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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Estelle Hartz
Estelle Hartz
A&E Editor

Q&A: Miller’s Bike Journey

City High math teacher takes his bike from Alberta, Canada, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico
Photo+courtesy+of+Matt+Miller
Photo courtesy of Matt Miller

So, why did you go on the trip?

I’ve done bike racing like extended, ultra-distance gravel races, which were fun. Then in 2019, I thought “I want to go somewhere.” I biked from my house to Winnipeg, Canada, which was like 860 miles over the course of six days. And then in 2020, I biked from my house to Washington DC, which [was] almost 1000 miles total. I fell in love with throwing bags on bikes, going and camping along the way, and [the] freedom that comes with it and the challenge. Then I was like, I’d like to do a race like this. So for two years, I went up and did a race in Minnesota, which is 1200 miles around the perimeter of Minnesota. I said [to my wife]: “Hey, if I’d ever do this [trip from Alberta to the Mexican border], when would be a good time to do it?” and she said 2023 – so I put it on my calendar.

 

How was the company? 

There were about 200 of us that started in Alberta. Within about a week I didn’t see very many people. There were a few of us that would leapfrog but I very rarely rode with anybody. [There were] a lot of days where I didn’t see anybody at all, I was up in the middle of the mountains. That’s pretty wild.

 

What was your best day on the trip? 

That last day was awesome. I was so burnt out. It was the day between Pineville, Wyoming, and the middle of the basin. [I was] riding up on this ridge and the wind wasn’t terrible and the roads were relatively smooth even though it was dirt. I was totally alone, but it was this beautiful scenery. [There was] this huge sky and mountains here and mountains there. Then you get to the basin and you leave this little tiny town called Atlantic City, Wyoming- you see your last people and you see your last tree for 100 miles, and you enter this vast high desert. That was a fun night, solo and out in the middle of nowhere, knowing there was nobody for 30 miles in any direction. It was a magical night. 

 

What was your worst day on the trip? 

Second to last day, without a doubt. I was in the middle of New Mexico. I was so burnt out and so tired. The temperature got up to over 100 degrees. There was one water stop that day because it’s New Mexico. It’s all dry. [The] hills aren’t steady inclines like in Colorado, I was pushing my bike a lot in really rocky places. It was just so long and arduous and I was so burnt out, I cried that day. I was physically exhausted. You’re put at your very, very limit.

 

Would you do it again? 

I would do it again. I would try to lighten up my gear a bit by finding a lighter sleeping bag and maybe switching to a bivy rather than a full tent. I also stopped “early” a few times and got a late start a few other days. I think I could get down the route in a couple less days than the 22:10 [mark] that I did this time. My takeaway is that we are all way more capable than we think. We can do hard things. This pushed me to my limits physically, mentally, and emotionally, but I was able to push through and finish, and I’m proud of myself for that.

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Rosangel Flores-Rubio
Rosangel Flores-Rubio, Executive Editor
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