Keywords: 27.5,27.5+,big bike rides,gravel bike,gravel ride,open

The Peru Great Divide -pushing the WI.DE. to the limit

Andy Kessler - 18-Oct-2019
Once in a while we do feature a guest blog. Here comes one from Axel Carion founder of bikingman a ultra distance race series.

You might remember a previous adventure when Axel crossed South America in 49 days and broke a world record. 

Here we go with his latest adventure:

"250 days and counting, this is how much I love the Andes mountains. From crossing the entire continent on a touring bike to coming back with an OPEN UP in 2017 to beat the world record time for crossing it on a bicycle - I have been fascinating by this landscape. 

It's been 5 years since I had the privilege of exploring the roads and tracks of this territory. There was one stretch though, that always stayed on my mind: the Peruvian Great Divide. I failed twice to ride it! Once in 2015 when I was touring with 60 kg panniers and once in 2018 with my Open UP, accompanied with Rodney Soncco (Peru) and Nicolas Meunier (France). It had been a massive failure. I was unfit and riding my 50/34 – 11/32 road bike configuration with 40mm tires. At that time, it took us 7 days to ride 450km and we were all destroyed by the altitude and the conditions.

2019 was the last attempt I would make! This time I was prepared, this time I had the right setup with an extreme WI.DE configuration and the right gears.

A video about the setup and specifications you can find here:

 Picture this: 1,900 km stretch with more than 90% of unpaved roads, 35 passes over 4,000m above sea level and 40,000m of elevation gain. No one had ever attempted to ride this stretch on gravel bikes. Most adventurers who ride the PGD are either riding a mountain or a touring bike. This was the perfect target to aim for with my friend Jonas Deichmann (German extreme adventurer). The PGD route was originally discovered and designed by the English couple Niel and Hariett Pike and it went from the Sierra blanca to the Apurimac region. 

We added to the original route, a 400 km unexplored stretch that allowed us to start from Cusco imperial city and ride to the footsteps of the Sierra blanca. It took us 16 days of super high altitude riding to complete the Peruvian Great Divide. The 2.4 tires which slowed me down in the uphill, were flying in the descents! It has been the best gravel time of our lives with Jonas. There wasn’t a single easy stretch, but the entire course was mind blowing. If there is one gravel expedition to be dreamt and completed in this world: this is the PGD"

And here is the gallery. All photos credit to @ospreyimagery (Gavin Kaps)


Comments & Questions

Please do share the configuration of the build on this epic ride.
Post #1 of 4. Posted by Kevin on 18-Oct-2019 10:46:03 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19821]
you can see it explained here:
Post #4 of 4. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 28-Oct-2019 09:06:47 GMT in reply to post #1 [19821<--19833]
I would be very curious to know what the things are that are velcroed(?) to the frame at the 4 locations where maybe cantilever brakes would be located (if that was the braking system of course).
Post #2 of 4. Posted by greg on 18-Oct-2019 18:18:52 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19822]
They are lights. Bike configuration here https://youtu.b...CdfUw
Post #3 of 4. Posted by Agent71 on 19-Oct-2019 17:26:59 GMT in reply to post #2 [19822<--19824]