sponsorships

                 

Please consider a donation to conservationist organizations

Part of Tracy's goal with this race is to bring awareness and support for the following conservationist organizations. In support of Tracy and this cause please consider a donation to these organizations. You will find a "Moots miles" donation button on their web sites:

Rivers Unlimited
Little Miami State Park

Thursday, August 16, 2012

After-the-race interview

Remember that interview Tracy did before the race (you can see it from the right side panel of the blog). Well we did another interview now that the race is over. We have over 2 hrs of raw footage of stories and such. But here is just a few moments interspersed with the old interview. Enjoy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

SUNDAY, August 12th, 4pm!

SUNDAY, August 12th, 4pm! I want to thank you all for your support. Please come to dinner at the farm. Just bring yourselves and your favorite beverage. RSVP appreciated! Please also extend this invite to those not yet on our email list! 4pm Slippy Slide 5pm Hum and Strum 6pm Dinner and Entertainment Can't Wait to See You All!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Leaving

As I flew from Denver to Dayton I caught a glimpse of the Rockies and my throat tightened. I had become intimate with those mountains in the last fifty days. I had screamed, yelled, cried, sung at the top of my lungs, laughed and just quietly passed through. Those mountains had seen the worst and the best of me; both ends of me ...literally. They had become a partner of sorts. I had slept with them, eaten with them and spilled my morning coffee on them. They had humbled me... and I them... or at least I had withstood their fury. I was sad to see them go.

As we moved on I watched the parched earth pass beneath the plane... it is something I will not miss. It has beauty and grace all it's own yet still I do not understand why people live there. I met a rancher who was offered a stay in a bed and breakfast in Marin County Calif. and she answered, "why would I leave here I have everything I need". I would have gone.

We flew through clouds, those friends you can count on; and I did not cower... matter of fact I smiled. They are what scared me the most in the end... I am pretty sure they intimidate the bears that I was so afraid of.

I met friends, made friends and deepened friendships. I learned more about friendships than I have in years and I thank each and every one of you for that.I re-enter the world outside the Tour Divide different yet the same. Your support, kindness, attention, love and acceptance has changed me. I understand it's power.... your power, and I am grateful for that. I am the same because that power always has and forever will ... move me.
Love, Tracy

photos

The photos have been posted on the Conquer the divide Facebook page, here are some links. The albums are public so I think these should work for anyone. Let us know if they don't.

Tour Divide 2012 (part 1)

Tour Divide 2012 (part 2)

Tour Divide 2012 (part 3)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Replies

A finish blog and more stories are soon to come. In the meantime I want you all to know that I have recently replied to nearly all of the comments you have left here but the replies were not posted. I will reply again as soon as I get to a computer and internet instead of trying to use my phone.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The things we do...

You might have wondered why we left Grants at 3 in the morning. That means we got up at 1:30, sat down in Denny's at 2:30 and then started peddling by 3AM. PIE baby.... pie! Pie town closed at 4pm so we had to leave Grants by 3am. The roads had just been graded and he winds were low so we got to town by NOON! You know what that means? More pie. So we ate pie around one... Went to the local hostel, the "toaster house", for a nap and then returned by 3:30 for... more pie. While we were eating dinner the phone rang; the waitress said, "yes they are" and then the waitress handed the phone to Jim. It was Dan Haskins, a racer that had finished the previous week and was calling to wish us well. Wow how cool huh?

It looks pretty and.....

It messes with your mind. Jim and I laugh at each other for what we have been hoarding and for how long. Jim for instance (once he quit his power bar craze ) carried 6 subway chocolate chip cookies for nearly 300 miles. I myself have carried those little cherry pies until I could no longer read the wrapper for all the goo leaking into and out of the paper. How on earth and why does this happen? Well it's complicated but this is sort of how it goes. We roll into a "town" and seek out the cafe or bar for something to eat. While we wait for our food we discuss what we need to buy for the next miles or days...." we need two breakfast one lunch one dinner and snacks". While waiting for our food we fantasize about what we're going to buy. Once we have eaten we are in a hurry... We have spent to much time eating so we run through the little gas station grabbing whatever we can find but did NOT fantasize about. Then the fear sets in ... What if we don't make the mileage? What if the store, 79 miles down the road, is closed? What if we have a mechanical? So more food goes in the pile on the counter. Then in a hurry the food is shoved in any nook and cranny it will go into and we are off. Later it is raining so we grab whatever is on top ... And we just ate our breakfast for a snack. Chit. Later, when we are trying to get the last ten or twenty miles in, we grab something quick and... Well we just ate our lunch for a snack. Then when we get into camp we are to tired to dig through carefully so we shove things around; maiming the muffins, cookies and cherry pies while looking for the tuna. We find the tuna and don't eat our cookies cause we can't find them in the mess and collapse into bed. In the morning we eat peanut M&M 's and a snickers for breakfast and roll on. The next day we indeed get to the store as we thought we would. It is open so we eat store stuff.... buy fresher more appetizing things and shove them in any nook or cranny on top of what we already have. And of course we are in a hurry again because it has taken awhile to down a quart of chocolate milk, a ham sandwich and ice cream. Three hundred miles later when a store or cafe is closed when we get there; we find the food we have been hoarding and sit on the cafe's porch dejected and deflated eating the 6 cookies or he mashed cherry pie . Water is a mind messer too. How much water should we take? What if the church no longer lets us get water from the hose , or the cattle tank is dry? Or the creek is dry? So we fill up with water but when we lift our camelbacks we reevaluate and pour some out... certainly the church still does that ....then we think ... But what if the pastor changed? ... So we pour some water back in... Then we remember our saddle sores and reevaluate. And pour half of what we put in ... out. Then we get to the church with a bladder half full of water. The hose is indeed available so we pour out what we have onto a nearby plant and start the whole process again. "How much water you taking?" "Yeah but what if that spring is dry?"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

