Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Silver State 508


“The 508” is the granddaddy of ultra-cycling races.

It is one of the original qualifiers for RAAM (Race across America).

I have wanted to do The 508 for years. I tried to get into the race in 2013 but, as it turned out, it was the 30th anniversary and many veterans came back to race. There was not enough room for this rookie so I did not get in. I ended up doing The Inyo Ultra 466 that year.
Now on the new course in Nevada, it is called The Silver State 508.

You can find info about the race at the following link:

My good friend John Clare (and Team Clare) is responsible for me doing the event this year.

He was planning on doing the race solo but his plans were put on hold due to some cardiac issues which came up during the Mulholland Double Century staff ride on April 4th. He immediately decided to do the race on a 4-man team instead. He put out the word and I was one of the first to answer the call.

I always wanted to do the race solo but I figure since this is a new course, it would be great to ride and drive the course first. My plan is to do it solo next year.
Two others answered the call also. Ira Kucheck of the LA Wheelmen bicycle club and Humberto Mancilla, a fellow Adobo Velo Club member.

John and I have shared many miles together over the years. He has ridden The 508 four times, three with Ira. John is a beast of a rider. Big and amazingly strong. Ira is very experienced also. Humberto is new to endurance cycling. He was so enthusiastic about the whole thing we couldn’t stop talking about it.

The 508 doesn’t use ride numbers to identify racers like other races do. They use Totems. Riders are required to pick a totem. It should be an animal or mythical animal name.
John requested the name “White Owl” as our team name. “White Owl” has been my nickname since high school and this is the totem I requested when I tried to get into the race in 2013 as a solo. It had not been taken yet. John did this for me and the rest of the team were good with it. What awesome friends!!
After we finish the race the totem would be mine forever! Thanks guys!!

I wanted to do this race in memory of my late brother Dave Meichtry. It really touched my family and I when Humberto came up with the T-shirt design with “In loving memory Dave Meichtry” on it and the logo for our team. 
It brought tears to my sisters and my parents eyes when I shared it with them. Humberto is a great graphic artist! A big thanks goes out to Humberto from my entire family.

We got to Reno very early so we were able to get the support van ready for inspection with all the signage, lights…etc. We got the bikes all inspected early too. No more stress now until the race. We were all ready.

All set up for inspection. Ira is thinking.....hmmm.....where are we going to put all this stuff? 

John with Hooter our mascot 

John and Ira mounting Hooter on his perch

Humberto was out of town on business and didn’t arrive at LAX until Friday night. He drove all night and arrived in Reno at 4:45am on Saturday morning, Race Day!!
I have to say that we were all a little worried about him driving all that way all night.

It was an interesting stroll getting to our hotel room at the Atlantis Casino with our bikes and gear.
John even takes his bike gambling. 
Yes those are 3 Costco Pizzas........perfect cycling food.
During the pre-race meeting and at the start we saw many friends. I have to say, many of the people doing this event we have seen on the double century ride circuit over the years.
We got up around 6am, ate a little something and loaded the bikes.

John was doing stage one and had to climb Geiger Grade on the first leg. It is a long climb.
After being off the bike for the better part of five months, John was very happy to be back at doing an event again. The doctor was able to get him on some medications that seemed to be controlling the A-fib well. I have to admit, we were all a little concerned about John, knowing how strong his drive is on the bike, but as it turned out he had no issues and paced himself perfectly.
The assault vehicle ready to roll on race morning

Stage one: Reno to Geiger Grade to Virginia City to Silver Springs
47.65 miles / 2723' elevation gain / 2959' elevation loss / 4257' min altitude / 6710' max altitude

The ride started with a neutral start for about 8 miles or so. We were not following John immediately since we were supposed to meet our rider at the 30 mile mark.
We had to get gas and ice so we went to do that while John was starting up the mountain. We then drove to the 30 mile mark to meet up with the riders. We did pass them on the way there.
Navigating in Nevada is pretty easy as most of the course is on Hwy 50.

