Day 70: Driving can be fun
Updated: Aug 13
Tuesday, August 9th
Baker, NV --> Ely, NV
63 miles. +3904 ft. -4035 ft.
Today, I drove. The end.
Just kidding! Even though it seems that all the interesting stuff happens when you bike, I've had some really nice driving days. Today was probably one of my favorite ones.
I got to sit inside the lovely Bristlecone general store in Baker and read for almost one full hour! They have a little wall of books ranging from science fiction to inspiration to Great Basin history (the national park right outside of town). I actually started reading The Three-Body problem which Simone and Franklin have been discussing this whole trip. It was good until another book caught my eye: Born to Run. My sister had read this book a few years ago, and I remember that she really liked it. So I picked it up during our rest day (day 69) - and basically couldn't put it down. Except when distracted by this cutie cat:
Luckily, I had a little bit of free time after the bikers had hit the road, so while I waited for a frozen loaf of honey bread to thaw (for lunch), I dived back into the story. The book is about an indigenous group called the Tarahumara who live in Copper Canyon in a very isolated area of northern Mexico. They are known as the Running People because trail-running hundreds of miles is their way of life from the young to the old. One of the foods they use to power their runs is something called izquiate - chia seeds dissolved in water with some lime juice and sugar (doesn't that sound absolutely delicious). I should have bought that $8 pack of chia seeds in whole foods the last time we were there (i.e. in Denver). Also, the Tarahumara run in sandals.
The books claims that a key to excelling in ultramarathons is not the incentive of a medal or a fast time, but one's simple love for running. If you can get over the fact that it is painful and just appreciate that your body is capable of doing what it's doing. The book also claims that running can make you a more loving person in general (which is certainly harder to argue).
I think I've realized that though I enjoy biking on a significantly deeper level than before, I still think of myself more of a runner (yeah shocking but you know we still have 11 more days on this trip - something could change my mind :P). A big part of that may be the constant back+neck+butt pain from our longer rides.
Anyways, it was almost time to go water and ice the possibly wilting bikers, and I was only through chapter 8 or so! What to do?? Thankfully, I found the ebook on Boston Public Library which was available for download (unlike another book I've had on hold for almost the whole summer :( ). As of now, I'm just about halfway through, and I have to actively stop myself from finishing it in one go since spokes life is always busy with other important matters.
I also got to drive with Mariela today, which made this driving day all the brighter. I enjoy driving not alone. We listened to this great playlist on Spotify and stopped by the Great Basin visitor center for the essential sticker/patch/postcard. It's always fun to take pictures of our little biking children as we pass by:
For the night, we stayed at the La Quinta hotel in Ely which was conveniently located right next to the grocery store (gotta love the small towns). I went to stock up on more beans (not realizing we still had like 8 cans) and pita bread for a chicken salad dinner. Also macerated onions yum.
We spent the rest of the night thus:
training for the upcoming Aug 21 triathlon by swimming laps in the 15-meter hotel pool (two of us are actually doing the triathlon - guess who :P)
almost falling asleep in the hot tub (we sadly missed the hot springs in Glenwood Springs but this was pretty good)
packing goodie bags for the kids who were planning to come to our learning festival (which got cancelled bc covid)
calling and catching up with our Robert in Reno
sleeping relatively early yay!
All in all, a great driving day :)