Saturday, June 09, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day Seven

I woke up quite early. I guess I'm anxious to get home. Got up, changed, and took down my tent in the dark. The moon was pretty bright so it wasn't too difficult. I was feeling a little stiff last night so I decided to see the chiropractic student that I had seen previously. So after everything was taken care of it got in line just after 5am and got in right away to see Daniel. They are not allowed to crack us in the morning. Probably a good policy! But he stretched out my right side like crazy. Felt VERY uncomfortable while he was doing it but then immediately felt better afterwards. Then on to the last breakfast. It felt good not to be rushed or late for anything.

Met up with Kenny about 6:30am and after pumping tires and checking to see what Chicken Lady left for us on our seats, we were off. More heavy traffic with instructions not to pass. Also a lot of stop lights to deal with. Which I suppose is good because it spread us out some.

At some point before Rest Stop 1 I got a flat. Kenny was in front of me and yelled out, "Was that you?" Unfortunately it was! So I changed the tire and he checked the rim for anything pokey before I put the new tire in. I only have a pump so he used his CO2 cartridge. Slick! I need to start using those! To entertain ourselves we dissed each other as riders passed by. I started it by saying loudly that next time he would have to change his own flat tire. He finished by telling everyone that his lesbian can't change a flat. Hmmph! Guess he won that round!

More little bits of climbing and trying to pass safely until lunch. We found a place on the ground by a soda machine that broke the wind for us and kept us warm. That was good! Fifteen miles left to the finish so we got moving pretty quickly. The finish had been changed so that early riders did not have to wait until everyone else had caught up to go through the finish. So riders just go in when they are ready to go. Kenny and I called our partners from a coffee house on San Vicente and they were both there waiting for us. So on we rode.

There is a pain in the butt little climb just at the very end to remind us who's boss. But there were Tootsie Rolls at the top so that made me happy! (= Then it was a few quick turns to the finish line! Bozo was there with Cindy who she had spent the night with. It was nice to have people waiting for me this time. I remember being a little sad last time that I had no one.

Picked up my Victory shirt, got some photos taken, grabbed some food, then headed to Cindy's for a shower and to relax a little. After a couple hours there we did a quick tour of where I worked and lived in LA several years ago and then it was time for my Victory dinner at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles! Bozo just didn't get it. Chicken and waffles?? No vegetables?? lol I guess it's an acquired taste.

A drive back up to Ventura from where I had left early this morning and a comfortable room for some much needed rest... with no alarm clock!

Friday, June 08, 2012

AIDS/Life Cycle 11 - Day Six

Lompoc to Ventura

Distance - 84.63
Time - 6.17.20
Avg Speed - 13.4mph
Max Speed - 41.0

Day 6 is always fun with Paradise Ice Cream in Santa Barbara. It also starts to get slightly more dangerous as we spend a good amount of time on Highway 101 with cars zooming past. There are lots of instructions not to pass each other... EVER! But that becomes a little unrealistic, especially when there actually is room for two cyclists. We had a pretty big climb that started almost immediately. But after the climbing was done we had a descent at 7% decline. Whoa! I was braking a good amount of time and still hit 41mpg. The scary part was at the bottom there was an ambulance with EMTs stabilizing 2 riders who had crashed not long before. That night the announcement was that they were still being evaluated in the hospital. Scary!

My main feeling on this day is the excitement at being so near the ocean. The air feels different. The smell is different. Sometimes like fish.. but still. Any fatigue or pain just goes away with such a beautiful view. I rode with Kenny most of the afternoon and into Santa Barbara for ice cream. Neither of us was sure we wanted to have ice cream before riding more but I decided it would digest while I was riding and it wouldn't affect me. Turned out to be true! (=

Bozo was waiting with Blue at the beach in Ventura for us to finish but she needed to leave by 5pm to make dinner with her friend in LA. So we hustled it in to make it by just after 4pm. She had just taken Blue to the car and was walking back to wait when we showed up. Surprise!! We just got to spend a few minutes together before she headed off and I went back to tent life.

After dinner I went and got the photo of my Uncle R for the Candlelight Vigil on the beach. We lit the candles, walked silently to and then sat on the beach, then eventually began taking the candles to the water to put them out. It was quite beautiful!

Then to bed!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day Five

Santa Maria to Lompoc

Distance - 41.85
Time - 3.21.41
Avg Speed - 12.4mph
Max Speed - 41.0 mph


Is it possible to have surprise climbs?? Yes, it is! I guess it would help if we looked at the elevation profile but I think that was even slightly underestimating. At dinner the night before, apparently they were going over the ride for today and no mention of climbing was made. Well, there were a couple very good climbs I must say.