  Ira was driving at the start and we had an interesting situation occur while driving the course out of town.
The instructions say to turn left on Hwy 341. We get to the appointed intersection, but there’s no sign for Hwy 341, there is one on the right for Hwy 431. So, he asked his navigator (me) to confirm the directions, which in fact is for Hwy 341. (We thought maybe it was a typo).
He decided not to make a turn, proceed through the intersection and then double-back and look for a rider or other crew van to get our bearings.
We saw another rider as we doubled back and noticed that the sign did say Hwy 341 on that side.
That was the only confusion with navigating on the entire 510 mile course.

John explained his section up Geiger Grade:

“I rode up and down the pack to get pictures of all of my friends before they left me in their dust. I felt great. As we began climbing Geiger I got dropped like a hot rock as I had suspected. I had not been on a hill in five months and was really out of shape for climbing. I felt good on the climb, just slow. The weather was perfect for it. I just pushed the best I could. By the time I got to the 30 mile mark I was all alone as was my crew vehicle.”
John and Teresa (Tiger of Tiger-Gecko team) rolling through the neutral section. Photo by John Clare 

John climbing Geiger Grade with Reno in the background 

Ira and I rooting John on as he drops out of Virginia City at the bottom of 6 mile canyon

John was obviously feeling really good because he was hammering on the flats and rolling terrain toward Silver Springs. At one point we passed a guy on a bike that we thought was John but it was a cowboy ranch hand on a bike. This guy was hammering pretty hard.

John really enjoyed his 48 mile leg. It was nice and cool still and he had no issues which made him happy. 
He did have this to say about the side effects of his heart meds.

“As soon as I sat down I felt the side effects of my medications. A total melt down on my energy level. I felt great during the ride but as soon as I was done my body bonked hard. I was hoping that I would be good to go for my second stage tomorrow morning. I ate and tried to relax. I wanted to get plenty of pictures of my team mates so between eating, resting and talking I took pictures”.

John did eventually recover and started feeling much better.

Stage Two: Silver Springs to Fallon
miles / 266' elevation gain / 489' elevation loss / 4084' min altitude / 4462' max altitude

Now it was Humberto’s turn.

I have never seen a kid so excited about doing something in my life. He was really focused. We got him ready in plenty of time before John arrived and he rolled right away. He had a nice little rise to go over and then some nice easy terrain for his first stage to Fallon.

Fallon, Nevada is the home of the Navy’s Top Gun School. It used to be at Miramar Air Base in the San Diego area but due to urban sprawl it was moved out to the desert.

Humberto did great. He really is a great listener and took our advice. He paced himself nicely and never looked like he was working too hard. This kid had driven all night after traveling on business!!
It would be nice to be young again.
Humberto rolling toward Fallon 

Go Humberto!!
Humberto finishing up in Fallon                                                                          Photo by John Clare

Here is what Humberto had to say about stage 2:

“Itching to ride my bike, as soon as John finished the first leg I was extremely happy and had an adrenaline rush going 100k miles per hour I jumped on my 30 mile ride. Temperature was still fresh and still at that time I would have the effects of the red bulls from earlier in the morning. For my first ride I had to wear my endurance Adobo Velo kit that I had been waiting to wear for almost 2 weeks.“

It was starting to get warm as we rolled into Fallon. There was a little bit of wind but all in all it wasn’t too bad. So far the ride was not too desolate. We were still off the back of the race but I think John and Humberto pushed it good to make up time on some of the other teams and solos riders.

Just a note about the race. We were not really doing this ride to race it. For me it was about the new course and experiencing it before attempting it solo. Humberto was also doing it for the experience. He really wanted to join a four man team and told John early on in the planning that he wanted to join the team and be part of this amazing experience. John, as I said earlier, wanted to ride solo but his health issue changed that plan.
For Ira, this would be his 4th 508 race but his first on the new course. We all just wanted to enjoy it and have fun.

With about 4-5 miles left on Humberto’s stage, I started getting changed in the back of the van for stage 3. We had the van set up nicely with the rear seat all the way to the rear and side so the finishing rider can stretch out and get changed and the upcoming rider can get ready easily. It also made it easy to access the ice chest and all the supplies and allowed for someone to take a sleep break while the two others were driving and crewing.

