Day 45 – Ups and Downs

Start: Diagnus Well
Finish: A & M Reservoir
Today’s miles: 57.1
Total miles: 1376.2
Splats: 1
Divide crossings: 1

First, let me say that my tent is glowing from a fire that is quickly engulfing a nearby mountain. I watched it grow from a tiny puff of smoke to the bright orange ball that it is now. More on this later.

I feel like a whole week of riding and living was crammed in to today. The riding was slow going and once again the seat and I were not getting along. Filled to capacity, I was loaded down with 19 lbs of water, of which I drank just about all. I’m scratching my head about just where it all went after entering my body. I guess this is the Great Basin; water comes in and never leaves (yes, I know that technically this is not how it works).

I’ve been starting to wonder recently if my tire is slowly loosing air. This morning I tried to pump it up, but couldn’t build any pressure. Was my tube bad, or my pump, or both? I installed the tube, but still wasn’t able to get any significant pressure out of my pump. Fortunately, Melanie was still around and she let me use hers. In fact, she let me keep it (she has another one she can use). As I struggled through the sand and wind today, I had to remind myself that I was very nearly walking through this dry stretch of the route.

Not too long after starting this morning I stopped for a short break. A car approached from the opposite direction. As it went by I glanced at the driver and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Girlscout! Girlscout is my friend and hiking buddy from my Pacific Crest Trail hike in 2006. He and Gazelle are out doing some ‘trail magic’ for CDT hikers. We caught up as best you can in 30 minutes, then parted ways. I laughed out loud at the chance of randomly running into an old friend out here near the basin. Unfortunately, my high from the chance encounter wore off as I pedaled through the sandy ups and downs.

I’m actually very lucky. More often than not, I was shaded by clouds today, and the temperatures weren’t bad either. Winds weren’t nearly as bad as they could have been and much of the day they came from behind.

I had a bit of a scare, and some deja vu this evening. I tried to mount the uni and failed. My foot slipped forward off the pedal, the pedal’s nails sliding up the back of my calf. I went down backwards, hard. I lay there for a minute, foot caught in the spokes and leg somehow intertwined with the uni. Soon after, I came across writing in the road. It read, “Go Gen Go!” It gave me the boost I needed to push out the final 10 miles.

The sandy note wasn’t all to push me down the road however. A storm moved through producing incredibly powerful winds. Most of the wind came from behind, sandpapering my legs in the process. There was a double rainbow ahead of me and some lighting off to my left sparked a fire at the base of the mountains. I watched as the smoke grew thicker.

The sun set behind me as I approached the A&M Reservoir. Ahead of me the storm intensified, producing a really scary light show. The smoke from the fire painted the desert with the most spectacular reds, purples and pinks. I don’t think I’ll ever see anything quite like it again.

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