Day 6 “Coming Down The Mountain” no white horses just a unicycle

Day 6 on the road. Wed. 3/6/13.  It’s all down hill from here.  Well not actually but for a while.  I decided to ride my Oracle 36”, it has a nice disk brake and my route was going to descend big time.  After posing for pictures for everyone at the Jacumba Lounge, I was underway again.

I rode up hill a little ways then the terrain rolled for about 8 miles.  I merged onto Interstate 8 at entrance 80, and saw signs saying high winds next 12 miles and 6% grade.  I descended on I 8 very carefully negotiating off camber turns gusty tail and cross winds.  Most of time I was holding my uni back with my feet and my brake.  A few miles down the hill the cross winds were very challenging and I had a UPD at slow speed.  The freeway never stopped going down and the tail winds only made it more challenging to hold back.

At the next exit cyclists are required to exit, but can reenter at the same exit.  Why in the world would they do that?  When I got there I knew exactly why.  Despite wind screens the winds going over the overpass at the exit were extremely strong.  I exited, reentered and continued downhill.  At one point I could smell brakes and wasn’t sure if they were mine or the trucks’.

A good rule of thumb.  Don’t ride unicycles where there are wind turbines, it is probably very windy.

Windy conditions along the Interstate.

Windy conditions along the Interstate.

For seven miles I descended on I8 only to find my exit (87) was closed.  I figured they didn’t mean closed to unicycles.  I exited a long ramp on to route 98 east on a newly paved road with no one behind me.  Then I got to the construction crew and very fresh pavement.  Knucklehead (my gps) was yammering about something, while I was negotiating with the crew about continuing on the fresh pavement.  I got the go ahead and continued on 98.  After about ¾ miles I couldn’t see where I was supposed to cross under I8, so I stopped to eat some lunch and check the map.

I missed my turn, it was where the road crew were working.  So that’s what the gps was yammering about.  This time I was the knucklehead.  I started back against strong head winds up a grade for ¼ mile when I realized I left my sunglasses at my lunch spot.  I made a U turn and picked them up.  Back against the winds and grade, my phone rang.  I figured it was Joan wondering where I was.  I decided I would stop at my turn to return the call, but I could see a gas station after I made the turn and opted ride to the shade of the gas station to return the call.  Joan was waiting at the gas station.  I rode another couple of miles to make it 20 for the day.

Stats for day 6: Distance 20.25 miles, Ave= 8.9 mph, Max=12.8 mph, Ascent=607′, Descent=3202′, Max elevation 3235, Min elevation 274.  Ave heart rate=107, Max heart rate= 146

Day 7 Layover day 3/7/13.  Joan seems to think the purpose of this trip is to travel from jacuzzi to    jacuzzi.  After traveling from Jacumba Hot Springs she found Sunbeam RV Park with a pool and a jacuzzi.  I will admit the jacuzzi was therapeutic for my back and legs.  We met Doug and Gail at the park who live in Monroe Ohio the community where my son works.  Doug recently did the same ride I’m doing and had some helpful suggestions.

Sunbeam RV Park.  AKA another jacuzzi stop

Sunbeam RV Park. AKA another jacuzzi stop

Day 8 Gale Tails.  3/8/13  The weather forecast for my current location between Ocotillo and El Centro included high wind warnings and 100% precipitation (this is supposed to be a desert).  Gale force winds with possible higher gusts.  Looks like a good day for a layover.  The rain passed early, and the wind was not up to speed yet, besides the winds were on my tail.  Aw, put a reef in the unicycle and set sail.  The trouble with tail winds is they can shift from quarter to quarter involving unexpected jibes, making unicycle riding a tricky turn.

Ominous Day in the Desert

Ominous Day in the Desert

Much of the time debris was blowing down the road faster than I could pedal.  I had to hold myself back on the flat at times like I was back descending I8.  I ran before the wind until my route turned me wind abeam and called it quits.

Signs of more wind turbines.  Not a good sign.

Signs of more wind turbines. Not a good sign.

Day 8 stats:  Rode 22 miles longest to date.  Ascent=276′, Descent=584′, Max elevation 280′, Min elevation 65 feet below sea level.  Ave heart rate 103, Max heart rate 133.  No UPDs

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5 Responses to Day 6 “Coming Down The Mountain” no white horses just a unicycle

  1. jo ann says:

    You are my HERO!! I barely made it down that hill on two wheels, wondering the whole time if I was crazy… It’ll be smooth sailing until east of Phoenix.

  2. Patty E says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date. We are following along …Safe sailing!

  3. Keep up the good work, Dave. I look forward to these very entertaining progress reports.–Pat Quinn

  4. cindee says:

    …you keep me chuckling…you are great Dave!!! Miss ya’

  5. katie says:

    no white horses, but white nuckles if you had a steering wheel! love the picture of the turbine blade.

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