When Shane first told us he wanted to ride his mountain bike from Canada to Mexico, our first reaction was, like most people, to think he may have been a little bit crazy. But then, adventures like this aren’t all that unusual to us here at ioMerino, so it wasn’t long before we were sending some gear his way to help him on his journey. We figured there’d be a fair mixture of weather out there on the trail, and we certainly weren’t wrong about that.

Many cyclists may still be in love with their lycra, but they’re slowly working out what other outdoor lovers have known for some time and getting with the program discovering the benefits of Merino. For those regular Zone readers, you will already know a bit about Shane and his partner Richelle’s experiences along the way (here and here), including our ‘mercy drop’ of gear when the weather really hit and they needed some extra protection from the elements.

(Richelle opted out of the trail nine weeks in and headed off on her own, more sedate adventure to Napa before rejoining Shane at the end of the trail.)

So let’s skip to the triumphant end with a few observations from Shane.

“In summary, the last 12 weeks or so have been absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful. The quiet nights and days, the quirky towns and the beautiful crazy mountains.”

Of course, like any epic adventure, the journey wasn’t without its challenges – including punctures courtesy of threaded Goat Head Thorn, also known by various other names including ‘bindii’, ‘devil’s thorn’ and, not surprisingly, ‘Puncture Vine’! “I think I had six punctures in one day” Shane explains, “and then another two or three the next day. And oh man does that Goat Head suck”.

The thorns may have gotten the better of him, but he thankfully managed to dodge at least one bear, one giant rattlesnake, and one particularly angry dog along the way. And, of course, he kept the elements at bay courtesy of his ioMerino.

Averaging 117kms and 1,300m of elevation a day, Shane says the trail was “everything and more than what I had imagined”. The last few days also served us some pretty serious storms, and while it probably wasn’t all that pleasant to ride through, it certainly makes for some good photos for the rest of us!

“The huge storms turned the trail into a quagmire but these things are beyond our control and learned to just roll with it” he said. “The storm at Elephant Butte; was absolutely spectacular verging on scary it was so close. The ground was shaking with each thunder clap and blinding lightning strike.”

Lightning over Elephant Butte, New Mexico, USA

And Shane’s final word? “The trail is a must do for anyone – whether you are a road rider, mountain biker, or just a weekend warrior. You MUST find a way to do this.”

Next up for Shane is a trail running and hiking tour of New Zealand’s North Island so if you’d like to join him for that slightly more sensible, but no less epic adventure, you’ll find the details here.

(NOTE: Those who prefer to make their way on foot can do so along the route more comely known as the Continental Divide. You may want to allow a little extra time if you plan on doing the whole thing in one hit.)

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