Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ALC Ride Days 3-4: Hills, shmills.

Days 3 and 4. A combined 164 miles. Traveling from King City to Paso Robles to Santa Maria, we would encounter the dreaded "Quadbuster" and "Evil Twins." Eek.

Turns out those hills were a god dang breeze!

Despite their names, they weren't horrible. I chalk that up to training in the Bay Area - an ideal prep school for the ALC ride. The climbs we encountered in Tiburon, the Headlands and Mt. Tam were more challenging than anything we experienced on the route to LA. Though only on the latter did I witness (and join) cyclists singing Little Mermaid songs while tackling the hills.

And, of course, when you climb you get to relax on the way down. On Day 3 we met some wonderful, gentle descents with tailwinds pushing us along. I stopped for a bit to stare at this haunted tree.

We hit a small patch of crosswinds, but they chilled out after our lunch stop in Bradley, where the locals hosted a cookout. Proceeds fund an overseas trip for every kid in town! (It's a tiny town.)

By the third day I felt like I had settled into a rhythm…growing accustomed to waking at 5am, eating breakfast before I was hungry, breaking down our tent, packing up our stuff, stretching, riding, hydrating, etc. It all became routine.

On Day 4 we reached the halfway point to LA. Yes sir! There were all sorts of signs to pose with, but lines were forming for the Kodak moments. So instead, I took the below photo of Brian in front of gorgeous hills.

This was also the day Brian encountered all sorts of bad luck. (He already blogged this below, but it bears repeating.) Here's what went wrong:
- His knee started to hurt from cycling, for the first time ever. (Welcome to your thirties, old man!)
- He wore through his shoe clips and had to buy new ones.
- When he was using one of 327 porta-potties on the trip, someone accidentally took his water bottle.
- He got a flat tire.
- While attempting to fix the flat, he broke one of his tire levers.
- After telling our teammates about these calamities, a bird shat on him! Though, as Vida pointed out, that's actually good luck.

And despite my contempt for pigeons, I'll admit maybe it was good luck. He made it back to camp safely and went to the sports med tent, where a wonderful bloke named Tony worked on the injury. Thanks Tony!

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