A Tough Ride to Austin – Friday 9th May 2014 (72 miles, 70 on route)

Looking Towards the Austin PassAlthough in principle today was a good deal easier than yesterday, having only perhaps 3000′ of climbing all day, and being 10 miles shorter, in practice it was probably the toughest day’s cyclng of the trip so far – matched only I think by the day doing Cameron to Marble Canyon. In fact it was one of the hardest days of cyclng in my life. The cause of this – a moderate to fresh westerly headwind that never let up, quite, for all 70 miles. It occasionally weakened briefly and our speed started to reach double figures, but then it would gust and our speed would return to jogging speed. This wouldn’t have been too bad if an occasional watering stop existed along the way, but no, there are pretty much no services for the entire 70 miles. And so the average speed for the day was a measely 8.2mph. And it does not require much maths to see that we sat on our bikes for about 8.75hrs. Which is a bit too long.

The landscape was impressive – the State Road 50 passes through a little gap and then across a big plain (slightly uphill and into the wind for something like 40 miles) Then it goes over a little col where you can go and see ancient rock painting – petroglyphs – and camp but there is no water and no foodstore. Then another valley is crossed before a final c. 2000′ slog up to a false summit, then you go down a bit and have to slog up even further to the real summit at 7484′, the Austin Summit. There was a beautiful sunset, or more accurately the after effects of a sunset. We then hurtled downhill to Austin. Then we decided that arriving in the dark, pretty cold and tired, meant treating ourselves to a motel, so we slumped into the Lincoln Motel, buying some food at the fillig station because the shops had, of course, shut.

We met a man pushing a baby stroller – raising money for a kids with cancer charity. and he told us that it had taken him several weeks to get here from Frisco, and he wouldn’t finish his transam until November. We were impressed but of course I should mention that I’m raising money for a cancer charity – Beating Bowel Cancer and please, especially Brits, go and donate at http://www.justgiving.com/Steve-Carr3. American readers could donate to www.coast2coastFTK.com which is Noman’s web page.

At the motel we met a man who has just motorbiked from Frisco in one day! OK he did use some freeways, but to get to Frisco is still 600 miles or nigh on two weeks for us – with an 8000+’ pass yet to be done to get us over the Sierra Nevada.

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