Tour Divide Blog 2008

Leighton White's Post Race Thoughts

Racer update about:
Hey everybody. Leighton White calling from Great Sand Dunes National Park in CO. You probably heard from Adrian, Alan and Dominik about the finish. Pretty fantastic to catch up to those guys and I was definitely honored to finish with them. Alan and Dominik are very strong riders. Pretty cool to hang with them the last few days and finish up. We got picked up by my girlfriend. Then Alan, Dominik and I went back to Silver City, had a great dinner there, hung out at the hotel and then we drove back to Lordsburg and dropped Alan off at the greyhound so he can catch his plane. Took Dominik to Albuquerque. He had about a week to ago and he is actually still with us. Toured through Santa Fe, Talus and going to hit Salida tomorrow. Then we are dropping him off in Pueblo so he can catch a greyhound to Albuquerque and catch a flight out. He and I have been talking. It seems like we didn’t even do the race. It seems like it was ages ago. Bodies are recovering pretty well. The bike needs a complete fork warranty. I need some new brake pads. I rode about 60 miles from Grants to Pie Town area without brakes one day. Burned through the rear brake. Took the front out put it in the rear and burned through it so I was running without brakes. Then I decided in the Gila I should cobble together two of the pads and at least run a rear brake. Thankfully it got me through the Gila and made to Antelope Wells. Definitely wanted to thank Matt and Kevin for doing the SPOT thing. I think that added a lot to the race to everybody’s enjoyment. My brother called, left a message on my phone and said he watched my spot finish. I had friends tracking me. I think it got a lot of people involved. Definitely a really cool thing. I’d just like to thank everybody for following us. It was definitely a really cool experience. Don’t know if I’ll do it again. Thanks. Get out and ride. Take care. Bye. (recorder time: 2008-07-10 20:03:53 EST)

Mary Metcalf-Collier says "It's Huge, It's Awesome, It's Super, Super Cool"

Racer update about:

Hey its Mary. Its Thursday, lunch time, well a little bit late lunch, unfortunately. Steve and I have made it into Pie Time which is monumental, its huge. Somewhat emotional pulling into Pie Town. This is big. Just about 300 miles left. Now I’m on the last map. Huge, its Awesome, Super, Super Cool. Did I mention how tough this is out here? It has been tough. There have been some headwinds. We have been able to cover some ground. Things are going great. I’m trucking down the road. I’m here at the café, made it during business hours. Debating what type of pie to have which of course, I have to have some pie. The next big challenge looks like a really large front here in NM that might be consuming the next couple of days. Steve has a flight to catch Saturday in El Paso. We are trying like hell to make that. So far we have been lucky and we are going to hope for the best. Talk to ya’ll soon.

(recorder time: 2008-07-10 14:34:33 EST)

There is Pie in Pie Town Today

Racer update about:
Hello this is Steve Gleasner calling in from Pie Town, its about 1:30 on Thursday. I hear that there is some weather coming up. Record flooding Silver City and so forth. I’m trying to ignore that information because it is not very helpful. We are about to head out. Mary is with me. We are having lunch at the Pie O’Neer Café. This is an unusual treat. We were kind of expecting that we weren’t going to get Pie, but we are getting Pie. Down the road right after this. Trying to make as much time by the time weather comes. My goal is to be on a plane on Saturday, at 6PM flying out of El Paso. So I’m trying to crank it up to get that done. Its going to be tight even with good weather. Not sure what is going to happen, but I’ll keep you apprised as to my situation. Down the Road. (recorder time: 2008-07-10 14:27:06 EST)

Felix Wong has new Batteries

Racer update about:
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)

Mary Metcalf-Collier Stocks Up in Grants

Racer update about:

Hey its Mary. Its Wednesday, July 9th and I’m calling in from Grants, NM. Stephen Gleasner and I got here actually a few hours ago with a crazy headwind. This morning was awesome. We covered about 60 miles for the first 5 hours of the day and the other 60 miles took pretty much the rest of the day. We got here to Grants and its still pretty windy so we’ve actually been taking our time. Had some dinner here. Stocked up for the next couple of days after hearing stories of people of running out of food and food being sparse for the next couple of days. We are loaded on the heavy side. We got plenty of food here in Grants. We are headed out for round two tonight. You’ll hear from both of us the next couple of days. Until then, have a good one.

(recorder time: 2008-07-09 22:15:56 EST)

Stephen Gleasner Clarifies Horca Ice Cream Story

Racer update about:
Hello this is Stephen Gleasner broadcasting from the WalMart at Grants. Windy day in the desert coming from Abiquiu, I think. Its about 7 o’clock. Mary is changing to Slime Tubes and we are restocking supplies at the WalMart then we are going to head out towards Pie Town tonight and get some of that knocked out as soon as the wind dies down. Wanted to clarify some things about the ice cream debacle and the little kid that I gave such a hard time to. It may have sounded like that it wasn’t really a fair thing of me, this grown idiot in bike clothes, looks like a gyrocopter pilot from a Mad Max movie, comes in and starts demanding refund and exchange of his ice cream. It was one of those vanilla things on a stick that dipped in chocolate. The thing that I got he said “the shell is on it sir”. The shell was in there by the turtle had crawled out. There was no stick, it was completely encompassed with the ice cream. There was really no way to open it. I hope people didn’t think that I was being unreasonable with a small child who is forced to run a register by his parents in Horca, or whatever the name of that town was. So now that that is resolved, that was bugging me out in the desert. Down the road towards Pie Town and we’ve heard possibly no Pie and we are not going to set our expectations for it, we are just going to see what happens in Pie Town. Waiting for the wind die and heading out of town. (recorder time: 2008-07-09 20:14:03 EST)

Felix Wong in Silver City for the Night

Racer update about:

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…

(recorder time: 2008-07-09 19:28:30 EST) Read more »

Adrian Stingaciu: Final Reflections

Racer update about:

This is Adrian Stingaciu, making my last call in via e-mail, post race, the day after finishing. I'm writing this from Long Beach, CA. on July 8 at 3:55pm. I guess I just wanted to wrap this up and say a few things which managed to slip through the cracks of my mind. I'm not sure if I can say this in a coherent way, since I've had less sleep in the last few days than during most days in the race. But yeah, just wanted to thank all the race organizers for putting this whole thing together so others can race the route from beginning to end, and thank you for that wonderful shirt, you guys are so awesome and giving of yourselves. The ACA's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is such a beautiful route, no words will ever capture the feelings, light, love and joy of riding the whole thing. There have been moments of despair and moments of pure absolute bliss. I have been asked if I would ever do this race again, and my immediate reaction has been "no way", I do not want to repeat such pain and suffering twice in my life. But the more I think about it, the more the race becomes a legend in my mind, a beautiful story in which I felt honored to be part of. There have been only a few moments in my life where I have felt so alive as I have on the Great Divide. Oh, so alive !!! The camaraderie on the route between riders as well as people and other sentient beings who crossed our paths has been awesome. I don't know if I can ever duplicate the feelings of love and happiness that I felt on the route. I came to the Tour Divide Race to test myself and to punish myself like I've never done before. I came to find where the possible meets the impossible but instead I have found where the Great Divide meets the Great Divine. It is exactly at the point where I most fail to look, right in front of my face, right between the eyes, dead center, right now.

Felix Wong in Mimbres (3 messages)

Racer update about:

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.

(recorder time: 2008-07-09 12:30:22 EST) Read more »

Felix Wong Faces More Challenges (2 calls)

Racer update about:

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 …

(recorder time: 2008-07-08 13:11:06 EST) Read more »