The Fast America South Ride is an event for cyclists who want to see the U.S.A. fast! For the cyclist who cannot take 27 days off, but still wants to ride Fast America South, try our Fast America South - West. The first section of Fast America South covers 845 miles in 7 cycling days (8 total). Ride over the southern Sierras and experience the Southwest desert mountains of Arizona as you pedal from Costa Mesa CA to Albuquerque NM.
The ride departs from Costa Mesa, California. You will head over to the Southern California Coast at Newport Beach, dip your rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean and begin the trek across America. The route then heads inland and follows the Santa Ana River to the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. After a little climbing to get over the San Andreas Fault, you will be rewarded with a terrific ride down to the desert floor. You then roll into Palm Springs for the first overnight. The next day includes substantial climbing up off the desert floor and cross Chiriaco Summit and continues east through the arid southern California desert just south of Joshua Tree National Park. The desert continues as the route crosses the Colorado River, the terrain flattens out and the landscape turns agricultural.
The terrain really becomes mountainous as you cycle up and over Yarnell Pass. You then ride through the Prescott National Forest and down through the town of Prescott. Crossing the Prescott Valley, you have the toughest climb of the trip, Mingus Mountain once on top you have a fast and wild descent back to the desert floor. On the other side of Jerome, the switchbacks straighten out and give way to a nice straight descent. The climbing isn’t over yet as the route winds up through the red rock town of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. The ascent is intense but the views and vistas are worth it. The climbing ends for a while as you cycle through Flagstaff with a view of Humphrey’s Peak (12,663’) and get a pleasant descent on the way down to Winslow, Arizona where the Eagles will help you “Take It Easy.”
Next you cross the rural western desert plains where the terrain ranges from flat to intermediate rolling as you gradually descend for a few days. The climbing begins again as you pass the four corners, cross into New Mexico and roll up and over the Continental Divide. You cycle through the Acoma and Laguna Indian Reservations, conquer 10-mile hill, and finally experience an exciting descent into Albuquerque proper to complete our 136 mile day. By the time you reach Albuquerque, you have more than earned your first day off to get a little R&R, explore the the city on your own, and get ready for one more day in the mountains.