As I sit down to write this update with my fifteen minutes at a gas station internet terminal, I’m absolutely overwhelmed because there is so much ground, quite literally, to cover.
So in brief, this has been my life these past five days:
- After a burning stretch of Nevada desert biking, I pulled into Ely and on a whim checked into a historic gambling hotel called Hotel Nevada, where rooms were cheap, coffee was free, and the slot machines and poker tables were open all night long. I proceeded to go on a gambling rampage, lost all the money I’d set aside for my food budget this summer, and so for the next eight weeks I’m resigned to a ramen-noodles-and-peanut-butter diet. Nah, just kidding about the gambling, but I have to say that shedding my accumulated second skin of sweat, dust, and grime in the shower felt divine.
-In Ely, I ran into Brian Burnham, Greg Mu, and their posse of high school bikers, so we linked trips and have been riding together ever since. Perks of riding with company include good conversation (although talking to myself for two weeks was strangely entertaining), iPods available to borrow for steep climbing soundtracks, and a quality amount of goofing around in the evenings.
-My love affair with Utah endures – as oft-quoted (by me) Ed Abbey put it, “In the American Southwest I fell in love with a pile of rocks.” The riding has been tough but exhilarating. As we rode into Cedar City, Utah, it was like riding into the apocalypse, with smoke & ash from nearby forest fires choking the air, and the winds tornado-esque. I was completely miserable, and I spent the whole ride fuming about the hills, the traffic, and the howling wind that transformed what should’ve been an easy fifty miler into a brutal, day-long slog. Then yesterday I had the most amazing ride of my life thus far – climbed from the desert heat to the winter cool of an 11,000 ft pass, where I was hit with a roaring thunder-and-lightning hailstorm, and then I warmed up on the 25 mile no-pedaling-required downhill cruise back to temperate climes. Wish I had more time to write about that day and do the AWESOMENESS justice, but yikes my time is up on the computer, so that’s all for now…..