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  1. #1
    Live Everyday
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    Borrego Springs Century - Tandem view

    In search of our last organized ride of '09, we made the long drive to a far Southern California century this past weekend in the town of Borrego Springs. The ride was in a remote area west of the Salton Sea, in and around the huge Anza Borrego Desert State Park. http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=638
    If you like spectacular desert areas, surrounded by rugged colorful mountains that go on in every direction for as far as the eye can see, then this is the place.
    The ride was staged by the R&B Bicycle club out of Julian, California http://www.julianactive.com/R&B%20Bicycle%20Club.htm and was well organized and staffed by friendly folks. There were six rest stops with plenty of munchies and liquids.
    The course could not have been more Tandem friendly with its fast, flat layout on good roads with wide shoulders, and best of all, almost no traffic. We had perfect weather in the 6o's, with plenty of sun and no wind...a far cry from what we left in the Sierra.
    We were surprised to be the only Tandem of what I guessed to be 200-300 riders.
    So if anyone is looking for a ride next holiday season to burn off some of those holiday pleasures...then this is something to consider.
    Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy 2010.
    Bill J.
    Last edited by specbill; 12-28-09 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Typo

  2. #2
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Bill,
    Really appreciate your post! My wife and I have our anniversary in early December and we did a 55 mile loop out of Sebastopol a few weeks thereafter, but that is becoming familiar territory. Going down to Borrego Springs next year looks like a great idea. If we could find a century in January we might be able to do one a month.
    Rick T
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    Bill,
    ......... If we could find a century in January we might be able to do one a month.
    This is the only one I know of in January, but it is a looog ways from Hollister....even farther south than Borrego Springs by maybe 50 miles or so...almost to the Mexican border.
    http://www.shadowtour.com/Century_Ri...Stagecoach.htm

    Also, a look at the profile says it is not exactly an easy early seasom Tandem century.. but certainly doable for those with happy legs. And it should also have similar scenery to enjoy.

    I'm sure we are not up for the Stagecoach, but we will be in Nor Cal in February for the Rice Valley Tandem ride to start our '10 season.

    Bill J

  4. #4
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    We're planning on doing Rice Valley as well if the weather looks reasonable (i.e., no rain). With our weather in this part of California we're able to still get in a decent amount of riding, but longer rides are weekends only and the darn rain can get in the way and club rides are really hit or miss.
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  5. #5
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    We will be doing the Stagecoach out of Ocotillo in January. It is our 2nd time doing the ride and my 4th time. This was the first ride I have done in a dessert environment, I was amazed at how unique it was. This is a very well supported ride that has very little traffic. I am always surprised to see the elevation numbers that come up for this ride, there are only a couple of significant climbs and the rest of the elevation gain must come in the 1 to 2% variety because it is not very noticeable. I would highly recommend this ride.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Old threads never die! For those looking to start the New year off with a bang the Borrego Springs century in on January 1st It's a bit of a drive, but easy drive compared to getting to Tucson a few weeks ago.
    Rick T
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  7. #7
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    We plan on being there again Jan 1st. Great way to start the year!

  8. #8
    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    Gotta love you Southern California folks. I see "temps in the mid-60s" and I pine. :-) My preoccupation right now is keeping the rain and "snow granules" (that's what it said on the Env. Canada weather site today) out of the battery pack for my commuting lights. And it will only get worse before April or so. One bike commuter wrote that getting splashed by winter slush is like being hit in the face with 10 pounds of half-frozen rotten potatoes.

    Love those desert rides, truly a special place. (And recently I learned there are many different types of "desert".....Who knew?) Enjoy!
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  9. #9
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    My APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) has given approval for the Borrego Springs Century. Checked the temps over the next 15 days and highs range from low 60's to mid-70's. Pretty sweet even for us Norcal folks, but I might add I'm in Iowa this week: below freezing with a 20-30 mph wind.
    Rick T
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  10. #10
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    Those temps are a treat for us a well....we may be California folks but we've already had our second significant snow fall here in the southern Sierra this year.....but... no doubt it is pretty cool to be able to throw the tandem on the back of the Jeep and head down the mountain to either the desert, the San Joaquin Valley or over to the coast and get in some quality miles..... This state can be a goof-ball, third world country in some ways, but on the other hand, it is real hard to beat for year-round opportunities for great cycling!

  11. #11
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    We are also glad to read your post. We are thinking of a S Arizona trip in Jan or Feb, may try to hook up with Stagecoach in Ocotillo. Be nice to get to warmer weather, the trainer is already boring us to death!
    R&J

  12. #12
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    FYI - not a sniff of this ride on the SoCal forum so it may be just the specbill and rdtompki tandems on the course. Will be a bit nippy at the start (36 degF), but 50 degF by 11 am or so. Wind will be in the low single digits. I'm wondering if New Year's Day won't prove to be less than the best choice for an organized ride? time will tell.
    Rick T
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  13. #13
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    Rick.....we are snowed in here at the moment and with the temps to peak at 31 degrees this afternoon it looks like nothing much is going to melt so the camper is staying in the shop. We never got out to the Orange County beaches last week for Christmas because of the mess those folks had with their storms so we are going crazy here with cabin fever. With more storms on the way we are junk for sure....looks like you will be carrying the BF Tandem banner solo down in Borrrego....enjoy the Julian apple pie.

