Photos by Eddie Clark
Congratulations to 36-year-old Ulrich “Uba” Bartholmoes from Munich, Germany, who was the first person to cross the finish line of the 2023 Tour Divide! The rookie rolled into Antelope Wells at 10:23 a.m. local time on June 23rd with a race time of 14 days, 3 hours, and 23 minutes (14:03:23), making him the overall winner of this year’s 2,700-mile race. Equally as impressive, Ulrich now has the second-fastest time in Tour Divide history, second to the one and only Mike Hall, who finished his 2016 ride in 13 days, 22 hours, 51 minutes—a course record that still stands today.
Considering the amount of rain and mud the fastest riders experienced in Montana and Wyoming and the fact that Uba spent 12 hours stranded in a porta-potty due to impassable peanut butter mud in the Great Basin, it’s impressive that he almost achieved a sub-14-day ride.
Throughout the race, Uba and Justinas Leveika battled it out for first place and riding near one another much of the time. It was only in the last day and a half when Uba broke away and built up a substantial lead over Justinas, who was struggling with a broken pedal and a derailleur that could only be shifted by hand.
Uba rode a 2023 BMC Twostroke 01 One, a bike that was totally custom built with Beast Components XS30 Carbon rims wheels, a SON Dynamo hub, a SRAM Eagle XS Red Drivetrain (34T x 10-52T), a RockShox SID SL Select fork, and Beast Component drop bars. His Hutchinson Skeleton rear tire was looking terrifyingly bald toward the end of the race, as shown in the photo above, but somehow made it all the way to Antelope Wells.
Ulrich is no stranger to big ultra-endurance races, although this is his biggest win to date. Since 2019, the German has found success in quite a few bikepacking events, taking on 19 events and winning 14 of those. Just before this race, he finished the Unbound XL in third place while dealing with several mechanical issues. Congrats on an incredible finish, Uba!
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