The last day! In the morning it was reasonably nice out, with temperatures around 70 degrees for the 2:15 am wake up call to get ready to roll out for the last 125 miles. Fred ate a big dinner the night before, and planned to eat as much as possible to fuel up for the remaining stretch. Breakfast was honey bun, chocolate mini donuts (always a favorite), bananas, a quart of chocolate milk and orange juice. Ten minutes to take in 2500 calories for the remaining push.
Only a few minutes into the ride, the curse of the flat tire was back. This was a little bit stressful for Fred at 3:15 am, as he only had the spare tire that had a piece of wire in it that he had switched out a couple of days ago. Being so close but yet so far, he had no choice but to put that tire back on and hope for the best.
They had 18 miles or so of paved road, then a sandy stretch of 30 miles on a gradual climb up to another crossing where the yucca plants grow. It was going pretty well although it got very bumpy and washboarded more toward the end.
Fred & Mike made Separ by 7:45 am, which was pretty good time since that included the time spent switching out the flat tire! They resupplied there and Fred had a coke, more junk food, and got moving on to the next stretch towards Hachita.
At some point before Hachita, they were captured in roadside photography by a crazy paparazzi lady – Caroline had caught up to them on her way to the finish line. When they got to Hachita, they saw a sketchy “town” (and Fred said he uses the word “town” loosely). It was pretty much abandoned all around with people living in houses that looked like they should be bulldozed. The guys stopped in the shade of an old church to get out of the shade and rest for a few minutes, but even that was pretty sketchy.
look for Fred in the doorway!
From Hachita it was 45 miles to Antelope Wells. Along the route it got hotter, and there was no shade anywhere. At one point they came across a border patrol truck and trailer that had stopped, and they rested there in the “shade” provided by the truck. Mike even laid down on the ground for a minute!
They made a few more stops to eat, as nutrition and staying hydrated was a big deal in the hot New Mexico sun. Fred was trying to eat every 10 miles, and they even made a stop with only 5 miles to go to the border to eat some more. He felt really good on nutrition and wasn’t even starving when he got to the border.
As the miles ticked down to the border, they got emotional upon realizing that they were actually going to finish this thing.
As they drew near, they were greeted by the #1 fan Caroline and her welcome wagon…
27 days and some change.
2,859 total miles.
Nearly 200,000 feet of elevation gain.
27 continental divide crossings.
11,910 feet at the highest pass.
Dirt roads, fire roads, steep roads, washed out roads, gravel roads, single track, pavement.
1 bear sighting.
11 flat tires.
5 tires ruined.
Milkshakes & chocolate milk…countless!
Alberta. British Columbia.
Montana. Idaho. Wyoming.
Colorado. New Mexico.
Limite de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos.
2013 TOUR DIVIDE FINISHER!!!
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. –Ernest Hemingway
Final Editor’s Note:
I’ve had 28 days to think about what I wanted to say on my final post on this blog, and I still don’t know where to begin! Even though I’ve watched this adventure for four weeks, talked about it, shared the story with family, friends and strangers, and written this blog, it almost seems unreal that my dad actually did this. The enormity of this accomplishment seems too impressive for my small words. I am beyond proud of my dad for his dedication, commitment, physical strength, mental strength, positive attitude, and perseverance. There are so many things in my life that I’ve learned from him, and these are just a few of the qualities that I admire most. My dad is an every day guy who just accomplished something extraordinary. Impossible is nothing.
I also know that he couldn’t have done this without the never ending support of my mom. After all, it was she who told him after last year that he’d have to attempt it again! She has supported him in everything he’s done for the last 35+ years and she’s the glue that holds our family together.
So, to my dad and my mom…I love you, and I thank you both for continuing to inspire me.
To everyone who has read this blog and followed along, thank you for all of your kind words and support. I don’t know what I’m going to do without the dot watching, MTB cast listening, and blog writing! Maybe I’ll spend that time getting out and riding my bike…