We had ideal weather, and a better route than in years past, and even more smiles per mile ridden. The change to the desert was almost universally appreciated, with far fewer casualties on the new route, plus the opportunity for some to soak in the hot springs at Agua Caliente. The pavement leading to Oriflamme provided an opportunity to soak in the desert without so much focus on riding technique.
We had a record 29 finishers- compare to 11 last year- despite a start list comparable to years past.
The ride has really been coming “above ground,” getting loads of attention in the San Diego area, and recognition from business owners throughout the route for economic benefit. The storekeeper at Agua Caliente told us we “made his month” and I’ve had word from innkeepers, shopkeepers, and restauranteurs in Idyllwild that we made a significant economic impact here as well. The storekeeper in Anza was most appreciative, as were the folks in Descanso.
Our suggested donations to the Idyllwild Community fund raised almost $1,000!
Route hiccups included a recently shut off water spigot at the top of Noble Canyon, which we’d confirmed on just two weeks earlier. Later on route, a “Closed” sign was posted at the tail end of the Sweetwater trail system coming into San Diego, where riders had to get creative and seek alternative means of passage.
The early morning departure was delayed 30 minutes while we ironed out technical glitches with the trackers. Not an unwelcome delay, considering sub-freezing temps rolling downhill on the highway. By that afternoon we were in the desert at near 90.
The ride out front was tight, with Phil Liggett’s proverbial elastic stretching, contracting… and snapping. Guy Sutton, Bryan Taylor, and Erick Lord all made for an interesting watch on the Trackleaders page.
Credit Card tourists Cliff Clermont & Stan Potter showed a blistering moving pace, with long comfortable overnight stays… resulting in solid mid-pack finishes.
Keith Richards-Dinger put the hammer down on his single speed for a mid day Sunday finish.
Claude Frat had a strong ride, commenting frequently on the joy of his tour.
Tyrel Beede rocked the course in a very stylish 5 day pace, stopping frequently for Tall Boy refreshment. I witnessed Fosters, Tecate, and Bud Light, though I’m sure there were more.
Maria Lopez and Carisa Stelmat were this year’s only female entrants, making it to San Diego and reporting a great time doing it.