August 12

I hope this is a good date for all of you. I want to see each and every one of you.. The invitation is open to all. Please do come to the "I want to see you and thank you party". (details will be forth coming) I want to tell each you in person how much a part of this journey you have been and how the community around this event has been more important and impressive than the race itself. You all took time out of your days, when each of you have stress of your own, to participate; to follow me, to offer me encouragement, confidence, counsel or consolation, and that has touched my heart and soul. It has been such a lift for me to look at that spot tracker and know you guys are "stalking" me. This has given me comfort and strength, focus and courage.....and a kick in the pants when needed. You are this race for me. In the end it will not be the miles or the trials and tribulations I remember... It will be your support and your participation in this journey. I cannot thank you enough.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Canos Plaza and Lulu

I think this story is unfinished but I thought I would publish anyway and include pictures. Tracy may update it later.

Jim and I shared a breakfast of three day old poorly made cinnamon rolls and a four day old poppy seed muffin. I shouldn't say shared ... We both tried to give the other our breakfast and  neither of us wanted the deal. That was it we were out of food. Jim did have a power bar left....but at this point he does not consider them to be food. I never did. We were headed into Canos Plaza where there was a tiny little store (featured in the movie) that was really a tin shed stocked full of candy bars and such. When we got there it was closed. El Rito was in 17 miles so we would be okay. We were busy taking pictures of each other in front of the famous store when dogs began to bark and trot our way. Then a four wheeler was fired up and a small woman with the cash tray in her lap steered the beast our way. Just like in the movie Slyvia came to open the store just for us. When she pulled up she looked at me and asked "are you Tracy?" (kid you not). I smiled, shook my head and answered. She walked right up to me and gave me a big hug. I guess am easily identified as the last of ten women. Poor Jim is one of 95. She said she had been watching our balloons coming down the trail. Lulu and Oreo busied themselves around our legs  while she opened the shed doors and put the cash drawer in place. We busied ourselves around the store.  We bought 15 dollars worth of candy bars and such while Lulu licked my legs and begged for pets. We signed Slyvia's T.D. riders book and talked a bit. When I stepped out of the shed Lulu had made her needs clearer. (see picture) I obliged.



Monday, July 23, 2012

It looks pretty.....

Cindy said to me that the pictures are pretty and do not give indication of difficulty...Funny I thought the same when I watched the movie. How hard could it be? Well I have been humbled ... And slapped around a bit. I will try to give you an example of what the 31 miles were like the other day....nothing like I have ever seen. Well to start with it was almost a five thousand foot climb. It was like a giant stair case ....but 20 miles long. So take this stair case and stretch it so that some of the steps are two feet high , some one, some three or four and then make them varying lengths .....add cracks ,and some deep fissures and then make all the surfaces uneven. Now add sand to the 20 miles in varying depths. No , not finished yet.... Now over the 20 miles throw and roll down rocks.... lots of rocks ,of all sizes... But mostly bigger than golf balls but up to size of oh.... Beach balls. Add one rattle snake with it's head cut off.. (and a scream). Now start up... But don't forget like I forgot.... Your bike is loaded... With gear ...AND add about 8 additional pounds of water ... Because out here ; there is no water. Now begin climbing.....so this is how it would go for me... I would pull up on the handle bar and stand up and pedal hard to get my front wheel over the " step" .... As I did this I would often lose purchase as my back tire slipped in the sand so I would quickly sit to add weight to the tire so I could move forward however my front tire would often hit a rock or a crack and start sideways so I would struggle to straighten the handle bars as the next step or fissure came into play ....as I straightened my front tire I would stand to gain power to move up the step just as my back tire hit the rock i just went over with my front tire and I would slip sideways or go up in the air and lose momentum. Now momentum is questionable when this is all happening at 2.5 miles per hour. This went on for 6 of the eight hours .....the other two hours ? They were spent going down hill at 4.5 mph over he same chit I went up. And that was just part of one day. Crazy.... Crazy, I thought this would be .... Easy.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dave and Jill


This is Tracy and Jill Homer, the previous record holder for the Tour Divide.

This is "I've been waiting for you" Dave who ran the old hotel in Como.
See previous story "I've been waiting for you."

Friday, July 20, 2012

a very special message

Tracy called in from Abiquiu with a very special message for you.

Click here. Then click on the little gray "play" arrow next the what looks like a little speaker icon.

Friends you can count on

Storms come every afternoon in the mountains during monsoon season. Jim and I are in the thick of monsoon season. Everyday we watch the thunder heads build; and  wait for the onslaught. Jim calls them our "friends", I have another name for them. They usually come with hail and lightning and always bring trepidation and down right fear. I try not to pee my pants; I tell myself that pee will conduct electricity. Two days ago the hail was tearing through my hotel shower cap helmet cover and stinging my legs when I gave in and ran for cover under a small group of trees. Jim did follow though he usually holds out a bit longer. On a pass in Colorado our "friends" visited us and brought the same thing but packed a little more of a punch. We were at the top of a pass and entered what they call a "park" which is a big open area. I considered it a big frying pan. It was muddy and we were pushing our bikes slow and steadily when POP!! / POP!!  Two bolts of lightening came down very very near us ....inside the park about 50 yards away. In an instant I jumped ten feet sideways bike in tow. I yelled the "F" word out loud in fright and looked for Jim. He was slogging along. I could feel the heat from he bolt on the right side of my face. "Didn't that scare you?" I yelled. He gave me the divers sign for "I  am okay" and kept right on walking.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The "Wild thing" led to politics on the divide and anthropology on the side.

