Hi this is Felix Wong with Part II of the Final Thoughts. So I’m in Antelope Wells. I’m going to take a shuttle up to Lordsburg. Hopefully be back in Fort Collins in no more than 2-3 days. It is probably going to take 2 days by Greyhound. Now its time for me to detox and rehabilitate. The race has definitely taken a toll on my body. I’m not just talking about the very unfashionable tan lines that I have gotten but also the amazing amount of junk food that I consumed. As I had promised in my letter of intent, I did consumed more processed food in the race that I had all year. In fact, I think I consumed more processed foods during the race than I had in last three years. One thing I was completely wrong about in my letter of intent was being prepared for monsoons and thunderstorms. I was completely and inadequately prepared. I always thought that the snow and the cold would be my nemesis. It was certainly the rain and all of the mud it caused. Of course, the race presented numerous other challenges including the snow, downed trees, sections that were death traps because they are so exposed and we had to traverse over them without any ice axe, crazy climbs. But again the course amazingly beautiful, going by all of the mountains, through the small towns. I believe the largest town we went through was Butte, MT. MT largest town which only has about 30,000 people. Most of the towns only had a few hundred people some even less like that joke of a town, Pie Town. I still can’t believe there was nothing there. Anyhow, its been an amazing journey. One I will definitely remember for the rest of my life. I’m glad you got to share in this experience, watching on the internet. I hope it was as exciting for you as for me. I promise to write all of you back as soon as possible. Take care, next time I report….
Hi this Felix Wong calling on Friday, July llth at 8:23 am. Yesterday when I departed Silver City at 4 AM, I was expecting a great day but it certainly did not come in the morning. When I reached the very sandy trail, there was yet another monsoon, pouring rain, lots of fog. I was making very slow progress even though my legs were feeling good. The low point was certainly when I swore I was lost and off course because I was not seeing a number of landmarks noted on the map. As it turned out I was actually on course, but for me to figure that out I had to backtrack 3 ½ miles until I encountered a windmill and corrals which were enshrouded in fog earlier in the morning. That was actually quite a joyous moment for me but means that I lost about an hour or hour and half by needlessly backtracking. When I got to pavement it was another moment of joy, from there, which was about another 70 miles, I pretended it was time trail in say a half-ironman triathlon. I just cranked away, pretty much did not stop even though it was another monsoon, which this time at least I was on payment it did not bother me. All it did, it helped clean up my bike for photos. It did result in yet another squeaky chain. Because I has used all of my chain lube in the morning thinking it would be me to the end I resorted to using the oil of Vitamin E capsules to lubricate my chain for the last 30 miles, thereby becoming the first Tour Divide racer to feed his bicycle vitamins. Probably the first cyclist in the world to do so. That is how much I love my bike. Anyhow here I am. I’m in Antelope Wells. I actually arrived yesterday, Thursday, July 10th at 8:37 p.m. I was filled with …………….
Hi this is Felix Wong calling on Wednesday, 9:20 from my hotel room in Silver City. I’ve replaced the batteries in the SPOT tracking device. Thanks to Sherry for letting my friend know. It is tracking and it should show my position. Hopefully my blue dot will get to Antelope Wells tomorrow. Right now its still pouring buckets of water and rivers are flowing down streets. I presume when I wake up tomorrow morning that the roads are going to be wet. At least the first 20 miles are pavement. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that nothing terrible happens tomorrow and that I have good news the next I call in. Talk to you later. Bye.
