Nick Legan
Great Divide
The puddle Many, many things occurred over the course of the 286.6 miles from Seeley Lake to Polaris, Montana, but only one of them really stands out: The puddle.

It wasn’t anything special to look at. In fact, that’s exactly how I got into trouble; I underestimated that particular pooling of water and it got the better of me. Leaving Helena I had climbed and climbed dirt roads eventually finding myself on a doubletrack/ATV trail heading up Lava Mountain. I was listening to an audiobook, alone with my thoughts and happy with the progress I was making. My trail friends were ahead and behind me.

I had already ridden through or around many puddles that day. This one had tracks to the left side. So without thinking to test its depth I rolled into it, my front wheel quickly sinking into a seemingly bottomless, brown quagmire. Now unstable, I fell to my right, completely submerging myself and half my bike in what smelled like a fermented vat of wildlife excrement. It wasn’t a warm morning and the water was so cold that it took my breath away. Jumping up as quickly as possible, I assessed my situation. I was soaked, along with all my clothes, including those that I had removed and put into my jersey pockets.

I rolled up the trail, leaned my bike against a tree and stripped off my gloves, jersey, arm warmers and base layer. I dug into my seat pack, happy that I stored my extra clothing in dry bags, and pulled out a long sleeve wool undershirt, a wool beanie and my rain jacket. With a pile of wet clothes at my feet, I laid out my wind jacket and rolled everything inside it, then strapped it to my seat pack. Coincidentally, I had done laundry for the first time the night before. Looked like I’d be doing it again; it smelled horrible!

As I remounted my bike, relatively dry and happy with my backup clothes, I smiled. I had everything I needed: clothes, food, water, shelter and a bit of energy.


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Nick Legan

Gear List

- My Ride -







Nick Legan's profile picture
Nick Legan
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have you traveled by bike in the past? I grew up racing bicycles and after growing weary of criteriums, intervals, heart rate and power output numbers, I started looking for new cycling adventures. The Dirty Kanza 200 opened my eyes to my own ability to ride distances farther than I had previously attempted. With encouragement from friends at Salsa, QBP, and my wonderfully supportive girlfriend, I decided to take on the Great Divide Route. Now I’ll see how much further I can take my cycling.
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? It’s easy to reply with a number. My goal is to finish in 20 days. But more important to me is how I spend those days. I’d like to find moments for introspection, reflection, projection and hopefully find moments to just be.


  • Warm Gloves DeFeet Woolie gloves
  • DOWN JACKET Patagonia Ultralight down jacket with hood
  • Warm Gloves DeFeet Woolie gloves
  • SPOT TRACKER Spot tracker (great insurance policy)

- Great Divide Milestones -