Monday, March 9, 2009
Day 3 of the ride across America
Our day started with a temperature of 30...not Celsius, and it was cold. Our chef Linda had oatmeal (she has the absolute best oatmeal) for us and hot chocolate, so we would, as my mom would say start out our day with something hot in our stomachs. We started out with a 5.5 mile stretch that again took us up. The border patrol was out en masse and were flying down the road. Later, after our dinner we found out just why. One of our group saw some people at the side of the road, pointing a gun telling someone to lay down flat. She and some other riders let the border patrol know and that is why I, who started late because I was warming my hands by the propane stove say them flying down the road.
Well, after we did our 5.5 mile climb (750 feet), we exited onto...Interstate 8 once again. The night before we had been warned about the possibility of gusting winds and this with a 10 mile downhill ....ok... 10MILES DOWNHILL!!!!!...now as many of you know...I now live in Indiana...and have lived in Virginia (think Blue Ridge)....there are NO 10 mile descents to be found, central Indiana barely has bumps in the road....so I was just a little bit anxious. Well, I rode on the shoulder ...all the 10 miles down...WOW I was actually tired of being in the drops by the end! After exiting we had a SAG stop, and off came the cold weather clothes and off we went. I went with one of the other women, and learned how to do a pace line...(basically drafting). This made the miles fly by and we kept a great pace through the desert Yuha national parkland). I kept looking at the mountains on my right, just amazed that I had been way up there only an hour before. The desert had some flowers...the octatillos (sp?) were blooming as well as some ground cover with a purple flower. After we left the National forest, we were truly in the Imperial Valley. We crossed over a canal, on one side of the canal was desert and on the other side it was lush and green fields. There was plenty of hay baled between fields and stacked HIGH. There were birds singing from palm trees, and we could just keep riding and looking ahead for miles.
Eventually, we had a turn off and then...the bumpiest road...not only that but as soon as we started on it a dog got out of his poorly fenced in yard, hackles up and barking. I was off my bike in a flash and had it between me and him.....he tried to circle around me and so...I of course circled...thankfully as I raised my bike in a menacing way, he ran back to his yard and I hopped back on the bike to get jostled for 14.5 more miles. Although the road was rough, the farms and fields were great to ride by and al the other dogs were well contained in their yards.
We passed through Seeley and then on to El Centro and finally a 14 mile home stretch to Brawley. En route we passed a sugar factory that showed us where sea level is...we were below it. Now I HAVE been below sea level...but usually that would indicate that I am UNDERWATER. Getting into the hotel was a relief. I had felt pretty worn out those last miles and the wind had turned and been a head wind....not too bad, but it was hard at the end.
Linda had a wonderful dinner, beef stroganoff with egg noodles, a great variation on a waldorf salad, a reguar salad and angel food cake with peaches and raspberries.
Stats 67 miles 5.5 uphill and 10 down the rest pretty flat. Max speed was 34...I was cautious on the downhill...wary of the crosswinds. Time: started 8:15 and finished at 1PM with quite a few stops for food, water, and pictures!