As usual, Death Valley was a treat. The number of riders was noticeably smaller than in the past. I heard the total was around 180. There were many veterans but a large contingent of first-time, Death Valley riders.
When we arrived on Thursday, the temperature was near 100, but we managed a short ride before "cooling-off" in the pool.
Friday's official tune-up ride went to Golden Canyon, but many riders went to Zabriskie Point as well. After pictures at Zabriskie, Gary and I headed up towards Dante's View but turned around after an additional 5 miles of climbing past Zabriskie. The climbing, the heat and the anticipation of Saturday's ride helped us decide not to go the full 25 miles, all up-hill, to Dante's View.
Team Indiana was in the second wave to start Saturday's Ride to Cure Diabetes. Gary, Michael and Kevin were off quickly with Bob, Danny, and Rick riding a little slower. I never saw Gary, Michael, or Kevin again until I was going up Jubilee and they were coming down. I saw them again at the finish. They were showered and enjoying a brew when I finished.
I rode most of the way back and finished with John and Pablo from the Western Michigan Team. Death Valley was not windy as it has often been in the past, but the heat was a real challenge. Ice-cold towels at the rest stops were shocking at first but soon felt terrific.
I'm looking forward to another great ride in Death Valley in 2010.