Day 4 - Cup O' Noodles and Nevada.

First order of business, repair my broken derailleur chain.  I had the use of only my granniest gears.  On the plus side, the next couple kms of my ride were downhill.  On the other hand, the nearest bike shop was in Carson City.  That's 46kms out from Woodfords, for the curious.  It was a long morning.

Fortunately, the ride was spectacular.  Ranches everywhere, surrounded by mountains, cactii, and tumbleweed.  Very picturesque Nevada. 

Upon reaching Carson City, I sought out The Bike Smith (900 Carson St North, if I recall).  The mechanic there was amazing, and repaired the derailleur chain for free!  Apparently they get many touring cyclists like me coming through, and love to help out.  After buying a replacement tube, and stopping at a diner called Adele's (do not recommend...very old cat lady feel to it, but good service), I was on my way. 

The goal for the day?  Fallon, NV.  I whipped through Dayton, Stagecoach, and Silver Springs before pulling into the Fallon RV Park, about 9k out from the city proper.  A good stop, and a great chance for me to try out my little pot/stove combo!  A couple minutes of boiling water and I was eating cups of noodles flavoured (somewhat dubiously) with chicken, and tucked into my tent.

Word to the wise - Nevada gets cold.  This is a lesson I would learn over and over through the next couple days, but still comes as a surprise.  It hasn't been the heat of the state that has got to me (though it can get hot), but rather the cold at nights.  And the wind!  Can it ever blow!  More on the wind on Day 6. 

Day 3 - Carson Pass

Jay sent me off with a bellyfull of scrambled eggs and advice to aim for Cooks Station as campsite for the night.  Sorry Jay, but the Mule En Rouge and I have to haul a little bit more than that.  I stopped for snacks at Cooks Station and pressed on.

Begin the day of mechanical failures.  From Cooks Station, it was a grueling 6 hour, 55km climb over the peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, through Carson Pass, at 8600 feet (look for the video of me about 1000 feet from the pass, hopefully I can get posted to YouTube from here).  

To begin my equipment woes, one of my waterbottle holsters snapped.  I think one of the bolts holding it to my front fork had come loose and had worn through the metal.  I gave up on the holster, and didn't cry over the lost grams. 

 

I'm beginning to take issue with some of the products I left Toronto with...

I'm beginning to take issue with some of the products I left Toronto with...

When I reached the peak, I realized my first tube had been punctured.  Bound to happen, and provided me with a good excuse to break and rest my poor little legs.  

After the peak, I was exhausted.  I tucked into my drop bars and sought the first warm bed.  I was fortunate to find the Woodfords Inn, in Woodfords, CA (http://woodfordsinn.com).   I highly recommend the place to any poor cyclist climbing the Sierra Nevada.  The owner was extremely nice, and even drove me to a local diner to get dinner.  

 

Unfortunately, just as a pulled into the parking lot, my front derailleur chain popped out, seemingly related to the pulley system leading to the front derailleur.  A third equipment woe in one day...well, I was too tired to deal with it that night.

 

 

 

All my griping about these breakages and the monstruous climb shouldn't mask the fact that it was a beautiful ride.  I passed through a variety of vistas en route - the El Dorado forest was particularly striking.  Very reminiscent of Northern Ontario Forests.

 

 

Early on in the ride.

Early on in the ride.

 

Near the peak.

Near the peak.

All in all, and looking back (from when I'm writing this, the 10th), Day 3 was one of my tougher days, both because of the climb and the equipment trouble.  However, I have a feeling as though I have passed through the crucible, and may now proceed into the desert.

Ride #1

"And lo, on the first day we saw that the journey giveth, and the journey taketh away." 

About 15kms into my 20km test ride - my first ever loaded ride on the bike, I should add - I saw a miracle.  My left front brake grew wings and flew away.  A sight such as hasn't been seen in a millenia. 

Casualty #1: Front left brake.

Lesson Learned #1: Trust no one (Especially not bike mechanics who forget to tighten brakes). 

The Days Before

I leave for San Francisco tomorrow morning, early.  Rowing time early.  That means being packed today.

Unfortunately, I am slightly apprehensive about my level of preparedness.  Walking around today in the 7 degree Celsius rain made me reconsider some of the clothing I'll be bringing.  Or better stated, some of the clothing I won't be bringing.  Thankfully I'll have 4 days in San Francisco to sort out the details.

I'll have to figure out food and water there.  The common pre-race refrain of "dump your water" keeps playing in my head.  DId you know that a gallon of water is just over 8 pounds?  I must confess I had never really thought about it.  I'm usually on top of the water, not lugging it over the Rocky Mountains.  I will be taking several gallons of water. 

   At least I'll have my mojo to help me along.  Welcome aboard, Hulk.

 

At least I'll have my mojo to help me along.  Welcome aboard, Hulk.

This forms the majority of the items that I'll be bringing with me.  Not shown is one pannier, my off-cycle shoes (sperries, what else) and very likely another set of longsleeve tights/top.  Also not shown is my water/food set up.  That will follow when I arrive in SF.

This forms the majority of the items that I'll be bringing with me.  Not shown is one pannier, my off-cycle shoes (sperries, what else) and very likely another set of longsleeve tights/top.  Also not shown is my water/food set up.  That will follow when I arrive in SF.