Middlegate to Fallon - The woman who sat on the toilet too long (and other odd American tales) - CycleBlaze

July 15, 2014

Middlegate to Fallon

Other long-distance touring cyclists must have passed this way...
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"YOU GOING east?", the growling man in the bar asked this morning. Karen said we weren't, that we were going west. But he took no notice and gave us his advice anyway.

"You oughta take the back road," he gravelled. "You got just one hill that way and then it's downhill all the way."

Karen said again that we'd already ridden from the east, that we were heading for California. But no matter: that "just one hill" was the way to go, he reckoned.

Salt flats before Fallon. There's a festival here every summer
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Now, it's reasonable that you may not know about this. But Adventure Cycling gives two routes west to Middlegate and one, indeed, is just one hill and, what's more, more sheltered from the Nevada sun. The problem is that this "just one hill" is 7 452 feet high, which is about the height of the Tourmalet in the Tour de France. And that's 1 000 feet higher than the way we and I suspect most riders had chosen to come.

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But, as my friend, Bernard Menou, points out in A Frog hops across America, the countryside takes on a different perspective when you have one pedal beneath your feet rather than two.

Well, we were going west, thank goodness. The mountains were behind us. Mostly, anyway. And you know what else? Well, imagine your TV was set to black and white. You get used to it and then you turn a dial and the picture bursts into colour. That was our experience as we rode towards Fallon. No matter that it must be a miserable place to live because of its training school for fighter pilots; for the first time in weeks, there were trees and green fields and even the sweetness of clover.

If this is what colour television is like, I think it's going to be the thing of the future.

Today's ride: 84 km (52 miles)
Total: 5,630 km (3,496 miles)

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