Day 3 El Centro to Blythe

Ice socks and sitting on the sofa

We got an early start this morning to take on a 107 mile day across the desert and over one smallish mountain.

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The profile looked intimidating until I figured out the scale. That scary hill was 1500 high over 20 miles, barely noticeable.

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First we had to get out of El Centro, departing before 7am to beat the heat. We were headed north east, with a strong wind out of the south. Here is Jim, Lynn, and Jay in our NY paceline. (Jim and I wore matching Cornell jerseys, Lynn is from NYC and Jay is from Sleepy Hollow.) We rode 11 miles on this smooth road with a tailwind, practicing our pacelines.

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Soon we turned off and went by a feedlot with 50 tracking solar panels sitting above the cattle. Even though we were surrounded by farmland, cattle, and bales of hay stacked 50 feet high, we had 5 bars on our cell phones.

Entering the Imperial Sand Dunes, we saw an amazing overlook several hundred feet up a sand dune. Herb from Houston just made it to the top – note the clipless sandals for hot weather rides.

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Jim and Chris, all matchy-matchy in our Ivy League splendor.

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Behind Lynn’s bike you can see about 100 spare miles of just … sand!

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No, it’s not Monument Valley in the distance, just an old set left by John Houston from his westerns.

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The PAC Tour organizers had stops every 12-25 miles with food, water, and lots of ice. Fill a sock with ice and put it between your jersey collar and the back of your neck for miles of cool enjoyment. So long as you don’t mind looking like Marty Feldman from Young Frankenstein. “Hump, what hump?”

The US Border Patrol had another stop along the way, looking for illegals well inside the border. Cyclists always get waved along as who bike to this country? Technically they are not allowed to search cars, or force anyone to show ID, but hey, not everyone knows their rights.

For the last 20 miles I partnered with Eddy, a strong amateur rider from Belgium. When we headed north, we had a strong tailwind and easily rode 25 mph. But when we turned east, the wind slammed us in the side. Eddy had me ride in his wind shadow, his left side, shielded from the breeze on his right. He called it “sitting on the sofa.” He pulled me almost twice as much as I pulled him, and together we flew in.

Please support my ride to raise money for the Pan Mass Challenge and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Chris Spear

P.S. Check out Jim’s blog