The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Winter storm (with ride photos)

In photos: The women get ready to ride and pose for a group photo; the WomanTour van used in the Bicycle Tours for Women cross-country trip.

The big day arrived Friday, March 8, when our group of 30 women would depart from Dog Beach in San Diego to begin our trek across the USA.

A huge winter storm arrived the night before, having blown across the Pacific, down the California coast and then blew east from San Diego. Rain, high winds, downpours. I offered to drive the SAG wagon the first day, and it was a trip!

Of course, anything can happen on a trek of this size, and usually does. The route was difficult to follow, with lots of twists and turns, and the rain made the roads slick. One rider crashed, but was not seriously hurt. I suspect more than one was hypothermic. My job was to set up an aid station, which I did at a state park. At that point, one rider wanted to quit riding and "sag." As I was loading her bike on the top of the wagon, a bolt of lightning and a crack of thunder sounded, not too far away. I couldn't drop the bike so I went on with the task, hoping there wouldn't be more lightning. There wasn't.

The SAG driver also patrols the course, offering aid and assistance to anyone in need. I was very proud of those wet, cold women cycling up some pretty steep hills.

Today we're in the mountains at 3,500 feet, close to the Mexican border. Border patrol cars are everywhere. There's snow up here and it's cold. This is basin and range country , composed of plateaus, deserts, canyons and jagged mountain peaks. The mountains are jagged, knife-edge piles of volcanic rubble. On the plateaus are large cattle ranches. There are some very small towns, like Boulevard, population 450, our overnight stop tonight.

Tomorrow begins the descent to the desert, where we hope to find warm weather.

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