He’s the First to Through-Bike the Continental Divide Trail in Years

Kurt Refsnider recently completed a 3-month mountain bike ride along the Continental Divide trail. We dive in to understand what makes this is such a big deal.
File photo: Lee Lau.

Kurt Refsnider is a cycling coach and the founder of Bikepacking Roots, an organization that advocates for bikepacking and the environment. He’s the only person to have won all three events in the Triple Crown of Bikepacking, and he recently became one of only a few people to have biked the entire Continental Divide Trail (CDT), a 3,300-mile route stretching from Canada to Mexico.  

  • Are you glad to be off the trail after three months of riding?
  • How is the Continental Divide Route different than the 2700-mile Great Divide Route that runs from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico?
  • How is the CDT currently managed and administered? Are there groups working to connect the dots?
  • What does it mean to be a responsible bikepacker? 
  • How did you approach sections of the route that go through Wilderness areas where bikes aren’t allowed? 
  • Are there communities along the route that benefit from the CDT running through town? Is there much overlap with towns along the Great Divide Route?
  • Which sections would you want to revisit to ride without all the gear on your bike?
  • How will the Biking on Long Distance Trails (BOLT) Act help trails like the CDT? What is the latest status of the legislation? 
  • Were you surprised that it took three months to complete the trail? Why isn’t the CDT more popular with mountain bikers?
  • What does a trail assessment look like? What are you hoping to do with the info you collected on your CDT ride?
  • How was your bike setup different for this ride compared to what you might use on the Great Divide route? Was going full suspension the right call for such a long ride?
  • What’s your next adventure?

Connect with Kurt and learn more at ultramtb.net and bikepackingroots.org. Photos provided by Kurt Refsnider.

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