Saturday morning a nice contingent of Southern California adventure racers arrived at the bottom of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a massive brick workout...ride the 100 mile Tour de Palm Springs century route, then do the Cactus to Clouds hike, a climb from zero elevation up to the top of the Mt. San Jacinto tram at 8500'. I would only do the bike portion, as I had to skedaddle off to the Endurance Sports Awards in San Diego.
The Posse included DART-nuun teammate Cyril Jay Rayon, his girlfriend the speedy Sylvie Maracci, "People in Greenland know me" adventure racer and Captain of Team Feed the Machine Christian Burke, triathlete and speedy Feed the Machine team member Evan Burke, Bodacious Brazilian Botanist Tessa Roorda, and equestrienne/oversleeper/Ironman Arizona entry-regretter/adventure racer Kim Morse.
We rolled out into the headwinds blowing 20mph+ east at around 7:45. The first 1.5-2 hours or so we kept the group together, keeping an easy spin for everyone drafting behind the "engines" up front. As we approached the infamous Dillon road, a decision was made to break up the group into two groups: Sane and Insane. I led the Insane group.
The Insane group included Cyril and Evan. Small, but plenty crazy. The wind blowing us down Dillon Road had us averaging close to 30mph for over 30 miles. Any time we were on the flats we were over 30. A slight downhill had us spinning out the 53x12 at 40+....what a blast!
The last 2 hours took us through Indio and back to Palm Springs on a rather circuitous route. Mostly into the wind, our speed of course slowed considerably. The last 45 minutes had us spinning SRO as the lads knew they had a 5 hour hike up Mt. San Jacinto waiting at the finish line. Cactus to Clouds is a hard hike at any time. After a 100 mile ride, you have serious bragging rights. Add considerable snow above 6000', freezing temperatures, and navigating the perilous slope of the final approach to the tram in the dark, and you are in a very small club indeed.
This weekend I plan on going back to Palm Springs to ride the "official" Tour de Palm Springs course with Mark Matyazic and Larry Davidson. Hopefully, also tacking on the Cactus to Clouds route if I can convince someone to join me. Any takers?