PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 1, Sunday, September 10
To: El Centro, CA; 127 miles

A long hot day.
Riding Time: 8:42:54; Avg Speed: 14.57 mph; Max Speed: 42.9 mph

Temperatures were pleasantly warm in San Diego and the high country, but descending from Jacumba, CA (mile 76) into the Imperial Valley we were greeted by furness-like heat.

 

 

Breakfast was promptly served in the hotel parking lot at 6:00 AM and included a wide variety of foods. My friend Dan Aaron, a veteran of 4 cross country tours, were underway at 6:40 AM; ten minutes behind most of the others.

The climbing began almost immediately and didn't let up until the 82-miles where we were treated to a 10-mile descent at 6% grade. I tried to move along briskly, but still within my limits. We passed several small groups of riders, and some riders passed us. One rider the caught us was Lon on his single-speed bike, I rode and chatted with him off and on for about 10 miles.

I figured we were in the middle of the pack (of 50 riders) during the first half, but had know way of knowing for sure.

Start area of the first day in San Diego

 

In the high desert at 1:30 PM

 

I really stuffed myself at lunch (I'll do that around free food), then took off after a group of riders as I noticed they were leaving. I caught them, but had to let them go to avoid stomach upset. A half hour latter I started lifting my pace again. It was mildly hot here, but could easily keep cool by squirting water on my head. The sun on my back felt hot, but my chest (in the shade) felt cool.

As we decended rapidly toward the Yuha Desert, I could feel it getting hotter with each passing mile.

At the second to last SAG stop (92-mile point) in the Yuha desert. Some portions of this desert are below sea level.

 

Coming out of the 92-mile SAG stop I rode with Tore from Media PA. Media is about 12 miles from where I was born and raised for my first 20 years.

Once in the Yuha desert it was not only hotter (about 104 F), but we had a 10 mph headwind for most of the last 30 miles. Also it was harder to keep cool as the water in my bottles got hot. Squirting it on my head actually felt hot until about 15 seconds latter when the evaporative cooling kicked-in.

At 106 miles, just as Tore and I were coming up on a group of riders stopped on the side of the road, I got a flat tire. As I stopped to fix it we learned the rider was cramping and having problems with the heat. He made the 8-miles to the next rest stop and went on to finish the ride.

Another rider wasn't so lucky - my friend Dan. Also at 106 miles, but about an hour after us, Dan stopped due to intense cramping in his legs. He had to be sagged in to the finish.

I finished in a group of 4 riders (with Gary, Anne, and Tore) behind eight who finished about 5 to 15 minutes before. I just had dinner with Dan and he is feeling better and believes he will ride tomorrow.

I was concerned that I might also suffer cramping, dehydration, or knee pain today, but thankfully none of that occurred, and surprisingly my legs still feel relatively fresh.

Tomorrow should be another hot one, but with less climbing.

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