The first Different Spokes organized ride of the year was well attended, what with a 600-700 mile drive, but with the fabulous weather, and some well timed (or maybe just coincidental) departures, Dave G and Michael S met up with David G and Bill M about 30 minutes south of Los Banos.
We arrived at the planned lunch spot, the In-N-Out Burger in Kettleman City about 11:30 in Friday. As we were getting back onto Interstate 5, Jerome T and Ron N were pulling off for lunch, so they were just about 45 minutes behind us, followed by Bill B and Stephanie C. Rico N was already in Palm Springs, having headed down earlier in the week for a little extra R&R and some golf. Wayne T and Dave F along with Don D were also somewhere along the way. Things went well, until we get into the Friday afternoon traffic from LA to PS making for a very slow 60 or so miles.
We met up Friday evening for the early registration and pasta feed, we got our rider numbers, but no safety pins, and they were out of the century route sheets.
The Tour de Palm Springs makes a large loop around the valley, and after going thru downtown Palm Springs, where they had an entire lane blocked off with cones for the ride, we head north towards Bighorn Mountain. The desert scenery was quite, mountains surround the entire valley, and snow was visible on top of some of them. After the first rest stop, we headed south and we rejoin the 55 mile rout in North Palm Springs on Dillon Road. From here we head souteast parallel to the Joshua Tree National Park and about 40 miles into the century route is the turn off for the 55 milers, the “exscape” route. Ron N, Jerry & his partner doing the 55 mile route caught up to us here as we had a flat amongst us.
Lunch was at rest stop 3 at 54 miles, our choice was cheese sandwich or… cheese sandwich, they had run out of any other choices “2000 sandwiches ago.” Two thirds of the ride is in fairly remote areas, with some rollers, some winds, but the next stretch out to Thermal and then west towards La quinta had some very rough patches of roads. Teeth chattering rough. As we started getting into La Quinta the roads got better, and the area came with more landscaping and protection from the sun, cooling things a bit.
The last rest stop was outside of Cathedral City at about mile 90, we again regrouped before heading on the last stretch back to Palm Springs. We arrive back at Palm Springs High School, retrieved our tshirts and headed back out as it was getting dark.
Congratulations to Stephanie C., not only did she complete her FIRST century, but a century so early in the season, we actually logged nearly 109 miles, with the extra mileage to and from the condos and such.