crew duties had us alternating riding days with Susan and getting
to ride on the first day. Susan actually seemed quite willing
to not ride on day 1. The first 70 miles of uphill and
the scorching temperatures in the desert may have had something
to do with her willingness to work on Day 1. Despite all this,
we were thrilled to be riding.
Riders are supposed to leave in a staggered start over a half
hour period with the slowest riders leaving first and the faster
riders heading out last. When done right, most riders will reach
lunch within an hour of each other. This makes life easier on
the lunch crew and means everyone gets fresh food. Unfortunately
on the first day, adrenaline was pumping and most riders wanted
to get on the road early.
The 70 miles of uphill had me a bit nervous as well. While
we climb fairly well, I didn't think we'd do very well staying
with the hammers for this much climbing. I wanted to leave about
halfway through the half hour window. But 15 minutes into it,
we looked around and saw a deserted parking lot. We headed off
to the ocean for the obligatory shot of the west coast water
and then turned east. We did meet up with Kurt and Tim while
taking pictures and stayed with them for most of the day.
climbing well past lunch we were rewarded with a 55 mph descent
into hell. Well not really hell, but the temperatures rose steadily
as our altitude dropped. I had my Vertech watch mounted on the
handlebars in the shade of John's saddle, and shortly before
we reached the final snack stop, it read 116F. While leaning
against a signpost in the sun, it reached 126F.
In the final 30 miles, the wind turned vicious on us as we
tackled an incredible headwind. I sucked down a full Camelbak
and three bottles of very hot water. I'd definitely have to
look into insulation for these bottles if it was to stay this
hot for long.
We reached the hotel and began our crew duties for the afternoon.
I offered to take Rebecca swimming, a popular crew duty on last
year's northern trip, but thanks to school and other conflict's
Lon and Susan's daughter didn't make the trip this fall. But
I still lucked out with a cushy job that afternoon. For the
first time in PAC history, Lon and his brother Ken, had planned
some stage racing. There were to be a couple of time trials
and some road races held throughout the trip, usually starting
after the first 20-30 miles and finishing up before lunch. Having
checked off computer skills on my crew questionnaire, I got
assigned the task of typing in the schedule in the air-conditioned
While I was doing this, John, Lon and Eric decided to destroy
our tandem. We had been having some trouble adjusting the eccentric,
and had dropped our sync chain a couple of times. John asked
Lon for a little help fixing this problem. While trying to make
the adjustment, they discovered that the eccentric was actually
broken into several pieces. They pressed it back together, and
reinstalled and assure me it would hold up for thousands of
miles. In the meantime I called the builder and asked to have
a new one shipped out.