Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mormon Cricket Paste

Today I rode 114 miles in 7 hours 2 minutes. From Fallon to Austin through central Nevada.
Weather was ideal. Sunny in the morning, a light cloud cover into the afternoon and mild winds blowing in generally the right direction.

Heading out of Fallon.

Passing through a large salt flat.

For many miles, these grafitti rock arragements lined the embankment on both sides of the road.

This was the biggest sand dune I've ever seen.

The first of many passes today.

There is a US Navy Centroid Facility in theis valley. They were dropping bombs this afternoon as I rode through. The girls stopped and met a couple guys who worked out there. Apparently, they have a big hollow missile on top of a truck which they drive out into some undisclosed random hiding spot. The Jet pilots have to fly around and search for this needle in the desert haystack. I couldn't tell if this dust plume in the photo was a giant dust devil, or a plume from some detonation.

The sky out here is immense and dreamy.

My bike pauses for a pit stop.

I took lots of pictures today, I was so stunned with the beauty of this high rolling desert. Every time you climb over a pass, a whole new valley is revealed, and you get to coast down some immense alluvial fan.

Pass number 2.

Clouds cast shadows across the landscape.

Almost halfway to Austin!

This tree had hundreds of shoes in it. A friendly local resident later told us it was started back in the '30s.

Some of many sights that had me reaching for my camera. Click to enlarge.

On this road, a car passes you about every five minutes. No worries about space, as there is rarely oncoming traffic.

Reaching the top of another long incline towards....

Pass number 3.

Upon entering each new plateau, you can usually see the road stretching ahead for at least 15 miles.

Pass number 4.

Dropping down into the final valley on the way to Austin. This new pavement seemed to be in need of one more pass with a steam roller. It was very rough. Lots of vibrating and it took more work to maintain speed.

The pony express came through here long ago.

This area of desert is somewhat infested with Mormon Crickets. The one pictured here is actually a small one. They range up to 3 inches in size. They litter the road by the millions. Almost impossible to avoid hitting them as you try to weave a path through. They chirp very loud when you scoot by, and all the surrounding crickets start leaping around at random. We've been told stories of the highway actually getting shut down temporarily when these guys are swarming. You can see little red splat marks layers deep all over the pavement for miles on end. It's really quite astounding.

Cricket guts plastered all over the road.

This 110 mile approach to Austin ends with a steep hill into town.

I was very happy that I kept a strong pace today and arrived in Austin at 3:00 sharp. I knew I had to keep my head focused on the larger picture and not stop too much, as I'd never ridden this far in a day.

The van hadn't arrived yet, so I pulled into what looked to be the only diner in town and saw two touring bikes out front (check out the mining car) When I went inside, I recognized the guys who we met riding into Sacramento. Ryan and Oscar are touring from San Fransisco to Cleveland. It was a cool surprise to run into them again up here in the middle of nowhere. I sat and had lunch with them and they told me lots of great stories from their travels. They crossed the sierras by going over Carson Pass. They're carrying lots of weight on their bikes. I realize what a luxury it is to ride cross country with a light bike. These guys are staying in campgrounds most nights, too.

Downtown Austin.

A cool road-house in the middle of town.

A rock-shop.

Lots of busted old mining equipment strewn around up here.

As I cleaned out my handle-bar bag at the end of the day, I could see exactly what I consumed during the ride.


Anonymous Gary said...

Clif Shots litter leash is, perhaps, one of the greatest inventions of mankind. Especially when the packets are filled with the Mocha variety. Yum.

What frame are you riding? I thought it was a Lemond, but when I enlarged the photo it looks like you have a custom rig. I know the girls are riding some sweet Surlys. Just curious. I'm a cycling geek (and a fan of the band).

2:45 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Thanks for posting, Gary.
Yeah the leash is cool. This is my system.. first hour of the ride, I eat a bag of shot blocks, then each subsequent shot, once emptied, gets stuffed into the shot blocks bag. Getting that gunk on my fingers or inside my handle-bar bag is a nightmare. Unfortunately, the only flavors (of shots) we have right now are mango, razz, and strawberry. I've tried the chocolate and vanilla, and I like them better, but I don't mind so much since we've been generously supplied by CLIF. Thanks!

My bike is a very old Somec that my friend Drew found for sale about 10 years ago. I overhauled it for this tour, but all the components are vintage campy (except the long derailer and the new freewheel, oh yeah and the clipless pedals)

8:26 PM  

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