Jim and I found the most perfect campsite however it was intensely infested with mosquito's. We were out of water and in an arid area so there was no choice, we had to camp near water. I chose a site right next to the stream, set my tent up while doing the "mosquito dance", flailing my arms, and cussing. Jim went a quarter mile away in hopes to escape the mosquito brigade only to do exactly the same thing. Those buggers were thick. I jumped in my tent and sat watching Jim dance and flail. I ate (yes inside my tent) and waited for the Mosquito's to "lift" but they never did. As the big full moon began to rise I made a dash outside to hang my food from the bridge over the creek and move my "stink like food" bike away from my tent. Slapping and dancing I dove back inside and spent the next ten minutes making little bloody silhouettes on my tent walls. The moon was big and beautiful and instigated howling by the wolves in the valley. It was a bit eerie but beautiful as well. As I stared at the moon three big animals came over the ridge in the moonlight striding with purpose. I froze. They came closer and then caught my scent or saw me, and their purpose changed. I laid still but reached for my bear spray ever so slowly. The alpha came up to my tent with a snarl, that turned into a smile and a wagging tail. Sheep herders dogs...their purpose? The wolves. I interrupted their job for a minute. Eventually I had to push them out of my tent. They were HUGE dogs. My hand spread out did not cover the head of the dog in the mystery photo. They went off into the valley behind me and apparently did their job as their was a great deal of communication going on for sometime. They visited again on their return trip but I did not see them again. In the morning we repeated the dance routine as we packed up and got the hell out of there. As we crested the ridge leading out of the valley there was a rancher and a BLM employee standing there talking. The rancher had blood all over him....

To be continued...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

up next...

Today (Monday) Jim and Tracy are in Del Norte, Colorado and will climb from 7,900 to 12,000 feet over 20 miles (15 miles will be very very steep) on the way out of Del Norte. It is the most grueling climb on the entire route. It will end at Skyline Lodge. That is where Matthew Lee ate french toast in front of a crackling fire in the Tour Divide movie. They hope to do the same. That will be Monday. Tuesday... New Mexico.

Also, stay tuned for a blog story that will finally reveal the mystery animal from the picure in a previous blog.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I've been waiting for you...

Jim and I left Silverthorn late after doing many chores. Bike repairs, mail pick ups, big breakfast.... Target! shopping. WOW a Target. We breezed through Breckenridge and Frisco on the prescribed bike trail; water stops, restrooms, chocolate shops, ... it was surreal. Then we turned left onto a dirt road and re-entered our real world....and started climbing over one of the tallest passes on the ride... Boreas Pass. About half way up a woman was riding toward me and I jokingly told her she was going the wrong way. She stopped, looked at me and said "Are you Tracy?" This has happened several times on this trip. Someone even stopped me and said they had read my blog the night before and quoted some of the stuff from the Richmond Peak Pass story. (I am the only woman left in the rear of the race so it is not hard to guess my name, and the racers look different than the people touring so we are distinguishable....) So this woman happened to be Jill Homer, the record holder for the Tour Divide (until this year). We talked briefly but a storm was approaching so we did not dally. She told us we were the red lantern of the ride and to keep it up and that people were cheering us on. That made me feel good. We pressed on into the storm, spent a few brief moments on the peak and headed down into the town of Como. The local bed and breakfast in Como was closed so we were hoping for a picnic shelter, an over hang, something to shield us from the rain. When we got to town the lights at the bed and breakfast were on so we turned toward the place and thought we would try our luck. The place looked abandoned from the outside. Paint peeling, weeds growing up, chairs and mowers scattered around. I walked into the breezeway and pushed on the door, it creaked open and I peered in. Inside there was a man sitting on a bench in front of a big screen T.V. watching the "Tour" and he was holding an iPad on his lap." Hello Tracy", he said softly in an  English accent.. "I have been waiting for you". (I heard singing in my head, "Welcome to the Hotel California...") "There's two of us", I said. "I know", he reported. He had been watching our balloons and had opened for our arrival. He poured us a beer and made us food and rented us a room for the night which included a full breakfast in the morning. He was an interesting guy.... why he was in Como renovating an old train stop hotel is still a mystery....we asked and he said it was a long story. If you ever want to get away to a fascinating place, Como is only an hour from Denver. David is a splendid host and the old hotel and it's history is captivating.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Food and fun

Jim and I do food a little differently. He is a man's man when it comes to food. He lives on power bars out here... but that is slowly changing. I hate hate hate powerbars. I don't eat them, I'd rather eat road kill. So out here I pack hostess crumb cakes ortwinkies, loaves of bread and peanut butter, cookies, bagels and salami, and the regular junk like candy bars and candy bars and candy bars. When Jim and I crossed the basin we provisioned in that lovely little town of Atlantic City. The bed may have had turds in it but the food choices weren't bad. I picked up some chicken salad in a can with crackers, some cheese danishes, fruit cups and..... candy bars. Jim had vienna sausages, trial mix and.... powerbars.

