ATASCADERO — Atascadero resident Brian Lucido raced in the grueling Great Divide Mountain Bike Race a few weeks ago and left a champion.
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Race starts in Canada and ends near the Mexican border in New Mexico. The race lasted 14 days and 23 hours and in this race, once the clock starts, it doesn’t stop until the race is over.
Lucido raced through the most extreme conditions imaginable. His route was redirected due to fires, heavy snowfall, and even a bridge closure, but his confidence never wavered. This was Lucido’s first time racing in the event, and he only became interested about a year ago.
“Well I found out about it a little over a year ago when I saw that that guy Josh Kato had broken the record,” Lucido said. “It was in a lot of different news outlets and so I sat down and kind of did the math and I thought I could beat that, and that's what inspired me partly to go for it.”
Lucido trained a year and a half for the race with the record in mind. As the big day approached he realized that breaking the record this year would be improbable due to extreme conditions.
“This obviously wasn't the year to do it because we had fiery routes and a huge re-route and lots and lots of snow, so it wasn't really realistic this year, and I knew that before we started,” he said.
Lucido stated that the race is generally around 2,760 miles, but this year it was closer to 2,800 due to all the re-routes. This race is extremely grueling and every racer’s strategy is different and up to them. With a race of this distance, strategy plays a major role. Racers have to decide when the most efficient times to ride are. Depending on the state they are in, riders will race throughout the night because it's too hot during the day. Some riders choose to sleep three to five hours a night, and others try to keep pushing on with as little sleep as possible.
“I rode all through the night on night six and I noticed that my performance went down the second day without sleep,” Lucido said. “I made up all this ground while the other guys are sleeping, so that was cool. But during the next day with all the lack of sleep I started slowing down, so it ended up being kind of a wash.”
Lucido only tried riding through the night once before realizing the value of rest. Strategy, and the ability to adapt in a race of this length can be as important as physical ability.
“It was kind of on the uneventful side because I prepared so much, so there wasn't like a whole lot of drama,” he said.
Lucido’s extreme training led to supreme confidence in the race. Even when pushed a little, his confidence in himself and his adaptability kept him on top.
“There was this super strong rider, a fantastic athlete from Belgium, he was riding really strong,” Lucidio said, “but I never doubted that I could beat him because I could tell that he wasn't really liking the physical conditions. He even told me one time I came here to ride my bike, not to walk it.”
Lucido mentioned that at times, the racers would be carrying their bikes through feet of snow due to the terrible conditions they encountered. He ended the race with 25-hour stretch of riding, crossing the finish line around 6 a.m. on the morning of June 24, a champion.