We’re a little late on this one (waiting on photos and such); but better late than never. Back on January 5, 2018, Pete rolled into San Jose del Cabo, Mexico breaking the previous Baja Divide FKT record, which had been held by Lael Wilcox, by nearly two hours.
In setting the record, Pete rode a Why Cycles Wayward titanium 29+ bike set up with Maxxis Chronicle 3.0” tires, a rigid fork, and bags from Revelate Designs and Porcelain Rocket. Pete has an impressive distance-riding background, having competed 15 times in the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska, and winning that race seven of those times. He competed in and finished the inaugural Great Divide race that would later become the Tour Divide, and then attempted it 3 more times. In 2009, he was hit by a truck during one of these attempts and airlifted out of a remote area of New Mexico. After several years of recovery, Basinger is back to competing in high level ultra-endurance bikepacking events.
Pete started the Baja Divide ride somewhat under the radar. “I usually don’t like to talk about doing rides like this before doing them. I didn’t even tell people when I was starting this. Now that I think back, it was kind of a crazy thing,” said Basinger. “If something breaks or it rains you’re basically screwed. I had no margin of error [to get the record].” Overall, Pete’s ride could not have gone better. “I got really lucky. My alarm clock didn’t work the first few days so I overslept, but besides that it was really smooth.”
Pete was admittedly a bit underprepared for the ride, and he said two things in particular surprised him about the Baja Divide. First, “there was only 11 hours of daylight each day, so I was riding in the dark for about 7 hours per day.” Second, “the dogs.” With a bit of a chuckle, Basinger continued. “There are multiple small farming communities that you ride through on the route. These small towns had guard dogs everywhere, and they didn’t like seeing me on a bike in the middle of the night. If you look at any of my photos, I have a large stick on my handlebars. I got attacked by these huge German Shepherds about 5 times a day, and the stick is the only thing that kept them from nipping me. I never actually hit one, but the stick was good defense.” He laughed again and said, “but they kinda kept me awake with all the adrenaline.”
Pete praised Why’s Wayward 29+ titanium bike that got him through. “The shaped tubes make this frame really laterally stiff even while weighted down, and the titanium frame was super nice for soaking up road chatter and bumps for 1600 miles. The bike and equipment worked perfectly the entire ride.”
Between eating crunched up chips and refried beans from gas stations, wishing he had chosen a suspension fork over a rigid fork, trying to communicate in a foreign language, and wearing the same pair of Why Cycles bike shorts the entire time, Pete had a “crazy, terrifying, super lucky experience. The people were incredibly friendly, the terrain was wild and constantly changing, my bike and equipment worked great, and now I have an itch to do more ultra-endurance events in 2018.”
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