A long slow ride today. After yesterdays weather, the group was sensitive to weather possibilities. Word was passed back: dry, warmer but might be windy.
I decided to get going early. I was packing up at 5:30am, got a bite or two of breakfast and was on the road cycling by 6:30am. Frost was in the air and puddles were frozen. I descended in first 3.5 miles and then started a slow steady climb. It was peaceful and quiet. It was light but the sun wasn’t yet up. A slow steady ride was interrupted by hiss… My front tire had ridden over glass. I stopped and slowly fixed the flat. Something wasn’t quite right, until I found the spring for the brake.
Last night we had tire changing contest where winner changed a tire in 61 seconds. I was considerably slower, though my tire also had to hold air afterwards. Some slow steady climb past Ranchita at mile 12. Slight breezes in the air foretold of wind to come.
At mile 14 I crested small hill and started 3500ft of descent to valley below. It was a fun, though not too fast descent. I stopped once for some photos. Whoosh! Finally at mile 25, things leveled off. I stopped in Borrego Springs market for some snacks. The other riders now started passing through.
From Borrego, it is 30 miles across the desert. Winds were calm to start, but picked up as we got close to Salton City. Some pretty strong cross winds. The first 20 miles were smooth but last parts of the road were rough. Along the way, many people camped in the desert with RVs and their motorcycles and dune buggies. It was dry open desert with clear blue skies.
As we pulled into Salton City Super Burger at mile 55, the large flag was full out under strong breeze. Yikes, it would get a lot tougher here. First some lunch.
After lunch, it was slow, steady cycling at 8-10mph into the wind. The wind was steady, though slightly less than I anticipated. The road was quite busy with trucks passing close. The next 14 miles were slow upwind slog.
At 70 miles turned off the highway onto smaller roads past some orchards. The wind was still persistent but at least it was flat. I could feel that I had ridden some miles, though fortunately the day one cramp was gone. At 78 miles was the “Valerie-Jean” stop with notation – you need to be here by 3pm to make it before dark. It was 3:20 pm. Oh well. Several people already stopped, though I decided to slowly keep going.
The next miles were slow and steady. Seemed like the wind even picked up. By mile 88, it was dark enough, I switched on my lights. Last few miles it was dark. The highway was a bit busy, but kept going slowly as miles counted down. Finally, 5:45 made it in.
Many others arrived before I did, though if you were slow and didn’t start early, then these folks SAGed the last bit before dark. I’m happy I started early. Tired but satisfied faces at dinner tonight. 99 miles today.