A Mind-bending Baja Divide, by Gabriel Amadeus
With little preparation, Gabriel Amadeus spent a month on the Baja Divide as part of the 100+ rider grand depart. Judging by this mesmerizing set of photos, he found far more than he expected along the way…
For someone like me who’s lucky enough to geek out and plan bike adventures all year long, the Baja Divide was a special kind of treat. I had been kicking myself for missing out on the group “DFL the Divide” ride last summer, so when the callout for Nicholas Carman and Lael Wilcox’s new trans-Baja route was announced I didn’t need much convincing. I signed up knowing I would finally be escaping Portland’s dismal cloud during its darkest winter hours.
As someone who usually obsesses over maps and gear, I prepared surprisingly little. This was my vacation after all, and I’ll be damned if I was going to work too hard at it. Surprisingly, this (lack of) strategy proved itself in the field. Nick and Lael have been snowbirding by bike in Baja for three years doing all the obsessing over route details for us and have published an amazing resource for the route. I camped in a tennis court in downtown San Diego the night before our 7am mass start and began to read the route guide and look at the GPS tracks in detail for the first time. The reality of spending the next month on my bicycle was finally catching up with me.
I could wax on about the incredibly diverse flora and fauna of Baja, the mind-blowing tacos, the kindness and generosity of its people, or the sky-melting sunrises and sunsets—but what has stuck with me the most from the trip is the inclusive and supportive environment of roughly 100 people at the group start. People from all backgrounds and experiences came together—mostly as strangers—and split ways a week, a month, or two months later with warm embraces and laments of an adventure ended too soon. Luckily, if our stories and exaltations around the nightly campfires were any indication I imagine many of our paths will cross again.