Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ALC Day Three (Day of Fwoosh)

(Warning, this post contains ego inflating acts of machoism. I had decided on day 3 to be my opportunity to get that out of my system so I could roll chill again.)

Day 3 - King City to to Paso Robles, 67 miles

Yes, I have not forgotten I left more then half of my AIDS LifeCycle experience untranscribed, so here at last is my account of day three. If you need to get caught up, here are links for days Zero, One, & Two.

Me, my bike, and my handle bar camera bag.

Since I had decided Day 3 would be my day of going fwoosh and racing the course, I got up extra early and rolled out about 6:35 so I'd have less people to pass (course opens at 6:30). The first leg was colder then I anticipated with the heat of the previous day and I regretted rolling out without my knee warmers. This day featured a large hill early in the route known as quad-buster which had a fare amount of hype building it up. I especially look forward to serious hill climbing when I'm cold because nothing heats your body up like hauling your butt up a hill.

On the approach to the climb I was passing everyone who rolled out before I did, but then all of a sudden I was passed by two other riders. Being the competitive person I am and in a racing sort of mood, I was determined to catch them. They had too much momentum for me to catch them right away, so I plotted to pace my self on the climb so that I would slowly advance and catch them toward the peak. My 10 lbs. of camera gear loading down my bike did not help facilitate this goal.

Finally in the last stretch before the crest of the hill I had closed the gap and we become a group of three. I also wondered where the rest of the hill was, imagining a more grueling climb given the hype. Perhaps this was just a testament to the hill training our team emphasized. As we began descending from the peak, a thrill tempered by opposing winds, we picked up another couple riders. Riding single file we became like a train rolling over the landscape. As we passed by rest stops some broke off but I had become determined to hang with the original two riders who had passed me as far as they were planning to go, which seemed like a straight shot to the lunch stop.

Lunch parking on my day of going fast.

Moving at a blazing clip and skipping Rest Stops one, two, & three, we arrived at lunch at 9:00 AM. The bike racks I was used to seeing packed at stops were barren when we got there. Technically the official lunch wasn't open yet, but they had the boxes out so the early folks could grab food. Also next door a BBQ and bake sale put on by locals was cooking up a storm, with proceeds going to the local school.

Unoffical Local BBQ Lunch Currently about 9:15 AM

Leaving lunch I rolled with a group riding out led by Bruce who I had joined on the climb. The pace never dipped below relentless and they would have likely skipped everything and gone straight to camp, but on account of this being my first time doing ALC and that cumbersome camera I was lugging around, they stopped with me at Rest Stop 4, located on the grounds of an old Mission.

Mission Mission

Our early arrival caught the entertainers of Rest Stop 4 before they were finished preparing, but we were treated to a rehearsal of their act, themed after the movie Grease.

Rest Stop 4

The last leg to camp felt further then the milage suggested, with head winds that were blowing all day. Going into the first rolling hill the other riders of the group backed off and it was just Bruce and my self blazing a trail to the finish. Bruce was obviously a stronger and more experienced rider then my self, but I felt honored I was strong enough to be useful, so he didn't drop me. When I would take a pull, cutting the head winds, it took everything I had to keep the pace Bruce had set, but it was exhilarating to push my self to my limits. Over rolling hills and scenic curves we rolled into the not yet finished being set up bike parking at 11:15 AM.


Here is Bruce relaxing for a moment at camp bike parking, while I was standing around being a photo snapping jittery mess high on adrenaline.

A large part of the experiance of AIDS LifeCycle is the time spent at camp, and sharing a tent block with a bunch of rowdy Midnight Ridazz friends was a blast. It was an especially eventful day for me back at camp afterwards, so I will save my account of it for another post.


ephemerae said...

That's really awesome. Thank you for continuing to share your experience.

Gary said...

More AIDS LifeCycle stories on the way for next week. Stay tuned.