My aim on Sunday was to get to the town of El Centro, about 80 miles away, by early afternoon. I would’ve opted for a shorter stint, but there were no services apart from a single gas station/grocery store after about 40 miles. I set off before sunrise at 6AM, had several 7%+ climbs pushing me to 4,000 ft above sea level before dropping precipitously for six miles down the In Ko Pah Pass on Interstate 8. Normally, going 40mph down a gorge would be stimulating, but the heat and humidity of the valley I was entered burned my skin and caused me to stop twice to rehydrate. As the road leveled off and with twenty miles to go at 11:30AM, I figured a few hours on gently descending terrain with a slight tailwind would suffice, but I didn’t count on the temps quickly hitting the low 120Fs (see below), nor did I count on humidity levels of 60% or the lack of any cover in a cloudless day. Ouch. When I did my research, they were calling for it to be highs in the mid-90Fs for this time of the year. So despite carrying almost six liters (1.5 gallons) of water and refilling much of this en route, I was overheating and had a poor electrolyte mix causing my thighs to cramp up. So I biked and then walked, biked and then walked and enjoyed the breeze of the occasional car passing me by.
Once in El Centro, I chilled in my hotel room with the A/C on full blast for a few hours before venturing out for some milk at 7PM (when it was only 108F). I also opted to rethink the Southern Tier route with an 80 mile stretch of desert coming up followed by another 400 miles of more populous terrain but temps that would be in the low triples digits for highs with lows of only 80F.