Team Sacramento intended to ride together for at least part of the day but most of them left while I was getting ready to head out. A text from Kenny said The Misfits were planning to leave later so I headed out on my own. With a crowd. lol First part of the ride was pretty flat and a good warm up on a cold morning. I caught up with Team Sacto at the Rest Stop 1 where we took some photos and did some red dress site seeing. There are some very creative and daring people in this world! I took off with Team Sacto, which is the first time I have actually ridden with any of them. lol On training rides they were always well ahead of me so I mostly rode alone. We did a good job staying together until we got to the first climb. Though there was a head wind and it was safer to stay at the back of the group, I needed to climb faster. So I pulled out and, after recovering from the hit of wind I took, was able to climb on. Bear caught up eventually and we each passed Samantha. Bear stopped at the top and so did Samantha and I. There was some talk about whether this was the top or not... Bear thought yes and Samantha thought no. So far Samantha has been pretty accurate in her memory of the ride from last year so I had to go with her. It was definitely NOT the end of the climb. This first climb just seemed to go on and on. I heard people yelling, singing, talking to themselves, etc. Eventually I started saying out loud, "This is vol-un-tary! This is my choice! I am not in prison!" This helped me to count my pedal strokes and made a couple people laugh, which is always helpful. Eventually made it to the actual top after a couple of false summits. Then a great downhill toward Rest Stop 2. Apparently I was taking a bit too much of the road because a car passenger gave me the finger when they passed by. A little horn toot and I would have moved over but I didn't know they were there. Ah well, they lost about 3 seconds in their drive.

Rest Stop 2 was a Bad Bride theme. Cute! More photos, food, and liquids then Perry and I took off to begin the second climb. This one was a switchback that is apparently supposed to look like a red ribbon as we ride. Of course it never crosses over itself so that's impossible but I'm sure it looks very cool from above! I didn't find this climb nearly as difficult as the first. I believe it was shorter so that was probably part of it. Or possibly I just blocked out the pain. (=

The lunch stop was about 3 miles from the end of the ride for the day. Gotta love that! I grabbed my food and sat in front of the "The Voice" stage and waited to see people I know. John E. showed up and sat with me but then the rest of Team Sacto showed up and sat elsewhere so we moved. "The Voice" was great lunchtime entertainment after which The Misfits got our Red Dress Day photo taken and then headed out for the 3-mile ride home.

Another Motel 6 but this one was quite far from ALC Camp. So we went there so I could shower and change before heading back for the Team Sacto "official" team photo. We got a little lost trying to get back to the park and they were not able to wait for me so I missed out on that photo. Bummer. But we went to the meal tent for dinner and I definitely ate my fair share.

There was a comedian for entertainment tonight, Shawn Pelofsky, who was very funny! With a hotel and a memory foam bed, she became the hottest chick in the place. A long day tomorrow so we didn't stay for the whole show. Back to Motel 6 for some Princess sleeping!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day Four

Paso Robles to Santa Maria

Distance - 95.20
Time - 6.50.42
Avg Speed - 13.9mph
Max Speed - 39.5mph

Woke up around 4pm in the KOA after a very solid hard sleep. Bozo said she took Blue out twice during the night and I didn't stir at all. After the massage and chiropractor yesterday then a good sleep, I was feeling ready for this long day! We headed back to ALC Camp in Paso Robles where I went directly to breakfast and had a feast of eggs, oatmeal, potatoes, and yogurt. I love eating a big breakfast and this is a perfect reason to do so!

On the road today... The Evil Twins! Or, "The Evil Bitches" as they are affectionately called. Evil Twin #1 begins at mile 9.9, which is just the right amount of time for a warm up. The incline starts pretty gradually and remains pretty gradual throughout. There is at least one false summit on Evil Twin #1 and I could hear people around me saying, "This is it, we're at the top" know that we were not actually at the top. It can be disheartening to think you are at the top only to begin climbing again so I think it's best for people to keep their mouths. It did affect me at one point when someone said we'd reached the top of ET1 but I could see that after a small descent we would climb a little more. That's when I decided to stop listening to people who say, "We're almost there!" When I'm there... I'm there!

