Sniff, sniff, it’s almost over…
Stefen - We woke up dry, warm and well rested since we had spent the night “off the grid” again. Heh, heh, heh...what a treat, again! I almost feel spoiled...not!
We woke up very early since Gabo wanted to get started as soon as the route opened in the morning. This was no easy feat for Gabo as he is NOT a morning person, but I was proud to see him bounce out of bed when the alarm went off.
So, off we went to breakfast at 5:30am and then a pat on the behind to send him off at 6:00am. When we got to Gabo's bicycle, we saw that EVERY bicycle saddle had an egg laid it. This happened overnight by the Chicken Lady. That chicken was busy! Wow!
Then I took off for some meditation, prayer and solitude on the beach. It was fabulous and very centering. My final comments recorded in the next entry in this blog are immediately following this blissful experience.
Pack, pack, pack again and get ready for the last day on the ride and closing ceremonies as we roll into Los Angeles and the Veteran's Administration. I was also very excited as my mom was coming to pick us up and watch us in the closing ceremonies. Boy, was EVERY moment of the day fun as well as bittersweet as it really was the last day.
Gabo – Okay, so here we are on the last day of the ride. This day is my least favorite day for two reasons. First because we are finishing our incredible journey. It is always very sad for me because I will be separated from this wonderful community we just created. The second reason I don’t like this day is because I consider the route to be the most dangerous since we have to go through Malibu and Santa Monica along Pacific Coast Highway.
The traffic is usually nasty with lots of cars coming up and down and pulling out of garages. There are hundreds of cars parked along the shoulder leaving us very little room to navigate. This often pushes cyclists into the line of traffic. Many people have told stories about cyclist being killed by cars along this treacherous route. Car doors can open suddenly with surfers and beach goers heading to the beach.
Cyclists need to be extremely aware of car doors, pedestrians and obstacles in their way. Also, it can be very stressful since there are literally thousands of cyclist trying to make their way to Closing Ceremonies.
It was worth getting up so early in the morning to be able to leave camp right when they opened the route at 6:00am. It was still dark when we were eating breakfast and I was a tad anxious about cycling in the dark. But soon the sun came up and the sky cleared up and it ended up being a really beautiful day.
The advantage of being on the road so early, especially on this day, as I said before, was to avoid all the chaos off this particular route during peak weekend hours. Remember, this is Pacific Coast Highway and some of California's most beautiful and most visited beaches.
I cycled so well that I was at Rest Stop 1 at 7:00am and after a 15 minute break I took off to my next stop. On my way I ran into "Mom and Dad" already cheering. I wish I had caught a picture, but alas I was really cookin'.
I was feeling strong riding but felt a little odd as there were few cyclist riding with me. The scenery was really breathtaking. It was a very nice, breezy and quiet morning as I rode through Malibu and Santa Monica without any obstruction. Because of that I skipped Rest Stop 2 and went directly to lunch. I arrived at lunch by 9:30am. OMG!
This lunch stop if spectacular. The view is elevated and clear. Just AMAZING!
I went to grab my lunch and as I started to eat I realized I wasn't really hungry or it could have been that turkey sandwich AGAIN at 9:30am is not my idea of a fulfilling meal. So I didn't stay long and headed out to Closing Ceremonies, the last leg of the ride.
I arrived at Closing Ceremonies at 10:30am. Again, WOW, and a record for me in all six of my ALC rides. The disappointing part of arriving so early is there was only a handful of people cheering me across the finish line. I have to confess the feeling of being cheered by hundreds of people as I arrive after completing such a challenging ride gives me a sense of gratification. I would have loved to have been welcomed that way this time. Oh well, maybe next year...
Stefen - This year for closing ceremonies I actually got to participate and represent the Positive Peddlers by carrying one of the Dedication Banners. It was a great treat as I got a bird's eye view of the whole thing AND got to meet Leslie Jordan in person. He was just as funny and campy as I've seen on T.V.
His request (bribe) in snapping the picture here was to give him a plug for his gig next month on July 4th weekend at the Hotel Nikko's Raz Room in San Francisco...
I also got to see my face pictured on that huge monitor as I sniffed and cried... My jury is still out on how I felt about that. I don't think I look so good with puffy, tear-filled eyes and sniffling. Oh well, I guess I can't say much about it as I was not behind the camera...
What was so touching for me was the amount of folks and media that came to cheer us on for completing. It truly felt like an extended family or community. Just like what we created on the ride.
Now I can hardly wait until next year when I will actually be peddling. Yes, I finally said it on a public forum so I have witnesses.
It has been a delightful pleasure sharing this experience with you. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did doing this. Take care and I'll see you on the road...
Gabo - Here we are at closing ceremonies waiting for all the cyclists to gather for the final ride in. I have to say that its always very emotional to be a part of closing ceremonies. This year I was given the great honor to carry a dedication banner during closing ceremonies.
Because of being a part of closing ceremonies, we had an incredible view and I got to experience the "ride in" of the cyclist from a much different point of view as compared to my 5 previous rides. It gives me goosebumps recalling the sight of all the cyclists riding in and the roadies marching in after them. I think the roadies get the most cheering and applause because they are surrounded by the cyclist AND the cyclists really get to appreciate what the roadies have done for us during this event.
Water is being sprayed, helmets and bicycles held up in the air, hugs, kisses and tears. Emotions are everywhere. Some of them are bittersweet sadness for the ending of this event and some of them are in celebration for what we accomplished.
Lori Jean and Mark Cloutier are amazing leaders and eloquent speakers who are able to articulate what the ride's purpose is about and why we keep coming back.
I hope that our efforts and dedication will bear abundant fruit. Let's keep sowing the seeds of love!