SUNY Potsdam Alum Discusses Continental Divide Bike Route Trip

03.12.13

Continental-Divide-Trip
Ben Yandeau photographed his bike near a Continental Divide sign while completing the Great Divide Bike Route.

SUNY Potsdam alumnus Benjamin Yandeau ’02 will return to campus on Friday, April 5 to share his experiences completing the Great Divide Bike Route. A graduate of the College’s Wilderness Education Program, Yandeau will speak at 6 p.m. in the Barrington Student Union Fireside Lounge.

Imagine biking 2,745 miles of trails and dirt roads, crossing mountains and valleys of the Continental Divide, from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.  Imagine pushing through about 200,000 feet of vertical elevation by the end of your trip. Imagine navigating through miles and miles of backcountry, accompanied by grizzlies and mountain lions, and camping along the way for weeks. Now imagine doing it all on a single gear bike with no suspension, and doing it all as a race.

Yandeau, art teacher at Norwood-Norfolk Central School, recently competed in the Tour Divide, a self-supported bike race following the Great Divide Bike Route.  This race is considered to be one of the most difficult mountain bike races in the world, and about half of those who start do not finish. Yandeau will speak about his experience preparing for and completing the race.

This event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to raise funds for the upcoming Wilderness Leadership II course trip to the Bob Marshall Wilderness this summer.

The five students in this 6-credit honors course have been working to plan, fund and prepare for a 25-day expedition in Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness this August. This class is the culminating experience for those in the Wilderness Leadership track of the minor. Last summer, the students spent 16 days in the Adirondacks, learning the technical and abstract skills needed to lead backpacking trips.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is one of the largest and most remote in the country. Comprised of three national forests and miles of isolated, trail-less terrain, “The Bob” offers the students a new setting in which to refine their wilderness skills, while applying the theoretical foundations of an honors course.  This trip will expose students to large-scale navigational challenges, unfamiliar geographic features like the High Peaks of the Rockies, and flora and megafauna only found in such isolated areas.

For more information about this event and the Wilderness Leadership II class, visit www.leadershiptwo.webs.com.

The SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education Program fosters students’ love of the environment and trains them to be future leaders, with both a wilderness leadership track and an adventure education track to choose from. For more information, visit www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/wildernessed.

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.