Stage Three: Fallon to Austin
106.41 miles / 5049' elevation gain / 2661' elevation loss / 3940' min altitude / 7245' max altitude

I was excited about stage 3!

It had been about 3 weeks since I had completed The Hoodoo 500 in the Voyager division. In the Voyager Division you are required to do the event self-supported. For 46 hours I carried a lot of extra weight. 521 miles with 30,000 feet of climbing.
I was anxious to see how riding my bike with only the weight of myself and water bottle would feel. Also I was concerned about how recovered I was and how hard I could push myself without blowing-up.
I rode around in the parking lot at the time station to check out the bike and make sure it was working well. I then waited and talked to race official Graham Pollack for a while. I have ridden on events with Graham for many years but never really got to meet him. He was way faster than me. I introduced myself and we talked for a while. He has a classic Scottish accent.

Hanging out with Graham while waiting for Humberto                                                             Photo by John Clare

Humberto came rolling in, I took the GPS tracker from him and I hit it.
 My legs were really stiff but I pushed it pretty hard right out of town. They say when you are in condition and peaking for an event turning the pedals should seem effortless. Well……I felt like I was close to that but not quite there yet. (Not quite recovered I think)
Once I got warmed up I was able to cruise at a 21-23 mph pace fairly easily but my legs still hurt some from Hoodoo. I guess it does take you a little longer to recover as you get older. I am not a spring chicken any more at a young 63!

Heading down the long lonely road out of Fallon                                   Photo by John Clare

Photo by John Clare

You can really see the chip seal pavement in this picture. It was kind of rough.                 Photo by John Clare

  By the time I got to the first little climb out of town, Sand Springs Pass, at about mile 24.8, I was averaging 21.9 mph and feeling great. My heart rate was a little high but I was able to breathe effortlessly and was not out of breath. I still felt like I was just spinning and pacing myself. I was not pushing a large gear at all.
The first little pass seamed easy to me. I was feeling that I should train carrying more weight, more often.
I again used my mix of endurance supplements from Hammer Nutrition coupled with Scratch-Labs electrolyte drink. This combo again worked well.

The next summit, Drumm Summit felt effortless also. (Not much of a climb like the route slip said.)
After this summit I dialed it back a bit.
Now came the long climb up to Carroll Summit, elevation just over 7,200 feet.
Team Chase-adon. Tandem with riding support crew supporting the two challenged athletes on the tandem. They did the entire 508

Team Chase-Adon

From the turn on Highway 722 I started slowly climbing. I think the climb to Carroll Summit is around 16 miles or so. From the turn on 722 the elevation is about 4,700 feet. It’s a good long climb especially in desert climate.

The guys kept me hydrated really well with ice cold fluid on this climb and boy did it help. This was a brutal climb in the heat.

Coming up on team good friends Teresa and Victor. Teresa on the bike and Vic with the crew Molly and  Bill
 I saw a bunch of friends on this climb and felt really good. That’s not to say I wasn’t suffering though. I had to stop a number of times in the shade to cool down some. Everyone was suffering on this climb. It was a game changer for many.

Teresa (Tiger) Beck looking strong as usual. Tiger is my ultra event tandem stoker and a beast on the tandem!                             Photo my John Clare

Talking to Solo rider, Shangrila near the summit. (Feisty Fox)                                                                   Photo by John Clare

It was a beautiful climb which went from desert to mountain pine trees. There was an area that had been recently burned near the top.

  I rolled over the top and bombed down the descent, over the small Railroad Summit into the Reese River Valley. On the way down I had to slow way down as I almost hit a small black cow in the middle of the road. They were all over the place.
  At 6pm the crew put my lights on and my reflective ankle straps and I was on my way and all ready for night riding even though it wasn’t totally dark yet. Race officials passed me and checked that my lights were on.

I believe this is looking back at Carroll grade. Looking from East to West.                     Photo by Victor Cooper
Photo by John Clare

Not far from Austin. Just the climb into town is left after this one                                                                                                 Photo by John Clare
Great picture by Victor Cooper of his team-mate Teresa on the same grade as above. Go Tiger-Gecko! They did great and beat us by hours. Great job Tiger and Vic!!

