Monday, April 23, 2007
Day 1 Newport Beach to Thousand Palms 121.6 miles
Today was truly epic! We started with breakfast at Denny’s (see pic of Iain with Grand Slam #1)…then gathered in the parking lot to ride to the beach as a group. It was about
48, so I had most of my winter wear on…being the only one here from Fla. The ceremonial “wheel dip” was actually pretty fun. Everyone was excited to finally get started. The first 30 miles were along the Santa Ana River trail that got us a few miles east of Anaheim, with zero intersections to navigate. Next came a climb up Cajalco Rd. About ½ mile up a Bread Truck came by and opened the door. The driver said, “you’re crazy”….”you going all the way to the top?”. I replied, “not just to the top…to Boston”.
The look on his face was priceless! We stopped for lunch at miles 60. It’s really amazing how well AbB handles the logistics, especially when you realize we have people scattered over 30+ miles. Next up was a 10 mile climb up Route 79…that would ultimately lead us to a screaming downhill section into Palm Springs. With a 30 mph tailwind it was easy to do 35+ without even peddling. The lead group ended up being about 12-15 guys…pretty well matched. Some of the roads were a little dodgy and everyone was on high alert for cracks, potholes, seams and debris (it makes me crazy how much crap people throw out of their cars!). Iain is from Boston and , because of the weather, did most of his training indoor…actually, in his basement on a trainer. His coach had him doing 4 & 5 hour workouts! Now, for those of you no-cyclists…a trainer is a resistance machine that attaches to your rear wheel. The idea is to simulate the feeling of riding on the road. I have a trainer…and I HATE trainer workouts with a passion. Doing a 4 or 5 hour session would be like torture. I figure any guy who can endure that can do this ride! We rolled into Thousand Palms and were the first group into the hotel. Average speed today was 17.4 mph. The bad thing is we beat the support truck…with our luggage. Took a quick dip in the pool and then back to the room for a shower….only I had no clothes to change into. When the truck did arrive I had to retrieve my bag dressed in a towel…nice! Dinner at Casa de Pasta and a quick photo op with the local cacti! Tomorrow it’s on to Blythe 118 miles to our east. Hoping these tailwinds stay around. dd