I’m not into numerology, but I am into synergy in cycling, especially when it comes to riding in a two by two pace line for 120 miles in the baking Nevada desert. Now, if I were into numbers, six is pretty darn good considering its numerological meaning: While the 6 is considered the most harmonious of all single-digit numbers, it is not without its flaws and upsets. The most important influence of the 6 is its loving and caring nature. Properly nicknamed the motherhood number, it is all about sacrificing, caring, healing, protecting and teaching others. No family or community can function without the power of the 6 to keep them together and safe. She is the glue that keeps a family or community together.
We’d need lots of glue, for sure, to keep our family, our band of cycling brothers together and safe for some very hot, arduous miles, and, most definitely, loads of loving and caring natures, as rippin’ each others legs off would only lead to a few parched lycra’d corpses strewn along the roadside. Our best ally for Stage 6 of Specialized’s ride to Interbike, one which took us from Mesquite, NV to Las Vegas, NV, via Lake Mead National Park, was cycling cooperation. A harmonious, cohesive and motivated pack of six was far more likely to conquer this 120 mile stage, one that had over 5k of climbing, and finish the pilgrimage we’d begun five days prior.
We gathered in semi-darkness at 6:00 a.m. for a quick breakfast, which for me consisted of coffee and a small bowl of granola and fruit, and a ginger roll out of the parking lot at 7:08 a.m. with a follow vehicle in tow. The tepid early morning temperature foreshadowed the extreme heat that would envelop us a few hours later. A slight detour out of Mesquite meant that we missed a big section of Interstate 15, but not all of it, and we ended up riding fifteen miles of litter strewn road. Did I mention that we got two flats along the interstate mine field and that by 8:00 a.m. it was already 84 degrees?
Once we ducked off the interstate, we made our way through a pastel lunar landscape that reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “I Shot An Arrow Into The Air”, which wasn’t a cheery thought considering the dark content of that episode. In a nut shell, eight astronauts on the Arrow One, the first manned aircraft being sent into space, crash land on what they think is an asteroid. Only three survive and, with only five gallons of water between them, start killing each other. Turns out they’d only crashed in the Nevada desert.
Speaking of the Nevada desert, by the time we entered the Lake Mead Recreation Area on Northshore Rd. it was close to 100 degrees. It was also getting close to home. The tragic irony that much of our roasting, rolling ride went through The Valley of Fire State Park wasn’t lost on any of us. I was popping our Electrolyte Capsules like Tic-Tacs at the frequent water and refueling stops we made along the way. By the time we crested the summit of Lake Mead Blvd. and looked down upon our Mecca, we were all very ready for an icy cold drink. North Las Vegas is blessed with many 7-11s and we stopped at the first, where we attacked their soda fountain for ice and bought cokes, chips, water and a Slurpee.
680 miles and 40k of climbing later, we’d reached our nugget, we’d completed our pilgrimage to Interbike and, most importantly, we hadn’t killed each other over water like those poor astronauts did. Turns out, six is good symmetry, and boy was I proud of our parched group for pedaling together so well and getting us to Las Vegas all in one piece.