|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 20, 2012 at 5:20 PM||comments (2)|
Alright, we know we're more than well behind, but the last four days or so were real pushes! Up at 5:30 or 6:00am and on the road by 7:30am, bike until dark. But now that everybody has safely landed we have some real free time to fill everybody in, we know you've been waiting! So, this blog will again be long, but there were some pretty good stories the last few days!
July 13 - Austin, NV - Fallen, NV (111 miles) Long but interesting throughout the entire day. Like we mentioned before, it started off early. The whole idea of having to camp through Nevada turned out to be complete bull, the thing is you just have to plan a few days ahead. You'll have a 75 mile gap one day, an 83 mile gap the other, and a 100 mile gap the other. As Pawel calls them, they're "intergalactic jumps." Today was a long intergalactic jump, but the map showed that there was a restaurant about 60 miles into the ride, and being that the map has NEVER deceived us before (cough cough) we decided to take a leap of faith and trust it. We ended up outrunning a huge storm the entire day, the sky in our mirrors got darker and darker as the storm was inching on us, but that did't stop us taking a 10 minute break to play with a rattlesnake! On the side of the road we saw a huge snake slither down into a drain...so, we decided the smart idea was to investigate. We tip-toed our way down but the rattler knew what was up, it was hiding in a metal sewage drain that went under the road and right when we got in sight the entire drain echoed from it's rattle! So...we should lurk longer and take pictures. Eventually we decided to just let it be and go our own way, especially being that it was Friday the 13th! The temperature was again forgiving and we had cloud coverage the entire day because of the storm! About half way into the day we ran into another rider, Christian, who rode to California and was on his way back to Virginia. We decided to get some lunch together because the map didn't deceive us this time and there was actually a restaurant on the route, and it couldn't have been better timing - the wind picked up like no other causing a huge cloud of dust that threw small rocks and pebbles! Got some food...Christian got some whiskey, and talked for a bit - we ended up finding out that he too lives about 20 minutes away from Richmond in a community that makes tofu and hammocks. After lunch was all finished up we got back on the road and went our own ways, but this time the table turned - we actually had a tail wind! Don't get too excited, the tail wind lead us directly into a thunder and lightening storm! Rain came down like no other and the only thing you could really do is push through it! You could see the clear sky over the mountain peak, so, we just had to climb! Lightening was striking 1/4 mile from us and the thunder was rolling, but like we thought, once we peaked the mountain it started to let up! We then found ourselves riding next to salt flats and out of nowhere were sand dunes which looked more like mountains! But the salt flats were really, really cool - probably the most interesting part of the day. Other riders or drivers left messages in the sand with rocks and pebbles and the messages went on for miles! There were a ton of bicycle pics from rocks and apparently a lot of Virginians with messages from UVA and VT. But, the message that stood out the most was "Daddy <3's Tyler" ...thanks, dad. All in all, the day was long but we moved along pretty well, especially the last 20 miles - slight downhill finish!
July 14 - Fallen, NV - Minden, NV (78 miles) To sum today up, HEADWIND! We fell back into our old ways and it was way too easy to hit snooze this morning, so we ended up getting a fairly late start but we weren't really sweating it being that we knew we only had a 75 mile day. Well...like I already mentioned, we would've loved the extra time - headwind, headwind, headwind, and it didn't give at all! We met another cyclist at a gas station named Kent, he lived locally and wasn't touring, we were all actually salivating over his BMC bike with SRAM Force setup, but he was a ton of fun to talk to. Funny thing is he rolled into the parking lot and then...knocked over my bike and BOB. He immediately made the face and reaction of "OH SHIT!" What was even funnier was watching him try to pick it up! He bent down and pulled up with all of his force! ....Not a budge. So I walked over and said it was all good, the bike's taken its fair share of spills so no worries....we'd just have to trade bikes now. But, after getting to know one another he turned out to be a really fun and interesting person to meet on the road. We finished right next to Lake Tahoe and only 15 miles away from California!
