Day 9: Into no man's land -- the Medicine Lodge area and big sky country of Montana.

Tour Divide: Day 09

Ride time: 7:00 a.m.-9:40 p.m. (14.7 hours)
Miles ridden: 123 on-course + 1 off-course = 124
Total on-course miles covered: 855

MTBCast Call-in

Felix Wong Tells us how to Bear Proof your Campsite

Submitted by sherry on June 21, 2008 – 7:33 p.m.
Racer update about: Felix Wong

Hi, this is Felix Wong calling at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, June 21st from Lima, MT. I’ve had a good couple of days riding. Yesterday, despite starting about 8:15 a.m. I managed to cover about 110 miles riding until about 11:00 p.m. The only spot that seemed to be really slowing me down was this absurdly steep downhill which I had to be weaving while walking my bike down. Otherwise, I felt like I was flying pretty much for the rest of it. I’ve been really feeling strong.

This morning, well today, I cranked out about 108 miles and it’s still pretty early so I’m probably going to carry on. This morning, I encountered Mike Dion. He seemed to be doing OK. I was expecting to see Mary also but it seems like, well Mike said that her legs have really been swelling up and she stopped at the creek and I just never saw her. So that’s really too bad. I was hoping to see her. Apparently, I passed her and never saw her.

Anyhow, things are going well. I even got some advice on camping with bears from a guy in Grant. He says the best thing to do is after I set up my campsite in bear country, I should walk out about 20 feet and then start peeing around my campsite to mark my spot. I guess I should stay well hydrated to do that. OK, talk to you later. Bye.

From the Notebook

  • All downhill to Grant.
  • At Grant, the restaurant that was noted on the Adventure Cycling map and I had been counting on had closed. But some fellows pulled up in a truck and I asked them if there was any place I could buy food. They (Mike and an older gentleman) invited me to their house for breakfast. There I also met Mike’s wife Barb.
  • Barb cooked up some bacon, toast, OJ, and eggs. It was delicious. I spent at least an hour here while they recounted stories of feeding cyclists in prior years, including a guy named Alex.
  • Mike gave me some advice about what to do about bears. He said to pee in various spots 20′ around my campsite to “mark your spot.”
  • Mike and Barb had lived out in northern California for a while but moved out here for the peace and quiet. Both of them hunted and fished and they had animal heads of Barb’s kills on the wall. Barb did indicate to me that one day in the next 5 or so years she might want her and her husband to move to an actual city again, though.
  • Afterward was a long, not-so-steep climb up Medicine Lodge Pass.
  • Hot (maybe 90 degrees) with mosquitoes.
  • Standing under a tree was a cyclist. It was Tour Divide racer Mike Dion! I finally caught him!
  • I asked him where was Mary Metcalf-Collier as I knew (from talking with Tori) she was riding with Mike. Mike said, “you didn’t see her?” Apparently she had stopped to soak her swollen legs in a river. I never saw her.
  • Apparently (I learned this from Mike in Lima later that evening), the camera crew picked her up and brought her to a hospital for treatment of her legs.
  • I was feeling strong and opened up an 5-6 mile gap on Mike on the uphill, but on the downhill he got into his aerobars and arrived in Lima only 10 minutes after I did later that evening. I was impressed.
  • Mike was going to stay in a hotel in Lima for the night, though. Since it wasn’t even 8:00 p.m. yet, I decided to carry on and rode 14 more miles before stealth camping a mile or two before the Lima Reservoir.
Day 9: Into no man's land -- the Medicine Lodge area and big sky country of Montana.
Day 9: Into no man's land -- the Medicine Lodge area and big sky country of Montana.