Day Eight: Canadian’s attire

XC Day8

XC Day8.2

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Seligman, AZ to Grand Canyon, AZ 104.5 miles

Today’s ride started with a temperature of 37 degrees as we left the hotel for Lilo’s Westside Café in Seligman for breakfast. Everyone looked like they had everything on that they brought for the trip. Long underwear, shoe covers, leg warmers, long sleeved jerseys, cycling jackets, ear warmers and helmet covers were among the necessities keeping Jack Frost away. Of course there is always that one person who has to be different. Steve from Canada shows up with his regular warm weather attire and his rain jacket as his only means of warmth. He never complained once!

Today’s ride leaves the barren, open and desolate geography to a more interesting picturesque landscape. We rode up in altitude over 6000 feet and for once noticed real pine trees and forests on the way to the Grand Canyon. We ate lunch at Kaibab Lake Park which was beautiful little lake off the highway. Here we had access to shade under the tall pines but today everyone wanted to be in the sun to keep warm. Our tour guides made sure we had a great lunch, as they do everyday, and off to the Grand Canyon we went.

We entered the Park with the usually fanfare of pictures of the park entrance sign. The group totally forgot about checking in their rooms because of the spectacular views from the hotel lawns . The view was more than impressive then any picture could replicate. Everyone had their cameras out taking pictures of each other and with their fellow cyclists until every possible permutation was tried. That may not seem all that exciting but we were competing for space with the scores of bus loads of people that passed us along the way up to the south rim.

Today’s ride was great but the end of the ride made it all worth while. What a great reward!


The Cross Country line up!

Here they are, the cross country crew for our inaugural trip. Wish them well, they have a ways to go yet!

XC_LineUp

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Day Four: No services, next 100 miles…

Day Four Photo

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Twentynine Palms, California to Parker City, Arizona. 112.3 miles.

Today’s ride was a long day winding our way through the Sheep Hole Mountains in the southern part of the Mojave Desert. The most notable highlight of the ride was the sign on the outskirts of Twentynine Palms which said, “No services next 100 miles.” That may have been intimidating but all 21 riders continued on confident they would make it.

Not known for their benevolence, the Mojave Desert “gods” smiled on us. We enjoyed an unusual cold front which held peak temperatures to the high 70s – low 80s, as opposed to the usual 100s. That, plus a light tail wind and a route that descended more than climbed, put us all on the fast track to cross this barren stretch of the US.

With most of us formed into pace lines of various sizes, we cruised toward Arizona at speeds faster than we expected. Traffic was light and, fortunately, no incidents marred our steady progress – with one brief exception. 7 riders were about 20 miles out of Twentynine Palms, in the middle of nowhere, cruising at a comfortable 20 miles an hour when all of the sudden out of the scrub brush leaped an incredibly huge, black, wolf-like dog that seemed to be 4 feet tall and wanted to eat every last one of us. Man, you should have seen the pace line bow out into the roadway! With a solid jolt of adrenaline, we quickly left that canine monster behind us.

As we approached Arizona, our first state crossing was marked by – of all things – rain sprinkles. Not enough to even moisten the road, it was yet another pleasant surprise on a day that we had approached with some trepidation, but wound up calling one of the most enjoyable rides we have ever made.

-Perry Wilbur & Jim Cox, XC Riders


Day Three: The coyotes howl

XC_Day3 Photo

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Before the sun was up today the wind was whipping! As any seasoned cyclist knows, it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It was hard to tell from the hotel which way things were blowing. The first half mile out didn’t bode well either as we struggled to go 9 mph without getting blow off the road. Then…..we turned! And oh, what a beautiful turn it was! For most of the morning before our feed zone, we had a pretty nice tailwind. The scenery was amazing as we wound our way out of Victorville and into the Mojave Desert. Some smoke was still lingering in the valley from some of the late forest fires they’ve had up in the mountains in that area, and we passed by a camped out group of fire fighters. After a great lunch by our mechanic Matt, we took off heading south, and unfortunately into the wind. It only lasted 15 miles or so until we turned East again and turned the afterburners on for the last 20 miles into 29 Palms. We stayed at our own “private oasis” at The 29 Palms Inn, enjoyed a great meal, and they had a small band playing by the pool. A few of us grabbed a drink and relaxed, chatting about the previous days’ rides and looked forward to the days to come. We fell asleep to a sky full of stars and coyotes howling, though only 250 miles away, it felt like we were a long ways from Santa Barbara.

-Nate Lohmeir, TT Guide


Day Two: Blueberry pancakes and headwinds.

XC_Day4 Photo

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After loading up on omelets, walnut and blueberry pancakes at the Hyatt, we rolled out to begin day 2!! Today’s ride started out with an epic 20 mile, gradual climb out of Valencia and through Bouquet Canyon. Little known outside of local circles, this beautiful climb is loaded with flora and fauna, unique to this canyon in California. However, it’s a very delicate and dry ecosystem and is constantly threatened by the quickly developing area. It’s a great ride if you’re in the area…check it out!! Unfortunately, after all that climbing, it was only a short descent as we’d arrived on the high desert plateau of Southern California. We said goodbye to trees…well, all but the Joshua Tree, which while beautiful, are a little lacking in the shade department. The temperature started to climb and the winds picked up as the afternoon proved to be a challenging effort for everyone. After grabbing some dinner, everyone headed to bed to get rested for tomorrow’s ride.

-Nate Lohmeir, TT Guide


Day One: The Cross Country Epic

XC_Day1 Photo

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The day is finally here and today begins the first ever Trek Travel Cross Country USA trip! It is a beautiful morning as the sun rises over the tranquil ocean in Santa Barbara. Brave, competitive or just plain crazy, 23 men and women from 28 to 64 years old coming from all walks of American life line up on the beach at the beginning of this epic journey. After a ceremonial toe dip in the Pacific, the riders get started on what will probably be one of the biggest adventures of their life.

Riders and their Trek Travel guides are in good spirits as they head out onto Pacific Coast Highway, winding their way the 75 miles to the first nights rest in Valencia. With months of training and the California coast behind them, each rider sized up their own readiness for the 3000+ miles ahead. All were cheerful and excited, but always focused on the challenge, and the horizon.

On the menu for Tuesday: 89 miles through the Mojave desert as day two of Trek Travel’s first ever Cross Country USA trip plows across the country from sea to sea!