Friday, October 26, 2012

Tour De Diligence: Let's roll.

I met up with the other 4 who were part of this mad hatter's scheme.  Our rendezvous point was The Hub Cyclery in Idyllwild, Ca.  Owned by the duo of Brendan and Mary, both accomplished endurance cyclists, the Stagecoach 400 route was their brainchild and we would be following that route this week.  We had aggressive mileage goals each day so I watched as Jason, Ben, Errin, and Andrew assembled their bikes and gear as two of them had flown in from out of state.

All the bikes they rode were Salsa Fargos.  Three were 2013 Ti versions, one a custom steel with S&S couplers.  One had a sus fork, but the rest were rigid and all were running drop bars.  Wow. Really?  Through the desert?

Several hours later we were ready to go packing some sandwiches from a local grub shop.  "Yes, we would like 10 turkey and avocado sandwiches to go, please".  That took a while.  It was around 4:00 pm by the time we were on the way out of a mist shrouded mountain town.  We had a lot of elevation to drop first though as our goal was to camp in the Coyote Cyn area of the Anza Borrego desert some 33 miles away.

DIY bike kits.

Errin, past Tour Divide racer.

Everyone looked fitter and more experienced than I.  Ben was young enough to be my son.  Sigh.  I dreaded being the anchor.  Still, I had to wonder about the choice in bikes.  That would turn out to be a bit of a reality over the next few days.

artsy-fartsy pics while I waited around

playing with in-camera filters.

On trail we climbed for a bit then dropped toward a highway that would lead us out of town and out of the mountains.  Errin and I had the GPS units so we were the truth-keepers of justice as far as making sense of the route sheets.   I was glad to be dropping out of the high elevations as I sure was not packed for that kind of sleeping temps.

Errin the GPS master.  I was his Padowan.
Jason B.  AKA The Diesel

There was a fair amount of pavement riding to connect the dots but traffic was almost nil.
 We dropped down a loose doubletrack that was just like old home week for me on the FS Spearfish, but it was giving pause to the drop bar guys/rigid fork crowd.  I don't know how they did it, really.  It would have freaked me out.

We bottomed out on the desert floor just as dusk fell and we swapped to lights.  We figured to ride a couple of hours into the dark to make or camp goal, but we also got the first flat tire.  It turned out that some of the riders had tubes in there, not being aware of the folly of tubes in the So Cal desert.  That was to be part of our undoing, but we did not know that yet.

Soon we dropped into Coyote Cyn and lots of descending in rocky, loose jeep road.  It seemed like we would never find our camp, but we did, and Bailey's Cabin was home for a night.

Breakfast the next morning.

Fargo at rest.

Bivys keep it simple.

Fluid Performance do I love thee?
Jason taking a pic of his stove, proud papa.

Well, I can do that too.  My homemade pop can stove, bike spoke pot stand, and $1.00 windscreen worked flawlessly.
Next was a long day out to Fish Canyon through the rest of Coyote Canyon (which would be a real adventure) and lunch at Borrego Springs.

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