Cycles Founder & Designer
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.
FOLLOWING THE RACE
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.
GO JOSH GO!!!