PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006


Thursday, September 7
While crossing the Mississippi River today during the long flight from Orlando Florida, I wondered how I would feel three weeks from now when I crossed it again heading east. The great size of this country became more evident with each hour of flight. Funny that it didn't look quite as big when I looked at a map while planning this trip. I wonder how big it will seem at the end of this bike tour?

After touching down in San Diego, while waiting for my luggage at baggage claim, I met fellow tour riders Julie Stoud and Bob Breedlove from Indiana. We rode to the hotel together and when we checked-in there was no sign of my roommate Peter from Australia who was supposed to arrive the day before. The front desk didn't even have a record of his reservation. Strange since I confirmed these reservations just three days before. Fortunately, Julie and Bob invited me to spend the night in their hotel room. It was quite cozy with the three of us, but Bob and Julie were a pleasure to room with.

Friday, September 8
We were all up at sunrise and anxious to assemble our bikes. Bob had a missing cyclo-computer, and I needed two screws and a headset spacer. So our first ride was a 4-miler to a local bike shop where got everything we needed. We were joined by Ken from Rhode Island who we met at at Breakfast. After that we were off to the beach (6 miles west) for the mandatory photos at the Pacific Ocean. The weather was magnificent - low 70's and sunny. Such a relief from the heat and humidity in Florida this time of year.

Julie, me, Bob and Ken at Mission Beach
Dipping my wheel at Mission Bay

When we returned to the hotel the PAC Tour crew had arrived and were prepping their three vehicles. They caravaned from Lon and Susan's home in Wisconsin; scouting out the routes of future PAC Tours along the way. The husband and wife team of Lon Haldeman and Susan Notoranglo are the owners of PAC Tour and are both two-time winners of the "Race Across America"; the world's most grueling race according to Outdoor magazine. Including Lon and Susan there will be a crew of eleven on this tour. At the Wisconsin Training camp 2005 I rode with three of the other crew members Steve, Jim, and Lara. It was a pleasant surprise to see so many familiar faces.

I finally found by roommate Peter. He checked in Wednesday as scheduled, but the front desk was still clueless. I had a long talk with the manager and got an extra $45 discount

Saturday, September 9
With all the problems of yesterday sorted out Bob, Julie, Ken and I headed out to the beach again with about 15 others that arrived yesterday. Since we knew the way we were the tour guides pointing out the photo ops along the way.

At the beach day Saturday

At the rider meeting Lon told us all the rules and what to expect on the tour. At one point Lon asked, "who here has been training 900 miles per week." No one raised there hand. He then explained that's what we will be doing for each of the next 3 1/2 weeks and the body needs time to recover from hard efforts. If you go too hard, too early in the tour you will enter a downward spiral of fatigue that could ruin your tour.

Lon stressing the importance of easy pacing for the first few days.

Riders with more than 20000 PAC Tour miles get a street sign with their name mounted to the side of the support vehicles. Tonight Steve was one of the honored at our banquet.

Steve getting his 20000 mile award. He says he is loopy.

I am looking forward to tomorrow as there are 4 days of this tour that are clearly the toughest and tomorrow is one of them. Its moderately long 127 miles combined with 7000 ft. of climbing are equivalent to 157 miles of flat distance. Additionally it will be hot - and I am not especially good in the heat. On some of my midsummer 100-mile training rides I rode strong for 80-90 miles (about 4 to 5 hours) then died. I coped a little better recently by drinking a quart of water every 1 to 1.5 hours and squirting water over my head and back every 1/2 hour or so. Tune in tomorrow to see how it goes.

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