As the rain was coming down Sunday morning, the emails began. “What do you think?” “Probably going to need some rain gear.” “It’s a DRY rain…”. After some hemming and hawing and a few wardrobe changes, we were headed east to the outskirts of Carson City.
Once out on the road, the rain seemed to subside. The air moving across our clothes dried it faster than the rain could get us wet, and soon the rain stopped altogether.
When we began our ascent up Highway 50 out of Carson City, it was apparent that this was Brent’s hill. He rides this hill most days to work, and his legs knew it well. Scott R and I chased.
When we topped out at Moundhouse, we geared up for the descent to Dayton. All the way through Moundhouse we averaged a speed of 30 mph. The wind was at our backs, and we were flying. It got even faster when we hit the last steep hill into Dayton. It took all of 60 seconds to get through the “downtown” Dayton area, and then we were out in the suburbs of Lyon County.
The turnoff to Six Mile Canyon seemed pretty close on the map, but it wasn’t until around the 17 mile mark that we got to the next leg of our journey. Our brisk pace was broken as we turned northwest into the wind and up the hill into the canyon.
Right at the Storey County line, the houses stopped, and it became desolate. We took a pit stop at a bridge over a dry wash. It looks like the wash is dry except for times of heavy precipitation. Probably not a place to be during a flash flood. We would also learn later that it appears this gully is the final leg of the Virginia City Sewer System.
The road pitched up after the bridge, and as we got further out, the road actually got better! In fact, we had freshly paved asphalt for much of our climb. It was heavenly and made the climb go along nicely. If it had been a sunny day, there would have been plenty of shade available under the frequent cottonwoods. I saw a few new species of plants I hadn’t seen before, including one that had amazingly beautiful flowers! It’s amazing what you find in the desert sometimes.
As we continued to climb, we started to spread out. We could hear the train whistle of the V&T railroad, and it sounded really close! But of course we’d round the bend and there would be more climbing. The sounds traveled far down the canyon.
Finally we saw the buildings and hillside V of Virginia City! And then it got really steep. Down in the granny gear, I rode my skinny tired bike like my single speed mountain bike. Standing up and yanking on the bars got me up to the top of the climb where Brent and Scott had already been for awhile. C Street, the main drag of Virginia City, was a very nice place to be at that moment. Beer and nachos were not far off now.
Riding through Virginia City on a bicycle makes you feel like a bad ass, even if you’re all decked out in Lycra. You know that other people know that you just climbed a big hill to get there. There’s no easy way into the little mountain city. We rode through town like a three man parade, hogging up the whole lane, and taking in all the sights and sounds. We pedaled to the south end of town for some hard earned beer and victuals at the Cafe del Rio. As we took off our gear, we could look down Six Mile Canyon and appreciate the climb we had just done.
After a big plate of nachos, a couple baskets of chips, and a few beers at Virginia City’s finest restaurant, we felt refreshed. We went out to the bikes to gear up, hoping that everything had dried while we were resting. Most of it was still pretty soggy, but we reluctantly put it back on and saddled up.
Just as we were exiting town we veered off to the left to get on to the Virginia City truck route. This route is designed for trucks, with an even grade and long sweeping turns. Perfect for bombing on a road bike! Scott yelled, “It’s on like Donkey Kong!”, and he and Brent pedaled off like mad men down the grade. Not having the courage to follow, I’d meet up with them again down at the bottom. There was a slight headwind as we descended, and it was just enough parachute effect that we barely had to touch the brakes for the next several miles. The turns were just perfect for leaning over and practicing high speed cornering. I remember yelling out a big Whoo Hoo! as I exited one corner.
At the bottom of the hill, the excitement was over, and it was time to slog along into the wind. The hills weren’t too steep, but the legs felt heavy from so much resting. We rejoined Highway 50, and got a chance to look around at all the interesting things along this stretch of road. My favorite artifact was the lifted-4×4-primered-Camaro, that someone was willing to part with for only $3,500. This car has been for sale for quite some time now, so perhaps people think the price is just too good to be true. Not having the cash between us to purchase the vehicle from the Road Warrior movie set, we made the final journey into Carson City, battling the wind the whole way. Once back home, we celebrated our 42 mile ride with more beer of course!
A few more pictures of the ride can be found on Flickr HERE.