So PhotoJoanne and I signed up for the
We stayed at the Flamingo Resort and Spa. Pictures looked really nice. We pulled in...and it looked like we had just been transformed into an episode of the Brady Bunch. Yup, straight out of the 70's. However, we had paid for a one-step upgrade in our room and were very pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be a great hotel.
On Saturday, we rolled just before 7am. The ride advertised "62 miles/1200 feet of climbing". Well, 1200 feet turned out to be 2452 and Mrs. PJ was NOT happy....in a fun way (at first). The day was so overcast that it was actually a light rain which was very nice. However, it obscured much of the scenery, so I know we missed a lot. The sag was AMAZING. I truck or motorcycle passed us every 5-10 minutes. Mrs. PJ and I stopped to rest often (did I mention there was more climbing than we expected?). Everytime we stopped, the same motorcycles would slow as they approached. A simple thums-up and they kept on riding. They never assumed we were resting. They were always ready to stop and help.
The organization was also done exceptionally well. Check in was a breeze. Nice goody bag. Friendly people.
The finish line festival was great. I hear they had amazing food, free beer, a free bike valet where they did a full wash with Pedro's stuff, etc. etc. I don't know because we crossed the finish line and headed to the hotel.
So the positives far outweigh the negatives, however, the ride was not perfect. There were two sag stops. One at about 18 miles and one at about 40. Mrs. PJ could have used one or two more, but she powered throgh. At the last sag stop, she almost sag'd out. She was fried. She hates climbing and was not ready for it. But what made it worse was the roads were TERRIBLE. Now, I get it. They route the ride through out-of-the-way roads, but these are also the roads that aren't maintained as well. They sucked! I still need to check the wheels to see how bad they're out of true. We couldn't enjoy the ride or the scenery because we were having to always watch for potholes. And then there were sections on downhills that were alternating shade/sun/shade/sun and there were some small craters in there. I counted 8 people changing flats in a couple hundred yards at one point. So, the mental concentration was fatiguing, we couldn't enjoy the scenery and more climbing than advertised. PhotoJoanne came so close to quitting. She had bought the jersey though, and I knew she would resent that jersey if she quit. So we rested at the last sag, ate well, rested some more.....then rested. After some (genuinely) gentle encouragement, she decided to finish the last 20 miles - 5 miles at a time. And that's what we did. Five miles, then rested. Then another 5, etc. After the last sag stop, I came across three ladies changing a flat with CO2 for the first time. They had no idea how to use it. One asked if we needed to fix the hole in the tube before inflating it again. Uh.....YAH. Got them on the road and then got to push hard for about 5 miles to catch up to Mrs. PJ. Felt good.
Overall, a great weekend. If I lived closer, I'd do the ride again, but there is no way I'm driving 13 hours round trip to ride those roads again. No way.