Two Ahwatukee Foothills residents will soon embark on what should be the most physically intense ride of their life.
Jon Pettit and Taylor Lideen will be leaving from the city of Banff in Alberta, Canada on June 10 and will ride their bikes across the entire United States and end up in Antellope Wells, N.M. They expect the journey will take approximately three weeks to complete and they will ride 10 hours per day or more to complete the 2,745-mile journey.
"It's going to be a battle of keeping your mind in the game," Pettit said.
For the event, called the Tour Divide, the riders will take on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which takes them through five states and more that 200,000 feet of climbing. They will carry their supplies such as sleeping bags and a tent in containers on their bikes and will be camping out most of the time throughout the race.
"We will be completely unsupported," Pettit said. "We will have no help except for the communities we happen to pass through."
The trail, Pettit said, will be 90 percent dirt. It takes them through the full spectrum of terrain.
"It's hard because we will be going through beautiful countryside and we probably won't be able to stop and look around," Lideen said. "It is a race but everyday is a new day."
The residents both work at South Mountain Cycles in Ahwatukee Foothills and have been mountain-biking seriously for years. Lideen, 21, a Desert Vista graduate, recently completed the Arizona 300 Trail Race, which took place earlier this month. He would be the youngest ever to complete this race if and when he finishes.
They both say that even with all their combined experience this race will be the most difficult.
"One person has died during this race before because they pushed themselves too hard," Pettit said. "I think some people might romanticize the race but we are looking at it logically. We will be testing our equipment beforehand and making sure everything is in great shape."
There will be 84 riders going from Canada to New Mexico and 14 doing the opposite trail. They chose this route to take advantage of the elements.
"There is a strategy to coming out of Colorado and using the headwinds," Lideen said.
Pettit and Lideen invite community members to follow them live during the race by visiting the website, www.TourDivide.org. They will be carrying a GPS tracking device with them at all times.
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