Distance – 92 miles.
The alarm went again at 05:15 this morning, something I would need to get used to over the coming weeks. Shower, breakfast, tyres pumped followed by sign on and we were ready to ride the 92 miles to Indio. Based upon yesterday’s ride I was invited to ride in the first group which left at 07:00. This suited me fine because it took the pressure off for the remainder of the day knowing that I would not need to be chasing all day and allowed more time to stop to take photographs.
The ride was quite pleasant today and once again I found myself riding with Kevin T as we both seemed to have a similar pace. As we were now in the desert, today was the first day of target times which basically meant that we had to leave SAG stops by specific times. Target times were there for our safety and to ensure that no one got left behind. I, along with others felt under a little pressure with there introduction but nevertheless we were in and out of each SAG stop well within the allocated time.
The temperature was well into the 90’s today and we were wearing our Camelbaks for the first time to ensure that we kept drinking throughout the day. We skirted Palm Springs where there is a massive windmill farm before hitting a rewarding 5 mile downhill section, albeit on a rough Railroad trail. Kevin and I reached the second SAG of the day and following a brief stop hit the road again. Unfortunately, within a mile, Kevin had a puncture and on closer inspection we also found that the sidewall of his tyre had split so we had to wait for the support vehicle to arrive so that we could replace the tyre. This took about 45 minutes and in the afternoon heat of the desert, with no shade it took its’ toll on our bodies. We both felt under pressure as we were now last in the group but nevertheless we made good time and for the final 10 mile ride into Indio took it in turns to ride in front whilst the other sheltered from the headwind that we were now experiencing. We arrived at Indio, tired but pleased to have got through our first day in the desert.
Tonight’s dinner was at the local Casino, we were far too tired to think about gambling, and once again an early night was calling in preparation for the ride across the Mohave desert tomorrow which everyone was worried about.