It was beautiful at sunset in the desert. I rolled into Austin not too long after dark as the temperature really started to drop. Not long before, the guys asked me if I wanted a hamburger when I finished my stage. I totally said yes!!
It was a good little climb getting to town and you could see the town up ahead but never seemed to get closer.
I rolled into town averaging about a 6 hour century pace for the stage. As I rolled into town and checked in, Ira finally got to do his first stage. I rolled up and the first thing I noticed was his reflective tires. Wow……those things were cool!!
I stopped too fast and got the chills in the cold air. I was still just in shorts and jersey. I got in the car quick, put on my compression tights and wool shirt and was done. Boy……that burger and fries was good!!!! Thanks guys!!!

Stage Four: Austin to Eureka
70.10 miles / 2799' elevation gain / 2729' elevation loss / 5816' min altitude / 7470' max altitude

Now it was finally Ira’s turn. He must have been itching to get on the bike for sure.
Ira looked smooth the entire stage in the cold darkness. He kept a perfect pace.

Here is his account of the experiences he had on Stage 4.

“This was the first stage I was riding. John dropped Humberto (Berto) and me off at the time station, and went back few miles to check on Steve. Note, as this is a relay race, we wait at the designated time station for the current rider to arrive and then the next rider takes off.
   Austin, NV is a neat little Western town. It has a gas station, mini mart, a restaurant (International Café), and a couple of saloons, in the true Western genre. We planned ahead and called in our dinner order at the International Café in advance. Berto and I went up there and picked it up. We then came back to the time station to wait for Steve and John.
   I suited up with my lights and reflective gear, got the bike ready, tested a few things and was ready to go by the time Steve got there. Once he arrived he handed me our GPS (think of it as the baton hand off) we exchanged pleasantries and I was off.
   This particular stage was 70 miles long with about 2800 feet of climbing. Not too bad, but enough climbing to get your attention and rev up your internal engine to keep you warm as the temperature dropped, which it did. I think when I got on the bike it was in the mid-50’s. As I climbed, gained altitude, and the night wore on, it got cooler. When I ended my stage around 1:30am or so temps were in the mid-30’s, a bit chilly."

Ira looking good

   "The stage was quite pleasant as it was at night and when I’d look around, I had a magnificent view of the night sky. There were lots of stars to see and I saw a couple of shooting stars as well.
Per the event manual the ride out of Austin begins with a steep 3 mile climb. Well, the manual proved to be quite accurate. As I’d been in the van for 12 hours and was really antsy to get out and ride, what did I do? I started out too fast. Of course, I realized this as I headed up the first climb. So, I said to myself, “self” let’s take this down a notch. In a few minutes, I was at a comfortable climbing pace. I crested the first summit (Austin summit, 7400’) and then prepared for the descent down the other side. Disclosure: since my wife, doctor, and possibly my insurance agent might read this ride report, let’s just say I rode sensibly down the descent.
Next it was the climb to Bob Scott (who was Bob Scott?) summit, a short descent and onto the next (and presumed) final climb, Hickson summit. At this point I was feeling pretty good, was riding a good pace, passed one or two riders and a bevy of other riders passed me. My goal for the stage was to ride a consistent strong pace. Not record breaking speed as it was at night and as they say, “there are old bicyclists and bold bicyclists, but no old bold bicyclists.” Words I ascribe to on these ultra-events."

         Those reflective tires are cool. Made by "Lit"

"John, Steve, and Berto were great with leap frog support on this section. They followed me up the first few climbs to make sure I was doing ok and then we “leap frogged.” The remaining portion of the stage they gave me whatever I asked them for at various stops. Speaking of which, I was wearing some, not all of my cool/cold weather gear. As we got a little further into the stage, I had “da boys” give me the balance of my cold weather gear.
The rest of the stage was uneventful. I was cranking out the miles and chasing down taillights of other riders. As we got closer to Eureka (the Eastern terminus of the course) and the end of my stage I was feeling pretty good. I got to a spot on the stage and it indicated Eureka was 3 miles away. I’m feeling pretty good about things now, then I came across a road sign indicating hills for the next 3 miles. Who wants to have an uphill finish to their stage? Clearly, not me.”

