Felix Wong with carbon road bike and bikepacking setup
Photo by Corey Harn

Greatest Epics

This is a list of the most noteworthy adventures or challenges I have undertaken, in decreasing order of epicness. Often epic means ridiculously hard; other times it means most memorable or interesting.

Remarkably, in 2012 Adventure Journal rated the Tour Divide and the Furnace Creek 508 as the two most difficult races of any sport in the world.

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Tour Divide

The granddaddy of all cross-country bikepacking races. I was one of the original eight finishers of this historic Canada-to-Mexico MTB race.

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Trans Am Bike Race

A 4200-mile, self-supported bicycle race across USA from Oregon to Virginia. I finished in 8th place despite riding 1100 miles with Shermer's Neck.

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Furnace Creek 508

The Furnace Creek 508 is the original qualifier for the Race Across America. I entered the Classic Bike (1983 technology) division and set an age group record upon finishing.

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Riding through the French countryside in the world's oldest bicycle race still in existence was literally a dream come true.

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The American version of PBP was also quite possibly the world's longest bike ride ever to order a Subway sandwich... in French.

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Running a marathon, or 26.2 miles, is hard. So how is it like to run the equivalent of four marathons non-stop?

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Camino de Santiago

People have been making a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela for over 1000 years. This was one of the most satisfying and spiritually rewarding epics I have done.

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There are only a few one-day races where I truly felt I would keel over and die at the very end. This was one of them.

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Lots of folks end up living wherever they can find work by default. I decided to stop working and find where I truly wanted to live.

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My first 100-mile run. This was in Canada. I got lost with five miles to go and finished with only 19 minutes to spare!

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My final qualifier for Paris-Brest-Paris, with lots of rain, riding in the dark, hallucinating, and sleeping in the weeds.

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After I was fully vaccinated after quarantining for 14 months, the New England Challenge provided an opportunity to check off a bunch of marathon states in less than a week.

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The second half, with 18% grades on long climbs and 100F heat, is when this infamous 200-mile bike ride with 16000 feet of climbing gets truly terrible. Plus I was sick.

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With Mount Diablo, Altamont Pass, Mount Hamilton, Sierra Road, and 18000 feet of climbing, this is one of the hilliest double centuries in the U.S.

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This 155-mile ride includes a 67-mile, 9000-ft climb and grades over 19%. Tragically, someone died.

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A year before I did my first Ironman triathlon, I really couldn't swim. So emerging from beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene after swimming 2.4 miles was one of the proudest moments of my life.

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There were eight pitches on this classic Yosemite rock, including a couple super-exposed sections where I've never been more terrified in my life. Plus there were 18 miles of hiking.

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Due to mass flight cancellations, I drove a rental car for 29 hours in bad weather while listening to 17.5 hours of advanced Mandarin lessons to stay awake. Then I biked 200 miles indoors.

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A classic mountaineering experience on a fourteener requiring early starts, ice axes and crampons, and glissading or skiing down.

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A one-day, 21-mile hike up and down the tallest mountain in the continental U.S. I got altitude sickness and the worst headache in my life.

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This was the first time I tried to run more than 50 miles. The first half went brilliantly. The second half, not so much.

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This has got to be one of the most difficult marathons in the world, with an 8000-foot climb topping out at over 14000 feet. It took me over seven hours!

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My friend Stacey challenged me to do 2013 pushups to celebrate the year 2013. In one day!

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I never thought I'd win a marathon, at least not one with more than a handful of runners. This was also the first time I ran two marathons in a weekend.

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In this marathon, I entered the Civilian Heavy Division wearing a 41-pound backpack, yet ran enough through ankle-deep sand to finish eighth in category.

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There have been a few occasions where I've done events that weren't too remarkable by themselves, but when done back-to-back made the weekend epic.

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This race was only 14 miles, but 90% was uphill on America's highest paved road. There was the blizzard at the end and the race was called off right after I finished!

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Run a mile, do 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and run another mile, all within an hour while wearing a 20-pound vest, and you got yourself a mini-epic.

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A marathon is an interesting challenge and a great metaphor for life. Everyone should try to do one at least once in their lifetime.

Eliud Kipchoge running a sub-2-hour marathon

Epics By Others That I Witnessed Or Wrote About

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The infamous Badwater Ultra, with 135 miles and 125F heat, is hard enough by itself. My friend Alene Nitzky did the race... and then ran back!

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Ron Patrick found an old GE jet engine and decided to use it to give his New Beetle more power. Because why not?