Austin, NV to Eureka, NV
Today was a much better day than yesterday. After the terrible day yesterday, Don and I both were questioning our training and if we had done enough for this trip...but we came to realize that we can only train so much on 1,000 ft hills in Michigan and that only digging deep and keep conquering the mountains out here will whip us into shape. The 1/2 day of rest did wonders for the both of us and we felt ready to go today.
Starting out of town we had a 3 mile climb waiting for us at the driveway of the motel we stayed at but it was no problem. We pedaled away the miles and stayed together today for many of the first 70 miles of the trip; joking around and talking about whatever. We stopped a few times to take pictures because the views were the best yet on this trip. The mountains (still with snow) and the cloudless blue skies made for some awesome views. During the latter part of the 70 miles, I had to stop and make an adjustment on my bike and Don saw this as an opportunity to get ahead of me and make me chase him down. Well, I was up for the challenge and he gave it a great effort but after 6 miles of all out effort, I caught him and all he could do was laugh as I tried to catch my breath. We stopped in Eureka, NV for lunch (70 miles into the ride) and decided that we needed to stay here for the night since their was not another town for another 70 miles. Rod (driver) and Sal (Navigator) found us a nice hotel and Don and I completed the last 30 miles of the day.
As we climbed out of Eureka, NV we hit the headwinds straight on. This is one of a bikers worst nighmares becuase of the effort that has to be put into making any headway. The gusts knocked us all over the road, and at one point, I was only 4.6 mph and pedaling as hard as I could just to stay up on the bike. It was not as fun as the first 70 miles. Once we made a curve around one of the mountains, the wind turned to help us and we had a nice tailwind for the last few miles of the ride. It was nice to ride at a quick pace of 24mph with minimal effort.
After 100 miles, Don and I were picked up by our saviors, Rod and Sal, who transported us back to the hotel for food and a shower. We could not do this trip without them and it has been fun listening to them talk about the trip from their perspective.
I had to buy a seat cover for my saddle (at Walmart) since we have not seen any bike stores for hundreds of miles:(
Some have asked, so I will post it here: People want to know about what I am riding:
Giant OCR 2 (all carbonfiber frame and fork)
Ultegra Components throughout
Triple Crankset (52, 39, 28)
Allay Seat (Racing Pro)
Garmin 705 bike computer (this is the most important thing--it tells me the daily route and everything else I need)
Fallon, NV to Austin, NV
Started the day with a flat tire (in the hotel room) and it only went down hill from there. Not a really hot day but we have tired legs after climbing these mountains the first few days of the trip. Yesterday's very high temperatures took a lot out of us and we felt it today. Chose to end the ride early and rest up for tomorrow's big push from Austin, NV to ???? We are traveling "America's Lonliest Road" which is 150 miles of nothing. Other than this small town we are in tonight, we have only seen two cars all day!
P.S. When I picture Nevada, I always think it is flat--I was wrong...really, really wrong!
Mindon, NV to Fallon, NV
We got in 101 miles today in pretty good time--less than 6 hours. The problems were the temperature--98 degrees with a hot wind blowing..picture it this way--take a hair dryer and put it on high, and put it close to your face for two hours.
I did get up to 47 miles an hour on a downhill today and that was pretty exciting.
I had two tires blow out on me which was not fun to change in this heat.
Tired and going to bed!
Back again: We did pass through Carson City which is a nice mixture of old west and new. We rode past the "Bunny Ranch" and the "Kit Kat Club" which are popular destinations for a some people but we did not stop to peruse the options!
On our ride out of town there was a coyote sitting by the side of the road watching us. To borrow a phrase from a friend of mine, I think the coyote was 'trying to figure us out" and whether or not chasing us was worth the effort. Thankfully, I can I out sprint Don, so I was not to worried about getting bit.
Stayed in Mindon, NV
This morning we wanted to get an early start on the ride but had to backtrack 50 miles to get to the starting point. We found out the hard way there are not many hotels/motels in this area! We left the hotel at 4am inorder to get on the bikes by 6am. Once we got riding, I noticed that I was getting a hotspot while on the saddle and found that the stitching busted and is now causing a painful rub that I have to get resolved ASAP, so that I can continue to ride without any discomfort (I know to much information).
