Day 9: Elko Nevada, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Carl

One of the surprises I had during the planning was how many people thought I was a bit nuts to go with a group where I didn’t know anyone — “what if they’re all jerks?”   Well first off they’re cyclists, so they can’t be too bad.   I have to say that 10 days in I just can’t imagine doing it any other way.   It’s safety, it’s meeting new people, its learning about their training, their equipment and their stories.   It’s passing the time on lonely stretches of road and drafting when the winds get strong.   It’s sources of inspiration and support.

So a couple of days ago we were talking about Elko Nevada and Carl mentioned he knows Elko pretty well — “I go there every year for the Cowboy Poetry competition.”   I did not think he was serious, but he went on to describe what went on and how fun it is in such detail that I realized there must be a cowboy poetry competition.   Sure enough, as we rolled into Elko we did a loop around the main drag and there were the corporate offices of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.   Apparently this is an international event.

Carl has more zest for life than I think anyone I have met.   His sartorial sense is a source of constant anticipation.   He’s done motorcycle trips in Australia, South America, and from Baja to the Arctic Circle.   On the mountain we are riding over tomorrow he has done a week horse packing trip.   Next year he is planning 3 weeks of bicycling in the French Alps.   Remember this guy is turning 73 in October.   He is a medical doctor, specialized in emergency response.  Son of a Mennonite farmer.

Today was pretty tiring; we’re all worried about the next two days.   The wind has shifted and is now a headwind.   We have about 4350 feet of climbing tomorrow; 107 miles.   The next day is like 118 miles, which is darn close to 200 kilometers.   My butt is pretty raw; I can feel little strips of flesh hanging off one part, but I can’t see them.   Everyone is pretty sore; some are wearing two pairs of pants tomorrow (they call it double shorting).   With all of the climbing tomorrow I will probably be in the saddle 8-9 hours.   May need something stronger than aspirin after that 🙂

Today’s ride:   74 miles, 2940 feet of climbing in one big climb.   Beautiful day — not too hot.   Didn’t have to stop on the climb, although several people passed me on the way up.   I consider that progress.   Pretty much the whole day was on I-80, except for the first 20 miles and a 3 mile bypass around a tunnel that was absolutely stunning — a nice stream winding through the desert.

Today’s song:   Rhinestone Cowboy by Glenn Campbell.    Elko is just this wonderful combination of casinos and boot shops.   I had a terrific prime rib dinner for $14.99.


6 thoughts on “Day 9: Elko Nevada, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Carl

  1. Chapeau, Charlie! Love your blogs and impressed with the progress you are making. You will now start getting stronger, and stronger. Priority is to get on top of the chaffing … try hemorrhoid cream at night (seriously) :-). Enjoy the rest of the journey!


  2. Dear Charlie,

    If you should decide to use everything you ever learned in Yoga to actually look at those little strips off flesh hanging from your buttocks, I would really appreciate your arranging for a quality photograph.


    Sent from my iPad



  3. I’m really enjoying the father-son exchange on this blog. Thanks for the descriptive writing, Charlie – enjoy “riding” along with you on this.


  4. Char
    I think we all enjoy your ass stories but if you don’t quickly address the issue, you will. It finish the ride. A dry ass is a happy ass.


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