Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 21

Where do I begin? I had an alarm set for 4 but didn't get up until closer to 4:30. We set out around 6 and were immediately fighting a crosswind coming from the west. It wasn't bad and I didnt think much of it when we stopped 6 miles later at the Utah border. It felt great to cross into our 3rd state!
We took a turn a few miles later and that's when I realized how much the wind was affecting us. We had a direct headwind for several miles and were peddling downhill at 7 mph! We were also on a very rural road...in the first two hours of riding I saw 7 dead jackrabbits and only 5 cars!
Through Nevada there have been long stretches with absolutely nothing between towns. This 84 miles stretch was our longest and we packed our full capacity of water...4 liters for myself and 6 for Seth. Still, struggling in the wind we were sipping constantly and I worried that we didn't have enough. Just as I was thinking such, a truck and van pulled up behind us and asked if we needed water! Frank and Cleda hopped out and gave each of the four of us a bottle of water and topped off our others with a big jug. Incredible! They said they always stop when they see bikers in the desert!
We had a long climb this morning for about 25 miles and we made another turn that put the wind blowing at us from a diagonal facing our right sides for about 20 of those miles. I never realized until I started biking how much the wind affects you. We were getting blown around and were struggling to make the miles...when we stopped for lunch after 35 miles, our pace had been 7 mph! As we were stopped, a motorcyclist pulled over and gave us each another bottle of water! He said a couple with a camper (Frank and Cleda) gave him the bottles to deliver to us! I guzzled mine down as part of my lunch was peanut butter and it's really hard to swallow peanut butter in the dry desert.
On the way down the first pass, the wind was so strong that I thought my bike would get blown out from under me. When a gust came I would literally be riding on the edge of my tires...there were several times I had to turn and swerve into the other lane to follow the path of the wind so I wouldn't get blown over!
We stopped at an abandoned cabin for a break in the shade and George wasn't feeling well. He thought he would be okay but as we started up the second pass, he was quickly running out of energy. He was barely able to walk with his bike and we were all very worried about him. He decided to hitch a ride into town to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. It took about 30 minutes for the next vehicle to pass; we flagged it down and the couple inside agreed to take George to town. They also offered us cold bottles of water!
Josh, Seth, and I continued up and finally the wind repaid us for all of the struggle it gave us this morning! We had a near perfect tailwind and flew up the pass. Again the ride down was precarious as our change of direction created another crosswind. We were so drained as we began the next climb, 12 miles to the pass. It took us 2.5 hours to finish! I rode past a rattle snake on my way up...it was only 2 or 3 feet but my foot came within about a foot of its tail and it shook its rattle at me as it slithered away. First (live) and hopefully last rattle snake I see on this trip! 
I thought the climb would never end, but just before we reached the top, a lady pulled over and offered us each a cold bottle of water! I cannot put into words the glory that is cold water in the desert. After fighting the wind for 13 hours and 70 miles in 100 degree heat, it was the perfect antidote to our fatigue!
We coasted down to Milford, UT and rolled into town just before 9 to make our day 14 hours! (We crossed into MD
T this morning.) The longest day of the year and we rode from dawn to dusk!
We headed straight to the diner after meeting up with George in our hotel room. He is feeling a little better now but said he started cramping badly on his way to town. He checked the weather and told us the temperature today was 102 and the wind was a sustained 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph!
I'm exhausted!

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