Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson is undertaking the Tour Divide bike race. Ezra Black/The Free Press

Former governor of New Mexico passes through Fernie

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has climbed the seven highest mountains of every continent.

He competed in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on four occasions, he’s done a number of bike tours and once ran for 30-hours non-stop for a 100 mile ultramarathon.

As he set off from Fernie on the morning of June 11 on another leg of the Tour Divide, the American politician said the race was his biggest physical challenge to date.

“I don’t think any of them compare to this,” he said.

“I am going to try and ride it as fast as I can,” he continued. “But I intend to finish.”

Johnson is taking part in the Tour Divide, a cross-country mountain bike race. The route spans nearly 4,500 kilometres from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The route, “travels through remote backcountry with grizzly and mountain lion density,” as per the Tour Divide website. “Intervals between services are frequently 100 miles and demand calculated food/water resupply–or else.”

The website further states that riders need to find shelter each night or bivouac trailside. Johnson, a two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate, was riding with a bivouac sack and thermal mattress.

“It’s got to be as light as you can get it but you can lighten as you go,” he said.

In the 2016 presidential election, Johnson received over 4 million votes, about 3.24 per cent of the total, a far better result than any previous Libertarian presidential candidate.