Sunday, June 14, 2009
Day 8 - Winnemucca, NV to Battle Mountain, NV
Today was another easy day. Just 55 miles on the schedule. Our load wasn't until 7:45 and breakfast was at 8, so this was pretty much a great day to sleep in and take it easy. When was the last time getting up at 7 was "sleeping in?" After a small breakfast at the hotel, most of the riders took off for their route. A handful stayed back to attend a real western rodeo. My roommate, Sean from London, and Hans from Switzerland, had never seen a rodeo, so this was a treat for them. But, I had a third option.
Since I attend and am employed at a Foursquare Church in Bothell, WA (Eastside Foursquare Church), I learned from my pastor's administrative assistant that the Winnemucca Foursquare Church was pastored by an old friend of hers and was from Eastside Foursquare Church years ago. I decided to look them up and found that their church was just a few blocks off our route. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning as I rode through downtown Winnamucca and found the street that would take me to their church. It was 8:30 and quiet on these neighborhood streets. I parked my bike outside the front door of the church and didn't see much going on. The service wouldn't begin until 10 a.m. I checked the door. It was open.
As I walked in, I heard worship music playing and saw a handful of people in the small sanctuary worshiping and preparing for the service, an hour away. I talked briefly with Zack, an intern there. Asked him about their congregation and explained what I was doing. Then after chatting, I asked if I could receive some prayer before I pedaled on. He introduced me to the rest of the group, I shared more about my ride and that I was part of Eastside Foursquare in the Seattle area. Then they prayed for me--praying for safety, health, my family back home, and for opportunity to be a blessing to the other riders and people I meet along the way. I gave them a couple of my fliers about my ride, then wished them God's blessing and pedaled off. What a great way to start my day! I was blessed. It's great to be a part of a family where you can find others that will welcome you and give you a blessing for your journey. I smiled as I rolled toward the I-80 under the warm summer sun.
Nevada was showing a different side of herself today. The puffy white clouds against a brilliant blue sky hovered over green and brown rolling mountains. The road unfurled ahead of me. What a difference from yesterday riding in rain and dark clouds. Perhaps there's more to this dessert than I initially thought. Since I had delayed my departure from Winnemucca, I was riding alone. Michelle, our staffer driving "White", the white van, spotted me and pulled me over. She shared with me about a construction zone ahead and reminded me I'd be riding on the left lane inside the construction barrels. I got some Gatorade powder from her, thanked her, and pressed on.
The route was on I-80 for most of the day. The roads were fairly quiet today, being a Sunday morning, so I enjoyed the scenery and the easy ride. After riding through the construction zone, I began the approach to our one and only climb today. We had a 3.8 mile ascent up to Golconda Summit. It was only about 800 ft. of climbing, but after a few days of flat riding, it gave me a chance to sweat and breathe a little deeper. As I neared the summit, I spotted a couple of cyclists stopped at the roadside. It was "Young Bob" and Carole. Both in their late 60s (maybe 70s, but I always guess young). Bob greeted me, "Hey Bobby!" in his Bronx accent. I call him "Young Bob" and refer to myself as "Younger Bob." Because he really is a young guy, just living life in a somewhat more senior body. I'm continually amazed at these people that are a handful of years older than me riding each day. They're strong, tenacious, and full of personality. We chatted briefly, then I climbed to the top of Golconda Summit where I found a few more riders talking with Michelle about the next construction area. We'd have a long stretch of very bumpy roadway that had recently been graded. Oh fun.
At the top of the summit, I could see the Interstate below extending to the east like two straight runways. My mom had said there were sections of Nevada highway that were pencil straight. Here it was. We enjoyed the long descent and then found the bumpy section. It was "Magic Fingers" massage for my legs and arms as I bumpity-bumped over more than 5 miles of graded road. Jack and Jay both had flats. It was a two-for-one special. Buy one get one free. Brad mentioned he had stepped out into the sagebrush to tend to some necessities and heard a rattler. Glad he went to the bathroom *before* he heard the rattlesnake.
The rough section eventually ended and I broke out in song. Oh the joy of smooth pavement once again! The rest area and our SAG stop was a few miles ahead. I pulled in and fueled up. Apparently, I'm becoming quite the SAG stop eater. Brad later mentioned to me that he and Sean "Wrench", our staff mechanic, were talking about SAG stops and how much people eat. "Some people just eat a little," Sean said. "And some eat A LOT, like Bob Horn!" he said. Great. Just call me the Locust.
After eating, I decided to add some air to my rear tire. The valve stem had busted a day or two ago and I suspected that as soon as I added air, it would break completely. As I released the pump, all the air blew out immediately. I guess, technically, that's my first flat of the trip. But, it was a technical flat, since I hadn't actually punctured the tube. I changed out the tube, had our mechanic Sean, help me wrestle the tire back on the wheel, and was glad for the available floor pump here at the SAG. If you're gonna get a flat, get it at the SAG stop.
Brad and I left together and as we rode, we could see in the distance huge black storm clouds forming and moving northeast right over I-80. We rode slowly, determined to avoid the rain and a repeat of yesterday. The winds were picking up and the temps were dropping, but so far, we were still dry. With about five miles to go, the clouds were still moving, and appeared to be moving in the same direction as we were. If we could keep the same pace as the storm, or move slower, we could stay behind the storm and stay dry.
We pulled off of I-80 and began riding into Battle Mountain. The storm had obviously passed through her minutes earlier as the road was wet. But we were behind it. We had beaten the storm. Now we enjoyed riding through Battle Mountain, checking out it's old restaurants and storefronts which had changed very little in the last fifty years. The hotel was just ahead, dark clouds now in the distance. Other riders at the hotel that came in ahead of us had gotten wet. But not us. The simple joy of beating the storm. And even better, the joy of not having to wash the bike.
Tomorrow we ride to Elko. This 76 mile ride will give us another climbing opportunity. But the bigger challenge lies in the two days after Elko: 108 and 117 miles each. In the next three days, we will cover just under 300 miles of Nevada and western Utah. Long days indeed.
For more photos of today's ride, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2/100123
For more about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org. After a full week and a day of riding, would you consider supporting me on the Ride for Impact? You can donate online and help me reach my goal.
Cumulative Miles: 574
Elev Gain: 1465 ft.
Max Elev: 5140 ft.
Avg Climb: 2%
Max Climb: 6%