journal-082Hi! My name is Bill Wagner and I live with my dog in rural NC. I hope to pedal my Mountain Bike from Banff, AB Canada to the US/Mexican border at Antelope Wells, NM in an effort to raise money and awareness for the MIMA Foundation.  MIMA is a small, grassroots non-profit that is involved in a variety of humanitarian projects in both Africa and South America.  I'm a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and have worked extensively with their Surgical Program and can personally vouch for the necessity and quality of their work.  Each year MIMA screens hundreds of poor and remote villagers who need surgical procedures but have no means to pay.  If it weren't for MIMA, thousands of children and adults would be denied basic surgeries merely on the basis of access to health care.  Not a single member of MIMA receives any monetary compensation and EVERY volunteer has to generate the funds necessary to travel with the group each year.

Please join me in my adventure along The Continental Divide by opening your heart and your wallet for a great cause. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is the longest off-road bike route in the world. It is over 2700 miles long, has over 200,000 feet of elevation gain (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times) and crosses the Continental Divide 30 times. Take a moment to explore the site if you'd like and I look forward to seeing or hearing from each of you! Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I'm sure I'll need them.

NO SPONSORS: Please know that I had to personally buy the bike, gear, maps, airline flights, etc for this fundraiser.  ALL the money goes to MIMA.



Day 45 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 08:37
Day 45--71 Miles 

Thank goodness I brought those AAA maps. I've mostly been wondering why the heck I'm carrying something I'm not using...today they likely saved the day, and believe me you and you me, it wasn't anything to brag about!

the map clearly states: At the PO in Vallecitos turn right toward Canjillon. I passed a PO on the glorious PAVED descent and hit the brakes. well, there's the PO, now turn right. Ummmm, that's someones driveway. Maybe there's another PO farther into town. Town, ha-ha, wouldn't that be neat if there was an actual town, nice try. So I went on looking very deliberately at every single piece of vegetation to my right. It was more of a PAVED downhill which made it all the more painful. A mile or so went by and before I could say: "You know, it's pretty hot in the sun on the asphalt", I be officially off the route. This is where AAA gave me a tow, well, you know what I mean. I was so damn proud of myself to know I was off the route and still able to try and get back on; boy is he skilled and clever or what?! I pieced together three separate roads that would get me back on track, it looked like I might even have avoided a huge climb during the swelter time of the afternoon.

Again, but this time a REALLY nice try. Oh I did manage to get Billy boy back on route, but not without a seemingly endless climb. As I was initially descending I couldn't help but think, incessantly: 'Dude, you know your gonna pay form this right?'. And I paid but hey, it was on asphalt. I must celebrate wherever I can!

So I got back on elute and had lunch at the coolest, smallest, funkiest eatery I think I've ever been in. The two brooms and shovel out front gave it away. Overall another tough NM day and I'm beginning to feel the inevitable mercury coming my way. It was great, by the by, that there was plentiful oxygen in the air. Not something to take for granted anymore. Today's high was around 10,200 and I'm sleeping at 6500 tonight...in a huge fluffy bed...after a 44minute ice shower...that also served as laundry time...awaiting my friend Eric to come tonight and take me to Santa Fe tomorrow. Yeah, it could be much worse!

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Day 44 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 08:34
Day 44-51 Miles 

