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Lachlan Morton set out to take on the Tour Divide route with a condition that added an extra twist to his attempt at delivering a speedy time over the 2,671-mile (4,298km) route – holding to a schedule which included a minimum of 12 hours of sleep in every 48 hours.
“It changed my mentality a lot,” said Morton in a Q&A released by his EF Pro Cycling team. “When I was riding, I’d be like, ‘alright, I’m up for it, I can push. I’ve recovered, and I need to get to this next spot, and then I’m going to relax again.’
“Normally, when I finish an effort like this, I’m still a bit anxious to keep moving, but I don’t have any of that this time because I had that sleep every day.”
In a pursuit where the clock never stops, sleep is often sacrificed in the chase for a fast time, but Morton delivered a scorching pace of 12 days, 12 hours and 21 minutes despite the length of his rest stops.
The stopped time data on Morton’s tracker came in at about 30 percent, while two prominent examples of riders who have delivered winning times in the annual Tour Divide, such as the holder of the record for the fastest known time, Mike Hall, and most recent winner Ulrich Bartholmoes. Both had stopped times under 25 percent. Hall finished the race with a time of 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes, while Bartholmoes spent 14 days, three hours and 23 minutes to make his way from Banff, Canada, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
“There were only two times when I felt like I was sleep-deprived,” said Morton. “The first one was before I got to Silverthorne because it was an ambitious push. There was one hour where I was like, ‘Right, I want to sleep, but I need to keep riding.’ And just remembering that feeling from previous ultras, I was like, ‘Oh, this sucks. I’m glad I’m not experiencing this every day.’
“And then the second one was the other morning when I’d lost probably half an hour of sleep trying to get my derailleur sorted,” said Morton, who ended up riding nearly the last 1,000km without a functional derailleur. “So, instead of getting the full amount of sleep, I was a little bit short. And the next morning, I had…