Friday, July 04, 2008
Matthew Lee is the greatest cyclist you've never heard of, but what he has accomplished ranks him among the best of the best.
Late in the evening on July 2, Matthew rolled into Antelope Wells, NM, a small outpost on the U.S./Mexico border. He started his 2700+ mile journey on June 13 in Banff, Alberta, Canada, following the Adventure Cycling Great Divide route.
Matthew averaged more than 140 miles per day riding unsupported mainly on dirt roads; buying groceries at mom and pop markets in the back country of the West, and sleeping on the ground.
I met Matt in 2005 as he rode down the final stretch to Antelope Wells. At the border, we celebrated with a few beers, then we loaded his bike into the car and tried to get back to Silver City (almost...my car broke down at Gold Gulch...we had to hitch into town).
He won the race again in 2006, but I was still in Venezuela, so I could not help him at the finish line. Same in 2007 where he came in 2nd place finishing about 12 hours behind the winner.
When I met Matthew in 2005, he talked passionately about the GDR, but wanted the start line pushed back to Banff because the scenery and track was so beautiful. The GDR still starts in Rooseville, MT, so a second race was organized, the Tour Divide with the start line in Banff.
Anyway, as someone put on a post of the Tour Divide blogsite, Well done Matt, well done!
note: the photo posted is Matt at the 2005 finish. I took the photo, not sure who's camera, his or mine. Probably his. My photos of Matthew are lost on a crashed hard drive. Anyway, credit Matthew Lee and tourdivide.org