July 15 - Minden, NV - Placerville, CA (101 miles) Completely underestimated today! The awesome thing is that we reached California bright and early and the scenery immediately became stereotypical - cows in vibrant green fields with beautiful mountain peaks in the background! That epic downhill we thought we were going to bomb and crack 60...not an epic downhill! We spent the entire morning and afternoon climbing the mountain that seemed never ending and when we reached the summit....you go down 200 ft, and then climb again. Luckily in-between summits there was a really cool diner that was built in 1864 and they had amazing food! The atmosphere of the restaurant was all original with a few additions but the service and food was beyond better than anything we had recently! We finally reached the downhill and it was all S-turns, twists and turns the entire way! It was a ton of fun and Andrew said it was probably the most fun he had the entire trip! The downhill led us to a convenient store where the people there were incredibly nice. They knew about the ACA and they've hosted cyclists before so they wanted our opinions of what to carry for cyclists - they want to expand and set up a hostile or camping area for cyclist similar to David Smith's in Hindman, Kentucky. The day ended up rolling vineyards and beautiful scenery....until the scenery went completely black. We were riding in the dark....riding down the mountain in the dark. But Pawel had a light searing front light and we were all very visible! We eventually finished at 9:45pm and it was in a small town, which means, no food. So, we boiled some water from the coffee maker and we made some dehydrated food - chicken teriyaki for Pawel, lasagna for me, and spaghetti for Andrew - not too bad!
July 16 - Placerville, CA - Vacaville, CA (99 miles) The wind continued today, but the scenery continued to become more and more beautiful and stereotypical as well! Mansions on the side of mountains with their own vineyards, and the cars became nicer and nicer the closer we got to Sacramento. We rode through a park for about 20 miles where we met a local who showed us a route to cut off about 9 miles from the ACA route, and we ended up needing that extra time! We stopped for lunch at a must-stop in California according to Andrew, an "N Out Burger," and we fueled up with shakes, fries and burgers - turned out to be pretty good, and Andrew was in awe! As the wind picked up throughout the day the weather got colder and colder - Pawel and I bundled up with our windbreakers for the later part of the day which was all through vineyards and fruit tree farms - absolutely beautiful, everything was in perfect rows for as long as the eye could see. Getting closer to town we ran into a family who were out on an excursion practicing repelling down a stone bridge - but they were all psyched about our story and journey and welcomed us to California! The day turned out to be another really long day where we finished at 9:45pm again, just in time for the best thing of the day - Taco Bell! We were all freezing and exhausted, Taco Bell looked like heaven! So, we got a super nutritious meal in and hauled ass to the hotel which was three blocks away to get out of the cold wind.
July 17 - Vacaville, CA - San Francisco, CA (48 miles) Today was the day!! WE MADE IT! We rode knowing that today was the end of our journey, all the long days, waking up extremely early to try and beat heat or wind, all the people we've met, it was all leading up to this! We had a few climbs but the entire morning we just powerhoused through everything, knowing that the end is near! We reached the peak of a long climb and we could see it - we could see the ferry and the Pacific Ocean! Andrew loved my reaction at the peak of the hill, "hey...water." He said, "THAT...THAT'S YOU'RE REACTION TO THE PACIFIC?!?" But...it kicked in about 30 minutes later when we actually got to the ferry! We were all in a rush in the morning to make the ferry because we knew it was going to be an hour ride...well...no rush, the ferry wasn't coming for it's next run until 2:00 and we got there at 12:15. So, we enjoyed ourselves and just sat back and relaxed and got some lunch and caught up with our families. The ferry ride was absolutely amazing, we rode right next to Alcatraz and had some pretty great views of the city! Now, that's when the reaction truly set in - we were all grinning from ear to ear, we did it! The ferry docked and we got our gear and entered the city! We immediately started off with a climb dodging tourists and little kids trying to ride up the hill but we made our way to the main strip that ran parallel to the ocean and we rode straight to the Golden Gate Bridge - absolutely amazing! Although it's rustic color, we got the history. We then went in and checked out Fort Point which was built during the Civil War. The fort, the bridge, Alcatraz, and the mountain scenery lining the Pacific Ocean was all breathtaking...now, just one more thing to do - dip the wheels! We backtracked and made our way to a beach area and had the traditional tire dips! Although we didn't start directly from the Atlantic Ocean, we still felt that it was necessary! Now, we're on a time crunch! Andrew was meeting a guy from Craigslist to sell his bike, we had 4 miles and 30 minutes...and yes, that is 4 miles of San Francisco hills! Pretty much we powerhoused up the hill giving it everything we had, 20 second rest, and then do it again until we reached the top! We ended up showing up only 5 minutes late, and that was with a wrong turn detour, so...we were fashionably late. But the deal worked out and Andrew sold his bike and Pawel and I made our way to a bike shop only half a mile away from the park and got everything taken care of to get this boxed up and shipped home! The bikes were gone, we had our bags for the plane, everything is DONE! Pawel's friend then drove into the city to pick us up and we went to Mountainview which is in Silicon Valley - his friends work for YouTube! So, we all showered up, shared stories, and then hit the town for some Mongolian food! The day couldn't have been better, everything worked out and everything was absolutely breath taking!
