Boot Scootin’ boogie – Day 56

July 25, 2011


Today we were up at the crack of dawn, packing up and getting ready for today’s adventure. We rolled out of the campsite by 6:15 and headed into town to grab a quick breakfast. Once we were full we took off for Fallon, NV a mere 118 miles away. Our longest day yet milage wise by one mile!

Our course followed the famous pony express trail for much of the day. There were lots of interesting ruins and informative signs throughout the day.


The first 30 miles of our ride was very pleasant, we had two small climbs and lots of down hill. However, once we stopped for a small break we noticed a big increase in wind and we had to battle it for the next 50 miles.


When we were almost to the town of Middlegate, we happened to notice a tree on the side of the road with hundreds of pairs of shoes in it. It was said that in the early 1900’s a couple had gotten in an argument by the tree and the wife threatened to leave, so the husband took her shoes and threw them into the tree so that she couldn’t leave him. Story has it that they made up after their fight so now couples from all over throw their shoes in the tree!


Around mile 80 we had a little incident! Cam noticed that he had a flat tire. No big deal. It would just take a few minutes to change then we would be back on the road. However, when we went to take the wheel off we realized that there was a much bigger problem. The skewer that holds the wheel onto the frame had stripped out so we couldn’t remove the wheel. Once we realized that we weren’t going to be able to change the tire Karey went on riding towards Fallon and Cam had to wait for Amy to come get him so they could find a bike shop.

While Karey was on the road for the last 40 miles he passed a neat geological feature called Sand Mountain. It is exactly what it says it is, a giant mountain of sand out in the middle of nowhere. It is based in an area called the Salt Wells, which hundreds of years ago was a salt lake that has now evaporated.


As the day was winding down it was getting hotter and hotter but Karey finally made it into Fallon just in time to jump in the pool and order some pizza for dinner. Tomorrow is going to be another long hot day, let’s just hope we can stay out of the wind!



A windy day on a lonely road – Day 55

July 23, 2011


I would first like to congratulate Cam on his excellent skill of predicting the final results of this year’s Tour de France. All four of his predictions in our competition were correct. He really knows his cycling! Or it just goes to show how much of a nerd he is. You take your pick.

As usual anytime we make the comment that the day should be a fairly easy day, it comes to bite us in the butt big time! Today we were to ride 70 miles to the next town of Austin, NV. There were three climbs with two of them having substantial height.


We left Eureka after watching the individual time trial of the tour. It started out to be a pretty good day. The temperature was a bit toasty, but besides that it was an enjoyable ride. That was until about 18 miles in when the wind started.


For the next 40 miles we battled a headwind that just never gave us a break. Pedaling into it head on completely exhausted us mentally and physically. Why is it that people only mention things about the wind in Kansas? The wind in Nevada has been just as bad! Ironically as we got to the base of the climbs the wind died down. However without the wind to cool you off, it also got extremely hot climbing up the mountains.


After the third summit there was an amazingly fun descent into town for a couple of miles. It was an average of 6-7% with lots of switchbacks. The turns were tight and were lots of fun leaning into in order to make them without running off the road.


Tomorrow will be a long day. The route takes us 110 miles into Fallon, NV. Fallon is the end of our second to last map. So after tomorrow we will only have one map left!

The loneliness of this road is not for everyone apparently.


Eureka!!! – Day 54

July 22, 2011


Today we woke up at our usual time, however we had decided last night that we weren’t going to start riding till later in the day. We were instead going to watch the deciding stage in this years Tour de France! Karey and I are huge cycling fans, and we have managed to keep up with the tour in bits and peices, but this morning we got to lay around and watch the second half of the stage; it was wonderful!

While we were watching the race we decided to order room service, something that Karey has never done! It was a nice touch to the lazy morning we had.

After the tour was over we started our actual routine and got everything ready to ride for the day. We finally got rolling around 10 and we made our way to Eureka, NV.


