RADUS 2011 – LA to Las Vegas

 

12.3.11 Sat. Pushed out @ 6:30 a. Needed first brake adj in 2 miles. ABL lost nose piece to his Glasses. Melinda saged ’em. The climb started, and so did the wind – severe. I needed to walk d bike several times, or be blown off. Was even hard to walk d bike. ~ 26 mi to summit. Took 4.5 hrs. Another 1.5 to bottom of hill. Head winds the whole way – nasty! Lunch @ Charlie Brown’s Farms – nice!

 

Afternoon was a total grunt as well. Head winds 15mph+ NE. And we were either heading north of east. Were in the flatlands but could only travel at ~ 11 mph max. The sun went over the hills at 4:30. We pulled over to add light gear. The temp dropped 15 degrees. Had 2 hrs n d dark to get to Victorville. Was 42 degrees when we arrived. Was perhaps the toughest 93 miles I’ve done in a day. Great hotel – great heater!

 

Sunday, 12.4.11. Pushed out at 7:50. Temp 28. Fountain at hotel had ice stalagmites. The extra fleece layers purchased d night b4 were the saving grace for the cold. My left knee was screaming. Did mega advil and 38 miles to barstow. Easy rolling hills. I needed to draft the whole way. Lunch @ Jenny’s Grill. Nice late breakfast.

 

Afternoon ride was great sailing to Newberry Springs (a former water depot). This was our jaunt on Route 66. Classic, but abandoned road that parallels I-40. Sky was clear, wind calm, knee much better – advil every hour must have been working. Scott towed us most of the way – I drafted as much as possible nursing the knee. Avg speed ~ 18mph. Had a break at the Bagdad Cafe. So named because of a 1988 film shot there by the same name.

 

Here’s where a sweet day became an adventure. With 30 miles to go on Route 66, after a few miles the road became this crumpled mess of neglected asphalt. There were endless ridges, gaps at least 5 inches across and 2 inches deep. Since Andy & Scott have pure touring bikes with the wider tires, they were having no problems. Where as my road bike was being thrown about like a rag doll in a dog’s mouth. My speed dropped to 8MPH with much effort. As I fell further behind, I contemplated my strategy with ~ 20 miles to go and the sun about set. Then a fwy on ramp appeared. The posted sign said “no bicycles”. Humm, with the temps about to fall 15 degrees….., I went for it. On the fwy – now doing 13 to 21 MPH. Just hoping no CHP cruises by. It got dark & cold, but I had the ability to make Ludlow. The wide shoulder was very safe. After the last leg on my own, I was grateful the advil was working. Andy & Scott pulled in ~ 20 min after I did. Dinner at this one restaurant truck stop was good, the motel, cheezy. A 95 mile day

 

Monday, 12.5.11- Winds predicted to be 20mph by early morning, so we pushed out at Oh-Dark-Hundred (5:20). It was pitch-black and cold ~ 30 degrees. Still on Route 66. First stop Anboy -28 miles away. We went at rocket speed courtesy of Scott, our tow master. Terrain was slight up & downhills. The speed was about 18mph when it was light enough to see the speedo. The knee was ok, again the pain dulled by eating advil like M&M’s. I had to ask Scott more than once to slow down a bit – reminding him and Andy that this was the “ride” across d us-RADUS, not the “race”. Two amazing parts of the morning included pedaling straight into the morning sky, with the colors on the horizon going thru all the hues of blue & red before the sun came up. We took pictures at a sweet time. The other phenomena were the volcanic craters along the way, the Pisgah and the Amboy, quite a sight.

 

We made it to Amboy about 7:45, the sun fully up and the wind ready to come up. This is a classic R-66 diner and hotel that have been forgotten & neglected since I-40 went thru in ’73. We coffeed up & hit the head, then hit the road. The beauty of the day quickly turned ugly by the wind. I pulled out of the parking lot first – got about a 1/2 mile lead and struggled with a strong cross wind from the North as I pedaled east on this long straight road with an upward tilt. I was nursing the knee with every stroke, but kept the rpms on the crank going. I was expecting Andy & Scott to be up with me rather quickly, but it took them better than 6 miles to catch me. With my hindered performance, that felt good.

 

Now for the big ugly, the route turned due north, up hill, and straight into this headwind. Was it 15mph, 20, or greater? Quien sabe? Who knows? Our drafting formation was tight: Scott, Andy, and me. (Did I mention that it was cold?). This path was longer than 30 miles up this incline into the Mojave Preserve. Now Andy starts complaining about

 

The pace was 5mph with an occasional 6mph blitz. This was not a fun spot. Through the struggle we could see I-40 15 miles ahead at an elevation gain of perhaps 1500 to feet. The cars on the fwy looked like ants. 2hrs into this they looked no closer. (I now started having visions of vacationing in Baja, sitting in a beach chair with a cool cocktail in hand.) Since the fun was gone and my left knee was ready to disown me, I hitch hiked my way out of this wind tunnel. After about 10 cars passing us, I caught a ride with a couple, Ray & Melissa, art dealers out of Palm Desert, enroute to vegas. They dropped me off in Nipton, about 70 miles north. I logged 42 miles by bike in my 5 hour slog for the day. Was checked into the Nipton Inn by noon, showered and settled on the wind protected porch-sun warming my face-with a cold beer. I thought of my two buds out there still, they both have hitch-a-rideable thumbs… I was happy with my decision. In the quaint Nipton Inn, we had 4 Inn mates from So Cal. They were on their own out door nature trek: Alan, Rich, Don, & John. They brought in sandwiches from Baker for the two wayward cyclists.

 

The sun went down at 4:30; the cool/cold set in. My guess for the ETA for Andy & Scott was some where between 7:15 and 10pm. At about 8:15, us comfortable guys in the warm Nipton Inn prepped one of their cars to go on a search & rescue mission. When we pulled out of the parking lot, these two sorry looking blokes were just 500 feet from the inn :).

 

The cycle die-hards were like deadmen rolling. They logged 114 miles for the day with significant climbing and endless headwinds. Andy was admittedly a bit delirious. Scott was not quit himself either. We got ’em inside, fed and watered. They both turned down a beer – like I said, not quite themselves. Andy also arrived with a bit of frostbit on his fingertips.

 

Day 4, Tuesday, 12.6.11 – the boys planned to sleep in, and they did

 

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