|Dark and raining|
We started at Willie's house in Lake Forest at 5am in the cool, damp night and headed downhill to the beach. Last year I had not worn enough layers to handle a 25mph descent in 37F temps so this year I wore extra layers and silk glove liners. No complaints this year.
|Descending Hwy 133 to the coast|
The first info control caught some riders out as they missed the downhill turn and had turn around and climb back up the hill. My rwgps app gave me the cue just in time. We had to write down the number of the house on the corner.
|I always hope the house owner isn't awake, paranoid, and armed|
|Jack-in-the-Box, best food for 200 miles|
|An unusually quiet beach path|
|Pacelineing behind The Brat.|
|Alongside the 91 freeway|
We continued up the SART to the end, then I decided to stop to refuel at the 76 gas station on Green River Road and somehow lost the group I was with. No matter, we rode the usual route through Norco onto the upper SART, took the detour on Jurupa (the SART reopens this section in late April), and onto San Bernardino for the next control.
|More gas station cuisine|
Now we had a long climb up San Timeteo Canyon road to the top of the Banning Pass at 3000'. Last year it was pretty hot and I had to take a shade nap at the Shell gas at the top but this year was perfect so I just grabbed some food and kept going. We picked up a strong tail wind as we rode towards Cabazon. Unfortunately the road (Apache Trail) hasn't been maintained in 50 years and has massive wheel grabbing cracks that I had to bunny hop. It's downhill, and with the tailwind we were coasting at 30mph so I had to be very alert. I spoke to Shai (fixie) after the ride and he pointed out that he can't bunny hop on a fixie. Ow!
Somewhere on this stretch I lost a water bottle. I wish I could have got some video but I didn't want to take my hands off the handlebars even for a second.
Eventually we reached smooth(er) pavement and the wind picked up through the pass so that I was coasting at 35mph and could still feel a strong wind on the backs of my legs.
|Coasting through Cabazon|
|Shoulder of the 111 headed to Palm Springs|
We got to the info control in Indio in daylight so I knew I was on a better time that last year. All that tailwind had sped me up.
|Info control in Indio with Wei|
|Last stop before the death march|
Wei went on ahead and as I stopped to eat a packet of GoCubes, I ended up with a group that included Terri and (I think) Charlie. The last 10 miles are slightly downhill and we got some relief from the wind so we rolled into Borrego Springs at 2am at 17 mph.
I got five hours sleep, then we waited nervously for Pete to show up at 26:40. Twenty minutes to spare - no problem. Then we climbed onto the minibus that Willie had rented for us (great idea) and were chauffeured back to the start. Brilliant!
As we were driven home in luxury we passed many of the 600k riders toiling up Montezuma Valley Road. I always wondered why anyone would take a nice flat 400k and ruin it with climbing. I guess it takes all sorts. I take my hat off to them - I couldn't do it.
I completed my Mondail award on this ride. Only took me 15 years!