We were on U.S. route 50 in the middle of the scorching hot Nevada desert. It must have been 90 degrees plus in late July that day. The sun was basically melting our skin as we lugged over 50 plus pounds of portage across the dry Nevada desert. This was the 112-mile ride I suggested to Sunjin that we do from Ely, NV to Austin, NV. We both thought it was impossible to make it there in a day but I told him that I’ve always wanted to ride the desert overnight. I think he knew what that meant, so we took it on due to the shortage of services in between.
It must have been around 1am when we heard the sounds of keys clanking and flashlights beaming in our tents. It was the cops telling us we couldn’t camp in the park we were staying at. We explained to the officer that we were riding across country and we’ll be packing to leave in a few hours. The officer let us stay the night however, we only had about three hours before we got up again to pack our gear for a 4am ride to Austin.
The weather was crisp that morning upon departure and we were both yawning in the saddle while peaking at the crescent moon with our hands shivering. I think we were trying to tackle our first summit before sunrise. We ended up clearing two by 9:30 a.m. Other cyclists would tell us stories about starting early and ending early to avoid the mid day sun. Well that was beyond our thinking because we had the entire day before us.
I can honestly say I underestimated the desert, it must have been around 4p.m. and it was around our 4th summit with 3 more to get us into Austin.
It was hot and the road slowly began to melt our tires. Looking behind us we’d see the mountain we climbed slowly vanish as we advanced. I remember having to stop due to a shortage of food and water along with overexertion. We pulled off to the side of the road and sat in the sun for a while. This was the first time in my life I underestimated the feeling of not having food and water. I knew we were going to be ok but at that very moment I had 25oz of water left and no services for another 12 miles.
An SUV passed us by as we were sitting on the shoulder in the hot desert. The SUV shortly after made a U-turn. A lady get’s out to ask if we were ok. We said yes we were fine, just taking a break. She asked where we were headed; we said Austin. That’s a long way to go she said, and offered us a bag with food. We were delighted to see 1½ Italian hero sandwiches in the bag. After expressing our immense gratitude she was back on the zroad and we were chowing down gourmet sandwiches. Left behind in the bag was a souvenir that she left behind.
It was a small stone that read, “Believe.” Sunjin said that believing is everything, and I couldn’t agree more. Looking back at how our day started we wouldn’t have done it with out believing and the preconceived notion that this is something we can make happen. We become what we think, and if you think you can do something, simply do it. Hold your goal in front of you and the universe will take care of the rest. Later that night we made it to camp at Carroll Summit, it was around 10pm. We were tired, annoyed, hot, and psyched all at the same time.
When I realized that cycling was going to be a huge part of my life, eating healthier food was going to be as well. I knew in order for me to become a better cyclist and overall a better person, I needed to feed my body the healthiest food possible.
And then the “East To West” trip was born. I then later quit my job and rode my bike from New York to San Francisco California. Yup! That’s right! I said New York to San Francisco California. It was one of the most physically demanding things I’ve ever done and one of the most amazing experiences ever. I planned the trip out for about 9 months before the hatchling. Planning had a lot to do with finding routes, figuring out sleeping arrangements and doing my best to imagine what my meals might consist of. I admit I was a bit concerned about the food situation, especially while out on an extended trip for 2 ½ months. I’d be going from having all the food I needed locally to possibly struggling to find a healthy meal in the middle of Kansas.