I woke at 0430 and couldn't go back to sleep so I got up an decided to shave. Gary Rossi was doing the exact same thing so we decided to make some coffee together and chat while we waited for the sun to come up.
While filling the coffee pot up, Gary ran out of water so I took the pot to the sports coolers to add some. What went into the pot was some gatorade flavored water. So we drank Kona gatorade coffee. Pretty nasty but it just added to his list of stories.
At six AM, Gary opened all the doors on his truck, turned the CD player up to full blast and played a track that had a very loud rooster crowing followed by reveille for the sleeping campers. Pretty funny.
Breakfast was burritos, yogurt, cereal and other stuff was served. There was more than enough food for all.
The ride out to the snack stop was under an overcast sky so it was pleasant despite the bumpy roads. We were held there while Gary verified we could get on base where we would have lunch and a swim.
The ride to the base was about another 10 miles. It was starting to get hot but the kids were motivated by the promise swimming. And after lunch, that's what we did. We had to wait for our time at the pool so the kids just played on the playground.
The kids had a blast at the pool and I got a hot shower. After an hour, we had to hit the road again. Keep in mind that the kids just road 24 miles, played, and swam. Now all we need to do is ride 24 more miles to the Ocotillo community center, no sweat.
The first 10 miles were nice, with a 10 mph tailwind. Fantastic except for the fact that we were going 13+ mph with no air flow, so we were baking.
At 10 miles and in a matter of 60 seconds we are pedaling into a 10 mph quartering headwind that would build to a fierce 20 to 25 mph direct headwind. The troops were soon demoralized and it became a battle of wills with most of the parents.
Mari Lu was not a happy camper (none of the kids were). We stopped multiple times, exchanged some choice words, and tried to soldier on. Mari Lu found a friend to ride with, and that worked well until I looked back and saw her walking her bike. We were ridding at 4 mph so it wasn't much slower. In fact, at one point i stopped and walked to show her walking was just as fast as she was riding (3-4 mph) hoping to ride at a blazing 5 mpg. We exchanged some words about quitting and other topics. She said she was done talking to me so she just started walking again. I stayed where I was and waited to see what would happen. About 50 yards down the road she got back on the bike. Fantastic, we were riding again.
The wind was now at 25 mph directly in our face, mixing in dirt and sand at times. Happy, she is not. I tried the firm hand, that didn't work. I tried a few other things, including being quiet. What finally got us the next few critical miles before a turn was to tell her a story. I have a very long running story that she loves, Cedric and the flying broom. In order to tell the story though I have to yell over the howling wind. It was enough of a distraction to get us to the next stop where we would turn, almost eliminating the demoralizing conditions. The only thing in our favor for the last 8 miles was that the sun moved behind some clouds.
At the corner, we had a water refill and ML was able to use the bathroom in a motor home belonging to another parent. Only another mile or so to go.
Mari Lu was a changed woman when we made the turn. We were going about 15 mph and passed another group of riders. Life was good for about 1/2 mile, then we turned into the wind. She knew we were close. After a quick fix for a mechanical problem, she got on the wheel of a very nice mom who was a much more effective wind block to the wind than me. The mom (I can't remember her name), chatted away constantly to Mari Lu to distract her (and probably herself). Mari Lu soldiered on to the days finish. We arrived to a large gathering of riders and parents cheering us on. I stayed and did the same for the riders coming in behind us.
The very last rider came in with the designated tail rider. She looked to be in her teens and stopped about 50 yards from the driveway. Gary, who had been riding up and down the line of cyclists all day shouting fantastic words of encouragement, walked down to encourage her to just walk to the entrance. At the gate, her dad carried her in. It was very touching. This poor girl was beyond tapped out.
Dinner was fried chicken, potatoes and veggies. I drank seven glasses of cold lemonade. I would have eaten road kill at that point and I no longer had a voice after yelling over the howling wind.
No tent for us tonight, we opted to use the community center floor with many others. I was more tired and hungry than I expected. To make matters worse, I've come down with a head cold.
We've ridden over 120 miles so far. Tomorrow is the beginning of the mountain stages.