Lael Wilcox and Ulrich Bartholmoes are the first finishers of 2023 Tour Divide

On day 17 of the world's most iconic ultra bikepacking race, 17 riders have reached the U.S./Mexico border.

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At the 17 day mark of the Tour Divide, 17 riders have reached the U.S./Mexico border, including two women.

Tour Divide veteran Lael Wilcox was the first woman to complete the 2,745 mile journey from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, doing so in 16 days, 20 hours, and 17 minutes.

Read also: Dot watchin’ the Tour Divide

Katya Rakhmatulina, a first-time completer from California, was less than a day behind, at 17 days, 8 hours, and 48 minutes.

Although at times Wilcox was on pace to beat her 2015 record of 15 days, 10 hours, 59 minutes, the 36-year-old suffered from gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms around the two-week mark and took some time to rest and seek medical care.

Ulrich Bartholmoes of Germany was the first person to complete the race, with a remarkable time of 14 days, 3 hours, and 23 minutes. His time is the second-fastest time ever recorded; Mike Hall’s 2016 record of 13 days, 22 hours, and 51 minutes remains untouched.

Justinas Leveika of Lithuania, who like Bartholomoes has an extensive bikepacking race palmares but was a Tour Divide rookie, put in another sub-15 hour record, arriving to the border in 14 days, 16 hours, and 57 minutes.

Joe Nation of New Zealand was the third finisher.

The Tour Divide grand départ starts on the second Friday of June every year, and no year is the same in terms of conditions, weather, or competition. This year saw a more international field than ever. Women and non-binary riders made up 20 of the roughly 200 participants.

While there was less fresh snow to contend with in this year’s race, riders still encountered stubborn winter leftovers on high passes. Rain, and then mud proved to be an issue in Montana and Wyoming, so much so that the three leaders spent 12 hours waiting in a porta-potty for the road to dry out in the Great Basin.

Unfortunately, the same wind that riders needed to dry out muddy roads seemed bound to stay, in the form of demoralizing and relentless headwinds, as many pushed through Colorado and New Mexico.

Nevertheless, there are still around 110 riders out there (some 70 have ‘scratched,’ or dropped out) — follow their dots here.

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