Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pactour Elite Southern Transcontinental: Day 1

Day 1: San Diego CA to El Centro CA
Mileage/Ride Time: 124 miles 7:40 Time Lv/Arr: 6:00am/2:20pm
Climbing: 7400ft Avg Speed/Work: 16.1mph/3700 kJ

This is the first riding day of the Elite Southern Transcontinental.
Get up at 5am. Breakfast 5:30am. Mass start at 6:00am.

Parked outside my room, I saw two SmartCars. They're not on sale in the US yet. Must be demo vehicles.

Temperatures around 60F in the morning here in San Diego. Arm-warmers and undershirt.

By the time we reach the Ramada Inn (shown) in El Centro CA, it will reach 100F.

Measured distance was 124 miles, about the same as a 200km brevet.

It's a ride that can be divided into two sections: one hilly, maintaining around 100ft of climbing per mile, and one downhill to flat. Here is the profile recorded by my Garmin Vista Cx:

Here is the route in MapSource and Google Earth. basically paralleling Interstate 8 and sometimes riding on it:

Ride Observations: I climbed really conservatively today (well, didn't really have a choice due to lack of fitness and miles) and rested well on the downhill to flat section after lunch following the purple Simonds/Chaitt Co-motion tandem. The first 70 miles, including climbing through Alpine, was surprisingly hilly and I used my SRM Powermeter to keep the wattage target on climbs to around 220W. This was slower than most.

Josh Simonds and Doreen Chaitt are the only tandem team here. The tandem climbed at a pace I could manage, and (lacking a drum drag or disc brake) had more momentum than God downhill. I averaged nearly 23mph for 35 miles just following their wheel.

They stopped to cool off at the penultimate water stop, and I rode in with Vernon Smith and Erik Hallam (at 30 years, the youngest rider on the Elite Transcontinental), both from Colorado Springs.

One day down. However, the summer desert heat is on and there are many more days to come. Tomorrow is a 191 mile stage to Gila Bend AZ.

Pactour is a well organized and slick operation. They have water stops every 25-30 miles or so. And I only blew through one of them, taking advantage of the facilities to refill my nearly-drained 48oz bottle at all the other stops. Although I arrived before the room key distribution at 3pm, the receiving area was already well set up:

Amusing anecdote for the day: At the 75 mile lunch stop (Jacumba), I went across the road to the local store.

Posted there was a sign clearly marked "NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS".
I bought a candy bar and asked to use the restroom.
The guy behind the counter said: "You're not supposed to but go ahead."
When I came out, he asked me: "How long did it take you to get here?"
I replied: 5 hours from San Diego.
He said: "The bus takes 3 hours!"

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