Tuesday, June 11, 2013

AIDS/Lifecycle 12 - An Unforgettable Journey - Day 6

I peddled 90 miles and climbed 4,428 vertical feet today.

Today was a relatively easy, but long route.  We had one major climb at the beginning of the route, but comparatively easy considering some of the climbs we've already conquered. I like the long, gradual climbs because that is what we are used to in the desert.

I got an early start since I spent the night in a hotel with my honey Rey.  I was in camp ready to roll by 6:30am when the route opened.  It was AWESOME!  I felt like a rock star as I rolled into the rest stops with barely a bicycle to be seen. The slightly humiliating thing was that I spent the remainder of the day being passed by cyclists that roll so much faster that I do.  I average about 15 miles per hour.  I do my best to stay steady at that pace and I do a great job of it.

The route stayed along Highway 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway after the Gaviota pass.  It was a delicious, gorgeous and magical route with breathtaking vistas and waves crashing against cliffs, rocks and sand.  I constantly had the sound of waves crashing to listen to most of the day.  It was such a soothing and meditative experience. It was a natural high I will never forget!

We passed through Isla Vista, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Summerland, Carpinteria and then finally rolled down the coastline into Ventura Beach. It was such a gorgeous route today.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

As we rolled through Santa Barbara, we enjoyed the ocean crashing and the gorgeous beach as we rode along their oceanside bike path.  It was awesome!

And cooler still as we began to head out of Santa Barbara we hit the "Paradise Pit."  This is a pit stop that Santa Barbara throws for us.  Porta potties, water, washing stations and ice cream and organic cookies.  OMG, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  The City paid for it all.  What a generous and inspiring City to ride through!

Not bad for a politically conservative city if I do say so myself...

I was remarking to my partner Rey, that I got to see and experience parts of California that I would NEVER had seen or experienced had I not been on this amazing journey.  I really enjoyed every, EVERY second of this crazy, challenging ride.

Here is a moving testimonial as to why we ride and continue to work to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. We never know how we may touch others during this event just from our participation and commitment. This is from a teammate of mine in the desert.  It is VERY touching!  And yes, he gave me permission to share it...

From Phillip Large of Rancho Mirage:
On the sixth day of the ride I hit one of those divots in the road and chomped on my front tooth losing a veneer and cracking my tooth. I caught it in my mouth and biked to lunch with it. Sitting at lunch all I could think of is every photo at the finish and the party that night will have me and my hillbilly face. So after lunch I went in search of a drug store to buy tooth glue. When I came around the corner from the park there just happened to be a dentist on the 2nd floor. So I hiked up there with the bike, explained the situation and the dentist says, "just come in and let me see." 20 minutes later he fixed the tooth and replaces the veneer with me still in my bike kit, cleats, sweating and all. 
I thanked him over and over and went to pay but he refused to take payment. He said that he appreciated what we all were doing and wished me the best on my ride. And then he walked away. I was floored with his kindness. It's an ALC experience that I'll always remember. And I'm smiling right now just thinking about it. 
I was so jazzed coming out of lunch and the dentist that I biked on a high like no other. I was just full of confidence because of one person's kindness. Sometimes its hard to see beyond our 'love bubble' and are we making a statement that last long after we ride through towns? This man looks forward to the Ride every year. He wanted to hear my stories from the road while he fixed my tooth. We really do touch people along the route. Some like Dr. Sturgeon make an amazing impact. I'm sure he's still telling his next patient 'you won't believe what rode into my dental office just this weekend.' 
I am sending Dr. Sturgeon a special letter and photo today. My sister in Florida actually found his email and wrote him thanking him for taking care of her brother. (my sister is a dental hygienist) The Dentist wrote back "I look forward to the ALC coming through our town every year. I'm glad I could put a smile on your brother's face when he crosses that finish line." and it went on... What an amazing person. There were many like him everywhere on this Ride.
The end of the day culminated in a delicious ride along the Ventura Bike path, dinner at In n Out Burgers with my honey, a shower in a real shower and then returning to camp for the Candlelight Vigil at dusk assisted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!

The rest of this post will be a pictorial blog...

Bike Parking

Rest Stop Character with Rey Rey

Cool Rest Stop Character

Rest Stop Characters and Rey Rey

The purple people greeters.

Rest Stop Character and Rey Rey

No words needed

Rest Stop Character, me and Rey Rey

Angel or Devil???  Which am I?  Do I have to choose?...

The "Vanna White pose" with Rey Rey

Yes, the ride was both!

Rey Rey and I adored this woman!

The infamous Ginger Brewlay at Paradise Pit.

A panorama of Tent City, about 1,000 tents... 
A tiny chunk of the massive dining tents

Me and My honey enjoying the vigil

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