The ride today was 77 miles, it had 4 passes we had to climb, 3 of which were over 7,000 feet. To make things worse there was a pretty severe headwind, which definitely made us work harder than we needed to! So far Nevada has been incredibly interesting for cycling, I am pretty certain we haven’t ridden on one section of flat road, it is either uphill, or downhill.


One great thing that happened today was a lovely and thoughtful couple pulled up beside us offering a Snickers and a Gatorade. Had we not just eaten on the side of the road we would have taken them up on there offer. Needless to say we thank you very much for the offer and thinking about us as you passed us on the road.


Once we arrived into town we headed over to the city pool where we got to swim and shower for $1. Quite a deal! Why is it $8 in Charlotte to use a pool? After getting cleaned up we set up for the night in the city park, made dinner and got ready for bed.


Tomorrow should be a little easier day, it is 68 miles to Austin, NV. And there should a lot less climbing!

One thing you have to do when you are riding a long day and it is hot is be sure to relax. We do our best at making sure we do that sometimes.


Official tour predictions, for those who care!

Cam predicts: Cadel Evans, Andy Shleck, then Frank Shleck, With Tony Martin taking the stage win.

Karey predicts: Andy Shleck, Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador, With Fabian Cancellara taking the stage.

The historic Hotel Nevada – Day 53

July 22, 2011


Today we got up and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast in the cool morning air. Cam and Amy drove ahead and took care of some business things so I was on the road by myself today. Sort of ironic since we would turn onto Hwy 50 “the loneliest road in America”.


I left Baker and reached Hwy 50 about 5 miles out of town. It was 61 miles to Ely with no services in between. It would be a long ride as the route took me over two large climbs, Sacramento Pass and Conner’s Pass.


The weather was hot today and I had to battle the wind the entire day. Needless to say it was a rough day. One cool thing that happened was as I was riding down Hwy 50 I stopped for a minute to listen and look around. I could see for 10-12 miles in both directions. There was no one in sight. You could hear everything as it was so quiet. Definitely made it feel like the loneliest road.


Once I got to Ely, I met back up with Cam and Amy. We decided that we would stay at the historical Hotel Nevada given it’s history. It’s pretty awesome!


There is a casino on the first floor so we plan on playing a few slots before we leave tomorrow.


Tomorrow’s ride will be another long day. It is 78 miles to the next town with 4 climbs on the way there.


Welcome to Nevada – Day 52

July 21, 2011


We actually managed to get out of bed and get rolling early! We were warned late last night that there were water sprinklers that do come on in the middle of the night so we decided to move our tents under the shelter they had in their park. That meant that we did have to sleep on concrete, but we also were able to get out of bed without being soaked.


Once we were up we had a quick breakfast and got on the road by 6:30. We had a pretty long day ahead of us, 84 miles and 3 pretty big climbs all with summits over 6,000 ft. Everything went pretty well, then lunch time came. Since we were in the middle of the dessert and there were no towns around Amy had to meet us and make sandwiches. Once we were done with lunch all three of us realized that we were pretty tired since we got up so early, so we all proceeded to take a nap! We all fell asleep for about an hour right in the middle of the dessert, on the side of the road.


Once we finally woke up we realized we needed to get done because it was really starting to heat up, so we mounted our bikes and took off. We had about 35 miles left after lunch to get to the Nevada border so we buckled down and tried to get there as quickly as possible. The great thing about the Nevada border is that we crossed over into the Pacific Time Zone!


Past the border it was only an 8 mile ride into the town of Baker, Nevada. Once we got into town we realized it was going to be tough to find a place to stay so we opted to get a motel room at the Silver Jack Inn. Our accommodations are interesting to say the least! We are staying the night in what appears to be an old mobile home that has been split into thirds. Attached to the motel is a restaurant, so we decided to have dinner there, the food was excellent!

Tomorrow the plan is to ride 63 miles to Ely, NV where we plan on doing some gambling!

Just call Cam “Mark Cavendish”.


