ALC 6, Day 1: San Francisco to Santa Cruz

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Feel free to download and reuse any pictures you like. If you would like a higher quality digital copy of any of these, drop me a line.

David and Chuck at Orientation Pos Peds

This picture is from the orientation / registration day, which takes place the day before ALC starts. We all show up at the Cow Palace, sign in, leave our bikes there, watch a safety video, and get assigned a tent location (and a tent mate if we don't already have one lined up). I ran into my friend Chuck L. there and Bob took this nice picture. (Photo: Bob Katz)

Also from orientation day, a picture of some of the Positive Pedalers, or Pos Peds for short. The Pos Peds are people living with HIV who participate in cycling events such as the AIDS/LifeCycle. They are an amazing and powerful presence all throughout the ride. Long time friend Bob K. on the right, new friend Beau third from the left. (Photo: Bob Katz)

Chris At Ride Out The Three David Gs

Chris was so sweet to take me down to the Cow Palace at 5 in the morning on Sunday, June 3. I'm kind of an early riser, but 5 in the morning is definitely not his time of day.

I met up with some of the folks from Different Spokes at the Cow Palace and at various points during the ride. I joined this club a couple of months ago, having met some of the members on ALC training rides and when I did a couple of centuries (100 mile rides) in April and May. I was perturbed to find out that not only were there multiple members named David (which would have been my expectation), but that there were three members who were David G., and we would all be on the ride. So here are the other two David G.'s with Ron.

David G., Bill, and Chris Before Ride Out David G. Julie Brown, Me Before Ride Out

This is one of the other David G.'s with his partner Bill, and Chris before the ride out.

David G. again, with Julie Brown and me before ride out. Julie and David are both training ride leaders, which means that they took a certification class and were able to lead rides to get new cyclists ready to do this 545 mile event. I went on a lot of rides with David and Julie in the winter and spring and am really grateful that they and many others step up to help out. By the way if you want to see the recommendations for turning couch potatoes into endurance athletes - preparing inexperienced cyclists to do ALC - they are here. For me, training was part of the experience, as I hoped to ride the whole way. The training ride leaders did a great job getting me and many others in shape, and I was lucky enough to avoid injury and dehydration along the way and was thus able to ride Every Single Mile.

Getting Bikes From Bike Parking Bike Parking Before Ride Out

This is the madhouse of bike parking just before ride out. The day before the ride starts is registration, during which you leave your bike in one of two bike parking areas at the Cow Palace. After the opening ceremony (which we skipped), you have to find your bike and then wait until your row is ready to leave.

Me at bike parking, someone was kind enough to take a picture.

Getting Bikes Martin Before Ride Out

More of the bike parking madhouse. Notice the red helmet covers. They put these on our bike seats the night before the start of the ride, so everyone had one on at ride out. I think it was for media exposure - they had us give back the helmet covers at the first rest stop.

My tentmate, Martin, made it to bike parking in somewhat festive attire. Well, more festive than me.

Bob Katz Julie

This is my friend Bob Katz at one of the rest stops along the way. Bob has ridden in a bunch of the ALC rides and been an inspiration to a lot of people along the way. There are 3, 4, or 5 rest stops every day plus a lunch stop. They are well-stocked with food, water, and gatorade, and provide an opportunity to hydrate and eat. If you have a look at the route slips I posted, you can get a feel for where the rest stops were and how often they gave us a rest.

Julie Brown at the same rest stop on the first day. By the way, Julie blogs and has written some very interesting stuff about ALC there.

Wizard of Oz Rest Stop Feeling Wicked

One of the really cool things about the rest stops is that the same crews staff them every day, and since just helping out at a rest stop would get tedious day after day, the crews inject a little creativity into the rest stops. In other words, they do drag or otherwise dress up at every possible opportunity. It is a lot of fun for them and for all the riders. I was not really expecting that ALC would be a rolling theme party but sometimes, that is what it amounts to. I really like riding my bike, but I have to say that on this particular event, the rest stops were what I looked forward to the most. One of the afternoon rest stops on day 1 had a Wizard of Oz theme. Maybe this is a good place to mention (and thank) the "roadies," our support crew of around 500 people. They staff the rest stops, set up and tear down camp, give massages, help with safety and directions, and do many other jobs that make ALC possible. They are really great!

There are many photo ops at rest stops, and by the time I had gotten to this particular rest stop, I had ridden about 70 miles, so was feeling a little, well, bitchy. What better time to let my inner "Wicked Witch of the West" hang out?

Team Pie Unofficial Stop

As well as the official rest stops, there were many unofficial rest stops along the way. These were also a surprise to me. People who know the ALC ride is coming through put up a table with goodies on it and everyone stops. In this case, a group of people who call themselves Team Pie set up tables with all different kinds of pie, and after 80 miles I was ready for a slice of pumpkin.

Pie Stop Peter With Great Helmet Decoration

Another view of the Team Pie unofficial rest stop.

I spent a good part of Day 1 riding with my friend Peter, whom I had met on some of the training rides. Actually, trying to keep up with Peter would be a better way of putting it, because Peter is wicked fast. Peter had great helmet decoration and I think he wore it all the way to Los Angeles.

Team Pie Team Pie and Me

More Team Pie.

Me with the Team Pie ringleaders.

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