It’s been a great couple days of riding! Yesterday took us all the way from mile marker 10 to 105, on US Rt 6 in Utah. We went through Delta and drove back about 15 miles to spend the night there. I have been waiting for a day like yesterday! It was a good start, waking up at an RV camp in Baker, NV, grabbing breakfast from a Bed and Breakfast. I talked to a lady who was running across the country (yes, running! I cannot imagine) from Long Beach to Massachusetts. We talked about wind, pavement, and mountain passes, obviously. She had just crossed Sacramento Pass as I did, and she was so sore that all she could think about were the mountains in front of her. I wish I could go see her now and let her know that at 20 miles per day, she should have a great 8 days in front of her.
So, yesterday. It was one of my most enjoyable rides ever. The only thing that can compare was the ride into Missoula two years ago. Back then, I had just crossed the continental divide , dropped about 1,500 feet into Lincoln, with mountains all around. I thought it would be a hard 80 mile day into Missoula, but it ended up skirting the mountains and followed a river all the way to the city. Slowly dropped like 2,000 feet over a whole day. Effortless speed and breath-taking views. Yesterday was just like that, except I actually did have a couple of climbs before the beauty struck me.
Sevier Lake… apparently it has only had water in it since 2011, and before then 1984. Being on the “lonliest highway in the world” meant that I could go 10-15 minutes without even hearing a car, and I could see about 20 or more miles in front of me. When the lake came into view, I have never seen a lake from such a perspective. I saw it through two giant rocks, and the lake manifested itself as a reflection of the sky and salt stripes on the background mountain and the shore. Top to bottom, it was like real sky, salt stripe, reflection, water, salt stripe. Perfectly straight stripes. I rode along the lake for about 40 miles before turning north towards Delta. Simply amazing. Good tailwind helped me out all day, the riding just flew by. I went back to using no pads on the bike, and this has been working. I think I needed pads for a couple of rides to help me out, but now it seems fine.
Today was also extremely beautiful as we began heading to Omaha. We are not going to SLC anymore by bicycle. I still have to get up there to say adios to Marlei and Katie and get my sister (who is taking over as chase vehicle driver for the next leg). But nothing is really going on, so it’s straight ahead to Omaha. We should get the distance to Omaha down to about 850 miles tomorrow, so Marlei, Katie and I get a whole day off on Saturday in the city; Sarah can get off the plane on Sunday and we DON’T have to ride 104 miles. Me and Sarah can check out the city and then at the end of the evening, drive down for a room near where I left off.
Today was just mountains. Got to go through Salem and Spanish Fork, the biggest areas I have seen since Vegas. Horses, sheep, not even a lot of cows. I saw a chicken trying to get through a fence. We ended today still within a canyon of sorts, mile marker 200 on Hwy 6 (we got off of 6 for about 15 miles today, and then got back on it). Climbing to over 6,500 feet, and I know a summit should )hopefully) greet me early tomorrow.
Rockies are staring us down the face even though we’re still in Utah. Gave up about 3 miles short on the ride because a nasty headwind started ripping through the canyon and it killed my spirit. When I’m using my small chainring when I’m going down hill, it makes me very sad inside. Although based on the elevation graph, any “downhills” that I sensed could have been a delusion. Sometimes on long climbs, when the grade levels out a little bit, you think that it’s downhill. These are called faux plats (false flats). Faux plats can be down or up.
Thanks to everyone keeping up with this. I know when I see those breathtaking moments, it makes the hard stuff a little easier. Probably like 10 times today there was nothing I wanted more than to have my mother with me, so she can see these things. Photos just don’t cut it. I can’t believe I can see the whole country like this for such a great cause. It’s hard but it’s worth doing.