Then came Evil Twin #2. This climb is steeper and longer. But at the top is the Halfway to LA point, which is always very exciting! I spent way too much time at the Halfway point. I had my photo taken with Team Misfit, then solo, then just as I was thinking about leaving, some of Team Sacramento showed up and got in line. So I waited with them for about 30 minutes and got my photo take with them and then alone again. Just took way too long! After all that climbing comes the reward... the lonnnnnng descent. I can't remember how long it was but it was long enough that I was actually getting tired of descending by the end!

Kenny had left the 2nd rest stop by the time I got there so I met up with him at lunch. The rest of the route was mainly rollers, which can also get very tiring. Toward the end of the day, we passed an ambulance that was loading up 1 female ALC rider who'd had an accident. Then a quick turn and a short steep uphill kept us on our toes. I went through some more rollers to the next turn where I stopped to wait for Kenny. Turned out his blood sugar was very low and we were trying to find some Gu or other sugar when Khoa and Aaron rode by as well as some of Team Sacramento. After some Gu, Kenny felt better but after about a mile decided to stop at a convenient store to pick up some sweet tea. Good ol' Texas boy! At the convenient store, we got to talk with some locals about the ride and why we were doing it. That was good! They were very impressed and encouraging!

Rest Stop 4 was Octoberfest, which is always a good time! This is especially true after a head and side wind that threatened to throw us off our bikes! But afterwards, it was a strong tailwind that added much speed to the ride. Another accident along the way and Kenny stopped... he's a nurse. I kept going since they were trying to keep people from stopping and getting in the way. I don't think a nurse can get in the way! (= This stretch took no time at all. But once in Santa Maria, we take another turn into the wind. So... a head wind and a bunch of stop signs. Arrgh! It's tolerable only because we are so close to home. And I was able to get in with a fast group of guys. At the last corner, Bozo was sitting there waiting patiently for me. Blue was back in the car out of the heat and wind. It's such a great feeling to see her when I am finishing! I suppose most people continue and finish the ride before saying hi but I have a habit of stopping right when I get to her or them. lol

Finished the last few yards and checked my bike in. Kenny came in not long after me. Apparently there was a physician at the crash scene so he was able to leave. This would be his night to sleep indoors at Aaron's mother's house while I was on my way to pet friendly Motel 6 for the night. I kinda like this Princess Plan! Bozo already had my bag so all I had to do was grab some food and we were gone!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day Three

King City to Paso Robles

Distance - 63.74
Time - 4.24.08
Avg Speed - 14.5mph
Max Speed - 38.0mph

Ahh Quadbuster! Gotta love it! The first part of the ride was pretty uneventful. And then the first rest stop, which means that Quadbuster is not far ahead. This climb is pretty steep at 1500 feet but the kicker is the last bit that inclines even more. This makes is a struggle to keep one's rhythm all the way to the top. But it's really just a matter of just that... rhythm. Doesn't matter how fast or how slow as long as you keep moving. I generally focus about 5 feet in front of me and just count either 1-2 or 1-2-3-4 unless I'm standing and then I count to 8. Some people sing when they are under duress. I heard a lot of singing on this climb. (= Good or bad voices, it helps to take my mind off what I'm doing for a moment. To be honest, the summit was a bit disappointing. There are usually speakers and many people encouraging the riders on. Teammates can stop and cheer on their slower members. But there were some military exercises going on so we could not use the whole lane as in the past. So everyone had to keep moving. Bummer! One tradition did continue. Team Mary FLEW back down the hill to encourage the rest of us up. I like that they do that!

The rest of the ride is pretty much downhill and then flat with some rollers. There were some head and side winds to contend with that were not fun at all. It was a relief to stop at the last Rest Stop, which was the Best Little 4 House in Texas. They did some dancing and passed around a bucket to raise more money for ALC. We got there just as they finished the performance but there are videos and we heard all about it as well. For more about the Rest Stop 4 crew, you can check out their Facebook page.

When we got into camp, Bozo and Blue weren't there. Bummer! This camp is a "Mid-State Fair Fairgrounds" so a lot of the services are actually indoors instead of in tents. I picked up my gear and was setting up my tent when another (male) rider came up and asked if I understand the whole grid concept. I couldn't tell if he was being helpful or a tool. He asked if I'd like some help with the tent and I said, "If you'd like to help, I'd take it." He said, "I don't want to" and walked away. lol Guess I know now that he was being a tool! This is unusual on ALC!

