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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.

Blessings,

Bill

Day 42 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Thursday, 12 August 2010 08:37
Day 42-35 Miles (mostly uphill!) 

Today was a first for many things:

1) I reached the highest point on the route, Indiana Pass at 11,910 feet. A four thousand foot climb out of Del Norte' that had me huffing more than usual for a lot longer than usual. The climb took me over four hours (a long time to be in the same gear!) and when I got to within 4 or 5 miles from the top I kept having to stop to simply catch my breath. this wasn't terribly unusual but it was out of the ordinary. I've gotten quite strong lately and having to keep suckin' for air every mile just to keep going was less than fun and did get my attention. the recovery time with each stop kept getting longer as well which told me that the air was thinner and my lungs didn't like it! When I FINALLY reached the top it was truly awesome. these words just fill up space when compared to how I felt at the pass. I just started to cry it was so beautiful and I was so drained and exhausted. It really almost felt like some kind of transcendent or altered state, or I was simply hypoxic! I got a guy to snap my photo and then I just sat up there. The wind wasn't too bad for such a height and the scenery was just spectacular. He was bundled in all these layers and jackets and I was just in a shirt and shorts.

2) I'm not sure the exact chain of events but I was just feeling a bit out of sorts. a little dizzy or hypoxic or hypoglycemic, not sure, nothing alarming but something was off. Then I went, literally, another 1.4 miles to see this complete dichotomy in the landscape. Bordering on horror after what I had just seen in my giddy, dizzy state. Summitville, CO. An EPA Superfund site, look it up if you want to get depressed. An atrocity of man meets mountain with now decades of consequences to the greed that drove this mountain stripping for gold. I took not one photo as I was so embarrassed at this sight, and it was making me a little ticked and sick. sometimes we want stuff and don't think there's anyone or anything living downstream. Or we just don't care. Those of us on this bike route have had to carry considerably more water than usual (up 4 grand!) because all the streams up here are contaminated with the cyanide they used DECADES AGO to sequester the gold from the rock. I'll stop now.

3) The scenery up here, even after Summit-hell, is spectacular. I stopped considerably shorter on distance today than normal and chalked it up to the huge climb...but I think there's more to it. In my never-ending quest to find camping away from all others I came across a hiking trail that led up to a gorgeous meadow where I now sit on a log and type this. But somethin' ain't quite right with Billy-boy. My fatigue and ditzy-ness is too much to ignore. I'm fine I'm sure but just realized that I'm sitting here at 11,500 feet, not much lower than the pass I just crested, and I think it's...

4) OK so I have been feeling a little out of sorts (more than usual!!) since about the time I entered Colorado. No big deal just a little short on the air stuff. I've been riding and climbing my butt off and going back down to sleep, sucking wind near the top but that's likely normal? Today was a little more than I could ignore. I've started to take the Diamox. Mary Kay will be so proud of me! It's a diuretic that's supposed to help me with this altitude-sickly-business. And if I become the whizzing race horse champion all night I'm stopping it!! It only gets lower after this so everything should be fine, but I do think I was getting a little sick again, like the time I was with MIMA in Bolivia. The dizziness isn't severe but obviously something is off in my brain or chemistry.

5) I got this great spot up in this high meadow near a snow melt pond and hope to see a Moose come out at dusk, Ahhh wouldn't that be more than worth it all. Tomorrow, lungs and brain permitting, I'll likely be in NM. Who'd a thought?! And it's going to be a cold one up here tonight. I'll be wearing EVERYTHING I brought in the bag tonight!

6) I'm just so lucky, really. To be able to have this adventure and raise some money for a great cause, man, I got the life. It is so peaceful and naturally beautiful up here, I'm lovin' life.

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Day 42 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 09:58
Day 42--Zero miles resting in a king sized bed in Del Norte!
 
Day 41 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 09:54
DAY 41-71 Miles

A difficult day with a fantasy finish.

Last night I slept on a gravel parking lot and tonight in a fluffy king size bed...but I'll get to the bed part later! Yes, still in Colorado, still long climbs, still magnificent scenery from the top and still daily downpours. It must've rained three hours last night as it kind of kept waking me up, which isn't hard to do laying on gravel. It could've been much worse. I didn't have to setup my tent in the rain which was a major blessing; and I wasn't the guy 30 feet away racing the Colorado Bike Race sleeping in the outhouse because he lost his tent poles three days ago. Poor guy, although this morning he said "it didn't even smell bad"!

I started a bit behind on sleep which is a bad idea since I wanted to make it here to Del Norte for the night. The mileage was ambitious enough but the 3100 feet of elevation gain throughout the day didn't help any, except some of the scenery! Add that to the never-before-and-felt-great-one-hour-lunch-spot and you have a VERY LONG day on your butt. I'm not sure why But I never really stop for lunch except when I'm in a town. I just constantly munch and keep pedaling, but today, oh I came across this beauty spot in the shade, under some trees, next to ,yes, a babbling brook! no, you wouldn't have been able to resist either. I even slept a bit!!! That NEVER happens. Bill be tired and stuff!

I was about twenty miles north of Del Norte' when the sky turned black and I was out of water. Good timing as the map showed a little town, well, a gas pump, 0.6 miles off route, perfect. It was closed. but after sufficient asking I got someone to come to the door and show me how to work the well pump for water. Which, at that moment, was really a great thing. Then the sky did it's usuall black and thunder and scream and crack and pour thing. But Billy Boy was under a canopy!! Let it pour!! I don't care!!

An hour or so I waited and it finally turned to barely a drizzle. I felt like I was likely wearing out my welcome at the place that was closed anyway. I put the jacket and hood back on under the helmet, donned the gloves and was back at it. you know what's coming right?! I don't think I'd gone a mile...NO WAY MAN!!!!

So by the time I got to town I was a soggy, muddy, sand pie. The map lists two places for lodging. #1 was full (they only had two rooms) and#2 never answered the "push button if no one is here" after 15 minutes of that! I went to the local grocery store to get dinner for the night and was going to camp at the city park when I was re-united with Chip! I hadn't seem in in almost two weeks and he said he was staying at a B&B three blocks away. And the rest is history. I am working my angels into extreme overtime!! Nearly every time it looks disastrous I get rescued.

Aleina & Becky run this lovely B&B here in Del Norte' and if you are ever here or near you should seriously look them up. Very kind people who gave me a serious discount for the ride. Their number is 719-657-9324 and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Their website is www.honeybramble.com.

I hope they have a strong vacuum cleaner as I was in their room for two nights! At the PO I had to get a new box as the previous one had been shipped to death. No amount of tape could've saved it, God knows I tried!

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