Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ALC Day 4, Part 2

Continued from ALC Day 4, Part 1
Day 4 - Paso Robles to Santa Maria, 97.7 miles
Pacific Coast View from the gazebo
(The Pacific Coast is sexy, yes?)

Completing Day 4 of AIDS LifeCycle took a long time in part because it was 97 miles. Also it took a long time because as mentioned in the previous post, amidst the beatiful scenery I couldn't help but pull off the road, and a in a few cases even veer off course a little for some snap shots. One such excursion was pulling off to Gull Cottage American Folk Art. I perused their galleries of arts and crafts for a bit and picked up a small gift I could carry on the bike for my lady.

Gull Cottage American Folk Art Gull Cottage American Folk Art

One of the things about cycling that is inherently different about driving, is that when you are cycling great distances you have no choice but to pace your self. Taking it slow allows you to really take in and appreciate the landscape. I remember road trips in the car as a kid, and being interested in things outside the window, but never being able to interact. Only seen for a fleeting moment as we flew down the highway. I might admire a cow grazing in a mostly empty landscape from the car, but while on ALC, it was so easy to just go right up and say hello.

Cows
(Hello)

The team at Rest Stop 3, perhaps feeling the heat from the awesome productions at Rest Stop 4, put on an especially elaborate theme of the Adams Family. As I'm sure many readers are aware, proper hydration and nutrition are essential to long distance cycling, so these periodic rest stops as essential to making sure everyone completes the ride safely. Props to the volunteers who always made sure we had plenty of snacks and water.

Rest Stop 3 (Adams Family) Rest Stop 3 (Adams Family)

Did I mention the ride was 97 miles after having biked 3 days in a row? I'm a strong rider, but even I at times would get to feeling burnt out, especially after the taxing effort I made to keep up with Bruce on Day 3. Head and cross winds, as were often the case on ALC, were a more fierce enemy then the hills, so it came with great relief when I saw the markers for Rest Stop 4. Never letting their guard down, RS4 did not disappoint with their Top Gun air force theme. Complete with coned off landing strip and air traffic directors flagging in riders to the entrance.

Rest Stop 4 Does Top Gun

Before making the turn onto the final stretch before camp we ride by a beautifully maintained cemetery, with many tombstones dated at or before the turn of the 20th century. A cemetery can be a creepy place for some, but I find them often be great places to explore and reflect on life. Stopping here was one of the highlights of the ride that day for me.

Cemetery

As luck should have it the last leg to camp, much like day 2, was a turn that made what had been bitter crosswinds, become a forceful tail wind. Also like day 2, I can rarely resist the opportunity for hitting some serious speeds. So despite being tired, I actually pedaled much harder so that with the combined advantage of the tail wind, I could rocket at 30+ mph speeds for as long as the winds were with me.


Back at camp, after posing at the pirate ship that just happened to be there, it was a bit of a rush. Taking so long to finish the route with all my meandering meant for the first time I was in danger of missing dinner! I wasn't really noticing the time, and I always preferred to set up camp and shower before eating. When I realized how late it was getting after the shower I rushed to camp services so I could put food in my face. Sleep soon followed, ending another day of AIDS LifeCycle. Three more days to follow.

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