I'll spend next week in San Francisco, visiting with friends and preparing everything logistically for the four-day ride, which starts on Saturday, May 17 in SF and finishes Tuesday, May 20 in Sacramento. Of course, I'll be posting updates from the road, so stay tuned!
I've been thinking about this ride for the past six months. Now, it's about to start!
Tonight I checked in at registration, dropped off my bike so it will be ready to go tomorrow, and picked up my Climate Ride jersey. I met a few other riders, too, before coming home to (hopefully) get a good night's sleep!
Lots of nervous excitement. Lots of spandex, bicycles, and Clif bars!
They have a bulletin board up with Polaroids of all the riders to help us get to know each other. We got a thorough safety talk and a route walk-through. I feel nervous, but as ready as I'm going to be!
There was a brewery stop about two miles from camp that most people got caught up at, but since I'm not a beer drinker -- and I was a little worried about setting up my tent -- I went ahead to the campsite and was in the first quarter of people to arrive.
It was easier than expected, even only having set up the tent once before! I made one mistake that I recognized and fixed immediately, and I had a nice spot by the fence that would be quiet.
The showers had hot water, fortunately, so I washed off the day and hung around waiting for dinner. They served lemon grilled chicken and a quinoa salad. They also had a small vegetarian / gluten-free table set up, so I picked a few things off there, too, and found a seat at the picnic tables.
The evening program tonight was a big welcome and staff introduction, as well as short, three-minute presentations from people who work at a lot of the beneficiaries we raised money for. I made it about 3/4 of the way through these talks before stumbling off to my tent to sleep. What a tiring day!
I won't lie -- at the end, I was using lots of curse words and promising myself I'd never do anything like this again.
I was right to be worried about the final hill today -- it was a total bitch! I rode my bike up the whole damn thing, because I wouldn't consider not doing it, but it was really hard, and not fun at all. It was just as much a mental game as a physical one today. I learned a lot.
I was pretty grumbly once I arrived in camp. It didn't help that another girl, Lucy, and I rode three miles UP THE WRONG HILL before some of the staff caught us and set us back on course. What a waste! That was frustrating.
But tonight we sleep in cabins, and they gave us burritos for dinner! I also got a massage tonight -- I thought it might be nice to treat myself on one of the nights, and tonight was the night, for sure!
I've made a few friends -- Shane from Seattle, Michael from the Bay Area, Lucy from San Francisco, and Joe from Oakland.
They had s'mores around a camp fire tonight, with live music from two of the staff, so that was fun! Joe shared a little of his wine with me, but I still made myself go to bed around 10 p.m. to make sure I don't start running at a deficit.
Today is supposed to be our easiest day. It's a low-mileage day, and there's only one hill, right at the beginning of the day.
They had oatmeal with brown sugar at breakfast this morning, which made me very happy! I also remembered to put on sunscreen this morning, which makes me feel even more ready for the day. We have a few fun stops planned for today, and I'm excited that I should have time to enjoy them!
Back in the tent tonight, and I'm happy about it! I didn't sleep very well in the cabins last night. And my tent is pretty comfy!
Our campsite tonight is in a park I've been to before! Pretty funny to come back and see it again after about seven years! It's a beautiful spot.
After dinner, Joe and I wandered off to one of the hiking trail in search of a spot to view sunset from. We didn't find a good look-out point, but the trail along the way was really pretty! And the sky was beautiful from ALL angles!
After our detour, we made it back to camp in time to see a slideshow of the photos our photographer, Kip, had taken so far. It was really fun to look back over the previous three days!
I can't believe we only have one day left on the ride.
I made it to lunch only 30 minutes before we "definitely" "for sure" "had to" leave to ensure we made it to Sacramento in time.
Bummer -- it meant I didn't get to see the Hall of Fame, or do anything really other than scarf down some food and get back on the bike.
We rode a majority of the miles before lunch (60!), and it was beautiful, but I had exactly zero time to enjoy any of it. I'd definitely plan this differently if I were in charge. It's not cool to feel so rushed and stressed on the last day, when we're supposed to be excited about the big finish at the state capitol!
Anyway, onward to Sac-town (incidentally, I hate that nickname for Sacramento, haha!).
At the park where we rendezvoused before riding to the capitol together, as a big group, I discovered one of the bolts from my left cleat was completely missing -- no wonder it had been getting hard to clip in the past several miles! One of the mechanics fixed me up, and I was ready for our last hurrah to the California State Capitol.
The last few blocks were both fun AND funny -- the photographer was in a car at the head of our group, hanging out the window taking photos, and all 160-ish of us were riding in this massive pack toward the capitol. But, there are about five traffic lights on that last stretch, so as we rode triumphantly down the street, our cheers turned to "Awwww!"s as our group got sliced up as each traffic light turned red. And someone even hit a sewer grate and went down on the last block or so. Talk about anti-climactic, haha!
It was still really fun and exhilarating to reach the end of our journey. And the capitol building is beautiful. We got a few group photos, heard from a few California legislators and bike advocates, and then it was over.