Iohan Gueorguiev
Great Divide
Helena, MT to Jackson, MT Helena, MT to Jackson, MT 290 miles

It was time to hit the trail, the Continental Divide Trail and I did so at Priest pass. The first bits were steep jeep roads and involved more pushing than riding but great views and fun downhills followed. I spent most of the day on amazing singletracks, well graded logging roads and occasionally a steep "pushbike" jeep trails.

Day two was spent mostly on glorious singletracks with freshly cut deadfall, you could see the sawdust. When I intersected with the GDMBR near Butte I decided to take it and visit the town. Last year when I was here I only stopped at Burger King and then left. I wanted to do something different this time... and stopped at McDonalds. A two hour ride out of town took me to an amazing ridge, complete with a sunset, cows mooing in the distance and a moonlit sky.

I met two cyclist who had just done Fleecer ridge, "Took us two hours to do two miles," they said. Sadly I won’t be going over that way. When there was actual trail it was amazing and when it was a jeep road it was steep and slow going. The best part was riding down an old road overgrown with grass and ripe strawberries, no signs of any traffic here for years. From hitting the pavement it was a 30 mile ride to Wisdom where there were two options for dinner: Pizza or burgers. Thinking on my feet, I ordered one pizza, and then went to the other restaurant to get fries, brownies and pie.

The ride up to the CDT was well graded and passed fire and pine beetle ravaged forests. From the top, it was smooth sail for a bit. I met the first through hiker: John Z. He has been doing 40 miles a day, 6 days at a time, all on 6000 calories worth of nuts and candy. "I just walk until it gets dark and when I open my eyes in the morning I start walking again."

What came next was incredibly steep climbs, spectacular views and after one wipeout - downhills that I had to walk my bike or in the best case riding slowly with the brakes fully on. At 8pm I found a flat spot to camp.

A 5 hour hike-a-bike took me to the top of a pass and into the alpine. Even when rideable the trail was full of stones. At 5pm, after covering 23miles according to the GPS (I think it was more like 10.) I got to a lake and decided to stop. I got visited by Kent and his two llamas - Salvador and Aspen. He had chosen to travel with them because it gives him much more flexibility and he can stop and stay for a bit if needed.

My shoes which had some signs of wear were now falling apart. As much as I'd like to keep going I can't do this barefoot. I patched them as best as I could and took on a jeep trail going downhill from the lake, the proven "follow the bigger road" tactic would surely get me to town. From Jackson I'll do a bit of the GDMBR until I grab new shoes at Lima and then rejoin the CDT later on.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Iohan Gueorguiev

Gear List

- My Ride -

- My Blackburn Gear -

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Iohan Gueorguiev
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for the upcoming adventure? After starting the GDMBR in mid-October and having to hop out in December at Colorado, I always wondered if I would ever get a second chance. Later I learned of the first bike ride of the Continental Divide Trail and also wondered, how cool that would be. During a rather cold January in Utah I heard about the Blackburn Ranger program, connected the bits and pieces and there was only one logical choice: apply to be on the team and bikepack the CDT.
  • Have your traveled by bike in the past? In 2013 I crashed down a hill on my road bike which left me with a broken collar bone, two broken hands and a 3 month recovery period. To make it through I thought of biking from Vancouver to Ontario. So I did it, then Toronto to Halifax in winter. I was hooked, in 2014 I took time off school and set off to bike from the Arctic Ocean to British Columbia. And then, Alaska to Argentina. I've made it as far as Mexico and am looking forward to riding the CDT and continuing down south as part of the Blackburn team.
  • What is your goal for the route? I have few ideas, most importantly: have fun, stop and smell the flowers (oh yeah - it won't be winter so there actually will be flowers), find out more about the CDT trail hiking community, do as much as CDT as possible, find time to ride the Colorado trail and spend some time in Moab, Utah. I'll also be filming on the way (nothing fancy) and continuing the "SEE THE WORLD" series on which follow my bike trip south. Video is such a great way to try and share the wild and unpredictable story of the open road!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? One always has some expectations with trips like these but the moment you set a wheel on the dirt it all changes. I want to see how bikepacking compares to fully loaded touring and see if it's something I can adopt and continue doing for the rest of my around-the-world bike trip. Aside from that - create memories, make new friends and meet old ones, explore and get lost in the Rockies.
  • What's in my bag? Buff, Gopro, Alaska License plate,Turtle (which I had on my first bike trip, and ever since)

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