Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ALC Day 6

Day 6 - Lompoc to Ventura, 85.5 miles
(Complete Photo Set On Flickr)

Danny, Meghan & Jared
(Danny, Meghan, and Jared)

The sixth day of AIDS LifeCycle was the toughest day for me. The terrain wasn't more difficult than other days, but physical and mental effects of 5 days of non stop riding had sunk in. My left knee had begun hurting during hard pedal strokes and hill climbing. So already starting in day 5 I had begun to preference lower gears and keeping my cadence as high as possible. Spinning faster rather then harder is easier on the joints and also reduces lactic acid build up.

Johanna & Meghan

With L.A. feeling just around the corner, many on the team used the complimentary face paint from the Rest Stops to write L.A. on their bodies. Johanna and Meghan pictured here with their calves determined to reach Los Angeles.

One of the reassuring things about riding that Day was seeing the beaches that had now taken on that Southern California look. It was a tough day of riding, but large sections of it seemed to have slipped my memory as I was almost on auto pilot. I spent less time taking photos on Day 6 then any other day and didn't write down any notes. I do remember stopping to see an an extremely elaborate art car, or van in this case, that was parked near the beach bike path. At this point I got separated from any riders that I knew, and was starting to regret stopping. In the state of mind I was in at the time I really wanted to be riding with someone familiar, but due to how crowded the beach bike path was, it was unsafe to sprint up to speed and catch up like I always did when I stopped for photos. This made for the most frustrating stretch of riding for me on the trip.

Then finally there was a stopping point. A giant line to cross the street for a big free ice cream stop, but by this time I was just feeling really grumpy. Not even being reunited with friends, colored balloons or free ice cream could cheer me up. I just wanted the day to be done with.

Pacific Coast Hugging
(Meghan and I at rest stop 4)

Finally by rest stop 4, the last stop, I was starting to cheer up. The Rest Stop 4 guys had made the stop into a party, complete with a bouncer checking rider wrist bands. I had Meghan take a photo of me looking smug and indifferent with the guy dressed like Andy Warhol.

Back at camp I was not really in the mood to take any photos. I also remember our team's tent site was as far away from the trucks as it could be that day, and the trucks were even further from bike parking. Walking in my stiff cycling shoes was taking it's toll on my feet. To add insult to injury, this day the porta potties were also the furtherest away from our tent site of any day. I suppose for everyone at least 1 day everything is all wrong.

There was a candle light vigil everyone talks about on the 6th day, and I grabbed my camera in the interest of getting some beautiful shots of it. There was a sand dune near the site that I thought would be the perfect vantage point. I had no idea that apparently an announcement was made while I was taking a shower that absolutely no one was to get on the dunes, which are protected Ventura habitat. An ALC staffer who saw me climbing up it, interpreting that I was simply disregarding the rules. Though in fact had no idea such a rule existed, and the sign for it was not visible at night. He proceeded to yell at me in a pretty condescending manner as I was making my way back down even though it was obvious I was at this point trying to comply. In my already unusually terrible mood, that was the last straw for me, so I left without taking any photos. In hind site I wish I had stayed and not let the staffer bother me so much, but at the time I really weirdly emotional and irrational. Perhaps my pale skin was letting too many UV's into my brain.

Thus concludes Day 6, my least favorite day. But I was also thrilled because it meant the next day would be the home stretch. I don't think I had ever been so excited to return to Los Angeles.

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