Well, Hunter and I made it home safe and sound last night! We finished just before the course formally closed, yesterday (saturday) around 3pm.
(A lot of us were late due to two accident-caused road closure/delays and then Hunter and I decided to sneak off course a block to reward ourselves with Peets mocha freddos 😎 just before riding in. We flew from LAX to SFO and then BART-ed and were home just after midnight. Was sooo nice to see the kitties again and get things airing out!
Some interesting summary thoughts:
- Day 6 got entirely cancelled and we had to be bussed from camp to camp. We originally thought it was due to the uphill and downhill being deemed “too dangerous” in the rain by the CHP, but it was actually because that pass got closed temporarily due to rain related accidents and only ~250 riders (~10%) made it out on the rainy road before the “hold”. We had a 3 hour permit to cone off a single lane of route 101/1 on this narrow “no shoulder” bridge, and by the time the pass was reopened, not all the riders were likely to make it through the pass. CHP didn’t want to extend the times so they asked us to cancel that day. **First time that has happened in 16 years of LifeCycle / AIDSRide ! ** Of course, the irony is that the rains stopped early in the morning by about 8am, and Hunter and I (and the riders who have similar pace – at least 50% of the riders) could have easily made that road closure for a really wonderfully beautiful perfect biking weather day.
- Although the weather was a bit ominous at times, we only got about three 5-10 minute very light sprinkles of rain while biking or in the nonsleeping hours of camp. It did rain one morning pretty good – causing a lot of tents to flood. We prepared a bit better with a tarp under our tent (and had a thick air mattress) so we didn’t get tooo wet.
- I was slightly crabby or something Day1 (due to lack of sleep and foggy wet start) but every day pretty much got more beautiful and better as it went on. If fact, I loved every day but day6 (which wasn’t awful – just disappointing that the route got cancelled.)
- This year the biggest difference was the fact that while last year was hot and dry nearly every single day, this ride was a slight bit cool (though nicely never cold at all) and very humid (comparatively) every day****. Strange this time of year!
- Day 5 was a big change of course this year. Last year was a total cakewalk (or “champagne ride” as the pros sometime call last day of Tour de France 😎 ) at only 43 miles and limited hills (w/ so so scenery). ** This year was a noteably tougher nearly 70 miles where the ride to lunch was jaw droppingly gorgeous (riding wine country a al the movie “Sideways” into Solvang for the first time in ALC history) and fantastic.** However, after lunch was quite challenging where we headed directly westward for Lompoc – which meant the picking up strong wind was all headwind on flats and downhills and we were working hard on a lot of uphills. So there was “no recovery” period from lunch to camp.
Overall, once again an utterly fantastic ride!
We knew so many people this year it was like a rolling party of socializing and eating (well with determined-to-finish work on the bike in between 🙂 ). It’s soooo nice to have found this wonderful community of people who care for others and everyone in the Ride. I’ve been thinking it’s a lot like the communities people find in churches (having grown up Methodist but now non-religious).