Day 2 - Palm Springs to Blythe
Whew! It was a scorcher out there today folks! With the temperature soaring to a incredible 105 degrees, my camelback water pouch quickly became my new best friend during our ride today. If it weren't for the incredible vigilance of the support crew, I doubt I would have made it 20 miles in today's intense weather, much less the 134 we had to tackle today.
On a quick personal note, yesterday was the furthest I have ever ridden in my life at 122 miles. Today, I just beat my own personal record by 12 miles, and trust me I felt every single one of them in my legs.
We tried our best to get a jump on the day to beat the heat leaving around 7:30. This is roughly around the same time as yesterday, but without the ceremonial dipping of the rear wheels we had more time to eat up some miles before the temperature started to climb.
And climb it did!
The early morning was cool and breezy as we rode through Palm Springs, a beautiful city nestled in the heart of the desert with mountains visible on the horizon anywhere you turned. The crisp manicured lawns and gentle hiss of sprinkler systems did little to drown out the murmured conversations of my fellow bikers as they nervously exchanged weather reports and temperaturepredictions with grim determination and just a little bit of apprehension. I won't lie I shared their concerns. Never before in my life have I experienced heat like this. It's like the moisture is being sucked out through every pore in my body! I was constantly reapplying chap stick and sunscreen to ward off the beating rays of glaring California sun, not to mention guzzling water like a fish.
What happened to those cool ocean breezes in Costa Mesa, I kept asking myself. Its hard to believe that two places in the same state could be so vastly different in terms of climate. But that's what this trip is all about, discovering first hand the diversity of this great country of ours, even if sometimes you feel like hitching a ride to the next town if only you could get out of the heat.
By noon the temperature had climbed to 95 degrees, with little signs of letting up the pressure. As we struggled under the weight of the desert sky, the only thing we could do was to keep drinking and try and bear it as we crawled through rising desert canyons and gentle hills. Thank goodness that today was a relatively flat ride, other wise I may have been a choice meal for the buzzards.
I can honestly say I've never drank so much water in my entire life. On today's ride we had 3 designated stops to refuel with much needed food as well as an opportunity to refill our water bottles with precious water. My camel back is designed to hold 70 ounces of water at a time and comes with a cool insulator to keep its contents cold for longer periods of time. Combine that with my two regular water bottles at 24 ounces each and I felt a little like a water cooler in motion.
But despite these preparations, each time we reached the next stop I found that I was always down to about 1/3 of my last water bottle. Not to mention the impromptu pit stops that had to be made as we flagged down the support van for additional water between refilling stations. Like I said if it weren't for the vigilance of the support crew this would be a very different story indeed. Yet despite all of their efforts, I still felt dehydrated by the end of the ride, with a throbbing headache and some sun-burnt calves to show off to the rest of the guys. Tomorrow I am happy to report that although we will be working once again through the same heat, we will be traveling a little less than today, but with a serious of climbs. If memory serves correct I believe we are looking at an increase of about 7,000 feet in elevation.
More to come tomorrow as we say goodbye to the Golden State and say hello to Arizona.