The whole ride was a 7% grade with a few 12% grades thrown in just to irritate us. It was a day of grinding up hill and we climbed 8,190 feet during the ride. Ouch. The first 53 miles were all uphill and then the last 27 were downhill or level which was a good reward for the effort we put in all morning. I was able to get up to 45.3mph on the downhill which was fun, but I then started to think about tires blowing out or brakes not working, so I decided to slow down before I became a statistic.
Hoping for a level ride tomorrow!
I have received a few emails asking what I eat on a day like this, so here is the listing:
Waffle with sryup
Bowl of Captain Crunch Cereal
1 cup of apple juice
1 cup of O.J.
4 Power Gels (chocolate or Straw/Bananna)
3 cans of V8 Juice for the sodium and potassium
3 water bottles of water
3 water bottles of gatorade
1 lunchable (Ham and Cheese)
1 capri sun drink
1 Milky Way bar
3 pickles and juice (sodium)
1 box of raisins
1 bottle of Chocolate Milk
1 can of Coke
1 box of raisins
2 pieces of Rye toast with butter
1 large order of hashbrowns
2 large glasses of water with extra lemon slices
As you can see, I eat alot but I am burning a lot of calories on these rides...the dinner is really "feeding the machine" for the next day.
Folsom, CA to Mindon, NV
Wow, what a day. I cannot remember the last time my legs have been so worn out. The mountains were killer today and we did not make it as far as we had hoped. The ascents were at 12% grade which is unheard of in the rest of the nation and I understand why. We had to drive 50 miles just to get to a hotel for the night. Tomorrow, we will travel back 50 miles to start our ride and go up and over Carson's pass at 8400 feet then come down into Nevada.
Vallejo, CA to Folsom, CA
Started the day our at the Vallejo ferry and rode to Folsom, CA...you may know it from the Johnny Cash song.
Good day of riding--rode 109 miles on beautiful rodes WITH bike lanes!! Don's bad day was yesterday (or so we thought) and mine was today. As I am climing the first 'hill' of the day, I go to switch to my low gear for the climb and realize I do not have any low gears. My front derailur is all screwed up and now I have to climb these hills in a gear usually saved for flat paths and downhills:( Did find a bike shop who was able to fix my derailur and get me back on the road.
Later in the day, Don has another flat; the third in two days--so we ended our ride at 109 miles.
San Francisco, CA to Vallejo, CA
The day started out at 4am with a limo ride to the airport, which we thought was very nice of our wives to get for us...then as we are getting into the limo, two cop cars show up becuase a neighbor has called the police on a 'suspicous' person. Thankfully the police left us alone when they saw everyone outside waving goodbye to us.
Once we arrive in San Francisco, we were suprised at how cold it was but got to the Golden Gate Bridge and got ready to ride. As we rode to the 'picture area' to get our picture taken, Don got a flat tire. We switched tires quickly and rode down to the staging area only to see Don's other tire go flat. We have not ridden a 1/2 mile and Don has had two flat tires--only his luck!
We are soon on our way and ride the 6 miles to Fisherman's Wharf and the Alcatraz ferry. There we put the bikes away and Rod and I go on the Alcatraz tour. It was really cool to see the history of this prison. Once back on the main land, we decide to head to Vallejo for the night and pick up the ride Friday morning. This was our mistake of the day--rush hour traffic in San Francisco; it is the worst traffic I have ever seen. We went less that a mile in one hour.
Finally arrived at our hotel, ate dinner and collapsed in the beds, only to be awakened by a huge fireworks show from the festival across the freeway.