(recorder time: 2008-07-09 22:22:43 EST)
Hi this is Felix Wong calling from Silver City, NM at around 6:30 on Wednesday, July 9th. Today I was bonking really badly in the morning. Thank goodness I got to Mimbres and was able to get some food and made it over the gravel trail heading from Mimbres to Highway leading to Silver City. Had to walk up most of the hills. It was hot and humid but slowing and surely my legs returned from the dead and I was able to go up grades more than 1 to 2 percent again. I got on the highway and almost instantly it started pouring. Its been raining consistently all of the way until I got to Silver City. When I stopped by Gila Hike and Bike to pick up the supplies I ordered yesterday, the folks over there, including Bill and Jay, they are very helpful. They helped me do a couple of bike maintenance things. For example, Bill helped clean up the shifting and over there I replaced the rear tubes with one containing slime. I hope that gets me to the finish. After that I went to the food coop to buy some groceries and it was almost disorienting going into a real grocery store for the first time in several weeks instead of a convenience store. I think after this race, I'm now addicted to coke and donuts. They don’t exist in a food coop, go figure. Anyhow, its still raining and I'm baggin' it for tonight. I was hoping that the rain was going to stop and I’d probably press on but I've had so many epic days the last couple of days and I don't think mentally I could handle another one in the rain. I’m staying here at a nice hotel. Silver City is a nice progressive friendly town and I hope to wake up early tomorrow and finish tomorrow night, we’ll see. Bye the way, my SPOT tracker is still blinking red…
Hi this is Felix Wong calling from Mimbres, NM at 11:25. I’m here a lot later than planned or expected, but quite frankly I’m happy to be here at all. There have been many times during this race when I thought that there is no way this race could have gotten any more difficult, any more traumatizing, but let me tell you the last 24 hours starting roughly half an hour after my last message have been incredibly difficult. First it started pouring like I’ve never seen before. For 15 minutes, I stood under a tree waiting it out. I still got drenched to the bone. Even though the rain petered off to reasonable levels, it rained for the rest of the day all the way until I finally called it a night. But the trail got very muddy. There were sections where I was pushing my bike. Had so much mud accumulated on my tires that the wheels would not turn. I’ve been through that before in the Tetons, I think, but this seemed to be worse since there was a much longer way to go and higher trail was wet. I was so far away from Mimbres, my next supply point. During those unrideable sections, I even resorted to picking up my bike and trying to carry it weighted down by mud on my shoes and the bike itself. There were moments when it took me 3 minutes to go 10 feet. That’s how difficult it was. I really wanted to get to Mimbres or very optimistically, Silver City, last night, where I had spare tubes waiting for me. Speaking of spare tubes, shortly after it started raining, I did get another flat. Since I was out of CO2 cartridges.
Hi this is Felix Wong calling from the Beaverhead work center. The last 24 hours for me has seized to be a race. Instead it became a matter of life or death, of survival. After Pie Town, which I mentioned in my last message, was kind of a joke of town, with no services. I started bonking really badly. I lost my food supply really quickly. Thank goodness I encountered another cyclist heading northbound named Tim. He was generous to share some spaghetti which kept me going a little longer. I was really looking forward to getting to _______ Springs where there was suppose to be some sort of service station at the Junction at the trail head with Hwy 12. Once again, I was disappointed. There is nothing there. Just an old church. I was a 113 miles away from the next supply point which would have been Mimbres. I had no food. It was a very dire situation. For the next couple of hours, I went searching for food. I had no hunting equipment so instead I started looking for homes. The locals in town, a nice couple named, Jim and Norine, they provided me food very generously. They also provided me with advice on what to do about all of the wolves, rabid foxes, black bears and rattlesnakes out here. Thank goodness I haven’t had any close encounters with those. After I was fed, I continued on another 15 miles before bagging it at around 11:30 pm. I slept soundly. Woke up, My rear tire was flat. YES, My third flat in 4 days. That actually set me back a whole hour. I attempted …
Hi this if Felix Wong calling on Monday, July 7th from Pie Town, NM. Good News: Its only noon and I’ve already done 70 miles. Bad News: I’m kind of tired now. The roads here are a lot more rolling than I anticipated and the roads are also very wash-boarded with way too much sand or gravel in some sections. I hope they smoothen out because the roads are really bad. Anyhow, I’m in Pie town. I’m looking for some services. I found a restaurant. The PieO’Neer. Its only opened Friday, Saturday, Sunday so looks like I’m out of luck there. I hoping something else is opened. I’m going to look for that right now and then carry on. Pie Town is kind of a sad town. But at least, the ride over here had really awesome views of the mountains. Very stunning, very beautiful. I’m looking forward to see what comes next. Talk to you later.