We started out at 2 in the morning and provisioned enough to make it the 134 miles to Rawlings . The basin was beautiful at night, the sunrise was splendid and the sun was searing. We barely stopped all day; often eating while straddling our bikes, getting off only to pee. We pedaled against the wind, in the dust, nothing taller than us. It was good but grueling. With 17 miles to go we couldn't take it anymore and had to take a sit down break. Jim pulled out a vanilla power bar. That thing bent over as he released it from its stabilizing package. It was sticky, strings of Elmer's white glue connecting it to the wrapper, it looked like wet saw dust. He was choking it down. He looked over at me while I ate my chicken salad on little crackers and sipped the juice off my fruit cup. He shook his head, "THATS IT!", he said. I am convinced...I am going to change my food choices! Four days later out of Steamboat Springs Jim  secretly bought 4 bakery cinnamon rolls for our breakfast in Radium the next morning.  During our night camping in Radium a raccoon got into his pack and ate every one of them. When he discovered the backpack empty he could see the beady eyed bandit peering out from beneath the bathroom wall .We considered eating the raccoon.

What's the number one question?

Tracy wanted me to tell you all that... yes... she has saddle sores.

Also another story is in the works so stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bagdad Cafe

Maybe you don't know the movie but I am living it... Or I am reliving an Appalachian trail experience I had. Or, is this just what it is like out here.... because come to think of it, I did something like this on a boat in Thailand. Yuck! Jim and I pulled into Atlantic City Wyoming .... We were going to rest a day and fuel up for the great basin ride. I had plans .... I was going to spend the day resting on a comfortable bed in clean sheets talking on the phone to all of you. I was very excited, matter of fact I could not wait. However... That was not to be. Atlantic City has a population of about 52 (see picture) ,one cabin for rent, one place to eat, no cell service and spotty wifi. CHIT! The one cabin available had been vacated that afternoon and the woman who owned it also owned the restaurant and said we could have it as is... She was to busy to clean it herself. We accepted... How bad could it be? Well ... There was a coffee maker, no cups, a toilet, no handle, a bed, no sheets or mattress cover, a sink, no faucet, a dryer, no electricity, and a cot with lots of extras. The extras on my cot were.... turds... Rat turds, prairie dogs turds, I don't know what kind of turds but turds they were. And when animals go number two they usually also go number one. Along with the turds were stains. I shuddered. The idea of Hantavirus came to my head. It was late and I was tired.... I looked around, grabbed the vinyl table cloth off the kitchen table and placed it over about half the mattress. Then I grabbed a curtain from one of the windows, placed it over then table cloth, put my sleeping bag on top and went to bed. In the morning I had a great idea.... I would wash the thin mattress in the laundry tub for the next nights sleep. I turned the faucet to get it out of the sink so I could put the mattress in and the whole faucet came off in my hand. I eyed the tub, grabbed some laundry soap threw the mattress in the tub stepped into the shower and began the grape stomp. Holy smokes! The dirty water never did stop, I never got a clean rinse, I just gave up. I hung the thing out to dry and that night repeated the table cloth, curtain routine. I am not sure I slept any better.

Monday, July 9, 2012

your texts

tracy wanted me to tell everyone thank you so much for the texts. she reads every one of them and they comfort her and give her energy. she is sorry that she often cannot reply to all of them because she moves so quickly in and out of service areas and mostly does not have service. but she wanted you all to know how much they mean to her and that she reads every one of them. love to you all.

Intruder

Notice the zipper across the top of the picture...this animal tried to crawl into Tracy's tent the other night!!

More Later!

Working on the 5th climb of Mt. Everest

After a nice rest with the hospitality of the Moots folk in Steamboat Springs the forecast is that Tracy's gonna do it. Jim and Tracy are continuing on to Antelope Wells together. They have 1185 miles left to go. Today (Monday) they have a 30 mile climb from 4,500 ft up to 10,085 ft. going over Lynx Pass. That is just part of their 70 mile day. (Brought to you by MOOTS. Flawless.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Historic Timber

After recuperating with Cathy and Jay in Whitefish for 2 days I knew I should go or I might not. I went into town and prepared for the up coming journey . I got a back up cyclometer. Directions for the race go completely off of mileage, if you don't know your mileage you do not know where you are. I sent some stuff home, got anti nausea pills so I could eat, lidocaine patches so I could pedal, and altitude meds so I could think.... and then I pried myself from town. I planned on a forty mile day to Ferndale to test the knee out. Things went well but when I got to Ferndale I got a bit confused so I stopped a truck to ask the driver for directions. The guy inside and I talked about where the hotel was and eventually he said ... "why don't you come home with my sons and me?"  I said, "okay". He told me how to get there and that I would recognize his house as the house with.... "stuff" in the front yard. I figured if I got there and felt weird I could always go to the hotel. He had stuff in the yard alright. Dozers, mowers, cars, targets, tree houses (not in the tree) and a myriad other things. His was the TOTAL man house. Tools on the kitchen table, a 350 magnum on the kitchen counter, house half finished, T.V. on but no one watching, air gun pellets everywhere, and a pair of vice grips on the bathroom shower faucet, and clothes on the floor.... everywhere and anywhere. Yet I felt comfortable. His sons where engaging and kind, and he was interesting and generous. He was a logger, but he logged off the bottom of the nearby lakes and rivers. He would dive in total darkness in any weather unless the lakes were frozen bringing up the logs that had sunk over one hundred years ago. He would feel along the bottom until he found a group of logs and then slowly extract each one using a winch on a special boat. "Historic timber". The things people do.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wind

