Nevada: The Long Road to Nothing

bike tour through Nevada. (photo by Zane Spang/Sure Dude © 2014)About a month ago I had been bike touring for about 2 weeks and road about 550 to 600 miles in 8 or 9 days. To tell you the truth it was hard to keep track of how many hours I spent grinding gears and wiping sweat and tears off my face. This had been a real test of how well I could do on a solo mission heading south. I had a goal of reaching Los Angeles in a certain amount time then realizing that I might not complete the task without rest, weighed on my shoulders. It was the middle of march and I was stuck in a Motel 6 waiting out a wind storm and whatever else the winter had in store. I had beat the odds of survival through the mountains spent more days hoping the weather suffice so I could trek to each town or city. Lets just say that as many miles as I had covered and the thought of starting a new state did not sound appealing. Much less a state that had fewer towns and more distance to cover. My longest tour up til then was about 200 miles and my experience on the road was slowly growing. As I headed south of Twin Falls I was surprised at how many stops were not available and only one place had substantial supplies. As I would ride and ride from sun up to sundown and would find little nooks on the side of the road. Handling the physical aspects of the road were always coming and going but when then mental struggle peaked in it was a real full blown head game. As each road started climbing at some point 2500 feet and crosswinds of 20+ miles it was hard to keep my composure. Miles after Jackpot, Nevada the shoulder had been about the width of my handlebars, with a rumble strip and many cars flying past me i was more worried about not falling some 20-30 miles off the shoulder. At this point my life was pretty heavy and as I took a break to eat my mind would take a second to register where and what I was looking at. When I hit my breaking point i stepped off to a turnout to breathe and vertigo sent me to my knees trying to understand how I could feel this way with hydrating and  constant nutrition. Soon after I rolled up a 1.5 mile with a steep grade. As I descended down into Well, NV it seemed I had an internal struggle as my timeline, exhaustion, pride and ego had been mixing in my brain. The thing I’ve learned the most on this trip had been at this point. In the pre planning stage my goals were to reconnect, push myself, have fun, ride my bike and inspire one another. I found a new goal which was to maintain my sanity. All my goals were out the window and I really wanted to complete this huge tour to Los Angeles but without proper experience through the desert and not know what I would face is always an adventure. But when does adventure become survival? Would I be doing it for fun? How far had I pushed myself? I took a good long rest and thought about how I would be representing the Bike tour community by hail mary’n some random route. I knew the odds were way against me and I was seeking  guidance from a special friend who explained safety first and that some things aren’t worth it. As I hitched a ride my gut turned and I was hanging over disappointment. As I passed through my potential route it was revealed that the winter months left these towns bare and vacant. My gut soon turned to disgust as would imagine what I would have went through and being that I was already losing my mind how bad it could have gotten. On the upside to my decision it sat well in my head as it made for more time to see more sites and some time to sneak attack some friends I hadn’t seen for many years. The thing i’ve learned is when my pride and ego get in the way it can cause some really destruction if I let it.   I learned a lot more by not riding my bike than I did actually on it. In the endwhat really mattered was hitting my goals and not killing myself to try and prove something. I mean I easily hit 600 miles to Los Angeles and that show what I can accomplish. I hope you read this and take it safe out there all you bike tourist.

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