July 18 - (0 miles!!) Our legs were legitimately confused - they were trying to cycle but we had no bikes and were as far west as we could go! The day was really relaxing and we all decided to make the most of the day. We chose one thing per person that we wanted to do and we did them as a group - first we drove the Pacific Coast Highway, California State Route 1, which is what Pawel wanted to do and the views were phenomenal! Cliffs that dropped straight to the Pacific Ocean with beautiful beaches! We found an area where we could park and walk down to a beach so we dipped our feet in and walked the beach for a while, took it all in! The wind was still really high so we were actually zipped up with our windbreakers for a good portion of the day. We later made our way back into the city, Haight St., which is where the hippy movement apparently started, and we walked up into a local park where we met the guy for the Craigslist sale the day prior. Pawel said that every tree and plant in the park was planted from someone from the neighborhood and it all had its own story, the views were amazing and it was just a really peaceful hike! Got some lunch at a diner and the food and service continued to be amazing! We then just walked and took in the sights, Andrew found some record shops, Pawel got a haircut and some new kicks, and I found a local food market that had AMAZING pastries, brownies, cookies, cakes, you name it! We then made our way out for dinner and got some sushi at an EXTREMELY nice sushi bar in San Francisco and my friend, Jason Schoener, made his way over from Sacramento for the evening and it was well worth it! We walked in looking like we just came off the street...but that's because we pretty much did, and they walked us back to our own private room - the thing was completely decked out and the sushi was mouth watering! Andrew said that his steak was the best steak he's ever had! Altogether the food and the entire day was phenomenal! To top the day off, WE REACHED OUR GOAL OF $20,000 and then surpassed it! Thank you doesn't even come close to expressing our gratitude for everything that everyone has done for us which allowed us to have such an amazing experience and journey!
Pawel's blog & pictures from July 13-18:
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 18, 2012 at 7:40 AM||comments (8)|
Vacaville, CA - San Francisco, CA
WE MADE IT!! We'll be working on catching up on the blogs to fill you in real soon -- once we got into San Francisco, we were on a very tight schedule to get to the bike shop to have the bikes and gear packed up for shipping back home. We met up with Pawel's friends for dinner -- they've been really great helping us out!
More to come ...
WE MADE IT!!
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 16, 2012 at 1:55 AM||comments (3)|
After 45 days of riding, we've reached CA! Blog will hopefully be updated tomorrow night, sorry for the delays but we've had incredibly long days...started at 7:30am and finished at 9:45pm today! Also, just as a heads up - the Ricky Rides Again account will be closed on July 21st and we're only $1,000 from our goal of $20K!
There are pictures posted on Pawel's page - see below:
July 13 - Austin, NV - Fallen, NV (111 miles) - to be updated soon.
Pawel's blog & pictures: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=292356&v=2Q
July 14 - Fallen, NV - Minden, NV (78 miles) - to be updated soon.
Pawel's blog & pictures: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=292528&v=2G
July 15 - Minden, NV - Placerville, CA (101 miles) - to be updated soon.
July 16 - Placerville, CA - Vacaville, CA (99 miles) - to be updated soon.
Pawel's blog & pictures: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=292944&v=T
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 13, 2012 at 1:45 AM||comments (4)|
Eureka, NV - Austin, NV
Today topped all other leisure days and it felt amazing! We woke up at 6:30...6:45...7:00...7:45, OK we're finally up. We made our way over to a cafe for breakfast which actually turned out to be really good and Pawel covered it - we tried to not allow him but he responded with his standard comment, "shut up, just help someone else out when you have established jobs later." So, we ate and sat...and sat, and then sat a little longer until finally deciding to get up and start getting ready for the day. We fueled up at a gas station which has essentially become our Walmart and hit the road.
It's always nice starting off the day with a 10 mile downhill - 25mph, no work? Deal! Today we lucked out more than any other day, there were some headwinds for a while, but after Kansas we weren't complaining, and there was cloud coverage the entire day which kept it cool and breezy! After about 20 miles in, we realized that a rain cloud was chasing us all day and we got spit on with some rain for just a little bit -- refreshing. Mentally, the ride today was a lot easier, it seems as if we've gotten use to no resources, so we just plug up and ride.
