The Pacific! Ahh. So unreal. We finished with a short, but crazy, 25 miles through La Jolla to the beach. I had goosebumps and butterflies all day. We got to the beach, met by our cheering families, and in a screaming mess we dropped our bikes and ran into the water. It was so amazing to be in the ocean, surrounded by my fellow riders, hooting and hollering.
Thank you so much to all of my donors, all of the hosts along the way, and my friends, family and bike and builders. You made this experience possible!!
Wednesday we rode to El Cajon. It was a short 49 miles, but we tried to drag it out as much as possible. It was such a beautiful ride, lots of hills and a lake. It was really sad to think of the trip ending. It is just unreal the places that we are able to bike through everyday. Also, saw our first sign for San Diego!
The ride to Julian was 70 miles. The first 30 I rode with jammin and it went by really fast. After lunch we headed out again to a really strong headwind. We quickly joined up with Jake, Rachel, and Amy so that we could pace line to help fight the wind. My legs started to hurt so bad that I was too scared to finish the rest of the ride. I got in the van for the last 30 miles. I really didn’t want to but it was a good thing I did. The rest of the ride ended up being all climbs. It was beautiful though.
Sand duuunes yea. The ride to Brawley was oh so difficult. It was another sunrise start to try and tackle the 88 miles through the desert. The morning was a whole lot of rolling hills, but not the kind where you can get enough momentum from the downhill to get up the next hill. My legs were hurting worse than they have probably the whole trip so I had a really hard time getting to lunch. After a long ice session at lunch I headed off with Matt and Jake to brave the dunes. Thankfully, the pain was so much more tolerable after lunch. We rode past some crazy sand formations, just massive pyramid looking things. Then, things got way beyond hot. I got 2 flats and Matt got 1 and it was so hot the tires were melting and sticking to the rim. We were all bonking and making no sense, just doing all we could to get to the host. Right before the host we ran into a fast food restaurant. We walked in and all heads turned. We were a mess, just laughing, off balance, and slurring our orders. After stuffing our faces though it didn’t take long to return to a semi normal state. Needless to say, I didn’t move off my thermarest for the rest of the night.
Yesterday we got to California!!!!! I was sweep with brigit. The sunrise and landscapes were so beautiful. There was sand and cacti everywhere along with views of mountains surrounding us. It was super hot, but I was too excited about getting to Cali that the day was a blast.
The church we stayed at made us a super delicious meal, brought us to a pool, and had brilliant air conditioning. I can’t put in to words how amazing it is to have AC in this weather. It’s hard to see how people could deal with this heat all the time.
Later we discussed the grants again and decided how we are going to donate our funds.
We went from Wickenburg, which we thought was in the middle of nowhere, to Wenden/Salome, which made Wickenburg look like a city. We woke up at 3:45 again to beat the heat, but right when we went to leave a thunderstorm started. We waited out the lightening for about an hour. I rode with Jacob and Brigette and the ride was pretty easy, only 55 miles with no climbs. We all got to the high school really early and almost immediately fell asleep for pretty much the whole afternoon. We made dinner, an inventive Ramen/potato dish, and then started reading and discussing the competitive grant applications we received. We finished the night off with some top notch karaoke with the locals.
And we have made our wake up even earlier. 3:45 this morning. We are about to enter the Mojave Desert and with many warnings from hosts that this is not a place for people to ride their bikes, we don’t want to waste one minute after sunrise for fear of the heat. I rode with Rach again and we cruised through the 58 miles, as did everyone else. We got to the church before 11am and haven’t left the AC of the church since. The ride was gorgeous. We had no idea what to expect from today, thought it would be mostly brown and sandy, but we were climbing mountains all morning with the most beautiful views. I know I say that a lot and it’s because it is true! Our route has been beyond amazing. There are cacti and weird plants everywhere!
Everyone hard at work on a build.
Double and last build days of the trip in Prescott! We started our builds early and ended early to try and avoid as much of the heat as possible. Our first day, a group of us went to a site where a Habitat house was going to be built and we did the landscaping. We cleared the lawn to get it ready for the build. We then joined the other half of our team at another Habitat house to continue landscaping, this time to fix up the yard. We were sorting rocks and laying them out. The homeowner was on site, and actually doing a lot of the managing for us. She told us about her story and worked really hard with us. She is married and has 5 young children. They currently live down the street in a 2 bedroom house and pretty soon will be moving into their new 4 bedroom house. She was an extremely strong and hardworking woman and it was so great to be able to help her and her family out with their new home. The second day we painted the exterior of yet another Habitat home and worked on some of the landscaping. Also, some of the group went to another house in the morning to help out with the landscaping. Quite a lot of rock moving the past 2 days!
The Habitat chapter organized the most delicious pot luck dinner for us. We watched a video of some of the work they have been doing and we also presented to them about Bike & Build. The people were so great to talk with and were so appreciative of our work.
We also managed to fit in a Salvation Army prom while we were in Prescott. We put together some cheesy decorations and lovely outfits and had a grand time!
Tuesday’s ride to Prescott was 70 miles and it was HOT. We woke up at 4:45 again to try and beat the heat, but, by the afternoon it was boiling. I rode the morning with Harrison which was great. Drafting off him is awesome because he is so much bigger than me, I barely feel any wind. We started the ride with 16 miles on the interstate. It was the only way to get there, but I was pretty nervous about riding on it. Turns out it really didn’t feel that unsafe. There was a huge shoulder and most of the trucks would move over to the far lane when passing. The best part was that almost the entire 16 miles was downhill. We were cruising at 30 mph for most of it.
After lunch I rode with Ray Ray and Ben-jammin. We had a lovely bonking session in the heat and decided to take a break at a gas station for some AC. The ride was beautiful. We did some climbing with great views of the mountains the whole time. There were also these huge rocks (can’t really think of a better way to describe them, probably should have taken a picture) that we rode through right before getting into town, which were really cool.
The ride out of the Grand Canyon to Williams was pretty short and easy, only 57 miles. We all took our time in the morning. Packing up after camping is usually pure craziness. It’s surprising how messy we can make a place in a matter of 48 hours. Our breakfast supplies were really slacking so Maria and I went to a cafe at the grocery store before heading out. We stopped for lunch at a gas station across the street from the Flinstone’s Campground. Very jealous I did not get to camp there as a child. The rest of the ride felt a little harder, probably just the heat.
We got to the host at about 3pm and had almost 2 hours to kill before an impromptu build day. Williams is a really cute touristy town on historic route 66 so there were a lot of fun shops to look at. But, we didn’t do too much walking before we realized it would be great to just sit down and drink coffee until we had to go. We went to a Habitat for Humanity site and helped with the landscaping for a few hours. Everyone worked really hard after a day of biking and we were able to get a lot done. After showers we were provided with a delicious spaghetti dinner and of course headed out after for some ice cream and to hang out in town. Heard some really good live music at one of the restaurants.