Ira got it done and looked smooth the entire time. Paced himself perfectly through the increasingly cooler temps. Now it was time for him to rest and think about the final tough stage 8 to the finish.
Ira completing his stage at the turn around point in Eureka, Nevada

Stage Five: Eureka to Austin
70.09 miles / 2753' elevation gain / 2733' elevation loss / 5848' min altitude / 7556' max altitude

We did the exchange when Ira rolled in. It was really cold in Eureka.

John was freezing waiting in the parking lot. He was itching to go. He had a really fast descent leaving town and heading west so we knew very well he was going to hammer as hard as he could to stay warm on the descent and the flats. It was a sight to see watching John hammer the first part of this stage. We were now doing direct follow which means we were driving directly behind our rider with the rear amber flashers going.
You could see a bunch of riders and their crew vehicles way up ahead and we just knew that John was going to use them as carrots. He passed a bunch of them picking them off one by one until we reached the two climbs to get back to Austin.

John was like a metronome on this section. Just turning over the gears. There was a lot of suffering going on there as we watched him go up those hills as first light came and finally the sun as he summited the final pass.

Here is John’s account of his second and final stage, Stage 5.

“I took over in Eureka at about 1:30 AM Sunday. It was a little chilly so I put on all of the clothes I had. Like a big dummy I listened to the weather reports and not my inner experienced endurance cyclist. I did not bring enough cold weather gear because the weather report said the low would be 45. It dipped down to 31 degrees at one point. I rode my stretch fairly hard since I felt pretty good. I passed 5 or 6 riders. Their tail lights provided carrots for me to catch up to so the 70 miles were ticking away quickly. At one point I was really cold so I stopped for a few minutes to warm my butt up on the hood of the support vehicle. That felt great and got me going hard again. Stage 5 has about 3,000 feet of climbing, most of it in the last 10 miles. It was a long, seemingly never ending climb. Two riders I had passed in the night caught me on the climb. I was very slow climbing out of that canyon but felt pretty good. It was after 7 by the time I rolled into Austin where Humberto would take over. Steve, Ira and I went to the International Café to get some hot breakfast. The lady working there was really slow and after 15 minutes had not even taken our order yet. Some of the locals were glaring at us in our bright cycling gear. I had the deliverance banjos playing in my head. We decided that we needed to get back on the road to catch up with Humberto. Breakfast would be cold pizza. My riding for this 508 was done. I could relax now. I just had pictures to take, team mates to encourage and help out where needed. I felt accomplished for what I was able to do. Not my best effort by a long shot but all things considered, pretty good”.

John climbing out of Eureka before daylight

Hooter checking on John
Sunrise as John reaches the summit above Austin

John summits

Austin here we come

John did an awesome job and we were so happy for him because we knew he was worried about how he would do. Great job my friend!!!

Stage Six: Austin to Fallon
112.53 miles / 2730' elevation gain / 5036' elevation loss / 4180' min altitude / 7446' max altitude 

Now it was time for Humberto’s big challenge. Stage 6 is 112 mile long but there is not too much climbing at 2,730 feet over that distance. He had over 5,000 feet of elevation loss so as long as he didn’t have a head wind he had some fun downhill to do too.

After leaving Austin we caught up to him in the Reese River Valley. He was looking good. It was warming up nicely as the sun came up and it was quite comfortable.

Humberto cruising and looking like a phantom

Plenty of fluids and electrolytes 

You could see the first little climb coming up ahead in the distance. It was one of those alluvial fan desert climbs which looks really steep from a distance.

We rolled up ahead a bunch of times on this first one and waited for him. He was all smiles every time we saw him pass. He did great on this first climb. Next came the big one. Carroll grade……East side.

Here he comes. He was spinning a good gear and looked comfortable the whole time. Hooter was cheering him on!

