Posted by: rustymccain | June 19, 2011

I HAVE to get off this mountain!

Sometimes the struggle and discomfort of trying to reach a goal can be both difficult, but still, for lack of a better word, “fun.” Today was one of those days. I was going to title today’s post, “Today, I suffered”. However Ray thought a comment I made during the day was a better title. And I have no pictures to post because I just didn’t take any. It was a tough day.

We started the day with a 13 mile climb up to about 9600 feet out of Boulder, Utah. An unusual cold front was moving through Utah today. The weather at the start was cold and gray, though not unbearable. There was no coffee and I was suffering from caffeine withdrawal for the first couple of hours. As we gained altitude, the weather kept getting colder and colder. Then the wind started swirling. Near the top of the mountain, Ray got a little gap on me and was eating a Powerbar when I pulled up to the summit. I must have had the look of a frozen corpse as I came up and said, “I HAVE to get off this mountain!”. I wanted no rest, no food, no photo ops. He felt that was the statement of the day.

We started down the mountain. I was right in the middle of a nice little pity party for the wind and cold and Mother Nature said, “What the heck, let’s try a little freezing rain and sleet.” There was really no place for shelter. I was afraid to stop and try to put on more clothes because I thought I would create even more problems by stopping. I finally saw a sign that said a store was 6 miles away. That was the longest 6 miles! The rain and sleet was pelting me, the wind, which we later found out to be gusting at 35-45 mph ,was literally almost blowing me off my bike. I believe it is the coldest I have ever been in my life. But, I finally made it to the little village.

A stroke of good fortune awaited at the village…. A coffee shop! I walked in and immediately drew the attention of everyone there. I was shivering uncontrollably and dripping wet and I am sure I looked pretty pitiful. A couple of cups of coffee and I was getting back to normal. We became concerned about Becky and Carly, the two girls we met yesterday. We knew they were out there somewhere. A really nice couple in the coffee shop, J.R. and Lucinda, had overheard my whining, crying and pouting. J.R. spoke up and offered to take me back up the mountain in his truck to find the girls and get them out of the storm. We decided to do that…and my decision had NOTHING to do with the fact that J.R.’s truck had heated seats! We drove all the way back to the summit, but never found the girls. As it turned out, they found a ride and were safe and sound in the coffee shop. Regardless, the kindness of J.R. and Lucinda was life-affirming for me. Total strangers, they became good friends through their act of generosity. They are a big part of what this trip is all about for us. Thanks J.R. and Lucinda!

We sat in the coffee shop for a couple of hours to let the storm pass over, but still had 48 miles to ride. When it was clear enough to ride, we cranked up the motivation and headed out to Hanksville. Along the way, we passed the 1,000 mile mark!

On a personal note, Ray wanted to wish a “Happy Father’s Day” to his Father-in-Law John Vaughn. I want to send Father’s Day wishes to Clint and Lucas. I will save my mushy stuff for private conversation, but I want to say publicly that those two guys have always made me a very proud father!

Tomorrow is the ride I have the most concern about on this trip. It is 130 miles with undulating terrain and only one store. We will probably be in the saddle for 12-14 hours. I may have to save my post until our day off the next day. We are tired, but we are still hanging in there and having a great adventure. Wish us luck tomorrow!!


  1. You are my hero! Tomo sounds like even more fun. Just did Cherahala this weekend and can understand a little of what you are going thru. Just think of what this is doing for your fitness! keep the stories coming!

  2. Hi. I spent a nice afternoon with mom and Mary Ann yesterday. Mom still remembers you and is enjoying the stories of your adventures. So am I. I wish I could be there……but in a truck, not on a bike. Take care.

  3. Thanks Ray, for the Father’s Day greeting. I had a nice day and a fabulous dinner with Joe, Diane, Lauren and Kona (and of course my wonderful wife, Jan). Diane did the cooking; it was great. Good luck on your trek. Sounds like you are having a great adventure. Hang in there.

  4. You guys rock–such an inspiration-love following the blog and the pictures–praying for a safe ride and many fun times

  5. Wow….I think that’s gonna be my regular post….WOW! What an unbelievable, awesome adventure you are on my friend. I’m so glad you decided to set up the blog, it’s great to “go along” with you. However, it’s not sleeting back here in Nashville….it’s still mid 90’s….lol. Take care …take it all in. TM and I are headed to Texas tomorrow. TTYL


  6. I hope your day went well! Rest day tomorrow.

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