    Bill (losing my mind here in the mountains) J.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Bill, sorry to hear about your weather. It's none too great in most of California (relatively speaking of course). The weather in Borrego Springs should be ok, but I sure which my gloves were large enough for liners I'll make a real effort to take some pictures so the snow-ins and wimps can live vicariously
    Rick T
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  15. #15
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    ....can't stand another day of not riding!!! Forget the camper....we are loading up the Suburban, getting out of this snow and heading to the southern desert within the hour.....

    We WILL be on the start-line tomorrow morning.

    Bill J.

  16. #16
    hup
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    Have a great ride, folks. Will look forward to a ride report soon.

    Henry

  17. #17
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Borrego Springs Ride Report

    This year's ride is in the history books. The ride began under clear, chilly skies, but the temperature gradually rose throughout the morning and wind was never a factor. Our new wool arm and leg warmers were just the ticket and we stayed comfortable through the ride.

    Ride Description: A two loop ride in and around Borrego Springs, the first loop "featuring" two longish out and backs. The second, shorter loop forms a figure eight. Total climbing less than 3000', but you couldn't tell from our performance. This is very striking desert country and a good view of the Salton Sea is available at the top of a gradual climb which heads toward, but does not reach, the Sea. (The Salton Sea was formed in 1905-1907 when some levees broke diverting the entire flow of the Colorado River toward the basin). This is a small (200 riders maybe?) ride and the rest stops were typical: water, Heed, PB&J, bananas. We bailed after Loop 1 at 66 miles () which I attribute to a lack of rides in December, the tail end of a cold and just general Captain wussiness. Loop2 is a bit of a repeat and the out and backs are not our favorite. We skipped the pie and ice cream, but I have no reason to believe it would not have been delicious.

    Roads: The road conditions were fair to good. There are some stretches of chip seal which really bothers my hands, but most would not be troubled. A few stretches of spiderweb "frost" heaves, but what ride doesn't have something. The shoulders were usually generous and the traffic was very light. The ride starts in the 0800-0900 window with registration 7-8 so you can easily get there day-of if you're withing 2-3 hours. Good way to start the new year off with an early January ride if you're so inclined.

    Personal: I'm not sure we saw Bill along the way, but we were going so slow that most tandems would have been a blur. "We" started off too fast as usual since yours truly seems unable to grasp the concept of warming up.




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  18. #18
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    Just a short follow up on Rick's report.
    We were thrilled to make the long trip to Borrego Springs after virtually giving up as mentioned early...in fact we not only made the ride yesterday but stayed over last night and went out again this morning to get in a few more miles.... we won't be riding any time soon when we get back to snow country.

    We were surprised to see a somewhat smaller overall entry this year...after all, what could be a better way to start the new year than with a fun ride in the wam'ish southern California desert.

    One other surprise was the much improved number of Tandems riding this year compared to last. At most we had three in last year's event while we counted at least seven yesterday and possibly eight.

    Regarding the ride...Needing all the time possible, we started the ride early at 7.30 (at a crisp but very sunny 29 degrees) and at that, we were the second Tandem team on course. That leading tandem stayed out front for much of the first loop until a late starting and very fast team on a sharp looking red and silver CoMotion blazed through the field. On the first out and back section we had the chance to see all the Tandems committed to the Metric or full Century...it was in this section where we first saw BF'er rdtompki riding strong about 30 minutes back.

    The second out and back section of the first loop came an hour and a half later. Early on the outbound leg a team on an immaculate dark green BikeFriday came by us in a blur...those things look so unconventional with those little wheels but that team really had those things spinning FAST....then, a few minutes later and much to our surprise that team pulled up, did a u-Turn and we never saw them again??? Have no idea what the deal was. Later on the return leg of this same section we saw rdtompki again , this time they were less than 15 minutes back and still looking good.

    We are another team whose riding time has fallen off since early Nov and near the end of the first loop (63 miles) we were suffering way more than we should have for such a flat course. But with plenty of daylight left and lacking the good sense rdtompki has we headed out on the second loop. The good news was it was not only much shorter than the first but even flatter. Those last 30 miles went on forever...we saw no Tandems on that loop and few other riders at all.

    Props to the promoters of the ride because when we finally drug ourselves to the finish almost every rider was gone ...7+ hours had elapsed since we had started the ride, but they were there and smiling while handing us our slices of Apple pie and ice cream.

    Last year's ride on the same course was much easier because we were in much better riding shape, but this time it was the hardest "easy century" we've ridden in years. Memo to self..do not let your training taper off so far next Nov-Dec....

    Happy New Year to all......ours started great!

    Bill J.

  19. #19
    hup
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    Nice work, Rick & Bill - even here in California, this is the "off season". Kudos to both of your teams for getting out there. Great way to start the year, indeed.

    Henry

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