And the winner is...

Well, as I’m typing this, Matthew Lee appears to be within only a handful of miles of the finish. I won’t succumb to the temptation to call his arrival too early, however, and declare him the winner just yet; after my riding companion Per’s accident south of Silver City on our last day last year (for those who weren’t paying attention, he fell off, knocked himself cold and had to go to hospital), fear of the curse of the commentator weighs heavily on me.

So, while Matthew knocks out the last couple of miles, a brief digression to catch up. First, apologies for indeed having undersold the story of Matthew having his bike pinched in Grants yesterday. I’d relayed it in amazement so many times – including to next door’s cat and to my baffled four year olds – that I think I just assumed I’d written down what happened. Cleary I hadn’t.

Anyway, to paraphrase the story as I understand it (as reported on the race forum), Matthew was eating a burger, watching his bike out the window, when an unsavoury character strolled up, stared Matthew in the eye and cycled off. Thankfully, the bike was recovered during a case through town and brought back to McDonalds, where it was recovered by Matt.

Also, I should apologise for being so mean about Grants. My impressions of it certainly weren’t great, but then again that might have been something to do with the fact it was preceded by 100 miles of pavement on the alternate from Cuba in 100 degree heat. Or the fact I’d spent most of that time watching Trevor and Per ride further and further away from me. Or the leg-threatening attack made by the hounds from hell in the reservation. Suffice to say I might have been a little jaundiced by the time I arrived.

Silver City, on the other hand, seemed just wonderful to me, but by then I was nearly at the finish and in considerably higher spirits. Even the only example of road rage I experienced on the whole route – except my own anger at the laid-back, road-hogging hippies leaving dusty, smoky trails behind their pickups on their way home from the Rainbow Gathering – couldn’t change my mind. Beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

Back to the race (looks like I’ve another few minutes yet before the winner can be declared), there have been updates from Nicolas Senie and Blaine Nester. Blaine reported standing sideways, hiding behind a power line from hail for twenty minutes. Clearly he’s not been putting on any weight.

Neither has Nicolas, who has said he’s thinner than when he started but has admirably refrained from blaming American food. Indeed, he’s been acting as a mobile representative for the Rocky Mountain Travel Board, persuading dozens of his friends back home that they should forget the Roc d’Azur and head to Colorado instead. Tour Divide as a way to bring nations and cultures together – wonderful. Vive l’entente cordiale!

Also, it looks as though the hail from which Blaine has been suffering has made for painfully slow progress through the Gila. Neither Blaine nor Erik Lobeck managed to make it to Silver City last night, though they’re both within a stone’s throw of having become ‘Gila Proven’ and escaping onto the pavement north of Mimbres. I’m sure both will make it through to the finish some time tomorrow.

And now (cue trumpets), as 80’s glam rock icons Europe might have said, it’s the final countdown. After 2,745 miles. After trial by snow, rain, hail, purgatorial head winds and intense heat. After forest fires. After 17 days, fifteen hours and about 13 minutes. And, perhaps most important of all, after dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of the race itself and the tragic consequences of Dave Blumenthal’s accident, Matthew Lee has won the Tour Divide 2010. Many, many congratulations.

His blue dot has made it to Antelope Wells although, at past 1am local time, there will be no border guards there to meet him, no payphone from which to ring home, no camera crews, no paparazzi and no fanfare (you’ll notice I’m doing my best). He’ll probably just have Barin Beard (aka Mimbres Man) to help expedite his return to some sort of normality. I’m sure he’d have it no other way.

I’ll be back to report on further arrivals and the progress of the remaining racers over the next few days.

Paul Howard

Two Wheels on My Wagon


Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the colorful, tender, funny commentary, Paul.
Henry and I are ready for Matthew to return home and are beyond grateful for his safe landing at Antelope Wells. He is extremely emotional this year given Dave's death (we spoke last night--I don't know where he was at that point). I know he was glad it was nearly finished but seemed to think there was no record broken because of the re-route? I thought that seemed strange, but am not sure how it is handled. Since it was out of his hands and everyone must follow the same re-route, I assumed he had broken the record and congratulated him ahead of time. He said, "nope, different course... i'm not thinking about that right now". He told the story of his bike which was more complicated than described: some folks at McDonalds pursued the bandanna-adorned gangster by vehicle, harassing and haranguing the punk who struggled mightily to operate a fancy bicycle whose gear shifters and tiny pedals he could not manage. Their involvement most certainly helped spook the guy who abandoned the bike and ran off. I should let Matthew speak for himself--in my excitement to hear from him, I am not sure how well I was listening and how absolutely accurate this all is, but I just wanted to say thank you.

You're welcome

And I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's been my pleasure. I imagine you and Henry are looking forward to seeing Matthew again soon. You can tell Henry to give an extra cheer when Stephen Huddle makes it to the finish (fingers crossed) with his green model Henry steam engine.