I rolled into Lima after riding until midnight the night before with Greg and Pete; a couple of cyclist I had met the day before. Pete decided to stay in Lima as he was beat so Gregg and I pushed on. We were in the wide open valleys of Montana and the wind was ferocious. The roar of the wind was constant. The force of the wind I have never experienced before. Gregg and I both were all over the road. The wind was having its way  with me in particular as I had as much surface area on my bike to catch the wind but about 40 pounds less than Gregg to hold it down. I was audibly groaning against its gales. Twice it pushed me into the ditch; I simply could not steer myself out of trouble. My toes were curled against its force, and my shoulder was turned and tucked. As the wind passed my face it often sucked saliva and snot out of my mouth and nose in long lines of lost moisture. Many times the wind pushed my front tire over in the loose gravel by two or three inches and I would either fall or nearly fall as if someone had swept my feet out from under me. At one point I stopped to get something out of my pack and I could not see to pull the zipper for the blowing sand and gravel. I gave up getting what I needed. Then we made a turn and the wind hit us head on. At one point it just stopped me from moving all together. I could not move against its force. Later I  passed a rancher with one dog riding on his four wheeler and two dogs running. I asked  how he decided who got to ride. He chuckled and said one had fallen off and the older dog preferred to run along side. We talked about he wind and he said he had never quite seen anything like it. Eventually Gregg and I made it to a campground only to discover a sign saying "warning a grizzly has been through this campground two days in a row". I looked around for the bathroom but found something better. A horse trailer for wood and food storage. I locked myself in there with the mice but away from the bruins. Gregg took his chances outside. In the morning one of the people camping told us his weather radio had reported 70 mile an hour gusts. I thought I had seen Dorothy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Richmond Peak Pass

In Whitefish the guys at the bike shop predicted there would be snow on Richmond peak ; so as I got closer I prepared myself. Let me tell you...I had no idea... I was a babe in the woods. When i got near the pass the cue sheet said turn left and follow single track around Richmond peak ....so I turned left. The single track was in the thick of bear country so I turned up the volume and frequency of my voice. The trail began to close in and get snowy, I began to get nervous and ....more nervous. I worked my way around the mountain side talking loudly and pushing in knee deep slushy snow and getting ... Nervous. As I made the turn around the mountain I entered a huge, vast, expansive valley full of .... snow, lots of snow. And lots of trees hiding bears-with-cubs and mountain lions. I started talking like there were two people (I thought that was a pretty good strategy)
"hey jack"
"what?"
"get the chain saw"
"why?"
Then later ....
"hey jack"
"what?"
"get the shot gun"
.... That one made me feel a bit better. I must admit I DO NOT like being part of the food chain.
My head was down, it was hard going and then ....I noticed I was off trail. I was walking in the mountains, alone, off trail and did not know where I was. You guys had more of a clue than I. I looked into the vast wilderness in front of me and the endless valley leading in both directions away from me and my conversation slipped into this.
"Oh Tracy you have done it this time".
Then I mimicked myself (hand on cocked hip, mousy voice)
" I want to find my limits".
Then I asked myself
"have you found them? Huh? You are in the thick of grizzly country in a vast valley and you are lost!"
"Have you found your limits?"
I yelled ....
"I do not like this!"
All at the top of my voice. With great ,let me tell you, GREAT relief I found my trail. I went back to the jack-get-the-chain-saw-or-gun conversation. When I finally got out of the snow I celebrated with wine and cheese (Gatorade and three day old cheese sticks). I was elated.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Video

Here's a little video one of the guys took on the trail. You can hear the wind and see it push Tracy's bike at one point. Imagine 70 miles of pushing through wind like that.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh no another problem...

I was biking along the bike path outside Butte high above the highway when I noticed a jeep following my progress down below. This was not to many days after the campground incident so my first thought was... Uh oh. He was off the highway and on the berm moving at my pace..... CHIT! As I came down a hill even with the interstate i saw the guy had parked and had gotten out of his jeep and was walking toward the fence separating us. I veered to the far side of the trail. Then the guy yelled at me " hey are you Tracy Burge?" I stopped and cautiously answered. I wondered if there was something wrong at home or ... Then he said " I am Russ Kipp from the biker hostel in Polaris we have been following you and all the other racers and I was driving along and saw you up there and had to stop and say hello!" My voice cracked as I thanked him for stopping... He looked at me funny...I told him it was so good to hear my name and have such a welcome. He took my picture and we talked a bit and he told me to see him in Polaris... And by golly I did!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Terror not from bears.....

