Tuesday, June 11, 2013

AIDS/Lifecycle 12 - An Unforgettable Journey - Day 7 & Closing Ceremonies

I peddled 63 miles and climbed 1,588 vertical feet today.

Over the course of the seven days, I peddled a total of 560 miles and climbed 27, 214 vertical feet. That's 2,00 feet shy of the elevation of Mount Everest.  Oh My Gawd!

Do you remember that milestone from day 4? Twenty million rider miles ridden over the course of twenty years of this event.  Well that is the equivalent to peddling 40 round trips to the moon!  Again, I say Oh My Gawd!

Today was a bittersweet day.  It was the final day to this amazing journey.  The route was relatively short comparing it to what I've traveled already and it was again, spectacular.  We rode along Pacific Coast Highway most of the say until we hit Santa Monica and then headed inland to West Los Angeles for the finish line.

We began the day arriving at our bikes to find eggs on each and every of the 2,200 or so bicycles.  These are little gifts from the "Chicken Lady," Ken.  He and his little chicks place these on every bike after the Candlelight Vigil the previous night.  Each egg contained a lifesaver candy and the following message:
What did we ride for?
If it was not to make life less difficult for the ones we love, then we rode in the memory of the ones we lost.
Love, Chicken Lady, ALC12

I started early again because as we traveled down Pacific Coast Highway. We had to dodge beach goers and surfers who for the most part aren't looking out for us.  Cars and RV's were parked along most of the route.  Surfers and bathers were finishing up and beginning their trek to or from the beach and this added some interesting obstacles from time to time.

We passed through Point Mugu Naval Base, Point Mugu State Park, Leo Carrillo State Beach, all of Malibu and a portion of the Santa Monica Beach path. Dodging pedestrians is NOT fun and can be quite dangerous!

I rode strong and steady at my usual pace and stayed ahead of most of the cyclists all day long.  The only semi-disappointing thing about that was that as I crossed the finish line there were only a few hundred people cheering me over the line as opposed to thousands as it got closer to 3:00pm.  I think I finished around 1:30pm.

Although I enjoyed the journey and the physical and mental challenge, I was more than ready to return home.  My butt is sore and worn from being on that bicycle saddle for so many miles and days.  I'm tired of slathering on sunblock and chap-stick and feeling like a greased pig.  I want to take a shower in my own shower and sleep in my own bed!

We waited for a friend from Palm Springs to cross the finish line and watched the closing ceremonies before we headed out.  Of course we HAD to stop at In n Out Burgers again on the way home...

Will I do it again?  You betcha!  In fact, I've registered for next year already...

I'm not used to seeing an empty rest stop parking.  Wow!

Or an empty lunch stop parking...

Lunch crowd...err, well, small crowd anyway...

Not too shabby for 49 and after peddling over 500 miles..

OMG, I actually did it!!!!!!!!!
Rey Rey basking in our accomplishment of the week...
Rey Rey ready to go home NOW! But wait, we have more to do darn it!

Our beloved Roadies leading the closing ceremonies.  WE COULD NOT DO THIS RIDE WITHOUT THEM!!! They are the true angels and miracle workers.  Some of the teams are: Route set up and clean up, Camp set up and breakdown, Four Rest Stops, Lunch, Food Servers for Breakfast and Dinner, Sweep Vehicles, Moto Safety, Medical Sweep Vehicles, Medical teams at every stop, Chiropractic and Massage teams, Camp Store, Camp Hospitality and ALC Staffers.
Positive Peddler Dedication Banners. These are left in a dedication tent all week for cyclists and roadies to honor those that have passed over from this pandemic
A small portion of the rather large crowd amassed for the finish line and closing ceremonies

Rey Rey happy to be home...

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