Hello everyone. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. It’s been five months since the ride. To tell you the truth, I’ve started this wrap up letter at least ten times. In the past, as most you know, I end up writing a book. And I started to this year. One thing led to another and I just never got around to finishing it.
So, being so late in the season and since I’m actually tooling up for next years ride, I’ll give a bulleted version of this years ride. And since pictures really tell the story, check my web site at http://www.mixednutsband.com/alc3.htm. Also, I’d highly recommend checking out the AIDS/Lifecycle Webcast page at http://webcast.aidslifecycle.org/. You can share the experience. I cry every time I watch it!
The week went by so fast. It was, by far, the most fun I’ve had in the eight rides I’ve done so far. Could it be because the weather was perfect and we had a strong tailwind at our backs most of the time? Could it be because I didn’t over train like I did last year which undoubtedly led to knee injury on Day 2? Could it be that I was feeling good about again raising over $5400 for the event? Or how about just being on my bike for a week with nothing to worry about except finishing each day’s miles? Probably a combination of all these things. Or maybe because I was happy to be with my tent partner, Paul, for the entire ride. Last year, he had to leave the ride after Day One to be with his ailing father. Sadly, Paul’s dad passed away that week. It was a great thing for him to have been with his dad in his last days. For this years ride, I dedicated it to Paul’s Dad. It was, as usual, an awesome event filled with a positive community spirit. Together, over 1,200 riders and several hundred crew members raised $5 Million.
Day 1 - SF to Aptos - 92 miles with 4200’ of climbing. Starting at the University of San Francisco campus, the route took us through SF streets to the Pacific Ocean. At mile 42, lunch was on the coast at San Gregario beach. Strong tailwinds pushed us on Highway One to Santa Cruz. Camp was in Aptos which is just past Santa Cruz. A beautiful day!
Day 2 - Aptos to King City - 102 miles with 2375’ of climbing. We woke up to a crisp morning at 4:40 am to ride out at 7 am. The route would take us through the agricultural fields of Monterey Bay, then a sharp left turn into the Salinas Valley towards King City. Again, a stiff tailwind would help us most of the way. Only the last twenty miles would turn these winds into our enemy. The longest mileage but also the flattest day.
Day 3 - King City to Paso Robles - 78 miles with 2244’ of climbing. Absolutely the worst roads on the planet lead out of King City. The first real challenging hill awaited us at the famous “Quadbuster” after the first rest stop. The route after that took us inland through Fort Hunter-Liggett and then through earthquake country of the Jolon Valley and to Paso Robles. Aches and pains were starting to surface in the legs. This is normal and would go away (hopefully). Stretching is a fantastic medicine.
Day 4 – Paso Robles to Santa Maria - 100 miles with 3562’ of climbing. Back to the coast not too far from the Hearst Castle, then south past Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach and again into more agricultural areas leading to Santa Maria (not to mention Michael Jackson Country).
Day 5 – Santa Maria to Lompoc - 43 miles with 1700’ of climbing. Why 43 miles? Well, the actual distance as the crow flies is about 22 miles. How can you have a 22 mile day when other days are 100? So, we took a nice bike ride in yet more agricultural roads before climbing into the Vandenberg Air Force Base Hills and into Lompoc, the rose capital of the world (or so they say). Lunch would be in camp. A good day to rest up. Paul and I went into town (with many others) to eat real Mexican food. The day ended with a talent show. Paul and I preformed a duet. Out of 20 contestants, we were dead last (order, not talent).
Day 6 – Lompoc to Ventura Beach - 89 miles with 2900’ of climbing. We started out with a long gradual climb and then a great descent to the coast again. This is my favorite day because we ride through Santa Barbara. The people of Santa Barbara came out and gave us an official rest stop featuring ice cream, hot dogs, candy, and soda. I cried. Absolutely enchanting…In camp, I realize once again that the ride is coming to an end and even though I’m sad, I’m glad.
Day 7 – Ventura Beach to Los Angeles - 82 miles with 2139’ of climbing. Out of camp, we ride through Oxnard and MUST stop at a donut shop there (it is a tradition with me anyway). The route took us to the coast at Point Mugu Air Station and down the Pacific Coast Highway. Then through Malibu, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and into LA streets. This was scary. Through West Hollywood (previous years ending point), and into Dodger Stadium. The climb into Dodger Stadium would prove to one the stiffest climbs on the whole ride. The last mile!
There. We did it! It was, as usual, a life changing experience. Knowing that we were riding for a cause that is so important made the sacrifices we made insignificant. All the training, the time taking to fundraise, the licking of so many stamps ;-). This event is so very important, not only to me personally, but to the world. We made a difference and we will continue to so. With your generous help, we are making a difference!
So, with that, I am getting ready for next years ride which will take place June 5th through June 11th, 2005. This will be my ninth consecutive AIDS ride. For you who’d like to get on board right now (more tax deductions!!), you can submit a donation at my homepage located at http://www.aidslifecycle.org/5018. Please bookmark it as you’ll be able to get updates on my progress. My ride number is 5018. Again, I will be leading training rides. And I’ll send this invitation out to you all. If you’d be interested in riding next years ride or volunteering in same way, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on my cell at 925-207-2023.
Thanks again! You’ll be hearing from me within the next couple of months. Have a great holiday season.
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