The whole thing about the "Loneliest Road in America"... still bull. The traffic seems to be increasing every day, apparently everyone wants to drive the loneliest road ... and it's the only thing out here. We stopped for lunch at a picnic stop off the road and met a couple driving to Tahoe for a wedding. It was the standard convo at first, "Where are you riding from? What are you riding for? When did you start? HOLY CRAP, you're making good time!" But it was really nice meeting more people and just having a new chat. We got back on the road and the thunderstorm got a little closer and the wind picked up, pushing us here and there, but all-in-all it wasn't that bad, we just tucked down and peddled. The dark sky almost gave an appearance of Utah with a dark and gloomy distant setting of mountains which looked really beautiful.
We finished the day with a climb, but Pawel and I got stuck in such a good convo we didn't even realize we were climbing. Andrew powerhoused it which gave him a nice break while Pawel and I were "farting around." Bombed an S-turn downhill into a town called Austin and finished the night with dinner at a cafe...carb of choice, pizza. We noticed the sunsets are getting more and more beautiful with firelike sky patterns, it's pretty breathtaking. Long day tomorrow, goodnight.
For pictures of the day, don't forget to check out Pawel's blog
Distance: 70 miles
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 12, 2012 at 1:20 AM||comments (6)|
Ely, NV - Eureka, NV
We have been EXTREMELY lucky with the weather temperatures and everything that goes along with it all through Colorado, Utah and so far Nevada (knock on wood). But seriously, we had cloud coverage for the entire 80 miles today, with the exception of a few hot spots which passed quickly! The morning was nice and leisurely with something we haven't had in a long time - McDonalds! We got to meet the world's finest and nicest manager...he was straight up an asshole to all of the employees, "you know if you bend your knees you could actually move faster! Are you going to get these people their food?? Also, the bikers need water...take care of them!"...we didn't need water - quality! We got on the road a little later because we finally caught up on some sleep although getting use to Pacific time zone is a little weird ... Pawel still woke up at 5:30. The day was like deja vu' all over again ... that was from Yogi Berra, desert and climbing. Pawel said he might as well just post pics from yesterday and call it today.
We've noticed something big, Highway 50, "the loneliest road in America"... bull. We've had more cars pass us today and yesterday than all week, every 5 minutes it was another truck! But, we later found out maybe why...one of the mountains was on fire. It wasn't close to our route but we saw the smoke clouds in the air - luckily nothing like Colorado! Today was pretty standard, just ride. The mental aspect seemed a lot easier today though! Climbs were tough but didn't seem to be never ending like the day before. We finished up in Eureka...not Eureka, Kansas, and got some Chinese for dinner!
We're close in every sense - 6 days away and almost $19K! Everyone, thank you, seriously! We've been absolutely blown away this entire trip but it's not over yet, if you're able to make your way over to the donation page and let's get that $20K!
Don't forget to check out Pawel's pictures (if they're not posted yet, keep checking)
Distance: 80 miles
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 10, 2012 at 9:20 PM||comments (4)|
What's up, what's up! Hope you all enjoyed the suspense - We've had a lot of firsts in the past few days, including no cell service, but as you all already know from the short blog posts from my mom to keep everyone updated, we're in Nevada - one more to go! We're going to make up for the past few days so bear with us, this one's going to be long but good!
July 7 - Escalante, UT - Panguitch Lake, UT (85 miles) - That day was really awesome, except for lunch! If you come across a restaurant called "C Stop Pizza"...don't stop. The day was long and hot and Pawel was feeling pretty rough about halfway through, so we injected him with some GU and then all was good. Story of the trip, we underestimated how long it would take to climb the mountain, so...we stopped. But we came across a really nice camping resort near a lake. With that being said, we actually camped! Don't get too excited, it was first class camping. After speaking with the manager of the camp, Adrian, and telling him about our story and our trip he gave us the campsite on the house! A diner was attached to the trading post so we ended up getting dinner and topping off the night was good dessert. To our surprise, dinner was also covered by Adrian. Our waitress said we should've sampled all of the desserts in that case. So, we ate a really good dinner, showered, and then camped. All in all, it was a really good day and we found out that we made a wise decision to not try and finish the mountain...
