The desert. Mountain bikes. There are actually very few places where the two overlap both at any official or extensive capacity. Which is strange, seeing as how the sheer scale of the deserts in California can be lost while looking at a map. There has to be a trail network worth riding in there somewhere! It takes up so much of Southern California! In my experience, this scale is only decipherable after attempts to explore, document and traverse. Otherwise, you’re just looking at expansive land, with a few mountains scattered throughout.
There’s a lot that Southern California got wrong, but setting aside expanses of unadulterated high desert is one thing it got right. Riding bikes through said landscape, only to culminate in a city filled with big box architecture, sports cars and golf courses supplies the much-needed reflection to further appreciate these experiences.
That’s the Palm Canyon Epic; one big juxtaposition, or macro juxtaposition if you will. From Piñon, Juniper, Chaparral, and Sagebrush to Cholla, Agave, Barrel, and Beavertail, the flora and fauna you experience on this ride is unlike anything I’ve ridden before. I’m always on the lookout for desert experiences on the bicycle and let me tell you, the feeling you get while looking for a place, or a route to ride, is equivocal to the vastness experienced while actually there, pleasantly pedaling. Or hell, even pedaling in pain can be fun too. This route has it all.
Luckily, on this ride, there were eleven of us, making for a truly unique excursion into the wide openness that is the high desert.