Lachlan Morton to attempt to break The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route record

The EF Education-EasyPost rider is aiming to beat the record set by the late Mike Hall in 2016

Lachlan morton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lachlan Morton is about to begin his latest ultra-endurance challenge: The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

The most famous of all bikepacking courses, the EF Education-EasyPost rider will set off from Banff, Alberta, Canada on August 29, and is expecting to reach the final destination of Antelope Wells, New Mexico, United States, on September 11.

In 2016, the late Briton Mike Hall completed the 2,696 miles (4,339km) in 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes, and Morton - who in the past few years has undertaken a series of challenges including the Alt Tour in which he completed the route of the 2021 Tour de France and all its transfers - is targeting a new fastest known time.

The Australian, 31, will ride from Canada to the Mexican border completely unsupported, buying and cooking his own food, and fixing his own mechanicals. 

"It’s not about whether a record will get broken. It’s about seeing how fast I can do it in a way that is mentally and physically sustainable," Morton said on the eve of his attempt.

"The Great Divide Mountain Bike route is probably the most well known off-road bikepacking route in the world, so once I started getting into bikepacking, it was straight on the bucket list of routes that I wanted to do.

“I have been trying to do it for the last few years and it has just never worked out, but there is a little window in the calendar this year that I can go and ride it. It is obviously super long with lots of remote areas or stretches; it is going to be just a huge challenge, but I think it will be a pretty enjoyable one. 

"There is a lot of the northern States that I haven’t seen, so I think it will be pretty special to explore all of that by bike.

“It is a little bit scary. Anytime you take on something like this, it is good to have a healthy respect or fear for it because there are a lot of things that could go wrong and probably will go wrong.

"Just being aware of that, being prepared with equipment, and also mentally, will hopefully help turn that fear into a bit more excitement.”

Morton will be followed by a camera crew - headed up by his brother - with his team documenting his journey on a daily basis. 

In a change to previous ultra-endurance rides, Morton is prioritising more sleep, with him imposing 12 hours of sleep on himself every 48 hours. He explained: "I want to do this on a pretty good amount of sleep every night for a few reasons. The main one: I want to enjoy the riding, and it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy what you are doing when you are running on minimal sleep, for me anyway, because you are not as present and aware. I don’t want to enter that space. 

"Also just to be safe, I think that your decision-making and general awareness are pretty diminished if you are running on minimal sleep. I have never ridden this route before. It is a big undertaking, and to try and do all of that while pushing on minimal sleep, I think would be kind of reckless for me. 

"But I still enjoy pushing big distances and mileage, so I am going to be — while I am riding — trying to cover as much distance as I can and trying to do it in a time that is as fast as I can while still sleeping.” 

Morton will be riding a Cannondale Scalpel HT, and will be raising money for Adventure For All, a non-for-profit organisation that empowers individuals with down syndrome, autism and other intellectual and development exceptionalities through outdoor adventures.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.