As some of you may know, on June 5th I (along with 3000 of my closest friends) will be embarking on an 545 mile cycling adventure. AIDS/Lifecycle is a charity ride starting in San Francisco and 7 days later arriving in Los Angeles. We will average 86 miles a day with our longest day being 106.1 mile and the shortest (our rest day) 40.2 miles. Every night we will camp at a new location as we travel down the state of California. It is a pretty remarkable fully supported ride, some call it a moving city. Each night we have camp with hot meals, showers and bike storage. We are allowed one bag that they will transport for us and of course each day is on the road is supported with sag vehicles, pit stops, medics and mechanics.
I am sharing this experience with my hubs, Marc, and my bestie, Molly. We are Team William Grant, named after Marc's employer who is helping us with fundraising. If you read my blog, you know that the hubs and I have been riding together for several years. We have completed a few MS150s (150 miles in 2 days) and centuries together. Molly is a newbie and decided to jump in with both feet!
On Saturday we had a really fun ride organized by Team OC, our training group out of Orange County. We met at the Irvine train station and drop off a bag with a change of clothes and grabbed a route sheet. We rode 93 miles to Pizza Port in Solana Beach where our change of clothes was waiting along with U-haul trucks to take our bikes back to Irvine. The Pizza Port is across from the train station, so after some well deserved pizza and beer, we jump on the train and ride home. When we get back to Irvine, volunteers have unloaded our bikes (which are cover with blankets and lovingly cared for). The ride is supported with 2 SAG vehicles and 4 pit stops with yummy treats and water.
Started the ride at the Irvine Metro Link station and headed west through the flatlands of Irvine.
Turned north and headed uphill through Tustin and up Jamboree into Orange before turning into Santiago Canyon.
At the southeast end of Santiago, the group turned north and up, up, up to the top of Live Oak Canyon Road before descending into Live Oak Canyon. After a ridiculously steep climb out of the canyon, we wound up on the suburban streets of Rancho Santa Margarita.
After the 30 mile warm-up through two, tough canyon sections, we turned up the pace and barreled down Antonio Parkway on through Mission Viejo and onto Ortega Highway on our way to San Juan Capistrano.
After hitting the coast, the group turned south down the Pacific Coast and headed toward Dana Point and San Clemente. After a brief pit stop to fix a flat, we took a break at a coffee shop in Dana Point and headed into the hills of San Clemente.
As we left San Clemente behind, we headed into San Onofre State Beach and onto the military base, Camp Pendleton.
At the gates of the base, we were met with an ID check and a nasty headwind. The relatively quiet roads of the military base gave way to the busy streets of Oceanside and Carlsbad at the south end of the base.
After the last pit stop (and the most amazing PB and banana sandwich) on the south end of Carlsbad, about a dozen of our fellow riders left as a group and made our way towards Encinitas and finally onto Solana Beach. This is where I saw my life flash before my eyes (a little dramatic) as I was almost decapitated by some balloons attached to a real estate sign. As I turn the corner a gust of wind blew the balloons into my path and the ribbons intersected my neck. I dragged the sign several feet. Luckily I have pretty good bike handling skills and was able to loose the balloons without loosing my bike! Whew!
After a brief stop at the pizza check-in, we hit the outskirts of Solana Beach and the last, moderate climb before our goal, Pizza Port, came into view.
After enjoying a few slices of pizza and a few beers with friends, we ambled across the street and onto our train that would take us right back to the place we started the 93 mile ride 7 1/2 hours earlier.
This Saturday is our last long training ride, 73 miles and then we will taper. I know that I can do any one day of the route, but stringing them all together causes a little concern. What I have to watch for is starting to fast out of the gate. I am SOOOO competitive that I know it is going to kill me to let other pass me in order to pace myself. I didn't have this issue with running, because I know that I am not the strongest runner. I accept that others work harder at running than I do. This is NOT the case with cycling. I will KILL myself in order to keep with a cyclist (especially another woman) that I feel I should be able to ride with.
Have you ever wasted yourself at the beginning of a race due to ego?