Day 2 – June 1
Today we woke up to riders getting up before 4am. They were having a ball ball breaking down their tents and gear seemingly oblivious of the fact there were at least 2500 other folks sleeping around them. Grrrrr! It’s so interesting to see how the excitement shows up during this ride.
So we, once again, hit the ground running as today was a looooong day; 107 miles for the Cyclists to peddle and 7 stops along the way for the support vehicles to keep manage and pick up Sagged cyclists. It really was a long day.
Stefen – I got the distinct pleasure of shuttling the food service folks this morning from camp 1 to camp 2. I like hob-knobbing with them because they are the ones that dish out the delicious food at breakfast and dinner. I know who to be nice to…heh, heh, heh…
Thanks to my roadie assignment I get into camp pretty early every day. I LOVE getting to camp early. I get to set up our tent and gear before Gabo gets in so he has a space to crash and change when he’s done for the day. I Love that. Not many riders have it that good if I do say so myself… Yesterday, I even made a sign for the tent to welcome him home and tell him I love him.
Today’s bus ride took us up the Central Valley from Santa Cruz to King City. Very flat, very boring, a tad chilly with partly cloudy skys. Not much to look at on the way so, we watched movies for entertainment when I had cyclists on board my bus.
In the morning the folks we are shuttling are usually napping as they get up at what I call “Oh my God O’Clock” to serve us breakfast that begins at 5:00am. I really love their dedication so I try to create a tranquil space for them to relax and get some shut eye. I also get to enjoy some quiet time myself and either read or meditate or just look at the incredible rolling hills of California. Relaxing to be sure!!!
Gabo – Que dia tan largo!!! What a long day...
There is nothing like having a 107 mile ride ahead of you with very little sleep when our tent neighbors decide to "cock a doodle do" at us at 4:00 in the morning... Thank god this is a weapon and drug free event! Especially since I don't consider myself a morning person!
Once having my breakfast and gathering my gear and everything I need I realized there was a huge amount of cyclists ahead of me. I was in the back of the pack as I left camp and 7:30am. The traffic going through Santa Cruz and the amount of riders was beyond belief. I think it was 12 miles from camp to rest stop 1 and it took me two hours. OMG!!
Today I was reminded of how fragile life can be since there were several accidents. Some of them quite severe. I, myself had a very close call. It was very scary as it only takes a second to find yourself in a accident. Unfortunately, a reckless cyclist cut in front of me without calling out. As he merged in front of me the cyclist in front of him had to stop abruptly causing him to stop suddenly, but instead he skidded and fell off his bike immediately in front of me. Miraculously, he unclipped from his peddles and separated from his bike and out of my path leaving me with his bike in front of me which I dragged for a couple feet. Thank goodness nothing happened to the reckless cyclist or anyone else in the vicinity. Of course I was pissed, but I made sure he was okay and then after that I lectured him about the importance of safety on these kinds of events.
A few miles after this incident another accident occurred where a cyclist went down on his cycle and struck the side of his face and body on the road knocking out a few of his teeth. There was a lot of blood all over the accident scene. Thank goodness the ambulance and paramedics arrived at the scene very quickly and nothing life-threatening happened to him. Yes, once again, I must say this is a dangerous sport!
Thank god the rest of the long day was uneventful and I was able to take out of my mind what had happened earlier, so I was able to enjoy the rest of the day's ride. Although it was a rather flat route the mileage and the attachment that some riders have to ride each and every mile of this event can make it very stressful for some of the participants which contributes to chaos and moodiness.
Having done this ride many times I have learned that it is not about the miles I ride it is about the involvement, the community and commitment to the cause in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
This event touches people wherever we go. Many of them want to be a part in one way or another. Some of them are cheering us along the route and others like to contribute. I want to make a special mention about the "The Cookie Lady". She cooks thousands of cookies all year long just so she can give a cookie to each and every cyclist. She is not a participant, but she has become a part of our community. I always look forward to stopping and having the most delicious cookie I've ever had. She not only cooks, but she takes the time to create a theme and costume and bring along helpers to greet us all and pass out her delicious cookies. Now that is what I call love, support and appreciation.
Here is the Cookie Lady as Bavarian Beer Maiden - We love you Cookie Lady!
Another stop that is always fun is a water stop hosted by "the dancing bears". They are always wearing wonderful pink tutus, streamers and playing fabulous dance music. So, we get to take a moment to dance with the bears and, of course take lots of pictures..
Here are "The Dancing Bears" posing with my good friend Shawn. Grrrrrrrrrrrr....