Day Zero was properly named because it felt like zero degrees outside this morning. Larry and I got up and headed out early to grab some caffeine before our trip to the Cow Palace for orientation. We took the bus with training riders Chris and Mel to the place where I would be re-united with Tosca, my awesome road bike. I missed her. The beginning of the week I sent her ahead to San Francisco on a McCollister's truck. I went through a post part-em depression as I drove away and left her. But now I can make sure she is safe and ready to go. It was amazing when we entered the Cow Palace and there were a sea of bikes. They were numbered which made them easy to find. After a quick check, all riders and roadies are required to view a safety video before we do anything else. So off we went to stand in line a wait for the video doors to open.
Again, this was a blast. Yes, standing in line was fun. Riders em brassing and wishing each other well. I never met at least 2/3rd of the riders who hugged me. It didn't matter at all. We are a gigantic extended family. I got hugs from riders from the east coast, the Midwest and as far as New Zealand. A huge family reunion. While in line we talked about our training, our fears, our fund-raising and why we are doing the ride. There met a rider named Joseph, who was in Iraq. He just returned in March. He was carrying a sign similar to those carried by homeless people which read " Broke Veteran needs sponsors" I was told that in Iraq, his job was to hunt bombs. Every rider put funds into his can. His rider number is 5764. Meeting Joseph for the short few seconds it took me to snap a photo with him made me think of how crazy life is. Here I am so thinking about how I'm going o get up a the hills on Day 1 and Joseph just came from a war. Hello !!!
Anyway, after the safety video which was like being in a wonderful high school rally, we headed out to the next step of getting ready for the ride. We got our rider numbers for our bikes and helmets and a goodie bag from Fed Ex. Then on to tent assignments. My tent mates name is Sonia. We have been a several rides together and she has coached my up a few hills. Larry went over to the roadie meeting and I went to find Brendan. Brendan is one of my training ride leaders. I found him over by the Pos Ped team. Pos Peds are a team of HIV Positive riders with a positive attitude take warms like a blanket. They are truly special riders. Anyway, Brendan introduced me to some riders and we started talking about why we ride. Within 5 minutes we are in tears. Happy tears and sad tears but most importantly hopeful tears.
Now for some food and sleep. Goodnight fellow riders, roadies, staff, family and friends. Tomorrow is DAY ONE !!!