The Fast America South Ride is an event for cyclists who want to see the U.S.A. fast! It is a most challenging and aggressive fully supported 27 day coast-to-coast bicycle tour. Get ready for a real cycling tour where each day is a unique adventure in itself.
This is the perfect tour for cyclists who want to increase their cycling ability and to see America in the best possible way - from the seat of a bicycle. See the beauty of America that only a cross country bicycle tour can offer. And remember, the tour staff will take care of all the details, you just ride your bike every day and explore America. During the Fast America South Ride you will cycle through 9 states, experience some of the most beautiful and scenic areas of America at an average of 115 miles per day.
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.
The second leg begins with a climb over Glorieta Summit and roll down to Las Vegas, New Mexico. The western desert slowly gives way to the high plains as you spin eastward to Texas. From Dalhart, TX you continue across the vast, gently rolling Texas Panhandle through Dumas, Texas, the site of the largest natural gas facility in the world. You'll ride along the immense Texas rangeland and sense what it must have been like to have breakfast from the back of a chuck wagon as you pass vistas where thousands of cowhands drove herds along the Chisholm Trail to railheads for shipments to eastern markets. Your next state is Oklahoma, once described by Will Rogers as, "The heart of America's existence." The first stop will be Elk City, once a rest stop for cattlemen driving herds along the great western trail to Kansas. Like those cowhands, you will also spend long hours in the saddle to Chickasha and McAlester during two long days that aren’t flat by any means. In Oklahoma, the state that has more horses per person than any other state, rangeland will give way to farmland as you cross the Main Street of America, Route 66. Farmland will turn to beautiful mountain ranges as you enter eastern Oklahoma for your second well-deserved day off in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Arkansas offers gently rolling terrain as you ride along the Arkansas River Valley within sight of the Ozark Mountains and the Ozark National Forest. Once over the Arkansas River, the terrain becomes nearly dead flat as you ride across the basin of the Great Mississippi River. You will finally be in the east when you cross the Mississippi River at Helena, but you will definitely know you are in the south when you start to see kudzu (a voracious vine that covers everything in its path) and start to experience warm southern hospitality. Your first stop in the Deep South will be in Senatobia MS. After leaving Senatobia on your way to Aberdeen you will be on mostly quiet rural roads all the way to Georgia. But if you think the south is flat, you are in for an education. Although there are no mountains in Mississippi or Alabama, you'll have some of your most challenging climbing days before Georgia.
The Deep South doesn't get any deeper than in Alabama. Here cotton is king, the confederacy was born, and Jefferson Davis’s birthday is a holiday. Your first taste of Bama will be a challenging climbing day and you'll finish by riding right through the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Although there are no significant individual climbs you will have one of the most challenging total elevation gain days as you ride to Prattville AL. On your last day in Alabama, you'll ride through Tuskegee, the home of the Tuskegee Airmen, and the campus of Tuskegee University. You will overnight in Columbus Georgia right next to the beautiful Chattahoochee River, a short walk from the historic downtown and the beautiful Riverfront. As you explore the area, you will realize you are nearing the end of your great journey. The next day you will depart Columbus on the river bike trail into Fort Benning. The day into Perry, Georgia is relatively short so you may want to take a side trip to Andersonville, the site of the infamous Confederate Civil War concentration camp. All across Georgia you will see reminders of the Civil War as monuments, battlefields, and cemeteries recall the ravages of war, while white-pillared mansions tell a story of prosperity brought by cotton and river commerce. The terrain will start to level out as you near the coast. After your last night on the road in Vidalia Georgia, the sweet onion capital of the south, your emotions will be mixed as you prepare for your last day into Savannah. The terrain will be flat and gets even flatter as you ride to the tour’s final destination, and dip your wheels into the Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Island.