Then Bozo showed up. Yay! She was going to help me put up my tent but I started asking how long of a drive to the KOA where she is staying. I decided it was worth it to go stay with her and be a semi-princess (it's a camping cabin afterall). The time it would take to drive back to camp in the morning would be similar to the time it would take me to break my tent down. So I was IN!

With that choice made, we headed directly to the massage building. I ended up getting Scott, the massage therapist I had met at one of our Team Sacramento meetings so that was cool. Got his card so I could go see him for a proper (longer than 15 minutes) massage. But he worked the kinks out of my shoulders and upper back as well as my calves. Then he suggested I go to chiropractic since I was all loose and let them work on my lower back. Great suggestion!! I did that and also got right in. Daniel did a great job stretching me out and giving me an adjustment. Tomorrow is 97 miles so this was VERY good timing for these services.

By the time I was done there, dinner was open. So off we went to get some food that I would take with me. I ate in the car as we drove to the KOA in Santa Margarita where I was able to get a dismal shower and do some laundry with iron-filled water! lol But... I slept SO hard and well, it was definitely a good choice. Bozo apparently took Blue out twice during the night and both the inside and screen doors are very squeaky. I heard nothing! Very nice!!

Monday, June 04, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day Two

Santa Cruz to King City

Distance - 47.51 (supposed to be 109.2)
Time - 3.48.40
Avg Speed - 12.4 mph
Max SPeed 31.0 mph

Ahh Day Two! Started out a little chilly with a 30% chance of rain. Yeah right! Well... yeah. Right! Almost as soon as we left, it started to drizzle. I was wearing shorts and a light windbreaker. Not nearly enough clothing for the brisk day. By the time we made it to the second Rest Stop at about 40 miles, it was a full on rain. People were shivering and choosing to stop for the day as it was too dangerous for them to keep going. Good choices I would say! Though wet, I felt pretty good. Maybe my Minnesota blood was kicking in! I was riding with Khoa and Aaron after that Rest Stop and we just put our heads down and rode. The road was pretty good though there was some mud at places since we were in farmland. Lunch was only about 8 miles away and we had been told that it wasn't raining at lunch so I think that motivated us to keep it moving. I did stop at one point to get a photo of the seals along the way. But it was a quick stop. When we got to lunch Khoa was shivering pretty uncontrollably so I ran around and got him a garbage bag then mylar while pushing him to eat his lunch. He and Aaron decided to SAG it since there was no way Khoa could ride safely in his state.

I got my own mylar blanket and went into the port-a-potty to arrange it under my jacket. Then a garbage bag to top off the ensemble and I was ready to go. My hands were cold, my feet were squishing around in my wet shoes, and if you don't already know what a drenched chamois feels like, I hope you never find out! But my core was warm and I was ready to head out. As I was getting on my bike, the moto crew came along and said they were closing the route and not allowing anyone who wasn't already out to leave. Darn! I saw a few people try to sneak past Moto but Moto is on top of their sh*t so as far as I know, no one got out. And I wasn't about to try to do something against instructions and risk being kicked off the ride. So I stood around getting cold. lol

Eventually Hartnell College opened their Student Center for us so we would have some warmth. This turned into a Mylar Fashion Show and lots of skin showing as people shed their wet clothes. Kenny showed up in the building at some point so it was nice to see a familiar face. Buses started showing up to take us to camp, which took about an hour. Along the way, we saw a few lonely souls pedaling away still on the route. I was both jealous of them and feeling sorry for them. I really wanted to be out there doing all the miles but I also knew it was totally miserable. Turned out that about 800 people made the entire route, including most of Team Sacramento! I thought that was VERY cool!!

Camp was at San Lorenzo County Park in King City... and was TOTALLY sunny and dry. Hmmph!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day One

Cow Palace in San Francisco to Santa Cruz

Distance - 82.53
Time Riding- 6.10.04
Actual Time w/ Rests - 9.42.35
Avg Speed - 13.3 mph
Max Speed - 45.0 mph

Had a difficult time getting started this morning. Surprise! Eventually we figured out it would be more efficient for Bozo to go to Denny's to get my breakfast instead of planning to sit and eat it there. I just could not get moving.

We did make it to the Cow Palace with plenty of time. I turned in my gear bag. This is always scary the first time as I haven't gotten my system down just yet and it's more likely that I'll forget something imperative. I didn't forget anything and didn't bring anything unneeded. Phew!

