DAVISON TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (02/20/17) - A Mid-Michigan man will be braving the bitter cold of Alaska in a few days, and at the same time, he'll be helping the victims of child abuse in the Flint area.
Tony Newton has a fat tire bike and he leaves Tuesday for Anchorage, Alaska. He'll be riding across the snowy wilderness and raising money for a good cause.
Last year, it took Newton six days to ride his fat tire bike 350 miles in the Iditarod Trail Invitational. He's going back this year, but this time he's asking for pledges for the Weiss Child Advocacy Center in Flint after learning what an important service they offer.
"It touched me deeply and I haven't been able to forget it," Newton said.
So far, he's had about $3,500 pledged for the agency.
Newton spent the day packing. He had to be ready for extremely cold weather.
"When I went last year, the coldest Isaw was five below, but they tell us to prepare for minus 40," Newton said.
The rules say Newton can drop off five pounds of food and other items at two different locations. Otherwise, he has to carry everything else he needs to survive on his bike. He'll be on the trail made famous by the Iditarod dog race. Participants have to be highly motivated.
"Well, to a certain extent, no one's going to tell you to push on because no one's going to come and get you, so you have to keep going," Newton said.
The bike tires are five inches wide and have studs. His boots can handle the cold and ice.
"Those clip into the pedals on your bike. You've got stud on your shoes because there's a lot of ice," Newton said.
He's hoping the ride only takes him four or five days. He's a vegetarian, so getting enough calories will be a concern. Life on the trail can be tough.
"Last year, I had an entire day I really didn't ride. I had to push because of the snow conditions and the wind," Newton said.