I haven't posted since late May, as I have been on my bike, participating in AIDS/LifeCycle7 (for the fourth time), a ride to raise funds for AIDS education, awareness and services. And raise money we did. 2500 riders raised $11.6 million this year.
Taxi777 was there, too. I saw him in his 50+ jersey.
DAY ONE is 82 miles from San Francisco (actually the Cow Palace in Daly City, SaiKaiTai's back yard) to Santa Cruz. As I looked at many of the riders about to attempt this ride, it strikes me that some are clearly delusional with a shaky grip on reality, thinking they can do it. But they are all woven together in a single fabric of intent and determination. Many won't make every mile, but I sure admire their will.
We head out at 6:30 am in a warmish morning, riding up Geneve Blvd. Of the five of us who are riding together, we lose three before we leave the building. Before too long, we have all spread out a bit and begin the first little climb of the week.
The next climb of significance is Highway 92, heading to the coast at Half Moon Bay. It is a twisty 1.5 mile tester, made a bit more difficult by traffic, both cars and bikes. It's pretty much single file all the way up. Climbing is not my forte, but I have little difficulty with this one, maybe because the pace is dictated by the conditions.
After lunch overlooking the ocean, we start down the coast, with a nice tailwind to help us over a few rollers. We pass a sign that says "Pie Ranch"! I had no idea pies were "raised" or "grown". I couldn't stop, but as we neared Santa Cruz, the Pie Lady was there. She bakes 75 pies. I had apple.
We make it to camp about 2:15. Hot showers, dinner from 4:00 to 9:00, announcements and in bed by 9:00 for most of us.
DAY TWO is from Santa Cruz to King City, 108 mostly flat miles. It's punctuated by free coffee at The Ugly Mugg in Aptos and deep fried artichoke hearts in Castroville.
Much of the ride is on the back roads of rural California.
After fighting a horrendous side wind for a few miles, we get to turn with the wind for the last 12 miles in to camp. It starts like a roller coster, and I can sustain speeds of 30-35 mph, eventually settling in at a constant 26 mph, as bits of rural California farm flotsam spray from my tires.
DAY THREE is anticipated with some dread as we must traverse the Quadbuster, 1.3 miles of a 10-12% grade on our 66 mile trek to Paso Robles. Here's a picture of our little group leaving lunch at Bradley.
DAY FOUR is 98 miles to Santa Maria, including the Evil Twins and the Halfway point of the ride. After getting warmed up, I feel like I am actually getting stronger as the ride progresses. Here's a ribbon of riders heading up the Evil Twins, on the way to the Coast and Morro Bay.
Here I am celebrating completing half the ride at the top of the big hill. Hey! What are those other guys doing?
Coming in to Morro Bay.
The day ends, again, with a big tailwind for the last 10 miles. Woohoo. 30 mph on the flat.