We're off! So many memories came rushing back to me, and the fact that it is never easy came to me pretty quick. We had an early morning, I got up at about 4:30 and Marlei and Katie (the current chase vehicle drivers) woke up at 5:00. Surprises abound: iHop not open until 7, and the Denny's was permanently closed. So instead of the big breakfast that I am supposed to be eating, I had a couple donuts from a great local donut place. I don't think my calorie deficit is anything to be concerned with yet.
Since I blew a fuse in the van due to the inverter, we are getting pretty worried about the van in general. Frank Nigro and the riders from Advanced Bionics met us at 7:30 and we had a great photo op at the oceanside, with my rear wheel in the Pacific ocean. After about 5 minutes of getting photos, a slightly bigger wave came by and got my shoes completely soaked and came up almost to my bottom bracket. So I rode today in wet sandy socks. But this is still a lot better than two years ago, when I left in jeans and a jacket instead of my cycling shorts due to not understanding how crazy the first day can be!
We had a fast group, Jesse Soliven and two other riders did a lot of the work to keep us at 16-17 mph all day. We had a minor yellow-light-confusion crash, and someone got their handlebars in my spokes, so my rear wheel got a pretty good wobble to it. Two other riders crashed about 15 miles later due to a dropped water bottle. One flat tire from another rider. All in all, an eventful ride! Marlei and Katie left the headlights on for two minutes while getting coffee, which was enough to strand them.
When we got to AB, we were greeted by a warm reception of 25 employees. It's nice to be back on the road!
We got lunch with everybody from AB, including Jesse and Frank while we waited for Bicycle John's to true my wheel. When we got back to AB, the ride was about 56 miles at that point, and I set off for another 40. We ended up in Palmdale, CA. There was a lot of climbing on the way, and my legs were alright, but all of the tendons and ligaments got really sore because I haven't pushed them as much or as fast as that in a long time.
Had some funny shifting issues on the lower gears, mostly because they never really get used back home. It was a half turn of the lower limit screw (a quarter turn at a time) and a 3/4 turn of the b-tension adjuster to get it nice and smooth. Had a scary moment when the chain fell off on the wheel-side of the cassette. If one continues pedaling when that happens, the spokes eat the derailer and tear it off of the bike, destroying the hanger and/or the entire bicycle frame. Thankfully, I stopped before that could happen and that's when I started my adjustments.
I also ended up raising the saddle about a millimeter, which feels good so far. I thought this was all dialed in before I left, but doing 97 miles with more than 5,000 feet of climbing can really open up the eyes as to what needs to be done.
Riding up those long gradual hills, having Marlei and Katie drive back because I was taking 2 hours to go 20 miles, just made me remember about how it is basically never easy. The last 12 miles went fast downhill and crazy tailwinds, but my ligaments and tendons were too sore to appreciate the easy pedaling.
Got settled in a Motel 6, and this one charges for wifi so we only have one device, typing this on Marlei's laptop. She doesn't have a smartphone, so she gets the wifi. Service is good though.
327 miles in 3 days (109 average) to get to Vegas. If the winds continue and it flattens out, we are definitely looking at 120+ tomorrows to get ahead of that high average.
Still need dinner and kale avocado shake before bed. Good night!