Ryter rides the thin line

Photo courtesy of Bill Ryter

Jarral Ryter rides near Jackson Lake in Wyoming during the Tour Divide. It’s a annual endurance mountain bike race along the Continental Divide from Alberta, Canada, to Antelope Wells, N.M. Ryter finished the 2,750-mile race in sixth-place.

By Bill Ryter
Special to the Journal

Jarral Ryter, a Mancos native, and graduate of Fort Lewis College and University of Colorado, finished the Tour Divide mountain bike race on Tuesday, June 28.

Ryter came in sixth-place at 18 days, 12 hours and 18 minutes. He averaged 150 miles a day for the 2,750-mile race, which is completely self-supported and follows the Continental Divide.

The Tour Divide route starts in Banff, Alberta, Canada, and finishes at Antelope Wells, N.M. The route is never more than 40 miles from the Continental Divide, and is 80 percent on dirt and gravel roads, 10 percent on single track trails and 10 percent on paved roads. Much of the race is remote and supply points are far apart. Racers encounter bears, moose, elk, deer and camp out in the forest many nights.

The race is challenging for everyone and that was no exception to Ryter. He is Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic. Ryter had to keep his blood sugar at normal levels, while he was pedaling 12 to 15 hours a day over remote mountain passes and across four states. He had to be sure to carry enough food and water to last through the mountains of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, and the deserts of New Mexico.

For much of the race, Ryter rode alone, as he was ahead of 100 of the other riders. He slept on the ground under a thin tarp and ate fast food when he came to a town.

For a view of the race and participants, go to tourdivide.org/leaderboard, or Google “Tour Divide” and click “Leaderboard.”

Ryter rode the Tour Divide to raise money for diabetes research to hopefully find a cure for Type 1 diabetes, which afflicts thousands of children and young people. His goal to raise $3,000 was reached and Ryter’s goal of showing Type 1 diabetics that they can accept challenges, was also reached.

For more information or to donate to Juvenile Diabetes Research, go to livethinline.blogspot.com or crowdrise.com/race.

Ryter and his wife, Anne, and children Lila and Julian, live in Gunnison, where they work at Western State College.

Ryter has competed in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race three times, finishing 28, 32 and 32 out of 1,500 participants. Other races Ryter has conquered are the Vapor Trail 125-mile mountain bike race, the Gunnison Growler 75-mile race and the Colorado Trail Race from Denver to Durango, which is 500 miles of hike a bike through the Rocky Mountains. Ryter finished fourth in the CTR at five days, five hours. He has also competed in cross-country ski races.

Ryter’s next challenge is to plan and coordinate with Western State the first ever West Elk Bicycle Classic. It’s a 130-mile road bike race from Gunnison to Crested Butte. For more information, go to western.edu/westelkbicycleclassic.com or visit facebook.com/westelkbc.

Ryter attempted the grueling Tour Divide, and finished with courage and determination.

Not bad for a diabetic.

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