I’m in Reno! Today was an exciting day and I thought about how I’d write this post all day- and I know that no matter what, I’ll have forgotten something. So here we go…
Today’s distance: 45 miles
Elevation climbed: 3500 ft
Max elevation achieved for this journey: 8900 feet
Distance travelled downhill @ 30mph: 15 miles
Amazing people met: at least twenty
So the day started in South Lake Tahoe, which yes, is a city all in itself. I slept right in a random wooded lot that was interspersed with businesses. It worked out well! I just felt like I could begin the day as soon as I was good and ready, which yeah, was a bit later than it’d been earlier in the trip. Why? I dunno, the promise of more mountain riding had me bummed.
After breakfast I got going- as it’d been suggested my Michael Hume, I travelled north on rt 50 for a bit, following the east side of lake Tahoe and enjoyed some excellent views and descents and climbs. When you’re hauling your 130-pound body, a 23-lb bike, and 70 lbs of gear and liquid, even a short climb can take forever to climb..
Turns out, I had a lot of climbing to do today! I still had the tallest pass of the Sierra mtns to get over, which I hadn’t even known about! I was just following the directions I was given. Lemme tell you, the climb on country club road starting in Incline to the Mt Rose highway is a doozy! I stopped perhaps 5 times due to the steep grade of this road, which was only the start of the days climbing. But we all should know, bicycle touring isn’t about the speed; it’s probably more about persistence, patience, and endurance.
You’ve already gotten to see me at the top of that climb- it just felt so perfect, being over my first mountain range of the cross-country tour. And oh my god, heading down that last mountain was amazing! Seriously the best 20-30 minute downhill stretch of my life. Everything that goes up must come down eventually!
I reached my Nevada TBI contact, Michael Hume’s house very shortly after leaving the pine trees in the dust. Nevada is the home of two tbi associations: the Nevada chapter of the Brain Injury Association of America, in Las Vegas, and Making Headway, formerly called the Head Injury Association of Northern Nevada, located here in Reno. Michael Hume is the president of this association/support group, and does an absolutely awesome job connecting survivors and their families with help and guidance regarding this type of irreversible injury.
I had the opportunity to speak at length about recovery from traumatic brain injury with Michael and his wife Alison. In 1998, their son Ryan suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that sent him into a nearly year-long coma. With Ryan being the oldest of three sons (at 16 yo), their family took a huge hit. Now, Ryan lives in a house with 24-hour assistance but lives a very fulfilling life. After having a very filling spaghetti dinner, the Humes took me to meet Ryan and his housemates, one of whom also is a TBI survivor. Ryan: you’re a really fun, enthusiastic person who has an amazing personality! If I could get a bear big from a fellow tbi survivor once a day, I would in a heartbeat. Here’s a man who’s been through much more painful recovery than anyone else I know, and he’s making sure to show me his “guns” (muscles) because he could throw me halfway to Utah- but he’s telling me how I have a radiating personality! Keep up the great work, Ryan. And to the Headway association: let’s keep trying to figure out how to get medical insurance companies to support the exhaustingly long brain injury recovery process with top-notch rehab facilities. Lord knows this is vital.
Tomorrow’s a big day. I start a long day towards Lovelock, NV on US 80. Yes, ON rt 80! Here’s the proof that it’s legal:
I met some really amazing people today. I’m so glad to have made even more friends! to those I’ve already met: try friending me on fb; I made it possible to find me finally.
There’s talk of some Reno media exposure tomorrow- let’s make it happen! Can’t wait! I’m ready!