Back on the road…Milford – Day 50 & 51

July 19, 2011


Yesterday we took a rest day in Cedar City, Utah and it was exactly that. We slept as late as we could before the sun got so hot on our tents it turned them into saunas. Then we packed up and ate breakfast at a cafe before checking into a hotel for the night. Once checked in we found a massage therapy school in town and all got a hour long massage. Glorious! Next we grabbed lunch and I rode to a local coffee shop while Cam and Amy drove around town to see what it had to offer. We met back up and got some dinner before making our way back to the hotel to enjoy an evening in their hot tub. Yep…pretty good rest day if you ask me.


Today we rode from Cedar City to Milford. A total of 55 miles. To be honest, it might have been the lamest day of riding thus far. The terrain started looking a bit like Kansas again with some desert thrown in there.

As we left Cedar City we rode gradually downhill for approximately 13 miles or so then it began to go uphill. We climbed gradually to 6500 before reaching the summit. It was pretty hot on the road but there was some occasional cloud cover which we were very thankful for.


After the summit it was downhill all the way into Milford for the most part. The descent was a lot of fun and was super fast. Cam and I are both getting much better at descending and are looking forward to the next time we race in NC to see if we have improved any.

Halfway down the mountain was a town called Minersville which we stopped and meet up with Amy for a picnic in the city park. Delicious as always!


After lunch we busted it on down to Milford. We managed to ride the 55 miles in 2.5 hours of riding time. Not too bad. As we came into town there was a large hill up and over a bridge that we figured we could find our way around. The road we took was the old road but put us in the middle of a train yard. There was an extremely long train starting to pull out so we hurried and grabbed our bikes and carried them across the tracks just beating the train.


The great thing is that it has given us the afternoon to chill in the city park of Milford where we will be camping tonight. The pool has public swim from 6-8 so I think that will do for our showers tonight.


Tomorrow looks like it is going to be a pretty long day. It is 84 miles from here until Baker just across the Nevada border. During those 84 miles there are no services such as food or water. So hopefully we can get ourselves moving and get on the road pretty early and beat some of the heat.


Last time to 10,000 ft – Day 49

July 17, 2011


This morning we awoke to cold temperatures! No one wanted to get out of their bags. But once the sun started to rise it warmed up fairly quickly. We made a gourmet breakfast of biscuits and gravy which were delicious!

Our route today took us up and over a mountain 60 miles into Cedar City, Utah. The first half was uphill, and the second half was all downhill. As soon as we left the campsite in Panguitch we started climbing. It is terrible when you have to start out climbing because your muscles are still tight from the day before and you have zero time to warm up.


Today’s climb was the last time that we will reach over 10,000 feet. It started with a gradual climb up to Panguitch Lake where we would eat at Grandma’s Burger Barn for lunch. The food was excellent but we never met grandma.


On the way to the Burger Barn we met the nicest family on the side of the road fishing. We needed a little breather so we stopped to chat with them about the area. Come to find out they are from the West but just spent their vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina just two weeks after we left. They were the ones that informed us about the Burger Barn.

After lunch we continued our climb. We had 13 miles to the summit and Cedar Breaks National Monument. It was a beautiful ride! Tall Ponderosa Pines along with Aspen tress lined the hilltop meadows. Crystal clear streams made their way through the vivid wildflowers. The views captivated us as we slowly pedaled passed.


Once at the top the temperature had dropped significantly, common for the altitude. In fact there was still snow on the ground.


So we layered up a bit for the descent. We stopped for a quick peek at Cedar Breaks before we made the trip down the mountain.


The descent was one of the best yet. It was 29 miles all the way to Cedar City with 4-8% grade the whole way. Several times we were descending faster than the cars and were having to brake to keep from running into the back of the car in front of us. However some cars still felt the need to pass us and then slam on brakes even though we were going the same speed.

It took us a fraction of the time to get down the mountain as it did to get up it. Overall it was a great ride today. We are really looking for to taking a rest day tomorrow here in Cedar City and wondering about the town. Looking forward to it so much that we finally built our first fire of the trip!