DAY 6 Lompoc to Ventura (86 miles, appx 3,500 ft climbing)
By day six the aches and pains of sleeping on the ground surrounded by loud snoring men and the toll of averaging 80 some odd miles a day being to creep up on you. I overheard many conversations of people describing themselves as "cranky" and I was accused of being less than amicable on an occasion or two. I will admit it, I was grumpy BUT I was not alone. Even for seasoned cyclists, this is not an easy ride and add camping and no/little/poor sleep, it will wear on even the most up beat of people (at least that is my excuse). The amazing aspect of this ride is that even when you aren't feeling great or in a bit of a funk, there is always someone or something to snap you out of it.
Today that was the City of Santa Barbara (or possibly the Santa Barbara Chamber?? - I am not sure who to give the credit too). Each year Santa Barbra sets up there own rest stop for us completely separate from ALC. They are happy that we are creating massive chaos in a highly tourist trafficked area?? In all seriousness, they appreciate what we are doing and want to show their gratitude. Even though there are boxes and boxes of snacks at each rest stop, they are the same boxes and boxes so a little variety is pretty exciting. We had ice cream and table of topping, cookies, pastries and the freshest fruit cup! In my normal cycling would I EVER (like never ever) eat diary on a ride, I honestly can't tell you the last time I had real ice cream. I rarely treat myself to frozen yogurt, but I ponyed up to a big bowl of Mocha Chocolate Chip with chocolate syrup. The rest of the day was pretty flat, so I wasn't too concerned.
I left Santa Barbara in a sugar comma and craving an apple like none other. I love apples, eat at least one a day and now I was on day 7 with out an apple, so I was Jonesing.
At camp that night was the candle light vigil and it was a very moving and beautiful ceremony. I am lucky enough to not know anyone (or know that know) with HIV/AIDS but I was surrounded by people holding photographs of friends or relatives that they had lost. You could hear the sobs of those who the wounds were still fresh and the anguish on the faces of those who have struggled with the lost for decades. I am glad I stayed up to witness the ceremony (trust me, 9:30 was way past my camp bedtime).
Day 7 - Ventura to Los Angeles (60 miles, appx 2,000 ft. climbing)
Today was filled with a lot of "this is the last time...", some with a sigh of disappointment but mostly with a sign of relief.
"This is the last time I will fold up the wet tent."
"This is the last time I will have to drag my luggage to a U-haul across wet grass."
"This is the last time I will brush my teeth using a water bottle and my water source."
You get the idea. We decided to ride day 7 together. Marc and I had ridden the whole ride together, but Molly was not with us. We felt it would be a great way to end the ride. That lasted to the first rest stop, I was good in theory but didn't work for anyone. Molly was being pushed past her comfort zone and Marc and I were getting antsy watching all the other cyclist pass. We mutually decided that it would be better to just meet up with Team OC and the Starbucks along the route and ride in together. But we were able to get in some fun photos before we departed.
Day 7 was cold and misty, like many mornings along the coast in June. We rode along the coast through Malibu and watched dolphins in the surf, pretty amazing. We were then routed on to a multi-use path along the beach to Santa Monica. In Santa Monica we had to get off our bikes, walk down a flight of stairs, take a tunnel under PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and the take a flight of stairs up the other side. Before the flight of stairs down, was a ramp. I picked up my bike, started to walk down the ramp and slipped and fell hard on my backside. My only "wreck" of the week and I wasn't even on the bike. I was okay, a little shaken up and embarrassed but I was fine to finish the ride.
The closing ceremony was great with a speech by Jane Lynch of Glee and a board member of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.
It was a great ride and I really challenged and enjoyed myself. My next post I will give you my final thoughts, reflections and what I learned.
THANK YOU to all of my supporters, I couldn't do it without you!