Some of you have noticed the route description on the main page has changed to describe a counter-clockwise route direction. Yep! That’s what’s happening.
Here’s the deal– since 2012, the group ride has been running to the desert first, while folks still have as much energy & wherewithal to “get it done.” Now that we’re running the group ride earlier (February) we don’t have to worry so much about high desert temps, and the desert will be (slightly) less daunting.
Going counterclockwise will also lighten the group ride’s footprint in the Anza Borrego desert, where some of our riders raised some flags last year. Riders will hopefully be a trickle rather than a swarm from now on.
Importantly, the CCW change will mean more realistic daily stops for more “middle pack” riders. Where the old route direction meant a near-mandatory 112 mile first day, the new way will bring riders to Lake Henshaw resort at approximately Mile 80, which for many will be a welcome stop. Likewise, at the tail end of the ride, riders will be able to go full stop or freshen up at Agua Caliente before jumping across the desert, then have practical stops in Ocotillo Wells, Borrego Springs, or even Bailey’s Cabin on the way up Coyote Canyon. (Coyote Canyon ain’t that bad a climb, btw)
Additional goods: CCW opens the door for the Salton Sea extension that some of you probably know we’ve been working on… and the CCW direction helps scramble the brains of record-seekers while encouraging new creative thinking on the part of pretty much everybody attending. And that’s how we keep it real.
What’s next: we’re working on a route change in North County San Diego that’ll offer new/better camping opportunity and better long term trails for varying weather conditions. Once that’s done, and we have this year’s beneficiary donation page set up, we’ll be opening up registration for the 2016 group ride.