July 8 - Panguitch Lake, UT - Milford, UT (100 miles) - Of course we have to start the day by gorging ourselves with obnoxious amount of food. Pawel took the cake by far this morning, he alone pretty much ran them out of business for breakfast! It was a full spread and one of the best breakfasts we've had the entire trip...again, covered by Adrian when we tried to pay. Again though, Adrian supported our statement that everyone we have met is foreign - he's from England. After pictures and goodbyes, we hit the road to finish the climb which really wasn't that bad of a grade but it just took forever! Again, Pawel doesn't pop tires...his tires explode. After dealing with his "Polish engineering" of duct taping the inside of the tire, we just threw on Andrew's spare Armadillo and hoped no more tires were going to explode for the next 150 miles which is where the next bike shop was. Getting back on the road was pretty much S-turn after S-turn and the further and further we climbed the more and more Aspen and Spruce trees we saw, it was really beautiful! Not long into the climb we saw a familiar face...Adrian. He was waiting in his stereotypical but pimped out Mini Cooper with the British flash side mirrors on a pull-off spot on the mountain for us because he thought we left our shower bag in the bathroom - seriously, just an overall awesome guy! About 5 miles before the summit we met some more guys riding East, surprise, surprise. One guy was doing all 48 main states but got his trailer stolen in Eureka, Nevada. Lucky for us, that's our stop tomorrow. But he managed to get some stuff back together and they were like us with Pawel - met on the road and decided to ride together. This mountain was like all the others - you think you reach the top, NOPE, there's another rolling peak. But...once we finally finished the climb we had a 27-mile downhill AND set a new speed record at 58 MPH! We're crackin' 60 on our way into California, 8000ft drop...straight! The climb and drop were a little iffy because there was an avalanche/landslide a few days prior to us reaching the mountain. Luckily the mountain was open for business, but there was about a quarter mile stretch where we had to hit the breaks a bit. How fast the scenery changes absolutely blew all of us away. Red Canyons, mountains, Aspen trees, flat and dry desert all in one day. Also - saw and heard our first rattle snake!
July 9 - Milford, UT - Baker, NV (Great Basin Nat'l Park) (84 miles) - Holy crap!! Woke up and hit the gas station to load up for our 84 miles of absolutely nothing. No resources, no trees...nothing. In a weird sense it was actually really beautiful, but deceiving as hell! Again, climb, climb, climb and then we have a nice downhill, but this time our downhills led us to straight deserts with the tease of the next climb straight ahead. Looks flat, we were thinking, "we're going to fly through this 5 mile stretch!" ...That 5 miles was actually 30. The mind games were unbelievable and it got to all of us. Speed of climbing? 4 MPH. Super impressive! We had three climbs and three stretches of desert and were trying to conserve as much water as possible. The second climb was by the hardest and longest! When we reached the peak we clunked out for lunch and found a tree off the side of the road so we thought it'd be perfect for our delicious and nutritious lunch of powerbars and trailmix. At that time anything tasted like a steak, the heat started to get to us and we were mentally just dead. So...powernaps. We all laid back under the tree and took a 20 minute nap which was absolutely needed! On third desert we decided to take a break to wait for Pawel because he held back for some pictures. Andrew and I found the most amazing thing ever...A TREE! Not only a tree, but a tree that was completely shading an abandoned house! In the distance we thought it was a house, but also thought we may have been going a little crazy, as we got closer it became more and more beautiful! Checked out the place for a minute and then found what was really the most amazing thing of the day...a running hose. So, we grabbed our water filter and filled up our water bottles and water sacks - delicious! Until we got to Nevada which was at the very end of the day we made a realization...every road sign is covered in bullet holes. But, we made it to Nevada! The end of the day really treated us nicely with a long gradual downhill into the town where we got our spirits and legs back and we finished with dinner at a really good diner that was decked out in some run down biking accessories, really good food though! That day was by far the quietest ride we've had, everyone was plugged up with our iPods to try and take our minds off the stretches!
July 10 - Baker, NV - Ely, NV (63 miles) - We forgot one very important thing this morning...Pacific time zone. We thought we were going to get a relatively early start but allow ourselves to catch up on some sleep because we knew we had a shorter day. Buuut, no service means no phone updates. Alarm went off at 5:50, it was actually 4:50. But we were all surprisingly pretty well rested and packed up and made our way back to the diner for breakfast. They actually opened 15 minutes early for us because they saw us waiting out front at 6:00 and immediately said "forget the time zone change?" As Pawel says, he and Andrew had some "mean" omelets, I warmed up my leftover pizza to try and save the money. Pizza for breakfast is delicious anyways. Today wasn't nearly as rough mentally or physically and we were actually climbing a lot better. Right before our second climb of the day we came across a HUGE windmill farm - absolutely beautiful. Giant white structures in the middle of a really bright and rich green field of grass...it was refreshing to see after an entire day of brown and more shades of brown. Got some cold water and soda at the halfway point where we met a group of people who were curious about our ride. After hearing our story one guy mentioned that he cycled parts of Europe after high school but was really inspired, so they all pitched in and donated a total of $40 - really nice people and really nice conversation! Today was short but pretty quick, up and down with a good finish into Ely where we found the bike shop to get some maintenance done on Andrew's front derailluer and tune ups for our final push - one week left! Before we got into the "city" we had a nice kiss from mother nature, just to make up for her treating us nice with keeping the heat down, and got smacked by a dirt devil which pelted us all with small rocks and dirt! But, it was another first! We got to finish the day early today which was REALLY nice and got some pretty good dinner at a Mexican place next to the hotel. Have about 78 miles of no services tomorrow so we're all stocked up - we'll try and update as best as possible!
