Iohan Gueorguiev
Great Divide
Fernie, BC - Eureka, MT 280miles (segment distance, 435miles total)

In order to rejoin the main route and then take that detour over to Alberta, I rode up the dusty Lodgepole Road up Harvey Pass. Near the top the rear sidewall blew out, even with the fix it would be risky to keep going. Jim who runs the grader on that road was just going home and offered me a ride back to Fernie. Looks like there will be time to do some mountain biking around town for a day!!!

I wasn't super excited about riding 20 mostly uphill miles to where I was yesterday so I figured if any traffic comes up I can see if they have space for me and the bike. The first pickup did not. There was however a trailer and two quads, I put the bike up and hopped on one of the quads – what a ride! That day I met a wild firefighting crew working out of Butts Cabin and had two other cyclists stop there for the night.

Going up was tough but going down was another story. I am riding a full suspension Niner with Blackburn bikepacking gear as opposed to my old Surly with 4 panniers. Before I would have never in my wildest dreams thought of going down a curb while loaded but now I was flying down a wash road, occasionally turning off into the bushes on the side to slow down.

Some nice rolling hills took me further into Alberta and on the scenic highway 6 going into Waterton Lakes National Park. Unlike its American counterparts, Canadian parks don't offer much in terms of camping for cyclists. A night, with entry fee included would run me $60. I thought of all the pancakes, milkshakes and cookies I can get with that much money, so I rode out of the park and asked one of the ranchers if I can pitch my tent. No gravel patch in Waterton can beat this spot.

The main reason for visiting Waterton was to go and see the CDT marker on the USA border, after all – I will be riding the hiking trail come Lincoln, Montana. Then as I rode up to the trailhead I thought "I am not going to hike 8 miles to see a concrete post, I want to go to Montana!"

On the way out of the park I stopped by the visitor center. A trail over Akamino Pass caught my eye, which then turns into a road with 5 magic words written beside it: "40 km to Flathead Road". The ranger told me I can ride the trail and if I do my homework get to the Flathead. What homework? I rode out of the park to the ranch where I left my gear, thinking that I'll just go into Montana but once I packed it all up I knew that I really didn't have a choice. How bad can 40km of not having a map be?

What came after crossing over in BC was Hail, not once, not twice but three times. That didn't matter as I was on the most amazing single track I've ever been on. Some sunny breaks in between made for a great ride and after some route finding I was right on track to the Flathead and another night of glam-camping at Butts Cabin.

A day's ride over two mountain passes took me into Montana. Still a good chunk of the bike route remaining before I get to hop on the hiking trail.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Iohan Gueorguiev

Gear List

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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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