EL CENTRO – Under patchy grey clouds and a growing breeze, the 3:10 to Yuma Imperial Valley Velo Club Fun Ride began at 8 a.m. sharp with club president Brian McNeece sending the riders off. Over a hundred riders began their 60-Mile bicycle ride from Dillard’s parking lot on the northeast end of the Imperial Valley Mall just south of Interstate 8.
The ride continued south onto McCabe Road to route 7 going south of Holtville before meeting up with Highway 98, which dropped them off onto Interstate 8. At this juncture, a number of other riders began their shorter 30-mile ride starting out at 9 a.m. mingling with the last of the earlier riders.
The 3:10 to Yuma Ride is named after the 1957 Hollywood movie starring Glenn Ford and the 2007 remake starring Russell Crowe, both referring to the train to Yuma Territorial Prison. The ride ended at Yuma’s Crossing where each rider received his or her blue t-shirt commemorating the Old West spirit of adventure.
Riders ranged from the experienced amateur cyclists to the total novice Lazario Hernandez, who to improve his cardio for high school wrestling just recently purchased a road bike. The Southwest High School cycling team had eight students riding and was accompanied by teachers Andy Villagranna and Dennis Price.
There were many women riding, some in the 60-miler, others in the 30-miler; most all on good road bikes, but at least one on essentially what could be called a beach cruiser. Virginia Mendoza arrived at the finish in good time ahead of many a straggler to receive a hug from her dad Ricardo. All riders of both groups arrived safely we understand despite a few flats and a fall or two.
Riders came from San Diego, Mexicali, Arizona, to join our Valley riders. Three Marines rode to raise awareness of The Wounded Soldier Organization. The coordinator of the Blue Angels 10K, Amy Doty, checked in first having already pre-registered at Finish Line Cycle Shop in El Centro. Francisco Alvarez cycled from his home to giving himself lots of warm up time.
There were water breaks with the Red Cross manning water stops and sag wagons present if someone felt they could not finish the ride because of fitness or mechanical problems. Most reported that the cool weather with the occasional cloud actually made the ride more enjoyable going across the desert and through the dunes. Strong winds beginning at 10 MPH grew to 20 MPH at times with gusts even stronger, but most blew from the west and helped the riders along.
A total of 215 riders participated in this year’s 3:10 to Yuma Fun Ride.
Imperial Valley Transit provided a shuttle for the return ride for many. Others had family members at the end of the ride greeting them with a smile. The riders arrived safely long before 3:10. The lead group took about two hours and twenty minutes. Many of these riders clock 100 or more miles a week cycling.
The Velo Club had put on the nationally sanctioned Imperial Classic for seven years, but numbers dropped at the end. They changed the format to a fun ride drawing in young and old, experienced and novice. McNeece encourages all to put the 3:10 to Yuma Ride on their calendar for next year. Consult the IV Velo club web site for lots of practice rides to prepare.[envira-gallery id=”52321″]