Day 3 – “The Gambler” Kenny Rogers

Jacumba to Brawley 69 miles

Descended to 125 feet (give or take a few) BELOW sea level

Road Kill update  (no pictures. Phew from  some, boo from others):  Coyote, and large snake.

“You have to know when to hold ’em,  know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run…”

At the evening map meeting last night, we received a preview of the today’s ride, and it made me lose sleep thinking about it.  Because I had a decision to make.

Carol our guide, driver, and shepard  shared with us that within the first 15 miles there would be be a 10 mile descent, that dropped 3000 feet.  With a steep grade, and we would be riding on the “8”, a California interstate.  Now that alone gave me pause, however, my thoughts were more toward caution, then concern.   Conce immediately followed.  It was forecasted that those tough winds that we experienced yesterday were also forecasted today.  The numbers that were tossed around by a few looking at weather apps was 20-35 mph winds, with possibility of wind gusts of up to 55.  Now, when you are climbing, these winds, are very difficult to make quick progress.  And some of the gusts rattl your soul. But you could walk, if you were unable to churn those pedals forward. (and walk we did at times).   The thought of those winds on a steep descent make me very uncomfortable.  I have been riding for a few years, but I still consider myself a novice.    Carol offered for those that were interested the use of the van to give a “bump” to the bottom of the interstate.

In and of itself, this was not a difficult decision for me to make — I am pretty good at being decisive.  You know the choices, you avail yourself to as much information as possible, and you make a decision. Right, or wrong. You make the decision.   You look at the risk vs the rewards, you look at what you can lose or gain, you look at short term and long term impact, you weigh the impact to your self or others..  You make the  freaking decision.  You don’t waffle you don’t sit on the fence, you do not let someone else make your decision, and you do not regret it.

In bike touring there is this concept of EFI, or EFM —  Every Inch, Every Mile etc.  The concept of achieving the ultimate of your cross country journey – riding every possible mile.  There are riders that are very committed to achieving this, and some on this very tour.  As reference there were 7 (I think) that achieved this last year out of 28.    EFI/EFM was not on my list of personal goals — would I like to achieve it – sure – who would not want to have bragging rights to such an achievement.

Out of all of you that are aware of my journey and who have shown me tremendous support there is likely only one or two that will be disappointed to know that the decision that I made this morning takes me out of the running.  I could not risk it –  I had such a difficult day on Saturday with the climb and the winds, that I was afraid.  During one descent yesterday, I was going about 30 MPH and a gust swept up and knocked me around pretty well.  The adrenaline was running after that!      Once you committed to the descent there would be no turning back.  I made the decision to take the van.  As did a total of 12 riders.  Sorry  B & J!

I thought about it a lot today during my ride, it is not uncommon to disappoint others with the decisions that you make.  Even when it is the right one for you.   I have no regrets.  I still have 3000 miles and 55 days to go. The thought of being the one this year to leave because of injury did not resonate with me

From our starting point we pedaled 53 miles.    The first 22 miles were pure joy.  The road had a few inclines, but all easy enough and enjoyable.  The next 7.5 miles were not quite as much fun. The cue sheet listed it as  “Left onto Drew Rd/S29 toward Seeley. Very rough road- sorry!”  Um, so when the cue sheet has an apology within it , clearly it is a mess.  And mess it was .  Bone shaking, teeth rattling, ass crunching, knee knocking mess.  The entire 7.5 miles, less 200 feet were rough hewn pavement. The likes of which i have only seen when I was in Kenya, and the locals chose to drive on the dirt paths instead.   You had to work hard to pay attention because of the  pot holes, dips, dirt patches, cracks and crevices that wanted to pull you in.  My teeth  are still chattering. And my yes, my ass is still aching.

Stopped with several riders for lunch in ElCentro at Cecilia’s.  Had a quick refueling (although not as quick as we would have liked it as it was Sunday, and a popular spot for families coming in from church.  but the food was good. I had Chile Rellanos and off we went.  The last 15 miles was at a leisurely  pace where I chatted with one of our riders from Midland , TX.  I  very much enjoyed chatting and rolling along.


Tonight we are at the Best Western Brawley – another solid hotel – just what I would expect – Clean and functional!.

I need to log off and get ready for tomorrow as it will be a long hot day in the desert.  87 miles.  With not much beyond sand and sagebrush.  Even the guidebooks warn travelers to stock up with food and water as there are not too many services.  The tour company will serve us lunch as there is nothing around


14 thoughts on “Day 3 – “The Gambler” Kenny Rogers

  1. Day 3 sounded crazy and scary. I’m sure just one of the many challenges you will face along the way. You’re amazing! Be safe.

  2. You are the one RIDING! If anyone is disappointed with your choice..let them get off the. Couch and ride!!!! There is no shame in your choice. It enables you to continue the rest of the journey that most of us don’t have the guts to attempt. Ride on with your head held high !

  3. Tough decision, good decision, RIGHT decision! I don’t know one single person who would be disappointed in you, not one!!!

  4. Karen – the most important part of this journey is YOU. We want you home safely and support you and your choices. Your strength inspires us all. Keep doing what you’re doing!! xoxo

  5. Wow Karen, I can’t believe you would even think about disappointing anyone? You are a total inspiration as far as I am concerned!! I think about the fact of how little I have done in my life compared to you and all I can come up with!! You just do what is best for you girlfriend and be safe. (Btw, I am catching up on two days of your trip) I very much look forward to your blog.

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