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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 40 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 09:30
Day 40-80 Miles 

A good day by many standards. I climbed over 5000 cumulative feet and with 80 miles to boot demonstrates how strong I've become. It's not a bragging point, anyone who would be doing this would get very strong too. It is nice to feel though, it doesn't mean that my 10 hour day was easy, just that my ability to be in the saddle for long distances with climbs is telling. My butt still screams with the 2-3 hour climbs but my legs seem to just peddle like nothing. OK, I better stop, I feel a jinx coming!

I was up and over Marshall Pass at nearly 11,000 feet and the views provided were very nice. It is a place where the CDT, Colorado Trail and Great Divide bike path all intersect, and since today was Saturday that meant lots of traffic. I don't mind the bicycles and can tolerate the occasional car/truck, but the ATV's flying by as if racing get on my nerves. OK, 'nuff said. today also marked the 16th crossing of the Continental Divide, in case anyone (Dad!) cares or was wondering.

I think I'm still in Colorado however it didn't rain today! That was sarcasm, which I better keep in check as the sky above my head and tent at this reservoir is a dark black! I'll likely be in Del Norte' tomorrow night in good position to get my maildrop...early again. I'll probably take a day off there as the climb out of that area is huge, maybe the largest climb of the whole trip, and the mail drop will delay me too many hours as the PO doesn't open until 0900.

Less than 1000 miles to go, yep, that was Thunder I heard. Good night.

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Day 39 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Monday, 09 August 2010 11:25
Day 39--50 Miles-I think... 

After riding through today's downpour into Salida I found a hose behind the hotel for me and the bike. Not sure if that is the culprit or perhaps the bike computer died during the Thunderstorm? at any rate it appears broken so my mileage is by the map...I'm gonna dry it out tonight and get a new battery and hope for the best. I hope I don't need to buy a new odometer/computer and was hoping to get an early start tomorrow as it contains a huge climb. If I need one there is a bike shop in town, it'll all work out.

Numb Stuff, Margie and I awoke at the town pavilion well-rested and went directly to Dorothy's Tamales for breakfast as dinner there the previous night was great. This iPad doesn't have enough battery life and I don't have enough time or energy to say all I'd like to about Dorothy, her husband, and how her little restaurant came to be in a 0.5 horse town like Hartsel. But her place will be shown on The Food Network in September, no, I'm not making this up!

Her kitchen is literally a semi that her husband rigged up with plumbing, electric, etc. she still leases the land since the D.O.T. Told her she couldn't put up signs all over the road, they had to be on "real" property. She started 7 years ago selling her Tamales out of a cooler under a tent and the pay was on the honor system. "It was a bad location really, stuck there behind the bar on a side street, but it was fun going there the next morning to find cash and checks!" People travel as far away as 110 miles to get these Tamales, out from the back of a truck that has been gutted and re- wired. her husband sometimes forgets to get the money before figuring out the order and yelling it back to her but she corrects him every time, at least that's how it felt the two times I was there. they opened at 0700 and when we left at 0800 the place, a closet really with a jar for tips, was packed. Where on earth do people come from, how do they know about this, literal, HOLE in Hartsel? Who cares! What a treat to speak with and taste a real Americana story. Honestly, the mountain views are still very nice, but these people I meet in the edges of NO-VILLE make the journey a true treat. a blue semi attached to a closet with a bathroom and two tables for seating...gotta love it!

Today's ride was very nice, even if the sky did, yet again, open up on me toward the end. as I got to the high point of the ride at 10,000 feet I could see the Continental Divide off to the horizon in the Sawatch Range where they peaked at over 14,000 feet! These views were spectacular. The highest stuff I've seen thus far, the highest I'll see overall. I passed Numb Stuff and Margie in the late morning after riding with them a bit and hope to see them tonight for the nightly devour. great ride, great day, lucky to be me.

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Day 38 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Monday, 09 August 2010 11:23
Day 38--52 Miles 

A nice day today, despite the intermittent lightning and rain. The 2000 foot climb out of Breckenridge was lovely. Cool and sunny with stunning views at nearly ever mile. The best climb I can remember in a while. It also eleviated some of my altitude fears as it topped out at 11,500 and I didn't get sick. I certainly could feel my lungs pulling deeper than normal for that good 'ol air but it wasn't too uncomfortable and the nice grade surely helped. That and the fact that I stopped often to photograph and take in the beautiful scenery. I rode along with Matt (Numb Stuff) and Susan (Margie), the same two from the brew pub, off& on and that is always a treat. Sharing the struggles, fears and beauty together. Tonight we all sleep in a pavilion in Hartsel, CO at 9000 feet and it feels like it might get down to freezing tonight. The local water is contaminated from mining operations so we have to stock up on store bought fluids. It rained a fair bit today but nothing too bad. It seems I took my jacket on & off a number of times. Overall, a nice day with beautiful scenery and reasonable mileage and great burritos and tamales here in town to sleep on; not mention the concrete slab, picnic tables and an actual roof over head.

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