An easy ride? What’s that?


BRAWLEY, Calif. — I’m beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as an easy day on a transcontinental bicycle ride.
After two days of steady climbing on Sunday and Monday over the Laguna Mountains from San Diego, followed by a precipitous drop into the torrid Imperial Valley, Tuesday’s ride looked to be fairly easy — about 40 miles over mostly flat terrain between Ocotillo and Brawley.
The flat part was accurate. But the heat — pushing toward 104 degrees — and a stiff northerly wind turned the ride into a contest for survival.
Brawley signI began the ride through the Yuha Desert with three full water bottles and a full Camelbak. Along the way, the only place to refill the water bottles and gulp a Gatorade was at Seeley, about 20 miles from Ocotillo. I started at about 7:40 a.m, aiming to beat the heat, forecast to be 104 degrees. The first half of the ride was fairly pleasant — terrain with a slightly downward tilt after slogging through the mountains. But then the sun started baking the landscape. By the time I got to the vast irrigated fields of the Imperial Valley, it was mid-morning and the wind was starting to pick up. The last 15 miles or so to Brawley were into a brisk northerly wind. To keep from becoming dehydrated and overheated, I stopped every few miles — sometimes in the welcome shade of huge stacks of baled hay alongside the road — to drink water and Gatorade and to pour water over my body.
I reached Brawley at about 11:45 a.m. and found our accommodations for the night — an air-conditioned Lions Club facility with a gymnasium, an Olympic-size pool, a kitchen and a large conference room for use as our sleeping quarters.
This will be the second night in a row that I haven’t had to pitch my tent. Monday night I slept in the recreation room of the RV park where we stayed in Ocotillo.
So life is good.
At least until Wednesday morning. Our route for that day will be 69 miles across barren sand dunes and salt flats to Palo Verde. So I don’t think that our easy day will be on Wednesday. Maybe Thursday?

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8 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

8 responses to “An easy ride? What’s that?

  1. No tent? Count your blessings! Mary Ellen

  2. Ben

    Be careful out there Dad. Yeah, an AC room sounds much better than a sweltering little tent. Stay hydrated. Love, Ben

  3. Ben

    Be careful out there Dad. Yeah, an AC room sounds much better than a sweltering little tent. Stay hydrated. Love, Ben

    PS: Take some photos of the sand dunes.

  4. mike blackman

    Jim,

    You just amaze us all. Good luck, ol’ buddy.

    mikeb

  5. Jim: Listen to your son. Hydrate! When you dehydrate, you get Carlos Zambrano.

  6. Dad, I hope you are having a great time. We are all behind you!

  7. rj

    epic ride jim,

    how do you eat an elephant?
    one small bite at a time.

    go jim go!

    rj

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