Fallon, NV to Austin, NV - 112 miles
We had been admonished about this ride by cyclists from years past and went into the day with fear. We began the ride at 5:45AM in order to avoid as much of the desert heat and wind as possible (in Nevada the wind apparently picks up after about 1:00PM). The first 20-or-so miles were very flat, which allowed for a comfortable start to the day. The scenery was similar to what we had experienced the day before - dry mountains surrounding dry flats. So without any distractions, the miles melted away.
The first climb rose a few hundred feet and was a relatively shallow grade. After reaching the summit, we cruised through the next few miles without any problems. At about mile 50, we reached Middlegate, which is essentially the only water or food stop between Fallon and Austin. It was a really cool old building with some very interesting characters lurking inside. The first gentleman that we talked to was (we assumed) one of the owners. He was quite talkative, and expressed a genuine interest in the many cyclists that pass through the area. He was particularly taken by a group of "40 women from 18-60" who came by a while back. Nate surmised that this was more women than he had ever seen. I tend to agree with this sentiment. We also encountered some "genuine hippies" who were about our age or maybe a little bit older and were hitch-hiking across the country. Unfortunately they had been stuck at Middlegate for the past couple of weeks. I'd have to imagine that it must be hard to hitch-hike now, given the countless signs forbidding it and the many urban legends. Finally, we met a German dude who was cycling from Kentucky to San Francisco while smoking cigarettes. I'd say that's quite a feat.
We took off from Middlegate and settled into a groove such that the next 20 miles flew by. We passed the same scenery that we'd seen the previous 50 miles and felt pretty good. This good feeling lasted until the next climb up New Pass summit - an 800 foot climb that seemed to be never ending. It took us through some really cool canyons between mountains, but I was far too angry at the constant grade to enjoy the view. We stopped for lunch and lounged by the side of the road to try to regain some strength before conquering the last 26ish miles to Austin. Those miles proved to be the most difficult of the day not simply because we had already ridden over 80, but also because there were two more big climbs. The final climb was particularly difficult, as it took us directly into the town of Austin. I collapsed in the parking lot of the Mountain Motel and wanted to kiss the ground. Nate and I immediately went on a quest for chocolate milk, only to come up empty handed. We ended up getting our fix with dinner at a local restaurant where we also stuffed ourselves with as much as we could possibly eat. The day was tough, but definitely not horrible and the food at the end made it all better.
About Lea's Foundation
In 1998, Lea Michele Economos, a young woman who died of leukemia at the age of 28, made a dying wish to her parents that others would not face the hardships she encountered by finding a cure for this disease. Her family started this charity to carry on that wish. Today, Lea’s Foundation takes an active role in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma and to better the lives of people living with these diseases. At the UCONN Health Center, the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders sponsors research in this field. A new program covers the cost of bone-marrow testing to help recruit life-saving transplants for patients. Also, annual scholarships are given to children with leukemia who are planning to attend nursery school. For more information on other projects carried out by Lea’s Foundation, please visit their website at www.LeasFoundation.org.