ALC8 wrap up….finally


AIDS/Lifecycle 8 was a mixed bag for me starting with fundraising finishing with the ride itself.

– I wanted to raise $5k and made it as far as $3600, which is awesome, just not what I was aiming for.

– I had physical challenges that kept me off of the bike for about 160 of 560 miles.
* My handlebars weren’t set in their ideal ergonomic state and that made my hands, especially my right one, really painful to ride with (and for some time after).
* The padding in my shorts was irritating my skin in a way that made sitting on the seat something painful enough to draw tears.
* The good news about these issues is that they are totally avoidable in the future and they did not keep me off the bike for any more miles than they did – yay!

Now it’s been just over two weeks since we left LA and quads are back to normal, sitting on my bike seat is very comfortable, my hands are pain free, and I’m rested.

Here are my favorite moments in list, and somewhat chronological, form.

Day one

– rest stop one – discovering those wonderful peanut butter and jelly graham cracker sandwiches that I’d had once before when I volunteered for ALC.

– Emily’s cookie monster outfit made a lot of people smile.

– climbing the 92, getting to the top and being handed strawberries, and then riding down the beautiful, smooth curve into Half Moon Bay. Here’s a fun little map showing when I was most excited.

– this little house in the woods made me really happy. so did all that green.

– Mom, this photo was taken for you. lighthouse in the fog.

Day two (celebrating 32 years of life)

– Emily made a little sign for my butt, Justin gave me a princess pinata that I tied to my do-rag and Shannon took this photo.

– Then, Greg gave me a ride to the SAG bus for the first time “only cuz it’s your birthday!”. I think it was wind that dissuaded me from continuing – cross winds are a BITCH!
The SAG bus, however, was Divalicious!

see the little TV (click for larger view)? They had The Supremes playing for us – very sweet.

Day three

– my favorite part of the ride was conquering The Quad Buster. Mostly because the downhill after was the most joyful exertion I’ve had in a long time. I had a few miles of superfast “onyourleft onyourleft” and then on the smooth flat after, from somewhere, I found a sprint and I raced (safely!) past a row of eight riders. Just as I settled in to a nice open road I hear “BOOS! You were riding REALLY FAST!” coming from behind me. Shannon caught up to me after waiting for our friends while I hit the downhill first. that made my day because he’s much faster than me.

– entering central california – dry dry dry, but oh so photogenic.

– i broke the rules by taking this while riding but i’m SO pleased with the result (and i didn’t get busted, or hurt)

– rest stop “dia de los muertos” where I told everyone in front of the camera to “pretend your dead” before I realized the rest stop theme.

Day four

– this day started out with pain in my hands so great that i was crying by 10 miles. i mistakenly thought that if i waited for the SAG bus at rest stop 1, i’d be driven to lunch to get taped/mended/magically cured and then ride the rest of the way to camp. what i didn’t realize is that once on the SAG bus, you’re going to camp. so, this was a sad day for me, tho, it was good to rest my hand.

– in that first 10 miles, Josh asked me what my goal for the day was and I laughed as I said, “honestly? to get to rest stop 1.” He commended me for my realistic perspective and then congratulated me when we got there.

– i took this from the bus after deciding i wanted a photo of the fog AND a cyclist.

– synchronistically, i spotted Emily in her big bird costume from the bus TWICE, without knowing where on the route she was. that made the bus ride a little bit more bearable.

– once at camp, it was so windy that putting up the tents was a two person job. Silas and his recumbant had made it to camp even before the SAG bus so he helped me put up all three of the remaining tents for our team. that made me feel good. then we took pictures of the people sliding down the oil and water slip and slide that was created on the grassy knoll across the campground.

Day five Red Dress Day
– our gear roadies looked (especially) awesome this day

– favorite portrait

– favorite landscape

Day six Rained Out
Here’s the story: This day included a small one lane bridge that the CHP had to close from other traffic so that our 2150 riders could pass safely. They agreed to close it during a specific time window – I believe it was between 9 and 1. The previous night, we slept thru some serious rain and even got rained on at breakfast but by the time we were ready to roll (our group, not the riders waiting to go out right at 6:30 am) the rain was gone and the sun was coming out.
However, this was not the case on the big hill covered in soaking wet riders with flat tires.
Those riders were given two options: turn around and go back to camp or wait here (in the cold and rain) for the SAG bus. Half of the riders went back to camp to wait with the rest of us for three to five hours for a bus ride to Ventura.

– We got in line for the bus about four buses back and I think I heard that it took 20 buses or so to get everyone to the campsite in Ventura, so we were lucky to be in the front. We got to Ventura around 2 or 2:30, laid our soggy clothes out to dry in the warm SoCal sun and I quickly hopped into the ocean.
The warm, salty ocean that I got to swim in for about 30 minutes of heaven before I got hungry for dinner.

– the candlelight vigil on the beach that night was really special. very solemn and so very quiet, except for the sounds of sniffles here and there. seeing this got my tears flowing. I fought with myself about taking a photo and finally decided that i’d appreciate having the image after the fact, and I do.

Day seven
– i finally got to paint a rainbow on my face (while wearing my SF Bike Coalition SF Bike Map Jersey no less!)

– best Jamba Juice stop ever (Greggy got one with peanut butter and banana that will be my next choice, for sure – highly recommended!) This was just a few blocks before closing ceremonies and we got to cheer on the few hundred riders that were behind us (read: not many!).

Shanny, me, Justin, Greg, Silas (Emily had to leave the morning of Day 6 to get back to SF for a family wedding, and somehow I lost Josh just a mile or so before this spot – we missed them both!)

Well folks, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this little recap. I can definitnely see myself doing this ride again someday, perhaps 2011, perhaps even sooner!

To all of my sponsors – thank you so very much for helping to provide education and service to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as help people with HIV/AIDS live happier, healthier lives.

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4 Responses to “ALC8 wrap up….finally”

  1. carlomarx

    excellent narrative and images. it really rocks that you were able to do the trip in the first place, let alone walk away with a cool piece from it…

  2. Spencer

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  3. jaisonlynch

    You totally rock A. Congratulations on a monumental accomplishment. Totally inspired.

  4. Emily

    You are so incredibly great! You were in such pain but kept such a great attitude the whole time and were amazingly able to capture such great photos! I love your writing and it made me so stoked for next year that I registered!!!! Again…I LOVE ME SOME ADDY!!!!!!!!!