For months, I’ve been staging the big ride. This is how the staging area transformed from Thursday morning to Thursday evening.
By 8:45 PM, all the decisions had been made and all was packed in the car. My bicycle, the central element of the entire trip, is under the green tarp.
My son and I left Friday morning with a full moon and made it well past the Mississippi River before we stopped.
On Saturday, we reached Colorado and traversed La Veta Pass, the lesser of the two big climbs in the Rockies. Though it will be a 20 mile climb, the grade did not look formidable. I believe I can do it. To cap off Saturday, we ate dinner at a barbecue place in South Fork, CO. When I noticed that the server forgot to put our beers on the tab, I showed it to my son. He asked if I had seen what was written at the bottom. Had the server not forgotten the beers, I’d not have seen the very appropriate message at the bottom of the tab:
On Sunday morning, we woke up early and crossed Wolf Creek Pass as the day yawned awake. It was 39 degrees at 10,857 feet above sea level. The next time I see this sign will be after a 24-mile climb that I anticipate will take me four to five hours on my bike.
On Monday, I continued west from Prescott, AZ, where my son and I parted, toward San Diego, driving part of the bike route in reverse. Some parts were totally new to me, like the descent from Prescott toward Congress AZ, on a slope so steep that the uphill and downhill lanes were carved out of the mountain at different levels. However, one part was familiar — the Imperial Sand Dunes where I cycled last fall with valleys that match hills so that the momentum of the downhill takes you up the next uphill.
I completed my transformation from east coast dweller to west coast visitor at night, traversing a field of wind turbines blinking their red warning lights in unison as I listened to a show on NPR about how the glut of renewable energy is mucking up the electric grid. Some transformations, such as that from fossil fuel to renewable energy, don’t go as smoothly as we’d like.
Others go just fine. Months of training and planning for this ride will transform into reality when I take the first pedal stroke of an estimated million tomorrow morning in Oceanside, CA.