In the great tradition of romantic Valentines Days of yore, mine was spent pedaling across a 90 degree desert in lovely Southern California at the 17th Annual Tour de Palm Springs Bike Ride!
With some of my new found free time, I’ve ramped up my cycling over the past few months and thought that this event would be a fun, small escape from my job hunt. I’ve previously done this ride twice before, opting for the 100-mile route. The days of putting my body through such torture are behind me, even though many would say that 50 miles still is torture! But I love these organized rides for several reasons:
- They give me a distance goal to aim for in my cycling training
- They’re a great excuse to get out of town for a day or weekend with like-minded friends
- They bring the wacky cycling community together
- They promote exercise, being outdoors, and spending time with friends/family within the community
- They raise money for charities through registration fees
I was happy to find a new cyclist friend, Mike, through a Meetup group last month. After only riding together once, we arranged to carpool out to Palm Springs early on Saturday morning. I was glad for the company, since I decided that springing for a hotel room wasn’t the best idea right now. With the registration fees being about $70 and adding gas and lunch, that is plenty of mulah for me to part with.
The drive was less than two hours and we got to the start line in plenty of time. There were a few thousand cyclists doing the 50-mile course and I was surprised to find that I was able to pass many of them! After nearly four hours of cycling time (almost five hours if you include breaks), Mike and I crossed the finish line with members of the local community cheering us on! He and I ended up riding a total of 56 miles that day, which was his 2nd longest ride ever and my longest ride in about a year. It was a hot day and we were dirty, aching, and hungry when it was done.
Within 30 minutes of finishing, we met up at a Mexican restaurant with my friend who did the 100-miler. I totally indulged in a Negra Modelo and greasy plate of carnitas nachos! Heaven. After a tiny bit of stretching/walking, we hopped back in my car and made the journey home with little LA traffic issues. Showering that night was the best thing EVER!
If you dabble in cycling at all, I highly recommend participating in an organized “fun ride” in your neighborhood. You might find yourself hooked! Happy riding.