Made it to Vegas on schedule! I want to thank everybody for all of the support on Facebook the other day. It really helped me out a lot. Getting onto I-15 went smoothly, I did a lot of research that proved to be largely correct. Had about 24 miles of illegal riding, but it was so close to being legal that I wasn’t really worried about getting pulled over. My legs hurt that day more than any other. The reduction in power in my legs invariably leads to more weight on my butt, which has led to a very sore rear end. I’m getting to the point where I am re-thinking the no-padding decision and might use my only pair of padded shorts on my next hard day.
After about 60 miles of gradual ups and downs that saw me pass Zzyzx Rd and Baker, CA, there began the biggest climb of the ride so far. About 600 feet to 4,200 feet over about 15 miles. It was the hill that seemingly never ended. Trucks were all using their flashers going slow, and vehicles were overheating all around. I originally had set out from Zzyzx to do a “20 and a 20” to end the day. It was a 10 mile drop to Baker and then the 10 miles of climbing took almost two whole hours. My legs were on fire and my butt couldn’t take it. When I finally reached Katie and Marlei, parked at an exit, I was so frustrated. Katie parked the van about a quarter mile down a hill off of the exit, and I asked her to move the van back up because I couldn’t imagine riding uphill for even another quarter mile.
Katie and Marlei happened to have driven ahead to get a feel for the ride and told me that it was all uphill. That depressed me because I thought the downhill had to be coming. I had been staring at what I thought was the top of the hill for hours. I set off to do another 10 miles to finish the day, expecting it to take nearly two hours. It turned out that there was only 4 more miles of climbing, and then a long drop from 4,800 feet to 3,000. I was so glad to end the day. Only 70 more miles to get to Vegas!
We ended up driving ahead and staying in a border town called Primm, NV for the night in a giant hotel/casino thing. Only 55 dollars because they want you to spend all of your money at the tables.
Next day was alright. I read all of the FB comments for encouragement, and when I got on the bike, I knew I had about 7-8 miles of climbing before a long 12 mile descent into Primm. I focused on my front wheel, and didn’t look up. There is a mental hurdle out here where things that look 5 miles away are actually 10 miles away. So I stopped looking up. My legs felt good, I was in and out of the saddle. It felt so good to “sprint” normally. I think the encouragement helped me out. My butt was still pretty sore. I finally reached the top and dropped from 4,800 to about 2,000. Had a good stop in Primm, and then hit the road for a final 20 and 20 to get to Vegas, where the van needed to get dropped off for repairs.
A long gradual climb to over 3,000 slowed me down, but it was all downhill to Vegas. I had two flat tires in the last hour, both as a result from wires from car tires. I only took one spare with me so Katie had to drive back since I had gotten two flats during one leg.
But we made it. It wasn’t easy, and now we have a weird combination of the Rockies and the Cascades staring us in the face. Today is our day off. We went out and spent time last night with Dana Constantino, the neice of Eileen Jones, a good family friend we met through The Gift of Hearing Foundation. She took us out and then we went back to her apartment, swam in a pool and hot tub, and hit the sack. Sleeping in feels so good! Got laundry done, dishes, and now this blog as we wait for the dealership to call us back.
We're staying on the US Numbered Highway System for the entirety of the ride to Salt Lake, by far the hardest leg on the trip. Hwy 93, and 6 and 50 will be the main routes. Rt. 50 is “my” local highway in Annapolis, I always love seeing it when we are on the road. I'm not allowed to ride on it at home because it has expressway status from DC to the Eastern Shore.
Staying strong! I miss home, but it will be worth it when we get some implants paid for! Thanks to everyone for following!