Day 2: Alpine, CA to Jacumba, CA

Today was one of the toughest days I’ve had anywhere, with 4,000 feet of elevation gain spread out over 46 miles, and most of it right after breakfast. Also, it rained on us for most of the day, and I think we discovered most rain gear has a saturation point where it just gives up and you get wet. If we stopped, we shivered, and my feet were numb for about the last 20 miles. We are not starting out nearly as fast as we thought, but that’s okay.

But all is good. We are discovering WE CAN EAT WHATEVER WE WANT. And after we’re full of whatever that is, we have to eat more so we’ll have enough calories for the next day. By the end of this, I think we’ll prove that it would actually be cheaper to pay for gas to drive a car across the country than it is to pay for food for two guys towing 50-pound trailers behind their bikes. Excuse me while I take down another Snickers bar.

And we are meeting some great people. Ross from Pasadena, who we met at our hotel last night and was riding in a bike race today; Al from the convenience store in Pine Valley who was willing to give us socks, hot chocolate, whatever we needed; other folks who want to help with local information about the weather, restaurants, hotels, etc. We are having a blast chatting with everyone. It’s going to be even better when we’re not getting rained on!

Tony's fancy GPS machine tells us how many miles we've ridden, how much elevation we've gained, and how much we can eat for dinner!

Spirits high, rain gear on, we leave Alpine, Calif., under cloudy and rainy skies. I spent a lot of time coordinating that purple-neon green combo. When I get off my bike, I can actually sense women being repulsed by me. I mean more than usual.

Tony shot this panorama on I-8 this morning. If there's anything better than biking with a 50-pound trailer uphill into cold rain, it's doing it on the shoulder of one of America's interstate highways, with cars ripping past you at 75 mph. Thankfully, we had wide shoulders to ride on.

First flat of the trip, approximately mile 46 overall. Could we have better luck than to have it happen underneath an overpass, out of the rain? Tony got two flats in the same tire today, but that will change tomorrow when he starts using a Denver-tastic Gator Skin on that rear wheel.

Breakfast No. 2, Descanso Junction, Calif. Soaked already, and it's only 11:30 a.m.

No special event here besides Dr. Tony Breitbach crushing it up this hill. We actually shared about 10 miles with the course for the race that Ross told us about yesterday, so instead of getting passed by cars, we got passed by fast dudes on expensive, unloaded bikes, many of whom yelled encouragement. The best: "You guys are rad!" Thanks, dude. Did my mom pay you to say that?

Somewhere during that race course, we started getting poured on pretty good again, which is normally a lot of fun, unless you're already soaked through all your rain gear, which we were. The wind was blowing some of the rain sideways into my face, as I was flying downhill at about 30, closing one eye to keep the rain out, ow ow ow ow... so by the time we got to the Golden Acorn Casino and Truck Stop, we felt it was okay to chill out in the Truckers Lounge for a minute and have a banana. Full-on hating life at this point, and at least 15 miles from a place to stay.

About every third car you see in and around Jacumba is a Border Patrol vehicle. I was crusing downhill and saw cars stopped, and people jumping out to take photos, a la Rocky Mountain National Park elk sightings. I slowed down to see what they were looking at, and it was the U.S.-Mexico border fence.



5 responses to “Day 2: Alpine, CA to Jacumba, CA

  1. I will kick things off and say that this is fucking going to be the best bike ride across america ever! Can’t wait for the next day!

  2. Sounds brutal and amazing…!!! I hope you are taking time to stretch!! Thanks for writing so we can follow your ride…

  3. You guys are awesome – do it for the kids!!

  4. What race was going on out there?

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