Into the Cow Palace, I had wanted to leave some stuff by my bike and pump the tires. But we weren't allowed in until after Opening Ceremonies. So we went into the main area for the ceremony. It was fun, emotional, touching, exciting, and motivating all at the same time. The energy was palpable as people wanted to be in the moment for the ceremony but our minds were also out on the road and we were twitching to get started. They shortened the ceremony from past years apparently and we were soon released to get our bicycles.

Last time I did the ride, we all lined up and went out at the same time. Seemed like a cluster to me! Now they open the doors and let people go when they're ready. It spreads things out on the road a little fast and I think makes it safer as well. I needed to air up my tires so I got out after much of the first rush. That was good because I actually got to see Bozo along the side of the road. I'm not sure I would have if I'd gotten out with the big antsy group.

Lots of people falling in that first bit through the city as they got used to their clips. Mostly at stop lights where they just didn't clip out soon enough. None were injured and they all got up laughing and being teased by their friends. The energy was so good. Lots of stop lights, up and down, around for about 19 miles before the first Rest Stop. I ran into Kenny and Khoa from The Misfits (my unoffical team at ALC 5) at the Rest Stop and we rode much of the day together after that. Lunch was at San Gregorio State Beach again and it was just beautiful. Except the view of the climb we would have right out of lunch. It's not so much the climb but feeling full of food and also being able to see it the entire time we're sitting there that make it seem difficult.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and I believe we had a tailwind much of the afternoon. We rolled into the traffic of Santa Cruz, which always seems to be a struggle. I would think they are bike friendly being a beach town but they really aren't. Fortunately we have great Roadies who direct traffic very well!

Being the first time into camp for the ride, it takes some time to figure out the system. Pick up your gear bag. My tentmate had the tent chip so I didn't get a tent right away. But when I got to our spot, there was no tent. So I went back and was given a tent to set up. I ended up with my own tent that night, which was very cool! Especially with my big ass hockey bag in tow! Once the tent was up, it was time for a shower. Off to find the shower trailers. Hey! No wait!! That's very cool! Back to organize the tent and then off to dinner. This is basically the system that works for me and seems pretty similar to others as well.

Dinner, evening program, then bed. I had trouble getting to sleep with no earplugs and lots of snoring around me. Bummer!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 11 - Day Zero

Orientation Day at The Cow Palace in San Francisco.

Last time I did the ride, the push was to get there as early as possible to finish as early as possible. Truth is, it takes about 3 hours regardless of when you go. This time, it was suggested that people go in the afternoon as lines are often shorter at that time. Everyone listened! lol So the lines were still long. But we got funneled directly into a Safety Video and got that out of the way. Then I went to get my tent. I had been promised a tent by a disgruntled former teammate who had no ill feelings toward me (or so I thought). She was hoteling it the entire ride so I would have had my own tent. A couple days before, she backed out and gave it to someone else. Apparently my association with her former team actually did affect her. Anyway, my random tentmate was standing there too so we met briefly. But there are things to be done on Day Zero so I moved on quickly. Bozo was standing in the Registration Line for me so I jumped in there. That took at least an hour. But I ran into Kar from Team Misfits and Kevin and Scott from Team Sacramento during that time. I also got to spend some time gabbing with a couple guys from Team Popular. That's the kind of team name that is just set up for being teased! But they were all so darn cute, I'm sure they didn't care! lol

We got a room at the La Quinta near the San Francisco Airport, which turned out to be a perfect location. Close enough that it was a short drive for the morning. But there was also a 24/7 Denny's right there so I would get a full breakfast. Last year the ALC Sponsored hotel said they would have breakfast available but it was just a bit of fruit and some pastries. NOT good riding food! So Denny's was convenient. And these are the kinds of things I have to think about at this time. Usually something like that wouldn't matter much at all. The other VERY cool thing about this La Quinta was that it was not only pet friendly but there was a separate building for pet owners so we didn't have to worry about those crazy people who don't like animals. That building had also been renovated so it was very nice. Wide screen TV worked for me too! (=

Went for dinner at Di Napoli Pizza at 202 Grand in South San Francisco. Awesome food, surly server.

I spent a little time trying to cram all my stuff into a smaller bag. The hockey bag I bought just for this purpose a few years back turned out to have a "spread" problem. The bag wasn't nearly full but everything seemed to spread out, making the bag look HUGE! And, it was heavy empty. I couldn't get everything into my smaller bag so I'm using the Canada hockey bag. It'll do for this trip but I am definitely getting a different bag. Anyone want to make an offer on what is probably perfect for hockey gear?

To bed about 10pm with a plan to be up by 4am. WHAT???