Thursday, April 19, 2007 (Canada to US)
My North America tour began Thursday morning from my current residence in Toronto with a fairly uneventful flight to Los Angeles, the only notable things from the flight were that the movie I wanted to see (Pursuit of Happyness) didn't work so they played something I didn't want to see and the fact that I had to pay $5 for a snack.
After arriving in LA I grabbed a rental car and headed to my buddy's place where I had a present waiting for me….a new Pinarello Paris Carbon (road bike for those not in the know)…….that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. After getting the bike set up I headed down towards Redondo Beach to ride along the Strand from Redondo out to Santa Monica and back. I had a great ride enjoying the weather and scenery.
After the ride I headed back to my buddy's place to wait for him and our friends from Sacramento to arrive. We all got together at a bar down at the pier and kicked back and enjoyed a few beers before calling it a night.
Friday, April 20, 2007 (US to Mexico)
The next morning we loaded up the trucks and began the journey down to Rosarito, Mexico to set up camp for Saturday's ride.
We had a 7 bedroom, oceanfront casa waiting for our arrival, complete with a sweet rooftop deck overlooking the ocean.
After getting settled in and partaking of the fully stocked bar we ventured into town to pick up the race packages.
On the way we were stopped at every bar offering large quantities of alcohol for small quantities of money. "An offer too good to refuse", as "they" say. We settled in for a few buckets of beer mixed-in with tequila shots given by whistle blowing senoritas.
At the first bar we met up with some new "friends" from the OC and chatted and drank and agreed to meet up later at Papas & Beer.
We left in search of food and found a decent restaurant and had a nice Mexican dinner. After dinner our group of eight splintered in half as the afternoon alcohol binge took down a few good men. Those remaining headed to Papas & Beer in search of, well, beer (and our friends from earlier).
The weather was not really conducive to an enjoyable evening since it is mostly an outdoor bar, but we did enjoy a few beverages and met up with our new friends and had an overall good time before calling it a night so we would be able to ride in the morning.
Saturday, April 21, 2007 (Ride Day)
We woke Saturday morning to perfect riding weather, it was in the mid 60s with partly cloudy skies. We got our stuff together and rode to the start line for the ride which was about a mile from our place. The ride participants were quite the mixed bag from serious roadies to lots of mountain bikes and those in cycling kits to those in costumes. Everyone looked ready to get the party rolling (literally).
As 10am approached we pushed off and headed south towards Ensenada.
The first few miles were quite difficult as the road was incredibly crowded and every little incline caused the group to bunch up. Not to mention the road was lined with kids as many of the riders threw candy to them. The next 20 miles were quite enjoyable as we rode through rolling terrain along the coast line with plenty of sites to see.
Around mile 23 things started to get interesting as the road began to rise into the hills. The incline continued for a little over 4 miles taking it's toll on a large majority of the field, many people had to get off an walk to the top of the climb and the rest point/water station that awaited. Me and the new toy simply dropped down a few gears and danced the entire way up. I have never felt as good on a climb as I did on this particular ride. My improved fitness level combined with the new ride actually made this climb enjoyable.
I arrived at the rest station and waited for the rest of our group to catch up and ended up having to wait nearly 45 minutes…apparently I made really good time on the climb.
After we regrouped we climbed a little more before hitting the payoff…"what goes up must come down"….a 4-5 mile descent down towards sea level. I hit speeds approaching 80k (50mph) on the descent through winding canyon roads..all the while hoping that my tires didn't blow otherwise I was toast.
After the descent we had about another 3 miles of highway riding into Ensenada and the finish line. I hit the finish line a little over 3 hours of ride time after the start and felt really good. We regrouped at the bike check and headed to the fiesta.
The fiesta was a huge party covering many blocks with a healthy flow of coronas and tacos.
I grabbed some fish tacos, a few beers and kicked back on the grass to enjoy the afternoon sun and talk about the ride. Taking a few moments of course to socialize with the "Corona Girls".
After chilling out for about 2 hours we headed for the shuttles to take us back to Rosarito and the remainder of the day.
We got back to our casa and met the 2 guys that didn't ride (back injury and concussion) and then waited for one of our riders that was left behind.
Our group then headed out in search of food and more drink. We found a little hole in the wall burger joint and had one of the best burgers I have ever had and a few more beers. We then headed out looking for trouble and were successful in finding it (I will leave that story for another place and time and there are NO pictures).
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The group got up and packed up to head for the border to beat the traffic, we had stops to make in San Diego, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Those going to Sac had about 12 hours of driving ahead of them. Getting out of Mexico was quite amusing as we were in bumper to bumper traffic for a few miles and the road was full of people selling everything from beads to Mexican wrestling masks, from large wooden turtles to Scarface blankets, from a giant Jesus on a cross to a sponge-bob desk. We procured a bag of churros for the ride and then just enjoyed the show.
We hit the border and made it through without incident.
It was good to be back in the US. It is amazing how entirely different things are just a mere 10 minutes across the border. The rest of the day was uneventful. We dropped off two guys in Sand Diego, grabbed a bite to eat and then one car headed to LA and the other towards Sac. The trip was officially over, with the exception of my flight back to Toronto later that evening.
Prior to flying back I did get a chance to witness one more "unusual" occurrence as we watched the baseball game and saw the RedSox hit 4 homers in a row, a fitting end to an enjoyable weekend.