When I pulled into Helena I went directly to the bike shop. As we all know the MOOTS has been flawless but I needed to take care of her....a little TLC was in order. As the mechanics worked I planned. I looked at maps, talked to locals, and yes, I googled the route out of Helena to see how long it would take me to get to the camp ground at the top of the pass. Google said three hours, it was 6:30 so I decided to push on. Let me tell you it was a HAUL. Twenty some odd mile climb.... in the granny ....huffing and puffing ...and.... I do not think google ever did it on a loaded bike at the end of the day. At 10 pm I am finally at the turn for the camp ground. As I turn this guy in a pick up comes by (I have not seen a car on the road in four days except in Helena). He stops and we talk for a minute and then he hops out of the truck. I notice he has a firearm on his side. That kind of shakes my nerves a bit. He goes to the back of the truck where he has a cooler and pulls out an ice tea and hands me one...and I think ... Okay he is a nice guy. Right? Then he offers to drive the little bit to the camp ground to show me the way, its only a quarter mile, its off route and he insists so I say okay. I figured when I got among other campers things would be fine. When we arrived there were no other campers....none. Not even an empty trailer. He looked around, I looked around, he looked me up and down and then said ..."you gonna be alright?" I said "yes absolutely" and he left. I went directly to the rickety bathroom and locked the rickety door. I should have moved on but I was cold, tired and hungry. The bathroom won out over more miles. I ate, laid my stuff out, fought the mice for floor space and finally dozed off. The crunch of gravel and head lights through the glazed bathroom glass woke me, my heartbeat crowded out any further sounds. The lights shone in the window for a moment then moved toward the direction of the campground. I stared out the window and watched the lights take a slow path around the sites and back down to the bathroom. I ducked below the window and was swallowed by my heartbeats once again. Then the truck moved away and toward the exit... I was wishing for a bear.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bannick Park to Lima

(as dictated by Tracy)

It was a long climb from Bannick Park to Medicine Lodge Pass. With constant wind I averaged 5 miles an hour. I and a group of cyclists pull into a dry irrigation ditch next to the driveway to a ranch and underneath the only tree on the whole horizon. We all fell out and fell asleep after biking 20 miles in 4 hours. There are 5 of us there huddled under the narrow piece of shade this tree provides. Two and a half hours later two of the riders decide to go on, and two of us decide to wait until the evening hours. Twenty minutes later a woman from the ranch pulls up and asks if we want to come up to the house to rest. We accept.

At the house we learn a bit about the ranch. They had 30 sq. miles of land. Their little girl wanted to show us her new pony, Elvis. When we got out to the corral several horses were accidentally let out when we let Elvis into a corral. And the rodeo began. They were kicking and running and the lady was trying to catch them. It was a real ranch experience. We were closing gates, opening other gates, trying to corner the ponies. None of them would let us go near them. Eventually we sorted them out until Elvis-pony stood alone in the middle of the corral. The little girl walked right up to him.

After that mess we decided to excuse ourselves. By the time we got to our bikes it was 6:30 in the evening. We finished the pass which took another 3 hours then we had a long winding beautiful downhill in the middle of a moonlit canyon. We stopped several times to shut off our lights to look at the outline of the rocks.

We camped on the side of the road. I woke up to find I had set my tent up in a rock garden. I had a horrible nights sleep. Every twist and turn I made landed me on yet another rock. I woke up in the bottom of a beautiful canyon near a creek, watching an otter playing in the river.

Now it is back onto the road and fighting the wind, back to 6 miles an hour on flat ground, and it is awesome.

This is Tracy at Lima

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Monday, June 25, 2012

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Tracy in Elk Park



Tracy at Montana High Country Lodge, Polaris, MT

Back at it and happy about it!


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Reminders


and another from Tracy:

"Sometimes I wake up and I think " why" " what am I doing?" another pass , more wind ... And "where am I going?" Last night and this morning gave me plenty answers. I pulled into Wise River and stepped into mosquito heaven. I was swatting and dancing when a local offered some " bug dope". I took some, and got an offer of margaritas and camping as well. I took that too. I went into the restaurant and there were five other riders ....and they said to me " are you the girl on the MOOTS?" We talked and shared stories and had some food then three of us headed to the campsite offered. When we got there it was a bonanza in many ways. Food, liberal people , good conversation and open arms. They also knew all about the race. One guy in particular went over and over my bike...he loved it ....and of course I told him it was flawless. In the morning he came to tell us good bye and wistfully looked over my bike again. We took off for the day and waved our goodbyes. Later half way up the pass as I was taking a picture I heard a bike roll up; I liked over my shoulder. It was Ed the guy at the campsite. He couldn't stand it....he had to ride the divide even for a little bit. He was so excited, so was his wife. Later someone else from the campsite handed a dark chocolate candy bar out the window to me. People were smiling and hooting and hollering. It was great. It was also a wonderful reminder."

Thank you


From Tracy:

"I am sitting here in Bannock State Park Montana with wifi ..... that is hard enough to believe. What is harder to believe is the support all of you send my way. I read your text and comments on the blog and a big frog gets stuck in my throat. Your comments remind me to be kind to myself, I appreciate that so much. This race has turned out much differently than I thought it would....it's been difficult for me to... assimilate into reality, and accept. It has been your kindness,love and support; your grace....that has reminded me of my own. Thank you."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

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Friday, June 22, 2012

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Never say never.

I rode my bike to the bike shop this morning to get it packed to go. Rob at the bike shop told me to take ten more minutes to decide. In that ten minutes two people came in said they were riding the divide and invited me to ride with them. BINGO! That was what I needed. I did not think it was wise to ride into the desert with diarrhea and dehydration. However after a doctors visit, some Flagel (for possible giardia) and some rest I will go on with them. Yeah! Sorry for the roller coaster ride. You guys are awesome! Hope this does it! Love, Tracy

Love

I have absolutely loved this process with all of you. I have loved what I have been doing out here. I have loved my MOOTS bike. It was flawless. I have loved the love I have felt from all of you. I have met great people, seen stunning scenery, and done things I did not think I could do. I have been part of the food chain. Let me tell you,that is an interesting perspective. This has been an incredible journey. However it has come to an end. Though I am disappointed I am still proud; of all of us. We did this together. It was fun wasn't it? I pushed the miles that I did because I had all of you pushing me. And it was a push. A beautiful push. Thank you so much. I love you all.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Update from Butte

Report from Tracy, she spent the night in Butte mostly because she was not feeling well again. Nausea and diarrhea have returned. She got dehydrated yesterday and we believe that has contributed to problems with altitude acclimation. She has spent the morning dealing with those issues. She also was experiencing face numbness. So this all led to a late start out of Butte but she is now on her way. Taking it hour by hour.

