Nowhere's a big place...

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 26, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Sunday, June 12, 2011

...and it has a lot of middles.

Carlos, another cyclist on our trip, told me that at dinner tonight. He's absolutely right. For how boring and empty this state is, I'm still enjoying this trip a lot. The people, and not necessarily the hours on the bicycle, are what's making this trip to fun. Spending time with my dad and brother is awesome, I love the people we're riding with, and the people running our trip are incredible. They're so willing to help in any way they possibly can. I've been getting a lot of help on my bike fit, as well as yoga lessons, bike repair, bike maintenance, and and tricks and tips for cycling. Yesterday I had an annoying rattle that I couldn't figure out all day; however, in about 10 seconds the bike mechanic identified the problem, a loose cassette. He not only tightened it up and fixed the problem, he took it off, carefully inspected each element, and taught me how it all worked and went together. I'm learning a lot on this trip. Today I had my first flat tire coming down a mountain and ended up getting completely dropped by my dad and brother, who just kept on trucking without looking back... unfortunately my dad was carrying all of the flat tire equipment and I was carrying all of the sunscreen and other accessories that did me no good in the case of a flat tire. Fortunately, I just called up the support vehicle for the trip and they came down and gave me a new tube and changed the tire for me. It was awesome. These are the unexpected benefits of going on a supported trip. 

Everyone on this trip pretty much thinks we're the village idiots. They don't think this because we are unintelligent, but rather because we showed up less prepared than anyone else, with brand new internet bikes that weren't put together right, don't necessarily fit us, and are of questionable structural integrity (see first post about dad breaking his crank arm). None of us did enough riding to prepare for this trip. It's okay though, since we seem to be getting through the miles alright; Scott and I are young and dad is just a tank. We've got a few long days coming up before our first rest day in Salt Lake City. Two days from now I'll be breaking my longest ride in a day record, going over 100 miles. The day after that, I'll be breaking it again. We rode over 500 miles last week. This is fitness by immersion. It's hard to get comfortable on a bike for that long. I spent over 34 hours last week sitting on my saddle… and it's not a particularly comfortable saddle.

Since the start of our ride, some of my discomfort has subsided as I've grown used to riding, but other things are starting to irritate me more as the riding rolls on day after day. My knee, for example, is starting to act up - mostly because I don't have my bike fit dialed. I'm flexing it open and closed tens of thousands of times each day, and when things aren't lined up right the discomfort starts to add up. Ice, Ibuprofen and stretching are my new best friends. Fortunately, our trip leader Pam led a yoga session today that was both relaxing and hilarious. Watching my dad and brother do yoga was pretty entertaining. Scott is unnaturally tight and inflexible and dad is just plain old. I like yoga quite a bit and felt great afterwards. My favorite new stretch is the pigeon pose which completely targets all the muscles that tighten up while I'm riding. Best of all, Pam agreed to run more sessions, so that's yet another thing to look forward to.

Today we had a fairly pretty ride up and over a small mountain and back down across the desert floor to the middle of nowhere, I mean, Battle Mountain, Nevada - the armpit of America. Click that link to read a hilarious article about Battle Mountain, that I admit I haven't had the time to read fully. Here's an excerpt to entice you, and for the record, I don't think Battle Mountain is all that bad. I'll tell you why after the excerpt. 

"Take a small town, remove any trace of history, character, or charm. Allow nothing with any redeeming qualities within city limits -- this includes food, motel beds, service personnel. Then place this pathetic assemblage of ghastly buildings and nasty people on a freeway in the midst of a harsh, uninviting wilderness, far enough from the nearest city to be inconvenient, but not so far for it to develop a character of its own. You now have created Battle Mountain, Nevada."

We had dinner at El Aguila Real and I was very impressed. I had a mexican stir fry kind of thing with corn tortillas that reminded me of Oaxaca. It was hot and delicious. The place was packed with locals which is always a good sign. Our waitress worked her tail off to serve all twenty of us. It was fast and impressive. Dinner might be my favorite part of the day. I love spending time with the other riders sitting back and relaxing, and the trip guides have picked out some really good restaurants with local flare that I would never have thought to try out if I was visiting these towns on my own.

Afterwards, we stopped by the Owl Club to get some ice cream but ended up at the casino bar watching the rest of the Heat game. If good food at El Aguila Real was reason number one to like Battle Mountain, being in a room full of people in the middle of nowhere cheering against the Heat was reason number two. During the meantime, Jon had himself an ice cream cone and promptly reported that it wasn't any good... so we celebrated the Heat defeat and left without any ice cream. 

The weather has been great so far. I hope it continues. We've got three long days until we make it to Salt Lake City, and many more until we make it to New Hampshire. I'm finding that the only way to get through this trip is to take things one day at a time - and when that's too much, take things one mile at a time. I really miss listening to music. I understand the safety reasons for not riding with headphones - honestly it is a very stupid idea - but some days I would pay good money to be able to listen to my ipod during the long boring stretches between rest stops. Hopefully when we stop riding on the highway, the miles won't be quite as boring.

Distance: 55.38 mi - 558.06 total
Time: 3:31:32 - 41:10:24 total
Elevation gain: 1,984 ft - 26,422 total
Av. Speed: 15.7 mph - 13.6 overall
Av. HR: 133 bpm - 132 overall
Calories: 3,430 - 43,040 total
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martha717 on

I remember thinking after mile 90 during the RAIN ride..." I am sick of that white line"...but then, the day was finished. You can do it. I generally do not like spending that much time by myself, in my own head, but was kind of cathartic. Enjoy the are nearing the end of Nevada. Hang tough! Can't wait to tell Uncle Phil about your flat tire experience. While riding motorcycles with Chris, Chris got a flat coming off a ramp and Phil just putted on without him, never even missing his company till several exits later. HAHAHAHA. Glad you have such phenomenal sag support. Even though I could not do what you are doing, Steven- I am still jealoous. : )

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