Day 8 (62 miles) Carson City to Fallen, Nevada
The moment we left the Sierras and entered Nevada the landscape immediately changed. It went from forested mountains to dry, arid desert. As we left from Carson City on our first ride through the silver state, we soon discovered that this was not the flat sort of desert that most would invision. With eight mountain ranges spanning the length of the state, Nevada has confronted us with a lot of climbing, but so far we have handled it well.
The day out of Carson was 62 miles, and we made good time. We spent that night at Fallon Naval Air Station, which was a very cool experience. We stayed on base and although we were too tired to do a lot of exploring, we did get to see some of the historic planes at the base and meet some soldiers stationed there. One of our adult riders, Bill Kurz, actually went through the Top Gun training and was a Navy Fighter pilot, so he was able to tell us a little bit about it.
Day 9 (111 miles) Fallen to Austin, NV
The next day was our estimated most difficult day of the trip. It was 111 miles through mountainous desert with 5,000 ft elevation gain. The group really spread out during this ride with the leaders finishing around 2pm and the sweepers finishing around 7pm. I rode all day with George and we finished around 4pm. We were so spread out that even our support vehicles had a hard time getting water and snacks to everyone. We ended the day in the small western town of Austin, where we may have witnessed the most exciting thing to happen in that town for years! While we were eating at a diner, a new ford truck, parked across from the restaurant, caught on fire. Luckily the fire dept. showed up before the gas tank blew, but there was still quite a blaze!
Day 10 (70 miles) Eureka to Ely, NV
After much needed sleep we got back on our bikes and were greeted by a 800 foot climb right out of our campsite. Then, after a short descent, we went up another 800 ft. The rest of the day was not too bad however. It was relatively flat, and 40 miles shorter than the day before.
One of the craziest things about Nevada is that mountains that look 100 yds away are actually 15 miles away. It may look like you're almost at your destination, but you are still far from it. You can see for miles and miles. It can be very frustrating to be able to see your next rest stop but you just can seem to get there!