Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 9 - Battle Mountain, NV to Elko, NV

First of all, if you missed the photos from yesterday's blog, I've added them to my blog. If you're reading this from Facebook, go to the actual blog at to view them.

So, today began somewhat leisurely. I could joke that I rode with the slow people. That's somewhat true. But, I wouldn't you to think that they are intellectually slow. In fact we had great conversation. Our route for the first 22 miles was on Mule Shoe Road, a two lane country road that paralleled the freeway. I got a chance to chat with David from Gettysburg, PA and Meiri (french spelling of Mary) from NYC. We chatted for a good hour or so about all topics, mostly our personal backgrounds, careers, and how we got into this crazy notion of cycling across the U.S. Meiri is an oncology nurse in New York, but grew up in Colorado. She's just a year younger than me, so it's refreshing to talk with someone my age. We talked a bit about my family's visit to New York at the end of the ride and I got some tips on places to see. I always enjoy the easy-paced conversations during our rides. Some of the best talks I've had have been on a bike. I imagine I'll have plenty more over the next 40 days getting to know these other riders.

The Nevada scenery was actually quite pleasing today. The sun and high clouds were a fitting backdrop to the green and brown rolling hills and mountains. I had learned in Winnemucca that much of the surrounding mountain ranges are mining areas. Gold mining is the big operation out here. After a pleasant stretch of rural road, we got onto I-80 East for less than five miles to reach our first SAG stop. As we pulled in, the usual spread was already laid out on a picnic table with our ABB roaming gnome keeping watch. I'll find out tomorrow the backstory to this fabled creature. For today, he was just a quiet observer watching all these cyclists eat his stash of Oreos, apples, bananas, and trail mix. Thanks Mr. Gnome. You feed us well.

Before leaving the SAG, Gerard pointed out a historical plaque that had a severe misprint. We read the whole plaque and couldn't find the mistake. He said, "Look when it was dedicated." I looked closer. Hmmm. "Dedicated June 7, 6008" Guess either they're planning pretty far into the future here in Nevada, or somebody in State Government said, "Well, close enough."

We left the SAG stop and soon were climbing Emigrant Pass. Top of the pass is 6089 ft. Back home, that would be a serious climb. Of course, we were starting out at 4600 ft. Now these climbs are a piece of cake. I rocketed up the little hill, then enjoyed the 10 mile descent just almost hitting 40 mph.

When we reached our second SAG stop in the town of Carlin, a bunch of us went to the Subway shop at the truckstop next door and sat down for a good lunch. These guys are becoming good friends now and it's easy to sit and visit longer and get to know everyone better. Most of them will be with me to the end. But five will be leaving when we reach Salt Lake City. And, we'll add 13 more riders for the next section. Boy, will they have some catching up to do!

After lunch, we rolled through Carlin and got on SR221. This quiet route paralleled the railroad tracks and I-80. Both the RR and I-80 go through a set of tunnels. We turned north, went under I-80 and traveled through Carlin Canyon along the Humboldt River. This was the prettiest stretch of the day. I could have stayed in that canyon for 20 more miles. We meandered along the river, gazing upward at the golden-hued rock outcroppings. These were the kind of peaks I'd love to scramble up, just to get the view from the top. We were now well away from the freeway noise and you could hear the quiet river and the songbirds chirping. I expected to see a rattler resting in the sun, but didn't spot any from the road. After some easy rolling through the canyon, we had to walk our bikes across both lanes of I-80 to get back on the eastbound side. From there, we had a good tailwind for a time that took us down into Elko.

About five miles from Elko city limits, I noticed my rear tire was very low. It wasn't flat, so I pumped more air in hoping I could get to town. After a mile further, it was low again, so the guys I was with stopped, and we changed the tube. Our support van showed up and had a floor pump handy to speed up the work. Well, that was my first official flat. A tiny piece of tire wire from the steel-belted radials had worked it's way into my tire. Not bad going nearly 600 miles without a flat. Of course, I had done 1200 miles at home with no flats at all. Maybe I can get across the Rockies and the Plains on this tube. Be praying!

We rolled into Elko and immediately I noticed it was a larger town than the last three. Elko is a metropolis compared to Lovelock, Winnamucca, and Battle Mountain! We stopped at a bike store along our route and I purchased another tube. We were just a mile away from our hotel. Chuck and I stopped for photos at the Welcome to Elko sign and then I saw our hotel down the street. The reader board outside the hotel had a most unusual greeting:


So... who's this "Erica" and where is she riding on her bicycle? Were they all out of "M"s? Did they not know that an upside-down "W" works really well as a substitute "M"? Even a "3" or an "E" can play double-duty as an "M" if you lay it on its side. Oh well. Too bad we don't have someone named Erica on our ride. She'd love the personal greeting.

Tomorrow, we have our first of two century rides. We'll ride 108 miles to Wendover, NV which straddles the Nevada / Utah border. We'll also enter Mountain Time since Wendover is on Utah time in the Mountain time zone. We have a couple of decent climbs, but nothing scary. For many riders, this will be there very first 100+ mile ride. I plan to ride fast and hard and pace behind someone big. Pray for TAILWINDS!

For more photos from today, visit

For more about the Ride for Impact, visit Let me add, if you've been enjoying this blog and my tales of adventure and have yet to visit my Ride for Impact site or make a donation, would you please consider doing so? Even a small gift of $5 or $10 will make a difference. I'd love to see us reach our goal of $20,000 for global relief and missions. Thanks for checking it out.

Dist: 74.86
Time: 5:05:40
Avg: 14.6
Max: 39.0
Cumulative Miles: 649
Elev Gain: 2302 ft
Max Elev: 6007 ft
Avg Climb: 2%
Max Climb: 7%

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Get it, Bob.... Now YOU are a "newer, better, faster" friend to some...! ;)