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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 48 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 10:15
Day 48--57 Miles 

Cows and Rocks: A collection of Short Stories

Today didn't start off so good. Only about 500 feet left of the climb until I Reached the highest point didn't sound bad out of the bag but the rocks made it tough. Did I mention the rocks? NM has now officially made it to the top of 'toughest terrain' on the route, in case any one was wondering. I got to the highest point and there was a right turn...so I slowed down...was gonna stop and catch my breath and drink some...and over I went. BAM!! Right on the rocks. I couldn't clip out of my pedal fast enough. There I lay, on the rocks, bike teetering on top of me. I admit a few tears came, not just because it hurt like hell but also the absurdity and isolation of it. no one around, wind whipping, and I'm laying in a rock garden with my bike on me. My hand REALLY was throbbing as It took the majority of the fall. A rare blessing that I was actually wearing the cycling gloves I have, which I rarely wear because they're too hot. I got the bike off me and meandered the next ten miles rather pitifully. trying not to use my hand much, that was a joke. It turns out you do need both hands to steer a loaded bike on tough terrain, never knew?! By lunch time and a bunch of Motrin later it did feel much better. There is quite a bit of swelling in my palm now and some black and blue but I 'm certain nothing major is wrong. Likely just a deep tissue injury.

Cows: They are an enjoyable distraction on this ride. they literally cover the landscape of the entire route through the US. The Forest Service leases the land for a pittance to Rancher's to use the land to feed their herds. Today, again, they scattered the route and the young ones are just so damn cute. I often try and talk to them but usually their Mother's call them back to be with them. Not sure why?! We smell the same.

Tomorrow I have to do 102 miles, all on pavement, to get to the camp site so I better turn in. I came very close to getting soaked as I got here to Cuba and checked into the hotel not 3 minutes before one of the famous NM monsoons pummeled the ground in buckets. The street was a lake in minutes! Many things to be thankful for.

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Day 47 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 10:10
Day 47--23 Miles 

Eric got me back to where I had stopped in time for me to do about 3100 feet of climbing to get me here at about 9500 feet. My breathing feels fine and this is surely the last of the high stuff. Today's ride could be a tricky one. The 80 miles from Abiquiu to Cuba don't just contain 4000 in elevation gain, they also contain a ton of sandy and potentially unrideable mud (via the map narrative) if wet. I climbed an hour or so and it started to rain. What to do? Go back to where I was dropped of and do the whole section on pavement or wing it and push on? Wing it. It wasn't the monsoonal rain that NM is famous for but it did go on and off for the remainder of the afternoon. It actually cooled the swelter off and gave continual cloud cover which was fantastic.

NM is likely to win the abysmal-riding-surface-award handed out never by no one. But if I were in charge...

The sky often offers a truly unique and beautiful pattern of clouds and colors that you likely don't see anywhere else.

Thunderheads a rumblin'. Better get in the tent. I'll be in Cuba tomorrow for the last mail drop. She be Winding down...

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Day 46 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Sunday, 15 August 2010 13:22
Day 46-- Not a foot 

Had a great day off with my friend Eric who flew up here from Dallas. He arrived last night and today we toured Santa Fe. We visited this ancient Catholic Church and after three weeks or so of looking I finally found a barber, well, at least a person with some shears! Her name was Sarah and she did the job for nothing after hearing of the ride's purpose. another Angel to add to the long list.

Tomorrow I head back into the heat of NM and back up to over 10,000 feet. Hopefully I'll find a place lower to sleep as around 9000 seems to be where my lungs start to struggle. anyway, this appears to be the last of the high stuff, after that I steadily get lower...ever closer to the border...

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