She did a callin last night, you can follow this link to hear it:

Tracy's callin from Butte.

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Going back...

This is a catch up blog..... so I am going back to when I pulled the hood up over my head on the highway (see post: I got to use the hood). When I returned to the van I slid into a seat and began to give up control..... there was nothing I could do ... the flu was kicking in. We drove to the border town of Shelby where we thought we would get a hotel. That's where the truck stop comes in. No hotels available. None. No where. But the truck stop bathroom floor was wide open and I settled in. Cindy, unfortunately in the same predicament, took the opposite stall. I remember three distinct comments from that night. The first came from a young woman as she entered the bathroom
" Hooooly shit"... I knew what that was about but could do nothing but lay there in a ball waiting....Another woman came in asking for a ride to a funeral. I replied that I could not help as I was sick... she replied "listen I can pay I am not broke ass"  I wanted to reply that I indeed was but just laid there on the floor. I had assumed nearly every curled position  you can take inside a stall when finally my feet slowly slid out underneath the door and into the open floor space. The third comment I heard was..." Maaaaam?" Two and a half hours later Cindy and I were finally able to stumble to our van and Jenny and Jan got us across the border to Lethbridge. Lucky for the truck stop there.... a hotel room was available.


ELKFORD (second night of the race)....After a second day of cold rain many racers gathered in Elkford in a hotel. My room did not have hot water. CHIT! I was already on a down turn and did not have enough energy to inquire so I went to bed dirty. I mean dirty. It rained all night. In the morning I was able to eat a bit of breakfast and was feeling a bit optimistic about the day. We set out one by one and in small groups  and as we twisted and turned deeper and deeper into the woods I noticed a set of prints to my right. The prints were so fresh the mud stood in perfect pyramids between its pads. No claws. Looked a lot like .....cattie prints... but desert plate sized!!  Oh chit!  They went on for a mile. My nerves went on for much longer than that.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Speedy Friends Go Zoom All Through The Night..

Report from Tracy, she did indeed have a cold and windy night at Park Lake because of the altitude, "I was f..rr..eeeee..zzING." She stayed in one of those concrete bathroom structures (another night on a bathroom floor, at least she wasn't throwing up this time) but she had some friends in the night. Mice kept running right over her at high speed ("zoom.. zoom") and they helped themselves to her rice crispie treats. This morning she is happy though, very upbeat. She has already gotten through the single track, she said, "it is very beautiful here". She is hightailing it to Baisn hoping to get to the pizza parlor before it closes. Again, she wants to stress that the Moots is flawless. "It doesn't flinch at the grizzlies..."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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Pushing on

Tracy made it to Helena in good time and has decided to push on towards Basin and Butte. She will most likely be spending the night at Park Lake where they have a campground (small) with restrooms. She said she could sleep in the restrooms if she was really worried about bears.

I posted some pictures on this post: tough-day-ahead-today-and-more-picks

And I still plan on posting some more either tonight or tomorrow so stay tuned.

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Tough day ahead today and more pics from Trace

Tracy is still pressing on. She faces a long, tough climb today on her way into Helena. We estimate it will take her roughly 12 hrs to get through this pass or passes today. Not only is it a crawling climb but she is being rained on in 40 degree weather and we anticipate snow again on the ridge at the top. She is feeling better though and last night she had "the biggest hamburger" she's ever eaten. Her IT band injury hurts with every stroke but is getting better with every day.

She encountered more trail angels at Ovando, see the pics below, they tell the story better than I could in words. Tracy will blog the story as soon as she gets a chance. I will post even more pics a little bit later.









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Monday, June 18, 2012

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

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Future Tour Divide racers.. how to warm up...

Thought you all might be interested to see this broadcast from the Weather Channel interview with Matthew Lee the "race director" [sic] and 5 time winner of the Tour Divide race. He calls this race the Tour de France of mountain biking and also says it makes the Tour de France look like a warm up.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Tracy is on the move again.. more pics

As you can see Tracy is indeed on the move again. She is tough!

Here are some pics from Tracy of life on the course.

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I Am Mary

(Tracy dictated the following blog for you all).

Blame it on the flu, blame it on my arrogance, but I am Mary. Now I know why her legs got big, protein deficiency. For five days I was unable to eat properly. While other riders sat at tables eating sirloins, pancakes, hash-browns and omelets, I ate 2 eggs and a piece of toast or a plain dish of noodles. I could not tolerate protein. I was nauseated. Because I was nauseated I didn't drink well either. Four snowy passes and 400 miles later I was out of gas. And my legs were as big as Mary's. I stayed the night in a Super 8 hotel in Whitefish. I shivered half the night and was half delirious. In the morning Cindy convinced me to go to urgent care. I was going to get a cortisone shot for my knee but by the time I got there I was also an emotional and mental mess. The doctor looked at my legs and swollen face and said, "you need two to three days off, you are spent." I cried. He did an e.k.g, a chest x-ray and blood work to make sure I had not done any damage and then sent me up stairs to the physical therapist for a tape job. When I walked in John was going to take care of me when Jay jumped up and said "I'll take her, I'll take her." He told me to sit on the table, asked me what my problem was and then started moving my leg around. I yelped. He said, "you're going to need a couple days off". I cried. The thought of staying in a hotel room by myself in this state depressed me to no end. I was afraid of what it might do to me.

