Started off with fitting Winston up a little more RAAM appropriate, and then Thursday we got into it. Jiles and I headed out into the sun for a spin up into and through Joshua Tree National Park, a nice little loop with a few climbs, about 8,500 feet worth, and some pretty cool terrain to ride about it. We hit a fair bit of wind, sorta like the last time - see the blog from California Part One - but once down off the plateau and turning east with the full force of the wind getting funneled between the mountains, rode the last 35 miles in a little over an hour. We also confirmed it's a good idea to have a spare tire, as Jiles caught a catastrophic flat at 7mph 1/2 way up the 2nd big climb. Luckily it was a confirmation, and not a lesson.
Today I headed down to the Glass Elevator and back. Here is an excerpt from the local weather station...
WINDS... SOUTHWEST TO WEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH OCCASIONAL GUSTS TO 60 MPH ALONG THE DESERT SLOPES AND NEAR PASSES AND CANYONS
For those not local to the area, La Quinta and the ride over to Borrego / The Glass Elevator is directly along said stated "desert slopes" and happens to ride quite near several passes and canyons. Acceptable winds for the first 25 miles, then slightly unacceptable winds as I headed straight into the eye of the great beast and was forced to accept chugging along at 10-14 mph for a couple hours. That same section however on the way back was a straight coast at 35mph, those 60mph gusts timed themselves just right. There was a lesson today however. Gonna need a bigger ring in the event we find some of these tail winds come June. The rest of the ride consisted of attempting to stay between the rumble strip and the guardrail in the crosswinds, and then dealing with the confused winds as I curled back around the mountains heading home. Thus far the tally is at 280 miles, and look to do about the same over the weekend.
The next few days are supposed to grow consistently warmer, peaking early next week around 32-35 C, a good time to start trying out some desert cooling ideas, and a good time also to get up high in the mountains as the recent snow should be taken care of. Stay tuned, and it looks like next weekend will be a 36 hr finale as we explore the course into Arizona.