Days 8 & 9: Weather matters
This post covers Days 8 and 9. For the first time weather played a role in the ride. It was windy, but mostly at our backs. It was cold! I describe the riding days, my new favorite cyclists’ weather app, and then write a bit about the two small Nevada towns we stayed in.
Before I get into that, I wanted to share what has been entertaining me. I finished the book Endymion and moved on to the last book in Dan Simmons’ four-book Hyperion series, The Rise of Endymion. If you like hard (meaning very sciency) sci-fi, the Hyperion series is well done and I recommend it.
My movie tip is The Bikes of Wrath, a documentary about four Aussies who loved the Grapes of Wrath and decided to come to the U.S. and bike the path of the people in the book. If you don’t recall the classic Steinbeck novel, it tells the tale of the Joad family’s 1930s migration from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma in search of work in California. The movie is less about bikes and more about Americana. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the recommendation Ken.
Day 8: 70 miles, 3002 elevation (0 wheeees, 2 arrggghhs).
On Saturday morning we started with a climb out of Austin—in misting, cold rain. About a half hour in we reached the top of the first pass where the temps were in the high 30s with light rain. Then, what could have been a wheeee desent turned into an arrgghh decent (new term, defined as a descent that should be great but because of some reason is not). Riding downhill at 30+ mph, cold, wet, not pleasant (argh!). Fortunately, the rain stopped about an hour into the ride. The good news is that my legs are back! A couple of recovery rides the two previous days has me riding much stronger.
Day 9: 79 miles, 4249 elevation (0 wheeees, 3 aarrgghhs)
I woke up this morning at 5:00 a.m. and saw it snowing outside. Fortunately, the snow ended soon after and and roads were almost dry by the time we left at 8:00. The three of us rode together on and off today, my strength allowing me to keep up with Bruce and Dave more than in previous days. This day had three long climbs—where you get pretty hot because of all the work and the warm clothes. Then three cold descents (argh!). Overall, it was a good riding day for me. I am getting into shape.
One of the best cycling apps I have ever used
These days cyclists rely a lot on technology. And I will use this space to share some of my favorites. Ride With GPS is great. You can plot our your routes for each day. The app shows you the distance, terrain, climbs, grade on those climbs and more. Bruce was able to find someone who had already plotted our route, which he copied. He then went in, broke that up into individual days, and added directions to each of our hotels. Big help. Thanks Bruce.
Given the weather, I want to share another app I started using just before this trip, Epic Ride Weather. This app could be nice for every day riding, but it is so valuable for touring. The app uses Dark Sky (a great weather app by the way) and your riding plan for the day (we import ours from Ride With GPS. You then plug in the day and time you want to start your ride and your expected mph. The app then forecasts temperature (actual, feels like), wind, elevation, UV Index, and more — for minute-by-minute weather forecasts along your ride. Below you see three screenshots:
The first shows the forecast of temperatures and precipitation and cloud cover from our 8:00 a.m. departure time to our projected 1:35 arrival. You can see how the temperature plummets at the summits.
The second image shows the wind forecast for the duration of the ride. You can see that winds were expected to be 17-19 mph with gusts of up to 25-27 mph. Below that you see our route (in orange) with arrows overlaid showing the wind direction (in this case, it forecast that most wind would be at our backs - yay!)
Finally, you can scroll down further to see elevation, UV Index (how much sunscreen, how often do we stop?), and humidity (not shown, but relevant when we get back east).
This is a very cool app.
Stories and pictures
Day 8: Austin and on to Eureka
Austin is a small, dying mining town with a population of about 150 people. That said we were impressed by the efforts of Brandon and Sarah, some young hardworking people trying to build the town back up. They own a hotel (Cozy Mountain) and restaurant (Grandmas) where we stayed and ate. Good luck Brandon and Sarah. I wish I had taken pictures of their places. Here are a few other Austin sites…
I have been eating better than Bruce and Dave.
The town, and several we have already been through, were part of the Pony Express Route which was how mail and packages got from Missouri to San Francisco and parts in between. I took this picture in the Austin Museum.
Austin, population 148, has four churches.
The modern dune buggy is a popular toy brought to these parts.
Day 9: Eureka!
Eureka is a bit bigger town than Austin, with a population of about 600 people. I chatted with Bonnie at a bar/restaurant/ice cream shop where I had a couple slices of pizza and a beer. She told me that Eureka County is the wealthiest (per capita) in the state due to all the mining operations.
We rolled into town…
I stayed at the Sundown Lodge which was pleasant and inexpensive.
While there are some run down, unoccupied buildings, there were also a few wonderful older buildings, check out the County Court House.
That‘s all I have on Austin and Eureka. Next stop the metropolis of Ely, population about 4000. We are big-city bound!