Monday, June 29, 2009


As the title of my recent post suggests, my journey has taken me over 900 miles so far and now into my third state, Arizona. I have to say that after a relatively boring trek through Nevada, I was more than happy to cross the stateline into a newer and at least outwardly more interesting state.

Back to where my journal left off though. After Carson City our my team continued 55 miles East to Fallon, Nevada, where we had an amazing friendship visit with Fallon Industries, a local organization that serves people with many different disabilities. We had a great time with lots of dancing as well as singing kareoke with the participants there.

The next morning we awoke and had breakfast together as north and south for the last time together as a whole team. Then we departed in a double paceline north in the left and south in the right until the road split a quarter mile down and the south team continued down to Hawthorne, Nevada, 75miles away. After a wonderful pasta dinner with B.P.O.E of Hawthorne, we took an early night to get some sleep before our 105 mile day to Tonopah.

Apparently Tonopah is the city that saved Nevada's statehood... Thank you Tonopah! In case you were wondering, 105 miles is a very long way to ride on a bike. The small mining town of 4000 is located at 6000 feet of elevation, which has earned it the JOH nickname of "The City on a Hill." it really earns this name too as the last 15 miles is a very slow and brutal climb from the valley floor up to the city which you can see from over 20 miles out and it never seems to get closer. After a wonderful tour of the mines that made to city famous, we had a great dinner with the Tonopah Lions Club and collapsed and all fell fast asleep to gear up for our shorter 95miles ride the following day.

Headwinds are the best way to describe Nevada, and are probably he reason I hate the place so much. The first 70 miles of our trip Beatty could almost be described as easy. However, after lunch a very sting headwind picked up and our pace slowed to a standstill. I have this concluded that Nevada is the only state where you go faster uphill than down because we regularly pulled 12mph down similar hills that we had pulled 18mph up. The swimming pool at the end was nice though.

Now that the hard part was over we had two short days of no real note to Vegas which as toucan read in the previous post wasn't my cup of tea. The following days after Vegas found us on the Arizona stateline as we broiled in 115 degree hear on our ride into Bullhead City. As a contrast Arizona has been quite beautiful as the ride has taken us along the Colorado River. It has been hot though but I feel more in my element.

Currently I am in lake Havasu City, Arizona, where we have had a much needed day off from cycling, which has included a lake day, rich an plentiful meals, and a pool party. It will be hard to leave, but I have been missing the bike a little bit. It feels awkward now when I don't get to ride.

Sin City and 900 miles

Mike Cooley of the Driveby Truckers once wrote in his song, "Checkout Time in Vegas," that "...if all to need is a badge to take what's left from from those who've lost it, a badge ain't no more real than bullets are," and I can't help but think the words are so appropriate as watched two casino security guards hover over the motionless body of a woman passed out at the nickle slots.
Perhaps she was drunk, or perhaps she had lost it all, I'll even give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was just tired and didn't want to lose her lucky machine. The point, if there is one, and the reason why I feel Cooley's lyrics are so true is the fact that the two guards were rifling through this lady's purse and prodding her in some attempt to get her to leave or wake up so as to, as Cooley put it, "make sure sin city still shines brighter than creation's dark." To them this woman had no worth, in fact she was prbably harming their business, which gets to the bottom of my fundamental problem with Vegas. Behind the lights, pretty women, and false promises of fortune is an elaborate charade meant to entice people in and swindle then out of their dignity and sense of self worth.

If someone asks me to go in the future, I'll pass...


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 5

So I must begin by apologizing for not posting in so long, school and training seem to have gotten the best of me. I have finally started my journey of hope though and I must say thank you to my many sponsors who helped me raise $6500 to help people with disabilities.

Now for the fun part, I am writing this post from the gym floor of the Carson Middle School in Carson City, Nevada. In the past 5 days I have ridden over 300 miles of my 4000+ mile journey. Day one started wonderfully with an awe inspiring ride across the Golden Gate Bridge before heading northeast towards Napa, California. The ride for the day was 75 miles and I am proud to say that not only did I ride every single one of them, but also my paceline was in the first group in for the day averaging a stout pace of 15.5 mph over some very hilly terrain.

Day 2 we departed Napa and continued on to Sacramento. The ride was only 60 miles but the opening 28 miles were a steady climb up a 3-6% grade. My paceline for the day worked very hard and ended up not only making rack point by over 10 minutes we also managed to finish as the 3rd team to our arrival point. The guys in my group refused to quit and were rewarded with being able to take part in our arrival ride to the steps of the state Capitol building. Unfortunately we didn't get to meet the governator. The day was finished off by a wonderful friendship visit with People First of California, an organization run by people with disabilities for people with disabilities where they foster an environment where their clients can express their true artistic talents. Their band's cover of "let it be" nearly brought me to tears.

Day 3 we moved on to Jackson where I received my first flat tire of the trip. After a quick change I was back rolling and the remaining leg of our 65 mile trek passed without much drama. The folks at Ark of California and The Jackson Lions Club presented us with meals fit for kings which was nice given that our date with the sierra nevada mountains was right around the corner.

Day for was ominous, it's the day talked about by every pi alpha I have ever met. The infamous Kirkwood is a 60 mile climb straight up two mountain passes rising from a base elevation of 1200ft and rising to 8100 before dropping down about 700 and then rising to a final elevation of 8500 ft at Carson Pass. The small glimmer of hope is the remaining 20 miles is all downhill into the bustling metropolis of Markleeville, Californi, pop. 300. The Jackson Lions guys showed up to our campsite and feed us burgers and chili and we all fell fast asleep. My paceline finished the 80 mile day in 8hrs17mins so needless to say, we needed the rest.

Today was a brisk 40 miles downhill into Carson City and finally a much needed day off before north and south teams split and my team begins our weeklong sprint down Nevada into Arizona. Speeking of rest, I think I'm gonna grab some now.

-Till next time