I asked him, "where can I stay for two days?" He suggested a few places and I cried again. Then he said "let me make a phone call." When he returned he said, "you're going home with us, my wife will be here to pick you up in 15 minutes." When his wife arrived she walked directly to me (she was petite) and wrapped her big arms around me and said, "I'm sorry, i know just what it is like to train so hard and then have an injury." And.. I.. sobbed. All this energy, all the training, all the good wishes laid there on the table in her arms.

I got in the car and she apologized for having to run some errands before taking me home. One of which was going to the grocery. I was gimping around so I got in one of those motorized carts with the basket on the front and followed her bumping into displays, backing into trash cans but being of some use at least. We brought the groceries home and they made me a big dinner of which I could eat only a bit because I was still nauseated. After dinner I laid on the couch with their dogs and cat. Then I went to bed and laid there with their dogs and cat. In the morning Jay made me a big breakfast which I choked down because I was still nauseated. Then I went back to bed... with their dogs and cat. Midday I finally got up. Jay did some more treatment on my leg, I went to the pharmacy and got some anti-nausea pills, went to the bike shop and got some work done on the bike and began to get my hutzpa back. I gotta do this. But I'm BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN, CHAAARGE! Thanks for your well wishes, your prayers, your hopes. Like I said, we do this together.

Please send Cathy and Jay at c.shaver@bresnan.net a thank you for getting me back on the road.

(And once again the Moots was flawless and I was not.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tendonitis cont...

There was more of an issue than the IT band. She had edema which caused some alarm. And she was nauseated. Not feeling well at all. Blood tests showed her protein levels were low. She is resting for a day maybe two and will continue on her own. She, in true Tracy form, has been adopted by a medical worker from the clinic and his family (he is an athlete himself) and so she is enjoying a great home cooked meal and a warm comfortable home.

"The last one to Mexico is a rotten egg..."

Here is a video of the mass start June 8th 8am MDT.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Tendonitis

Tracy has tendonitis in her IT band. The booties she was wearing threw her stroke off. She is pressing on. Arranged for an urgent care clinic visit in Whitefish, MT.

Tracy's first race callin from Roosville

This is the audio from Tracy's first callin from Roosville. Listen all the way through, it sounds like it stops or gets cut off but that is just Tracy pausing for emotion. MTBCast TD12 – Tracy Burge called in from Roosville by ceeblet

Race start pictures

Some pictures were posted from the start of the race: http://conquerthedivide.blogspot.com/2012/06/race-has-begun.html. I will post a small video and more pictures soon.

On The Border

So Tracy has reached the border and has called in. She dictated the blog typed in below.

Make sure you read the comments on some of the tracker checkin posts as people have posted her messages to them as well.

You can listen to the racer's callin's on this page. http://mtbcast.com/site2/

You can get some good reports as to the conditions they've been going through. Tracy's hasn't been posted yet I don't think but keep an eye out for it, I think it will be a gem.

From Tracy:

"The race start was exciting, all of us jockeying for a position, in a 30 day race it seemed ridiculous but there we were racing. I of course was talking to people, they were busy racing. We had an absolutely gorgeous race course for the first 3 hours (you'll see pictures) and sure enough 2 hrs into the race my worst fears came true, there in front of me was a bear. He ran up into the woods by about 30 yards and stared at us and as we moved by all we could do was yell cause we were rollin'. Right after that it started raining and at times it was pouring. It was an icy rain, it was a cold rain. I had my shower cap on my helmet and that was working well against the rain but not against the cold. Pretty soon we were finding our way through a magnificent.... cloud, the mountains had disappeared. We were shrouded in absolute cloud cover. The day continued, the rain continued, the mud continued until I was wracked with shivers. About then through shaky hands I read "William Watson Lodge" on the map and I knew I had to get there. I had 4 more hours to go in the pouring, freezing rain in which that lodge was the only dry refuge. Will he please let us in? Will he put us on the floor? Put us in the garden shed? Under a table? Anything, anything to get us out of this cold rain. And then we pulled up to this beautiful facility and when we walked in it was a haven for other racers. Katherine Hogan of William Watson lodge had become a trail angel, I seriously think she saved our lives, many racers were soaked to the bone and were getting hypothermic, but Katherine took us all in giving us hot showers, her own meal and offering warm places to sleep. I went to bed that night hoping for the rain to stop. In the morning the rain had stopped... it had turned into snow, and all of you... every last one of you put me on my bike that morning."

She also said they have been going through several feet of snow, the snow has been up to their hubs on their bikes. They were going through one pass and they said they knew it would take them 7-8 hrs to go 30 miles.

She also said the Moots has been flawless. You can see in the race reports many riders are having mechanical problems especially with brakes. Thank you Moots!!

Here are a few more quotes from Trace:

"I am humbled out here. Around these people [meaning the other racers] I am nothing."

"I am not running my own race, the race is running me."

Monday, June 11, 2012

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

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