Like the Palm Springs itself, the DNA of the Mint brand is set in mid-century modern style. From the our minty-aqua green to the patterns of our socks, we love the design style of the era. So Palm Springs was the place to be for some early season miles.
Our riders rolled into town Friday with plenty of time to check in, do a bit of shopping, and fuel up. Palm Canyon Drive was a bustle of anxious riders getting ready for the big ride, and there’s no better way to take the edge off than by sampling the local fare. Chips, salsa, margaritas, and an Italian dinner of fantastic pizza at Kalura Trattoria paired with Campari and soda. The alarm sounded at 5:15 am. A quick breakfast of oats, a few sips of coffee, and a blast of air into the tires, and they made their way to the start. Riders were sent off in waves – which makes sense. The Tour de Palm Springs is a massive event with over 6,000 riders. Riders’ safety is always a concern, and staggering the start of that many participants got everyone out of town and on to the course.
They were soon out on the open roads and climbing. The KOM/sprint challenge happens early, but with a long day ahead, there was no urgency other than to take in the morning sun as it lit up the Coachella Valley.
It wasn’t long and the first SAG stop appeared on the horizon with riders rolling in to tunes from a local high school band.
As the old saying goes, anything that goes up must come down and riders were treated to a couple of descents where speeds hovered in the mid 30 mph while cruising down Dillon Road and into SAG stop #2. A Clif Bar, some drinks (the sporting type), a they were back on the bikes.
The light headwind soon became a light tailwind through the flat farm roads. Tapping out tempo speeds in the low 20 mph seemed easy and they suddenly found themselves at SAG stop #3. Each station was well stocked and attended – some even had bike handlers that would hold bikes while riders refueled. Snack options were plenty: the standard fruits, Clif products, sandwiches, fresh dates, and even cooked manicotti. It was impossible to not find something that tasted great and that would get rides to the finish.
The rest of the ride flew by as the #assortmints positioned themselves into groups of strong riders and took their turns at the front to set the pace. Two segments always stand out during this point: Tamarisk Row Drive, and Gerald Ford Drive. While these two segments are short, they’re flat, there’s little traffic, and putting power to the pedals seems effortless. Rolling back into Palm Springs made all riders feel like they’ve finished a Grand Tour. Cheering spectators lined the roads, bands played, and cheerleaders chanted as each rider crossed the finish line.
Photos: Cassette Creative