No Name Tour: Day 45 – Short and Lucky

Breakfast in Austin was the usual diner fare. It took a while to get my act together.

I hit the road a little after 7:30 and down I rode. No wind or perhaps a light tailwind made the going easy. About five miles into the day I spotted 11 antelope crossing the road. As I approached, five of them did a 180. I held my breath hoping the rest wouldn’t follow. They didn’t.

Into the Reese River Valley, then over 6,670 Mount Airy Summit. The climb was so gradual that I took it with my middle chainring.

Down into Smith Creek Valley then up again over 6,348 New Pass Summit. Once again the climb was gradual and easy.

The descent was as gradual as the climb. I stopped to check out ruins of an old stage coach station.

My route now coincided with the Pony Express, the Overland Stage Company, and the transcontinental telegraph line.

Off and on for the last few days, I’ve encountered big, hopping bugs all over the road. Tens of thousands of them. They looked like camel crickets. They seemed to be mating. Some of them were eating the remains of their dead comrades. I tried to avoid them but CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH. Gross!!!!

Just before noon, at exactly 50 miles, I stopped at Cold Springs Station. It has a bar, restaurant, convenience store, RV Park, and motel. I took a seat at the bar next to an eastbound bicycle tourist. He advised me that a motorcycle event had booked all the rooms at my planned stop 13 miles west in Middlegate.

My choice was to ride 60 more miles to Fallon or crash in Cold Springs. I decided to take the path of least resistance and stay in Cold Springs.

Mikes today: 50

Tour miles: 2,584.5

Top spreed: 33.5

No Name Tour: Day 44 – Taken

Last night’s dinner of a hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a side salad was augmented by a large beer. Large in the sense of could barely lift the mug.

I sloshed back to the surprisingly nice hotel where I watched the second Democratic debate for about 30 seconds. That’s all I could take of Eric Swalwell.

After a starchy hotel breakfast (Nevada does not do fruit), I rode up a small hill out of town. For the next 28 miles I was cruising at speeds in the high teens. Through Devils Gate and Yahoo Canyon into a basin for 28 glorious miles. Then I was punched in the face by a wind gust.

Uh oh, here it comes. The next five miles were like sparring with an invisible opponent. Then the wind became constant. Once again I was grinding away at low speed. So frustrating.

I climbed over 6,556 Hickison summit before riding into another wind in my face basin.

58 miles in, I turned north and up . Climbing, even with a tailwind wasn’t happening. There were stops and there wS walking.

I arrived at Bob Scott Summit and found no sign. Bite me, Nevada. I biked and, mostly walked, all this way. I want a damned sign.

Down the back side I rode, accelerating through 30 mph. A pickup truck surprised me as it passed uncomfortably close. My mouth opened and a large black bug landed on my upper lip. And sting me. So here I am, riding down a ridge at over 30 mph with a pick up truck just off my left elbow and I getting stung by an unknown creature that nearly got into my mouth.

This could ruin your whole day. Trust me.

I survived the ordeal and rather enjoyed the descent once the pain subsided. Then the road turned upwards again. And steeply. With dead legs, a gallon of water and over 30 pounds of assorted crap on my bike I had to make a choice: destroy my knees or walk.

No brainer.

After a half hour of pushing The Mule I saw the sign for Austin Summit, 7,484 feet. The last three miles were a steep, curvy descent to Austin, another town like Eureka. A few businesses, several dilapidated old storefronts, a couple of bars, a cafe, and a few hotels.

I stopped at the cafe and, on a whim, checked my rims. They were hot from all the braking I did on the descent

At the cafe, I had a proper lunch because nothing I ate during the day proved adequate.

Austin is on a hill so I rode down in search of a hotel that had decent WiFi. I needed to Facetime with my wife to fix the WiFi at home. The Cozy Mountain hotel had a room and rural Nevada WiFi.

After discussing behavioral economics with the motel owner (I turned her on to Dan Ariety and we discussed Nudge, Thinking Fast and Slow, a few Michael Lewis books, and Thomas Piketty, I checked in and did the call with my wife. (I didn’t fix the problem. Bike riding economists aren’t very useful.)

I went out to dinner and had undercooked pizza and beer that was over 20 months past its sell date. Haute cuisine in small town Nevada.

In three days I should be in Carson City where I get to make a decision: continue on to Portland via the Sierras or ride across the mountains to Sacramento.

Some of you may have heard that I was served a subpoena to appear in court in a civil matter in mid-July. I learned today that the case has been delayed so the tour can go on on its own merits. (It’s a personal injury lawsuit involving two cyclists injured by a security gate on the Mount Vernon Trail.)

Tomorrow, MOTS, more of the same.

Miles today: 70

Tour miles: 2,534.5

Top speed: 33.3 mph