Today felt like some of the hardest miles I have ever pedaled. The reasons are likely many. I believe the main reason is my intermittent mild hypoxia. Even on the shortest climbs, ones I've been doing for over a month on similar terrain and grade, I just simply run out of oxygen. as weird as that may sound I think that's what's going on. On one of the fairly steep but relatively short climbs I had to stop before the top and it as literally painful to try and catch my breath. then I knew it was the altitude. I've been riding pretty hard now for over a month so it can't be my ability to climb...DUH! The "pain" I'm alluding to is a sense of air hunger, an inordinately "painful" amount of time before I feel like I'm adequately oxygenated. To almost feel my diaphragm pulling and my lungs begging is, at the least, awkward as hell. So that's that, it went on for most of the day and as soon as I started dropping down to 9000 feet or so it was as if someone turned the oxygen up. No kidding, it was surreal and wonderful. The highest I got was 11,000 but I think that's the last of that height. Tonight I'm sleeping at around 9000 so that should also help matters. It's quite frustrating to know you are able to climb but simply cannot get enough damn air to do it. It is truly debilitating. So that slowed things down a bit throughout different times of the day. Then it occurred to me that perhaps it's a blessing, to slow down, see more, gasp more, take in the sights? I'm not racing and I know how these kinds of trips go, I'll be home a week or month and wish deeply I was back out there.

The Terrain. Dear God the abundance of rocks today. There was one section that the map described as: 0.5 miles of unrideable, steep uphill, it's a pusher! That was precise to the word. Halfway up this hypoxic wickedness it started to rain, I grumbled a bit, then it began to hail, at which point I kept quiet, gasping for the sense I had seemed to misplace. It was fairly short-lived and when I got to the top I was aptly rewarded with stunning views. As if God had planned the sequence just for me. So sick and tired and crabby and then so grateful and chagrined. It is a wild ride! Other sections often referred to as "rock gardens" were really "boulder fields". With some good luck a rock garden may contain an amp and some screaming fans, boulder fields just have no place. whether pushing up one or screaming down one, they are pretty difficult to navigate while keeping the bike in one piece and your teeth attached to your jaw.

Scant water. I've arrived in NM!!!! Yeah!! Where the listed streams may well likely not exist. I learned that the hard way...almost. About 20 miles back at a river crossing I got some water, not the most I could carry but enough to get me to camp, after all there are going to be MANY stream opportunities between now and...forget it. About a half mile before I was going to stop for the day a man on an ATV pulled up. I asked if he knew of any water up ahead and he was sure there wasn't any. Damn, I have about a quart but that's really not enough for me. 30 minutes later I see this ATV pull up into the woods where I was setting up my tent. Damn rednecks!! It was the guy: "Here, these four should get you to town". My jaw dropped and I felt so damn ashamed. Of course he told me his name and of course I forgot it. Working those angels overtime.

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Day 43 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 08:28
Day 43-41 miles

I just got word from upper management that the Diamox trial has lost funding...I must've been up at least five times last night, thank goodness it wasn't raining and the pretty-much-all-body-pins-and-needles-and-tingles is, oh, how should I say?, less than wonderful. Winning the whizzing-race-horse-competition wasn't something that was going to get me up the hills any faster so I'm pulling the plug. Tonight I'm sleeping at about 10,000 feet so that should help and over the next few days, according to the map, I stay high during the day but should be able to get lower for sleeping. It's the altitude, no question about it, I got nearly all the classic signs. If I can get a few days into NM I'll be over the high stuff and will feel better. I'm fine really, just a little sluggish and puny-feeling. I'm forcing myself to eat and drink a lot and that should carry me through. Of course I'll go back on the smack if I need to.

Today had some more spectacular scenery and unfortunately horrible road conditions, it's a wonder my kidneys are still attached. Mile upon mile upon mile upon mile of washboard road. God that hurts! I stopped in Platoro, where the tap water is apparently unsuitable to drink, and had a great breakfast of French Toast, Cinnamon Roll (sans raisins!!) and coke out of a mason jar. My waitress, Elma, is an Amish girl from Bradford, Pa. Originally. She agreed that olives should be taken off the planet but raisins and raw tomatoes should be allowed to stay.

Cows...lotsa, lotsa, lotsa cows. All over the road and everywhere else. They must be on vacation?

Need to eat and drink more and I'm getting tired. A good day but low on mileage for me.

At the last little dot on the map there was a convenience store and that was good as I realized it's going to be 2-3 days until the next real town so I had to re-supply my food stash...and TP.

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