Felix Wong holding up a yellow mountain bike at chest level next to a sign that says Boundary of the United States of America

A Giant Thank You

It’s been almost two weeks since arriving at the Mexico border and completing the Tour Divide mountain bike race, so this post is way overdue. Here is a bevy of excuses: numb hands that make it difficult to type; hundreds of e-mails and snail mails to catch up on; unpacking from not just the race, but the weeks of travel preceding it; a front and back yard waving weeds like flags as if to cry out, “tend to me!” after weeks of neglect; and a near-overwhelming amount of work of the paid variety.

But in no way does being busy diminish the gratitude I hold for the dozens of people who had helped me through the race. While this was supposed to be a self-supported, individual effort, I think every Tour Divide racer finished feeling that there is no way any of us could have completed this oft-absurd event completely alone. In my case, I’d like to thank all of the following people:

  • Tori, one of my best friends in the whole wide world who not only provided endless moral support but kept me updated on race developments and even read me the messages many of you left on the TourDivide.org website. Her help was invaluable even if she never did warn me about there being no pie in Pie Town.
  • My mom and dad, who at first might have been indifferent about the race and couldn’t even figure out what state I was in from the Tour Divide website, but became two of my biggest supporters by the last week.
  • Fellow racers of the Tour Divide and the shorter border-to-border race, the Great Divide Race, which started a week later. All the racers ahead and after me helped provide motivation and made me feel less alone (even when I never saw them). I particularly would like to acknowledge TD racer Kevin Hall, the racer I saw the most during the entire race and was the one I bonded with the most as we rode and camped at the same places together the first three days.
  • Matthew Lee and Kevin Montgomery for organizing the event and setting up the extremely well-done website. Congrats to Matthew for also winning the race.
  • SPOT for sponsoring the race and providing each racer with their Satellite Personal Tracking devices. All the “blue-dot junkies” out there can attest that the real-time online tracking made the race even more exciting and interesting.
  • The many good Samaritans who offered help (food, lodging, repairs) during the race, particularly when I needed it. I will be devoting an entire post to these people very soon with more details.
  • Friends and even random people who typed messages of support on the Tour Divide website for me. You all were great.
  • Super-supporters Bounce, Christine, Dory, Michele and Venus who were leaving messages on the website or my phone almost daily, and my friends in Fort Collins, CO who were keeping me abreast of developments in my hometown. I owe the latter a beer.
  • Sherry Olsen, who not only transcribed the Tour Divide racer’s call-ins onto the TourDivide.org website, but sent some ice cream bars and Tour Divide T-shirts to the Border Patrol Station in Antelope Wells (the finish of the race). Normally I don’t care for race T-shirts, but in this case, I had no clean clothes at the end of the race for a bus ride home so it was greatly appreciated!
  • Carol McDaniel for giving me a wonderful full-body sports massage (and a handout for back bend exercises (PDF, 475 KB) a week after I finished the race to help with the nerve impingement in my hands), and Cat S. of Fort Collins for unexpectedly paying for it before I even had the massage!
  • My clients and work associates who did not raise a ruckus when I told them that I’d be completely off the Internet and out of communication for almost five weeks. Of course, now they are bombarding me with work…

Seriously, thank you everyone!!!

Felix Wong holding up a yellow mountain bike at chest level next to a sign that says Boundary of the United States of America
Felix Wong at the finish of the 2008 Tour Divide in Antelope Wells, New Mexico.