Here is a description about the Western Express: ALL ABOARD FOR SCENERY AND ADVENTURE
From the metropolis of San Francisco, the Western Express Route passes through lush agricultural valleys and climbs over the Sierra Nevada. In Nevada it uses "The Loneliest Road in America," a term coined some years ago by a Life magazine writer. The route then winds among the magnificent monuments and parks of southern Utah. It crosses the spine of the Rocky Mountains over numerous passes to end in Pueblo, Colorado, the gateway to the Great Plains.
This route can be ridden from mid-May through October, depending on weather. Carson Pass crosses over the Sierra Nevada at an elevation of 8,573 feet. Snow can also fall at any time in the Rocky Mountains, and the highest pass is over 11,000 feet. Local conditions and mountain ranges affect winds, so it is difficult to predict any major wind patterns. Dust and sandstorms will occasionally occur in the deserts of Nevada and Utah. Sections 2 and 3 of this route (Nevada and Utah) are considered difficult due not only to steep terrain but also due to lack of water, temperature extremes (as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer), and long mileages without services.
After the food and fun of San Francisco by the Bay, a relaxing ferry ride eliminates a hard day of urban cycling and deposits the cyclist in Vallejo. The route parallels an interstate and winds through suburbs to Fairfield and then passes through rolling, verdant agricultural areas before turning east. Urban riding conditions prevail along the section from Davis through Sacramento, Folsom, and Placerville. Separate bike paths, which start in Davis and extend through Sacramento to Folsom, provide welcome relief from busy surface streets. Wineries abound east of Placerville and the route begins to climb the Sierra Nevada foothills to the 8,573 foot Carson Pass. It then descends into the historic mining region around Carson City, Nevada.
People watchers will enjoy a casino visit in Carson City, assuming you don't plan to finance your trip there. Here the route joins U.S. Highway 50 into Fallon, where the challenging part of the route really begins. A dozen climbs await the rider on "The Loneliest Road in America" as it traverses the roller-coaster range and basin country paralleling the route of the famous Pony Express. Nevadans are noted for their self-reliance, hospitality (as long as you are not a federal employee), and whimsical sense of humor as evidenced by such unique attractions as the "shoe tree" and the "Post Impressionist " (fence post) art between Baker and Lehman Cave in Great Basin National Park.
East of Cedar City, Utah, the route passes through some of the nation's most isolated communities and several of its most spectacular scenic wonders. Take some time to explore Cedar Breaks, Escalante, and Natural Bridges National Monuments; Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks; and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. To even the most experienced of travelers, these natural sculptures, spires, buttes, and canyons are no less than humbling. The Utah portion of the route could be a worthy destination in itself. After passing through the bean-growing capital of the nation in southwestern Colorado, the route swings north and then east through the small tourist communities of the Rockies where one can always find an espresso and a ski hill, however modest. The route traverses forested mountains to Salida and from there into the narrow valley of the Arkansas River to Cotopaxi. Here the route leaves busy U.S. Highway 50 and winds through quiet wooded foothills until reaching Pueblo.
The route lets you warm up for 150 miles before the first major climb over Carson Pass at 8,573 feet. Nevada offers almost unlimited sight lines across wide valleys before ascending and descending a pass into the next valley. The terrain through central Utah becomes steeper, with grades varying from 6 percent to 14 percent. In Colorado the route follows several river valleys, though for the most part you'll be either climbing or descending.
While California is almost urban in availability of services, Nevada and Utah present special problems in obtaining water and food on a daily basis. Carrying a water filter is strongly advised for water access at miscellaneous reservoirs, creeks, and lakes at primitive campsites. In most cases, there are no homes or ranches between services. Call ahead to verify any services. Nevada and Utah are extremely dry, and few trees are available for shade. In Colorado, services are more easily found, though higher altitude services -- from campground water to grocery stores -- can close early depending on weather.
Here is the description of the Western Express:
Well, Rod and I fly out to California on Thursday to start the trip. Don and Sal (his wife) have driven the van out there and will be picking us up at the airport. Since our flight issues are resolved, we have most of the day to get the bikes ready to ride on Friday, get our pictures taken by the bay and maybe visit Alcatraz. Who knows what the day will bring, but I am defintely getting excited and nervous to get this ride rolling.