Posted by: rustymccain | June 13, 2011

Breaking Wind and Stereotypes

We have discovered that breaking wind is really important! It has become very clear that in such wide open spaces, wind is a key to riding speed. We can be riding on what appears to be flat ground, going into the wind and go 7 mph. On the same surface, with the same effort, if the wind changes you can go 26 mph. We heard at one stop the other day that they had 90 mph winds the week before we were there. While that may be exaggerated, the wind here is a big factor. That is why we are headed east to west. While not always cooperative, the wind tends to be westerly. That is our hope.


Ray at Pinto Summit, NV

Today was a good day. It rained right before we left, so we started on wet roads. But the sun was out and we thought the roads would dry before we hit our first downhill. And, we got lucky with the wind. While not a tailwind, it was not directly in our face. We started with a five-mile climb out of Eureka. What a way to wake up! It was the first of four passes of the day. Three of the passes were over 7,000 feet. We have not gotten completely acclimated to the altitude yet so even at a relatively low altitude of 7,000 feet, when you have a 5 mile climb, it can feel like you are breathing with a ziplock bag on your head. But each summit today rewarded us with a sweeping downhill and yet more beautiful vistas of this wide open high desert country. We had a 77 mile route today. After staying in Austin (pop. <400), and Eureka (pop. around 400), we headed into the metropolis of Ely (pop. 1500).

The highest peak we crossed was Robinson Peak at 7588 ft. From there we basically rode a 15 mile downhill into the town of Ely. We did meet one guy in one of the big valleys we crossed who was traversing the U.S. also. The only difference was that he was walking! We stopped and chatted with him for a while, gave him some water and headed on out, thinking how much we loved what we were doing but how much we would NOT want to be doing what he was doing. Gotta give him kudos though. What a quest.

View from Little Antelope Summit, NV

We had a funny thing happen to us in Austin a couple of nights ago that I have to relate. We were sitting at dinner and asked about how far it was from Austin to Eureka. The waitress said it was about 70 miles and said, “You can make it there in a little over an hour.” Ray said, “I don’t think so, we are on our bicycles”. The young waitress then looked at both of us incredulously and said, “No offense, but you guys are old, are you sure you can make it?!?” We made the requisite jokes and had fun with her comment, but I think the stereotype of us being “over the hill” is taking a little hit. It seems more and more people are setting and reaching goals at a later time in life than in times past. I don’t know whether we will make our goal. Our bodies may give in to time and one of the two dreaded “I’s” may pop up…Injury or Illness. But, I feel pretty good about at least giving it a shot. I have already counted it as a success, because we are doing our best. And if Ray and I can be any inspiration to anyone to try to go for a “Bucket List” goal, then this trip will be especially rewarding.

It’s hard to believe we are on day 9! Thanks to all who are checking in. I know we have a lot of people pulling for us to make it to Virginia. For that, we will keep breaking wind and stereotypes!


  1. Sounds like fun…in a sick, twisted kind of way.
    Maybe someday I can check that adventure off of my bucket list as well.
    Good riding and safe travels!

  2. I do hope you’re taking your vitamins to prevent scurvy or rickets or one of those diseases you get from not eating your fruits and veggies. Chocolate doesn’t count. Hahaha!

  3. I agree with K-WOW, take your multi. Sounds like you guys are just cruising along. I know it’s hard, but if there’s two guys that can motivate each other to do it, it’s you two!

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your adventures. You are the inspiration for my bucket list. I had a chance in high school to ride w two brothers from Eureka back to Huntsville and missed it. I think it is funny the comments you get from folks possible from a little more relaxed lifestyle! Keep breaking the wind and may the good Lord blessed you w some tailwinds!

  5. LOL … I love that waitress story! “No offense, but you guys are old” a great example of perspective in action. My perspective is that you guys are awesome! Thanks for taking the time to share this with all of us … I mean at your age the time could probably be better spent sleeping! Thanks for the inspiration!

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