Wilson man sets record on 2,400-mile bike race
By Keith I. Cozzens
July 2, 2007
Wilson resident and endurance athlete Jay Petervary on Saturday won a 2,490-mile self-supported mountain bike race from the border of Canada to the border of Mexico.
Petervary, who celebrated his 35th birthday while on the trail, set a new course record for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race, finishing in 15 days, 4 hours, 18 minutes. Petervary eclipsed the record held by elite mountain biker Mike Curiak — who set the record in 2004 but didn’t race this year — of 16 days, 57 minutes.
The fourth annual Great Divide race started at Port of Roosville, Mont., at the U.S.-Canada border on June 15 and contoured south along the Continental Divide to the finish at Antelope Wells, N.M., at the Mexico border. The race ended in anticlimactic fashion for Petervary, who was greeted by one U.S. Customs and Border Protection worker who gave him documentation of the date and time.
“I arrived at Antelope Wells at 4:18 p.m. Saturday with absolutely nobody here,” Petervary told race director Tom Purvis, who logged all the racers’ daily phone messages on the race’s Web site, www.greatdividerace.com. “There’s one gentleman here that let me in to get a bunch of cold pops, let me use the bathroom and gave me some information about a shuttle in the morning to try and get to Demming (N.M.) sometime tomorrow. But the Great Divide has treated me well.”
About half the 20-rider field had dropped out of the race by the time Petervary finished. Petervary’s closest competitor throughout the race, Matt Lee, who won the event in 2005 and 2006, was about a day behind Petervary when Petervary finished Saturday. Riding through five states, the race, which is touted as one of the world’s hardest, climbed more than 200,000 feet over varied terrain.
“I’ve grown accustomed to hearing Jay Petervary’s confident voice booming into his messages,” Purvis wrote on the race’s Web site. “When I met him in Salida (Colo.) when he came into Absolute Bikes, he was focused, strong and to the point.”
For more details about Petervary’s historic win, see the Sports section of Wednesday’s Jackson Hole News&Guide.