By Billy Rainford
Had to wait until I could get to my fingernails before hitting the laptop this morning. Anyone else completely in awe of anyone who has those crazy long fingernails and can still type? Mine get like 1 millimetre long and it’s time for me to cut them down. I feel like I’m going to poke them right through the keyboard otherwise. But I digress…
You think that was digression? Wait until I get going this morning!
Of course, the big news for us Canadians is that Cole Thompson was forced out of the 2nd race of the night in Glendale Saturday night.
He was looking great and closing in and making passes on the group ahead of him until late in the race when he got landed on in the section over by the whoops.
I didn’t see the actual incident because of where I happened to be standing at the moment, but I saw him at cruising speed and heading off the track favouring his left leg and arm.
Here’s the video I got of him from the race:
I wasn’t able to head back to the pits to check on him because on f the tight schedule with 3 races per class, so I was left waiting at the bottom of the ramp waiting for the #161 to come rolling down and up to the gate.
I asked the lady who was checking the riders onto the starting line and she had a big #161 written on the piece of paper on her clipboard. She said, “Well, sight lap is in 4 minutes, so he’s got that long.”
Too late, Cole wasn’t going to be in the final race. I saw Doc Bodner and asked him what he could tell me about Cole. All he could say to me was, “Well, he’s in there right now getting checked out.” Dammit!
As we all know, the gate dropped without our Canadian hero going with it.
Here’s the update we posted at the end of the night on our Instagram page:
Cole and Chloe are staying close-by here in Murrieta so I’ll be sure to stay in touch with them to find out what the plan is for Cole.
Now it’s storytime…
The drive from the Phoenix area back to Murrieta is a straight shot west on the I-10. The speed limit is usually 75mph and it’s 2-lanes of drivers not knowing enough to get the hell out of the left lane. Seriously, what are drivers being taught down here??? But that’s not what this story is about, so don’t panic.
The weather was nice and I stopped in the small town of Blythe for some breakfast and to see if there was a road in the area that I could get in a little road cycle.
I hit the local Denny’s and saw ‘Gentleman’ Jim Holley also enjoying an All American Slam or some damn thing.
I was standing to pay when an older guy says, “Great place.” Huh? “Great place,” he says again. Ohhh, he’s reading the back of my Relic Surf Shop hoody.
Being in the middle of the California desert, I wasn’t expecting anyone to know where Uclulet, BC was, that’s for sure. I asked him if he’d ever been there and he said that he had. Cool.
As I was walking back to the van, I watched as a car pulled out with BC plates. OK, now it made more sense.
Anyway, I noticed that we were right on the Colorado River which is the border between Arizona and California in this spot. Cool, I though. There must be a road or bike path that runs alongside it that I could ride, so I headed even farther into the middle of nowhere looking for a place to park and a road to ride.
I decided to give up after a few miles and pulled to the side of a random side road. Not a chance! It was so windy that you’d be blown off the road or into oncoming traffic, it was that bad.
Admitting defeat, I got back in the car and headed back to the interstate to keep driving.
I looked on the Google Maps and saw that I was nearing Joshua Tree National Park. Hmm, maybe I could cycle that road in and back out? Emily and I had done the drive that takes you on a curvy route toward Twentynine Palms (Queue the Robert Plant song…), so I took the turnoff and pulled to the die of the road to check things out.
Nope, still windy and now there was the added danger of a ton of cars driving on the road. Forget it. Back to Google to see what else was nearby…
Huh, the Sultan Sea? What the heck is that? It’s a huge lake that sits below seas level and it’s the opposite way on the same road I now found myself on. Hmm.
I realized that since it was below sea level that it must be all downhill to the Sultan Sea State Park which must have some cycling, right? It was a 15-18-mile drive but I thought the little excursion would be well worth the lost time to see something in the middle of the desert ‘ve never seen before so off I went.
Next, I thought about all the short travel videos I find myself watching on YouTube and decided this was my chance to make one of my own and I started recording myself talking about the drive down through the canyon toward my cycling start point. It was going to be a little travel/cycling video log of the area.
I was having fun chatting about what I was driving through and how the geography was changing as I lost elevation.
When the lake finally appeared from around a corner and through a canyon, I was shocked to see just how big it actually was! A lake that goes off and meets the horizon in the middle of this desert? I had no idea.
The temperature had gone up on my descent and it was now 27 Celsius. Excellent. This was going to be a nice ride and video documentation of it.
After Google took me down several roads and into dead ends, I started to worry about whether or not this added mileage was going to be a complete bust. I’m not one to give up on these things easily, so I kept going.
I found myself in the most oddly named place in California, “North Shore.” There’s no north shore of California! Think about it.
This place is not exactly booming. You could see that at one time they thought this place may be the next Las Vegas or something like that, but I don’t think it ever took off. I’m really going to have to do some looking around to see if I can find a documentary on the area.
It’s also noteworthy that everything in the area is named after something in the middle east. There’s the actual Sultan See itself, Bombay Beach, and the closest town is called Mecca. Like I said, there’s just got to be an interesting story behind all this.
After many more dead ends and the sun starting to dip farther into the sky approaching the mountains to the west, I found the state park.
I drove up to the gate expecting to see a bike path down along the edge of the lake. The nice lady at the entrance walked over and asked me how I was. I said I was great and that I was looking for a place to cycle.
She told me I could go about a mile that way, turn around and come back for a grand total of just under 2 miles. Clearly, she wasn’t a cyclist.
I told her I wanted to do around 30 miles. She looked at me like I had two heads and said, “Oh, no no no, you can’t do that here, and I wouldn’t ride on the main highway up there either. It’s just too dangerous.”
This was turning into a complete bust.
I decided a ride just wasn’t in the cards and I went back to Google Maps to see what my route out of there was.
Of course, it was Sunday evening so you knew the main routes would be packed, and they were. Google had me go through Mecca, Coachella, Indio, Palm Desert, and then the ultra-scenic Highway 74 west up and through the San Jacinto Mountains National Forest.
I’d already given up on my travel/cycling documentary but when I snaked my way from below seas level up to around 5000 feet, the Sultan Sea appeared to my left. I wanted so badly to snap a photo but the risk was too high so I wasn’t able to get it for some perspective. It also would have been a nice way to get myself out of this story, but it didn’t happen.
Here’s a look at the map so you have an idea of where I’m talking about:
When all was said and done, it will go down on paper as a complete waste of time. However, as time passes, I’ll have this excursion to look back on and I know I’ll be happier about seeing that crazy area than I am upset about not getting to ride or the extra time it took to see it.
When you travel the way I travel – rough and often – you have to always look at the bright side and take the time to stop and smell the proverbial roses.
I actually did conclude the video log of the trip and maybe I’ll edit it and put it up for anyone to check out, if they’re interested. No, it doesn’t turn out to be a cycling travel video but maybe that’s not the point.
Future West Moto Canadian Arenacross Championships
Here are some results from this past weekend in Chilliwack, BC:
Full results HERE.
3 days of racing this coming weekend to wrap up the season!
Kicker Arenacross Results from Reno
Round 10: Denver, CO (AMA Championship Round)
National Western Event Center 4655 Humboldt St, Denver, CO
Have a great weekend, everyone.
There are no comments yet, but you can be first to comment this article.