Congratulations Matthew

I only became aware of this race when you stopped into my pizzeria to eat. I've been riveted since. I cannot begin to fathom the training and tenacity it takes to accomplish such a feat. Thanks for bringing this into my life.

and CONGRATULATIONS on your win. Well done!

Congratulations To The Winner!

We can only imagine how you were feeling as you arrived successfully at Antelope Wells while we slept comfortably in our bed. We commend you for your mental and physical perseverence and endurance. We are so proud of you. Finishing in the wee hours of the morning without fanfare is quite symbolic and we congratulate you from afar, continuing to pray for the safety and personal success of all the other riders who follow you on the trail to Antelope Wells. Surely rewards for each rider's efforts should be stamped into their memory along with the natural beauty encountered along the way.

Matthew Lee

Congrstulations on your win Mathew! What a feat of tenacity!
Ed Fogg

the winner is

Congradulations Matthew! You are an inspiration. It was great fun to 'watch' the race online, and to met you & some of the other racers in Abiquiu. Enjoy your film-making ride in Silver City.

Congratulations Matthew!!

Since seeing the Tour of the Divide movie I have become enchanted with this race for many reasons. One of those reason is you as a rider, adventurer, and more importantly a person with incredible integrity. I have truly enjoyed watching the little dot move across the map and the broadcasts posted on a regular basis. You have given all of us a reason for continued hope and faith to live the dream no matter what that may be. As I am sure it is bitter sweet to have the finish line behind you just know that you have impacted many lives and will continue to do so many years to come. I have already quoted you with the following: "It's amazing what bicycle and body health can do for the emotional health," says Matthew Lee, winner Tour Divide. Thank you.

Congratulations Matthew

Proof once again that the character of the road and the Tour Divide speaks for the character of all who race her sinuous unpredictible route. We all know it's a bitter sweet finish because of Dave Blumenthal's tragedy, but I couldn't help thinking as I watched your blue dot make the border early this morning that he was on your wheel all the way.

True class and inspiration you are!

Rick Smith, Mechanic
The Outdoorsman
Butte, Montana

Whooo hoooooooo!

Congratulations Matt! We are trilled for your safe arrival to Antalope Wells. What an awesome ride to celebrate in your 40th year! Absolutely incredible. Love you!

Ben, Rach and Max


Great riding through so much beauty and adversity. You all are providing inspiration and hope for me for my upcoming try at the GDR in August and September. Congratulations to Matthew Lee and all the upcoming finishers and participants.

Congratulations, Matthew

Matthew --

Dave Blumenthal was a dear friend of mine for 17 years, and I am thankful that this race gave him an opportunity to pursue such a beautiful dream, even though it ended in tragedy for him and for those who love him.

My 5-year-old son has been rooting for you ever since you said you would carry Dave B's memory with you to Antelope Wells: "If Matthew Lee finishes first, Mom, that means Dave will finish first."

Rest up and be safe on your way home.



Well done Matthew, has been just amazing to watch you fly down the Divide. Safe home!

Matt, What a great job. You

What a great job. You have pushed through things that most people
will never deal with in a life time. My heart goes out too Dave and his
family & friends. I hope one day i can do this race with the same
patience for suffering that you seem to do with grace. I know you had
a chat with Josh in Breckenridge, who rides for our team Bach Builders.
He is just amazed at how you do these races. Again from all of us
at Bach Builders. We just want to say Cheers Matt and have a safe return
David Bach.

Congrats from Team Charlotte, NC (Carrie , Kevin, Quinn and dogs

Congratualtions matthew, we've been watching your blue dot progress daily, listened to eveyones call in, and wanted to say great job, be safe, and i have some more homebrew waiting for you.

Much love,

Kevin, Carrie Nye, baby Quinn, Marley and Gibson

Living vicariously through you!

Congratulations Matt on finishing the race. After discovering this race a few years ago and starting XC racing myself last year, I hope to one day complete this journey myself. Mygoal is to do it before I turn 35, which gives me 6 years. I'd say I have some work to do, so until then I will live vicariously through you and the other participants.

Woot woot from the Clean Machine staff

Congrats for another adventure well done! Safe travels to you on the way back home!



Huge admiration from me to you, Matthew! It's the first year I've watched the dot on the screen and it was a great thrill.

Here's to you and here's to Katie and Henry as well, and here's to all the other starters of the TD and to all of the supporters and loved ones who ride along in spirit and sacrifice. No small thing.

Look forward to seeing you when we see you!

Congratulations Matthew!!

You are a true athlete and one tough cookie. Here's to another great race, which, like life, had its highs and lows. Thanks for sharing this with us. Safe trip home.

Congrats Matt... Come Home

We are still icing down that beer for ya'. Everyone is looking forward to hearing the tale of this year... its highs, lows... and... well... as much as you can tell us. A cruiser ride to the haunts awaits!
Mike and the Spokesmen

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