June 21, 2022
After arriving in Reno, we had time for a nice meal at a nice little Italian restaurant (La Famiglia) but crashed pretty quickly after that.
Jinhee’s work will keep her busy for a few days and so I have time to ride my bike again. Today was the toughest ride I have done in at least two years.
I did get through 100km but it was remarkably not fun. I knew the day would be hard and set out to just ride until I was tired, but in the end I was abusing myself so much (and I have a lot of free time) so I just set my sights on doing the 100km no matter what.
Like the time in California, I didn’t plan anything for my ride. I just decided to ride. So I went to bed last night and picked one of the highest points nearby and thought ‘I’ll ride there’. Silly me.
That point was Mt. Rose and it is at 8,260 feet. The number of unmanaged problems with my plan were a bit overwhelming, and I turned around 3km before the summit.
In Toronto, our air contains about 20.9% oxygen. At 8,000 feet it’s about 15.4% oxygen. I haven’t been exposed to a low oxygen environment for about three years and my lungs and brain were not pleased with my decision.
More importantly, the roadway on this climb had virtually zero shoulder. In the good parts there was about six inches of paved shoulder, but as my fatigue increased, the opportunity for error and associated risk was increasing quickly.
Finally, I figured this would be faster (and easier) than it was so I was riding without food. The full stomach from breakfast at the start made work/effort difficult, but then as my energy level declined, the work level was actually increasing (grades were higher near the top). As well, the very dry air meant I was going through water quickly.
As these risks piled up, I turned around close to the top and let it go. The views were still awesome and I did the biggest climb I have done since leaving Montenegro in 2019. I’m really out of shape!
I rode past my hotel with just 75km under my belt (but 4 hours in the saddle! Ugh I’m slow) and just kept going. I wasn’t going to finish with less than 100km and wouldn’t you know it, the other direction was also a climb. But everything here is a climb. It took over five hours, and I rode a lot of little roads and loops to get to 101km. I may not walk tomorrow but it’s done.. 🤣
Tomorrow may be a shorter ride or maybe I’ll recover nicely and do it all again … until then.