(recorder time: 2008-07-07 13:04:40 EST)
Hi this Felix Wong calling at 10:40 from Grants, NM. Before I talk about today I wanted to add something to my last message that I forgot to mention. Another problem I have had mechanically. One of the eyelets holding my bike rack separated from the frame. There are two screws attaching the rear rack to the seat stay. One worked its way loose so I’m using a zip tie on one side. The rack was attached with one screw on the other side. Apparently all of the jarring from the really rough trail on the really long climb yesterday was too much stress for the one eyelets. Now the rear rack is attached to the seat stay with two zip ties and zero screws. Another interesting thing that happened yesterday when I was going up that really long climb was a guy a pickup truck stopped me and warned me about cougars that he claimed were mauling people in the day. That just motivated me to not stop and is why I did so well on the climb. Today was a big day for me. I managed to ride 170 miles today. I had a puncture on the rear tire. Other than that everything has been going well. Pavement really has helped me put on the miles today. I also saw Simon from the GDR again. I saw him maybe about 3-4 times today. I managed to just barely keep ahead of him for the 2nd day in the row. We’ll see how long I can keep that up. He is clearly a stronger rider than I am. It is great to see him out there and know that I’m not completely alone. Right now I am staying in a motel off Route 66. It is great. It was really cheep. Only $30. I’ve always wanted to ride on Route 66. Originally I was ….
(recorder time: 2008-07-06 23:49:43 EST)
Hi Felix Wong. Calling at 10:34 Sunday July 6 from Cuba, that’s Cuba, NM. Yesterday was an awesome day, never mind that I had a number of things going against me. For example at one point in the afternoon my thermometer read 105 degrees. While I’m not sure how accurate that is, it was definitely hot. But that didn’t bother me at all as I’d much rather be riding in dry heat than 30 degree temps (can not hear rest of sentence). Mechanical problems. I had a flat tire. This time was the front. It was puncture. Delayed me about 25 minutes, because I had to fix my air pump that was malfunctioning. My rear shifter also is extremely hard to press so instead of using thumb I had use my whole palm. Lastly there was a humongous climb. The climb took about 5 ½ hours to go up. I was feeling phenomenal. Despite all the lava, rocks, I really enjoyed the climb. Managed to ride just over 100 miles yesterday. Today I was rewarded by a screaming descent .into Cuba. I’m really looking forward to all the pavement in front of me for the next 121 miles. One message for Kevin Hall. I just wanted to say Hello to him again. I encountered Simon from GDR in El Rito yesterday. He mentioned that he met you in Whitefish and even gave you a bike box so that made me think of you and I hope you and your family are well. Take care and I’ll talk to you later.
(recorder time: 2008-07-06 11:38:49 EST)
Hi this is Felix Wong calling at 1:18 on Saturday, July 5th. I’m now in El Rito, NM. Things are going well. After I got the cyclometer in Chama, my spirits have been way up. My legs have been feeling very good. Very strong yesterday, maybe not quite so strong today. I got into NM yesterday finally and the trail was very rocky, very rolling, steep in some sections, very rutted. However, I thought it was actually quite fun to ride on. Any day when I’m make forward progress as opposed to trying to solve problems or dealing with hypothermia is a good day. Its great to be putting on some miles and making some forward progress again. I hope to be doing triple digit mileage for the duration of the race. We’ll see. The next section coming up is going to be very difficult. Probably most difficult part of the race. I think my legs I’m feeling up to it. I’m going to get some supplies right now, some food. I’ll be on my way. We’ll see how far I can get today. Bye.
(recorder time: 2008-07-05 14:22:15 EST)