We met at 1 pm on Sat for the official beginning: introduction of riders and the team from America By Bicycle (ABB) followed by a thorough safety check and description of the ride across America. We were surprised to learn that 3 riders dropped out at the last minute – so only 7 of us will ride cross country.
The other riders include: Jen, a business woman, is from Oak Park, IL. Francois, born and raised in France, has retired from Wall street work. Morten is from Norway – his carbon fiber frame had a crack in it from shipping, so he had to buy a new bike. Mitch, a tax attorney, is the only one from CA. Marco is from the Netherlands. Todd, a businessman from CO says hopes his children may take up biking and ride with him. All the riders have planned for at least 3 years, some for 5 years, to go on the ride.
This morning, the luggage was put in the van by 6:15 and we finished breakfast before 7. Off to the shoreline near Orange street and Pacific Coast Highway for the tire dip and group photo. A bottle of water from the Pacific Ocean was collected to be poured into the Atlantic Ocean at the end.
We started on the Santa Ana waterway, biking for miles, passing the Anaheim and Honda stadiums. That trail lead to bike paths through parks along the river. We went off path and rode through Norco, a bedroom community that allows residents to keep stables and horses. This lead to more parkland trails. Outside the park, we passed Loma Linda University and its sprawling Medical complex. After lunch, we rode past large tree nurseries, orchards of orange trees, cattle and horse ranches. Multiple large lilac trees in full bloom – the size and shape of small oak trees filled the air with their heavenly fragrance. From Beaumont, we descended through city streets with a strong tailwind. That wind carried us onto I 10, the major interstate freeway, then onto Route 111 and into Palm Springs. 117.4 miles today. The legs are tired and the upper back muscles are, well, needing some attention.
Tomorrow is 135 miles to Blythe, CA. We may get off easy with a temp of only 85. Usually, it is in the high 90s. So, keep hydrating!