Feeling good this morning in Fallon, NV… as last night I was able to get most of my website work completed. Matt texted me to let me know he would be stopping by at 8:30am to get things packed and ready to roll for Austin, NV — a 112 mile bike ride! I was nervous about this ride, as it had been 13 years since I rode a century mile… and it kicked my ass. I remember how my body felt “off” the day after, and I decided to take the day off, and not ride. I was feeling some trepidation.
Matt rolled in, I brought my things down to his car, filled up my tires with air and took off. I didn’t want to talk about Matt’s bolting yesterday, as I wanted to concentrate on the long ride. We would talk soon enough, in the evening after arriving into Austin. Although there was some headwind, it wasn’t too strong as I departed Fallon and followed the narrow shoulder of Hwy 50 (a.k.a. The Loneliest Hwy in the U.S.) eastward towards Austin. There is only one bar and then miles further, one place to eat between Fallon and Austin. There is *nothing*…I mean it is freaking spread out and desolate with desert, salt flats, and table mesas for miles. If you ever saw the movie, “Forrest Gump”, the scenery is very similar to when Forrest stops jogging (after 3yrs) in the middle of nowhere, and says to his followers, “I’m pretty tired…I think I’ll go home now.”About 15 miles into my desolate ride, I thought I was seeing something strange appearing from the heat waves off of the highway. Was it a mirage? No, it was another bicyclist! As we approached each other, we both felt compelled to stop, so we did and immediately began chatting. This guy was an older, retired gentleman from France, and he was biking the exact same route as mine, but starting in the opposite direction. How funny! His name was Jo Bouter and he was biking to promote research for Wolfram syndrome, a rare neurodegenerative disorder that had affected one of his family members. What a nice guy Jo was… and we took a couple photos of each other.
I continued on my way, and about 48 miles into my journey, I came to a bar in a remote (although everywhere in this part of NV is remote) spot off the highway. I went inside, eased into a stool at the bar and let myself soothe into the cool A/C. So nice! I ordered a beer and just chilled for awhile. Funny how in the middle of nowhere, a bar can exist! Just outside the bar where some old abandoned stagecoaches and wagons. I took pics of both. Back on my bike and onto Hwy 50 where a car began honking at me because I was on the road. Actually I was on the shoulder of the road, and well… there really isn’t an alternate route, Ms. Headcase. I biked and biked and biked….climbing and descending summits en-route to Austin. Finally at about 8:30pm, as I descended from my last mountain pass… I spotted a sign for Austin, but it was yet another 5 miles ahead (scheisser!). Those final few miles really sucked, as it involved quad-burning climbing up a steep incline; I was spent.
I found Matt at one of the three hotels in Austin, dropped my bike and immediately downed two Core Powers (www.corepower.com) in less than 15 seconds. Thank goodness for Core Power being my main sponsor, as this is the best recovery drink for these crazy workouts. I felt significantly revitalized in about 45 minutes. I then spoke with Matt, asking him about his working style… why he felt he needed to find a separate hotel room vs. sharing the same one. He took a deep breath and said, “I think I’m done.” I stared in disbelief, and finally said, “Huh?!”. Matt went on further, “I’m just not into it anymore, and I want to get back to Indianapolis, where my family lives.” “OK Matt, I said. But remember the very first thing I said when I spoke to you about this project was that I needed to know that you could handle a 2-month commitment across the U.S., and you said with energy and clarity, ‘I’m in.’ So I don’t get this at all.” Matt agreed that was what he said, but just didn’t feel he could deal with breaking even, or even losing money for this gig. He had committed, but was now breaking his word. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Matt said Ely, NV — two days away — would be his last stop. Unbelievable.
I began calling and writing my friends (Katie, my girlfriend; Marc, my webmaster; Josh, my nephew who lives in Denver, where I could hang for a few days and recruit a new photographer/videographer; and everyone else from my email distribution list to see if they knew anyone who might be a fit for this gig!) I went to bed with a hole in my stomach. This is a serious blow to the project. I’m stressing…