Still smiling!
As we waited for Berto to catch up to us we saw those black cows again. John approached one that was coming toward us until we all saw it was a bull so we backed off and let him go his own way.
John tried to make friends with this guy.
It was starting to get warm as he started the grade. He looked good but looked like he was struggling a little. He never said a word though. We kept pumping the fluid in him and made sure he was eating. I had a whole case of “Cliff-Blocks” margarita flavor which are high in sodium. I gave him a pack and told him to eat the whole thing. He listened and did it and as far as we knew he did not get any serious cramps.
When we got up toward the summit we saw our friend Shai. He was doing the event solo, self-supported, fixed gear… and wow. Watching him climb that grade on his fixie was painful.

He summited about the same time Berto did. Humberto looked great and strong as he went over the summit……and VERY happy!!
Humberto was so happy to get over this summit. 16 mile descent now! The hardest part of his stage was yet to come.

It was now getting hot and after his nice long descent he had to deal with that. It was 95 degrees with a slight head wind when he rolled down toward Fallon. It must have seemed never ending to him but Berto got it done. The guys made a cloth for him saturated with ice water and put it in his jersey and on his neck area. I think it really helped.
95 degrees and Humberto crushing it!

When he was about 2 miles out we went up ahead to the time station and I got ready. He rolled in on his final leg looking very accomplished and happy. GREAT JOB BERTO!!

Here is his account of his experience:

“This was the ride of my life. 112 miles, with heat, with climbing, did I mentioned heat? Amazing views, great downhill speeds, did I mentioned heat? And the best support from the team. Thank you John, Steve and Ira for assisting me ALL the way. I believe that if I had asked for a carne asada plate I would have gotten it. Haha. Without the support of the team, there was no way I could have done such a stage on my own.
There are no words that can truly express what I feel when it comes to the 508.

I have never been inside a vehicle for almost 48 hours. Did not think it would be possible. Best crew ever! I have learned a lot, I have engraved in my heart so many great memories.

It never crossed my mind to quit. Reasons:
Team White Owl. We came to finish. Failing was not an option.
My personal growth. Checked off one of my bucket list items.

I have put so much pain in my family by not being present, by leaving early to train, coming late from training, that I could not come home without the “I did it” in the tip of my mouth.

8 days has been the longest I have been away from home, I had to come back with “I did it”

A deep desire to see my wife before departing to Nevada was there, but I used that feeling to put in on the road during the 508.

Whats ahead?

The 508, I am coming back. “

Stage Seven: Fallon to Silver Springs
25.47 miles / 499' elevation gain / 292' elevation loss / 4221' min altitude / 4560' max altitude

It was really hot in Fallon. I rolled out through town with really stiff legs. I was trying to sleep on the last half of Berto’s stage but couldn’t for some reason.

Once the stiffness went away I felt pretty good and I kicked up the pace. This stage was relatively flat with only about 500 feet of elevation gain. I just paced myself on the main Hwy at about 22 mph and started feeling ok. The guys passed me just before the turn toward Silver Springs and waited for me at the turn.

Cranking toward Silver Springs. Only 25.5 miles so I made it count by pushing it

There was quite a bit of traffic on the main road before the turn. When I made the turn the traffic thinned out. The little hills seemed effortless again as I rolled toward the check point. I did the 25 mile stage in just over an hour and I was done with my portion of the race. I felt great.

Now came the final tough stage, especially if you are doing the race solo.

Stage Eight: Silver Springs to Virginia City to Reno
46.85 miles / 3804' elevation gain / 2802' elevation loss / 4222' min altitude / 6832' max altitude

I gave Ira the GPS tracker and he was off. He now had a 17 mile flat section before the turn on 6 mile canyon to Virginia City. He then has to climb the back side of Geiger Pass before dropping 8 miles to Reno.
Ira flying on the Hwy                                                       Photo by John Clare

Ira flying on the Hwy                                                       Photo by John Clare

Ira cruised really fast to the turn. We did leap frog with him a few times then waited for him at the turn. While we were waiting we saw a whole bunch of wild horses cross the highway being leg by a big stallion. It was awesome. They almost got hit by cars at one point.
Wild horses

Ira told us at this point to drive to the top of the climb and wait for him. They did not allow direct follow on this section. We waited at the top for a little while in Virginia City, saw more wild horses and deer walk through town then Ira showed up. We did leap frog support for him a couple times on Gieger then waited for him at the bottom of the grade.

