Sherrill and I drove down early on Friday to Palm Springs arriving in plenty of time to unload, dine and relax in the evening. Agreed to meet Team Specbill and at 6:40 about 1/2 mile past the start line. The temps were warmer than forecast and I was overdressed and not smart enough to shed more clothes before our start.
We set out at 6:45 on the opening 15 mile, 75'/mile climb that found me overheating not 1/2 way up. We told Team Specbill to keep going; we would meet up with them briefly much later in the ride. Palm Springs is noted for being tandem friendly and I would certainly agree, but we needed a bit more of a warm-up, less of a headwind and a captain smart enough to take it easy for 10 miles.
A few other ride notes, comments and observations:
1. Dillon road is uneventful, but there are a few nice downhills. One single rider came up to us at the next rest stop, thanked us, took our picture and e-mailed same to us our on the spot - he said he was behind us for 9 miles mostly at 40 mph. A small percentage of singles either say something or nod, but you would think singles desperate enough to wheel-suck seniors would express gratitude - go figure.
2. The first rest stop is a bit of a mess and right in the middle of the road as previously reported, but in general the rest stops were well set up and stocked with pre-packaged rider fuel. Didn't find the fresh peaches of the Marin Century or the baked goods found at other good-sized rides.
3. Lots of lights in the last 20 miles. Really hit the average speed and caused me to take special care when stopping with my cramping quads. Although I don't know that hydration was the cause this is the last warm weather long ride I'll do without my Camelbak.
4. Saw a goodly number of tandems, but didn't pass any. I'm sticking with the notion that we were not the slowest, but got a jump on all the slower tandems There were certainly some fast tandems.
5. We actually drafted a big guy on a very slight downhill which was a very nice break. Makes me wonder about all the 1/2-bike posts politely chest thumping about fast centuries mostly in a 20-bike paceline.
6. Roads were generally good, but there were a few short, really bad, filling launching stretches. We saw the aftermath of one fall caused by a section of road that had been scarified for repaving with a very sharp 2" edge on one side.
7. We didn't go to the finish area, but stopped directly at our nearby hotel so I can't speak to what they might have had to offer at the finish, but it's fair to mention that Tandem registration was only $90 while most rides these days don't offer a tandem discount.
Our riding time excluding rest stops was 6:20, not bad for us, so I think sub-6 hour is in reach for Centuries like Palm Springs, Borrego Springs and such.
We'll almost certainly do this again; the scenery, terrain, time of year and rest stops do measure up.