The Tour Divide is a completely self supported race, and the racers are entirely responsible for themselves, their supplies and their own safety. Racers are expected to call in to race central every couple of days to report on their situation and location. When the race first started, and even back in 2005 when Kent set the Single Speed record, this was the ONLY way to know where a racer was on the course. Racers needed to find a payphone when they came into civilization to get food and other necessities.
Even with the new technology, calling in is still expected and is still a big part of the race even though the SPOT trackers now allow us to watch every movement. Many racers are carrying mobile telephones and call in using them. Kent has a cheap mobile phone, he calls his wife and occasionally calls me; but he has found that for some reason, the toll free number to call in to race central doesn't work on his phone. Perhaps the 888 numbers are blocked.
So Kent still has to search out a pay phone to call in to race central, and pay phones are getting quite rare. A couple of times he has called in from a bike shop!
(If anyone knows or can find a non-toll-free number, a standard area code, for the race central call in, let me know and i will pass it on to Kent.)
In addition his mobile phone, Kent is carrying a Peek -- a handheld text only email device which connects through the celluar network. Today he told me (on the phone, ironically), "The Peek is brilliant, and is proving more useful and much better [coverage] than the phone."
As mentioned before, you can hear Kent's call-ins, and all the other racers' call-ins at http://tourdivide.org/blog2010. You'll notice that every day there is a half hour podcast with news, including of all the call-ins for the day.
Kent's call-ins are great.