We then led Ira the final miles to the finish and got the race done a little after 10pm Sunday night.

Here is Ira’s account of the final stage:

“The final stage. At this point I really have to give a shout out to my teammates Berto and Steve, they smoked their sections and got me to the checkpoint about 6:30pm. In particular, Berto had a grueling 112 mile section in heat, which did not quit. It was in the 80’s and 90’s during most of his ride with way too much of it in 95+ degree heat.

I changed into a new kit on the way to the time station. John and Berto dropped me off a bit early, so I got the bike ready, put on my lights for the night section (per rules, riders need to have lights on from 6:30pm – 7:00am) and was ready to go when Steve got there.

We exchanged the GPS and I was off to finish the last stage. The first 17 miles were pretty flat and allowed me to ride pretty fast. It was great riding West, along highway 50 and seeing the sun set behind the surrounding mountains. As per spec, John, Steve, and Berto would check on me every few miles.

They made a concerted effort to make sure I did not miss the turn for 6 Mile Canyon (note truth in advertising it’s more like 8 miles to the top of the canyon in question) and to point out that a bunch of Wild Horses (they’re all over US 50) had just cut across the highway and were hanging out where I was now going to ride. As noted earlier in the ride report we got to see a cross-section of wildlife throughout the course.

As I’m heading up 6 Mile Canyon, I was keeping an eye out for horses and other things that go bump in the night. A couple miles up the canyon I came across another rider, he was on a recumbent. I rode with him for most of the ride up the canyon. Speaking of which all the riders talked about this 20% grade that’s brief, but on that stretch. The other rider and I talked about it, even paced ourselves so we’d have something left for this short steep section. Either we were both oblivious to this and somewhat punchy that we hit it, but did not notice it.

The other rider stopped for a bit. I asked him if he needed anything or wanted me to stick around and he said he was fine. I continued up the canyon and into Virginia City. It’s there where I met the boys again and they spotted turns for me to ensure I got on Highway 341, one of the last legs of the ride and it would take me to Geiger Summit, elevation 6789’. Once atop Geiger summit there was an 8 mile descent into the outskirts of Reno. I’ve got to give a tip of the hat to the folks at the Nevada Dept. of Transportation for a couple of reasons. The pavement was like glass (something all cyclists live for) and there were turn outs about every 2 miles. So, if I had a few cars behind I’d race to the turn out, pull over and let them pass me. Note, not only was I lit up like a Christmas tree, but I had my headlights on max setting so I really had a good field of vision during the descent.

The boys met me at the bottom of the descent. They marked turns for me on the balance (8 miles) of the course to the finish. It was a tour of Reno at night. Not a lot of traffic on a Sunday night so we made pretty good time going back to the finish.”

Ira takes Team White Owl into the finish!!!!

Ira did a great job on that section. We got him to about a mile out from the finish and then went and parked to root him on as he finished. Many of our friends were there waiting for us. Teresa, Victor, Molly and Bill of 2x team Tiger-Gecko were there. They had finished a few hours before us but came down from the hotel to see us come in. Thanks!!

We received our medals and Jerseys from the race director who meets all the riders at the finish, got our pics taken and then were done with our adventure.
The race director Chris Kostman awarding us our jerseys and medals

Here is a little compilation video I made of our ride. I think the western music is fitting for this event:

Here is the link to our ride stats from Adventure Corps:


Here is the link to the pictures we took before and during the event when I was not on the bike:

Set One:

Set Two:

I would like to thank my teammates, Ira, John and Humberto. You guys made this a really fun time.
I am really excited about doing it solo next year now that I have seen the course.

Thanks to Chris and everyone at Adventure Corps for putting on a great event.

Congratulations to all my friends, their crews and everyone who did the race. It is a great accomplishment!


  1. Steve. It's great to see the awesome feat you and the team undertook. I read everything and enjoyed the journey as your wheels burned up the pavement. The music on the video was perfect!

    Grats to the White Owl Team and on your continuing success!


    1. Thanks Ron. I am already dreaming of next years solo ride!!