Monday, November 2, 2015
It’s hard to believe that another Death Valley ride has come and gone. Fifteen of us from central Indiana ventured west for an awesome weekend in the desert, riding our bikes to raise money for a great cause — to find a cure for diabetes and turn Type 1 into Type None.
Weather is always a factor in Death Valley - but this year, rather than being faced with extreme desert sun and heat, we were greeted with clouds and rain. It was very unusual to see thick clouds on the mountains and standing water in the parking lots.
The two weeks prior had been tough on the park with heavy rains and flash floods that damaged many of the roads. As a result, we weren’t able to do much riding on the days leading up to the big event. Last year we rode up to Dante’s view. This year we drove rental cars in the rain, through standing water and across debris fields on the roads. The view looked very different from the top this year!
The alternating clouds and sun meant that we got treated to some spectacular light and surreal landscapes as we traveled around the park.
Between rain storms, the team did a short ride to Zabriskie Point on Friday and to see the canyons like we’d never seen them before.
The course for Saturday was changed several times during the weekend until the organizers finally settled on a 70-mile route that would avoid the areas with major road damage.
On ride day, the start was delayed as we waited for the storms the pass. But team Indiana was set to go!
The new course was relatively flat but still allowed us to appreciate the raw beauty of the valley. And it was odd to ride with standing water beside the road!
I got a flat tire at mile 67 — apparently a cut tire from crossing one of the debris fields on the road. It took a bit of time and two support vehicles to get me back on the road, but I finished the 70-mile course without further issue.
We saw this rainbow on our way out of the valley on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, it was a harbinger of serious storms that hit the valley later in the day, causing 1000-year flooding and closing every road in the park. It will take months and maybe years for the park to recover from all the damage.
My hope is that the park will be recovered enough that I can return next year for my ninth JDRF ride. Thank you, as always, for sharing in my ride; I truly appreciate your generous support of JDRF. I may have been the one pedaling over the miles, but I carried your thoughts, prayers and support with me on each mile, and I would not have made it without you. Thank you!
Please visit my ride site to see how I did on my fundraising and for links to the stories of my past rides.
All my best,