Over the weekend, Andy Leveto took first place at the inaugural Dark Divide 300 race in Washington, finishing the 330-mile route in just 31 hours and 56 minutes, setting a new fastest known time (FKT). Find details and learn more about first-place women’s finisher Meaghan Hackinen’s ride here…

The Dark Divide 300 is a challenging mixed-terrain cycling route that traverses the expansive ancestral lands of the Squaxin Island Tribe, Nisqually Tribe of Indians, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, through what is known commonly as southern Cascade Mountain Range in Washington. The route begins in Olympia on the territory of the Steh-Chass band of the Squaxin Island Tribe, overlooking the southern tip of the Salish Sea, and heads southeast into the Cascadian hinterlands via the Elbe Hills State Forest. It then leads riders deep into the backcountry through a combination of unmaintained and forgotten forest roads and seldom-traveled scenic byways until reaching the Dark Divide Roadless Area, one of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes on the continent.

2023 dark divide 300 fkt

The inaugural grand depart was last Thursday, and nearly 30 riders lined up to take on the route. It looks like all the riders are off the course now, which includes a new overall fastest known time (FKT) as well as a women’s FKT, which comes about a month after Jan Heine of Rene Herse Cycles set a blazing-fast time of 37 hours and 34 minutes during his individual time trial. As part of the 2023 grand depart, Andy Leveto took first place and managed to shave off about six hours from Jan’s time with a finish time of 31 hours and 56 minutes. Here’s what Andy had to say: “Wow! What a ride! This route is relentless, the miles are hard-earned but the views and solitude make it worthwhile. Juniper Ridge at sunset was the highlight of my ride; it is truly beautiful up there.”

  • 2023 dark divide 300 fkt
  • 2023 dark divide 300 fkt

Meaghan Hackinen snagged second place overall and set a women’s FKT with a time of 32 hours and 16 minutes. The organizers asked her for some words, and here’s what she shared: “The Dark Divide 300 was simultaneously gritty and gorgeous, unforgiving, and incredibly rewarding. I pre-rode the course over five days and, based on my average speed, went into the grand depart with the ambitious goal of a sub 35-hour finish. There were so many highs, and other than deep fatigue brought on by sleep deprivation and overtaxed muscles, few lows. After my only resupply in Packwood, I hit Juniper Ridge around sunset. My efforts were rewarded by stunning golden hour views before night rushed in, and I hiked the rest of the way through in the dark. The hardest part (other than forgetting my earbuds and having to listen to my own looping thoughts for 30+ hours) was staying motivated as I tunneled solo through the night without cell service to check the tracker. My legs were cooked by the time I hit the final series of climbs in Yacolt Burn State Forest, but I managed to keep the pedals turning and didn’t bail on any of the fast and loose descents.”

Congrats to everyone who participated at the inaugural Dark Divide 300. It’s going to be exciting to see how fast folks ride it next year!

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