Utah really, really treated us well though, especially with the heat! Absolutely beautiful red canyons and mountains, you really need to see it for yourself for the full effect!
Don't forget to check out Pawel's pictures (if they're not posted yet, keep checking) @
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 9, 2012 at 11:15 PM||comments (5)|
Milford, UT - Baker, NV (Great Basin Nat'l Park)
Again, limited internet access and NO cell service. Will do our best to post blog soon.
Doing well; feeling good.
In the meantime, please check out Pawel's blog @ http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=291508&v=B
Distance: 84 miles
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 9, 2012 at 1:10 PM||comments (2)|
Panguitch Lake, UT to Milford, UT
We are still experiencing slow, sporadic cell service, so we will post daily blog soon. Just know it was another great day of riding.
Sorry, no pics were uploaded yet. Should be soon.
Distance: 99 miles
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 8, 2012 at 9:05 AM||comments (5)|
Escalante, UT - Panguitch, UT
Camping at Panguitch Lake with limited cell service. More to come soon.
In the meantime, please check out Pawel's blog @ http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=291016&v=8
Distance: 87 miles
|Posted by Tyler Simmons on July 7, 2012 at 2:20 AM||comments (7)|
Torrey, UT – Escalante, UT
We started off the day by meeting other riders, who were heading East, for breakfast (or as Pawel says, “getting our rocket fuel"). After saying our farewells, we started our climb. NOTE: Pawel doesn’t get flat tires – his tires just explode and shred! We don’t know why he loves those Schwalbes – all those sidewalls seem to tear.
Once again, the ACA map led us to believe that the ride was going to be easier than it turned out to be with regard to the amount of climbing as well as the grade of climbing. We climbed during our first 30 miles and as we got closer and closer to the peak of the mountain, we met more riders heading East. The summit seemed to never come as we were going up and then a tease doing down, but then immediately back up again. We eventually peaked and then bombed the downhill, setting a new speed record of 54 mph (we’re cracking 60 before the trip’s done)! Halfway through the downhill, we stopped off at this awesome, AWESOME diner where we had the best lunch of the whole trip … homemade vanilla ice cream, banana caramel pie and all locally grown meat and produce … as Andrew said, “super hippie.”
After lunch, we finished the downhill and immediately started climbing again. This climb was tough – it reminded us of some of our Appalachian climbs, but when we finally peaked, we reached a stretch called “Hell’s Backbone” which was, without question, the most AMAZING thing we’ve seen this whole trip -- a 3,000 ft. drop on both sides of the road, no guardrails, and canyons and rock cliffs all the way to the horizon, and to top it off, a 14% downhill slope to take us through the canyon. There were mixed feelings because it was, undoubtedly, the most amazing and nerve-wrecking section of road that we have ridden during the trip. Pawel and I loved it! Andrew was just happy he survived it. As he said at the bottom, “I’m glad I went to the bathroom at the diner.” Immediately afterwards, just to follow the theme of the ride, we climbed …… and it was steep.
One thing we’ve found in the West, is that the RV tourists all seem to be European. Every time we crested a peak today, there seemed to be someone asking about our ride and telling us that they felt terrible as they watched us climbing … but, then again, we may have also inspired someone to take their own cross-country bike trip.
With shredded tires, long conversations, sharing stories with other riders, and underestimating the terrain, we made decent mileage today, but are planning a real early morning to try to move on to the next section of map.
News update: Dr. Lovato’s house, as well as his parents’ house, survived the Waldo Canyon wildfires! Homes were burned on either side, but their houses remained unscathed.
Just another great day in the Wild, Wild West!
For pictures of the day, check out Pawel's blog @
Distance: 68 miles