Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bicycle Diaries - A Century Weekend (Part I)

Are you ready for this week’s exciting stories? You can get some popcorns and sodas while reading because this is going to be a long one. Well, I think we should substitute with fruits and juices, they are healthier.

With less than four hours of sleep, I woke up 30 minutes before the alarm went off on early Saturday morning. It had nothing to do with neither April Fool nor day light saving time change. And it certainly had nothing to do with the heavy rain. I supposed I was too excited for the century ride that I planned to do.

Looking out the window, it was a gloomy sky. I guessed most of you were in your sweetest dreams, maybe by yourself or maybe next to someone you love. I was struggling, should I wake up and get ready? Or should I go back to sleep because it is “impossible” to ride on this kind of weather.

Thinking of all the fun and challenge ahead, I wasted no time in making the decision. I put on my favorite yellow jersey with the five Chinese characters (do you still remember what those characters mean?). While I was eating breakfast, I turned on the television and the ABC 7 meteorologist said the rain was moving south. I knew it was a good sign.

The drive up north on the 5 freeway wasn’t a pleasant one, the heavy downpour minimized the visibility, and everyone had to drive slowly. To be honest, at that moment I wasn’t sure if we were going to have the ride, but I just want to show up to show my support for those who had put on the efforts to make this ride possible, even if they had to cancel the ride due to bad weather.

Miracle does happen! As I approached Valencia, the weather just changed! No rain, not even a drop, and I saw sunshine. It’s the warm welcome for all of us who make it all the way up north. When I drove into the parking lot in front of Peet’s Coffee at McBean Parkway, I saw many riders already there ready for the ride.

With more than 50 people show up, the organizer – Chain Gang, Team Ventura and Positive Pedalers, said it was a surprised and great turn out (although about 125 people had RSVP for the ride). Some of the riders came as far as Riverside and Long Beach and I saw some familiar faces from previous training rides.

Instead of offering both century and half-century ride options, they decided to do just the half-century due to several reasons. A few of us who went with the goal of doing our “first century ride” were a little upset at the beginning, but then I told myself, it’s not the distance that count but the journey. We all should be appreciated because we were able to ride; the sky had clear out for us, and let’s not forgets 50 miles is not a short distance.

So we roll out a little past eight, heading to Ventura. This was a mostly flat route with some rolling hills. Most of the ride was on highway 126. It was really nice along the route, except when the big trucks pass by and we were “blow away” to the side.

Our first and second pit stop is at this small town called Piru. The distance between Valencia and Piru is about 15.6 miles. According to the guy who works at the gift store next to the Piru RR Station Park, the population of Piru is about 6000 people. It reminded me of the small college town that I lived in when I first came to the states. From Piru we headed 10 more miles to the next town which I have no idea what it is called and then back to Piru RR Station Park.

Some riders had to stop at the shoulder because they had a flat. I was “lucky” that my flat came the night before. Yes, that’s right. When I got home from work quarter to midnight, I noticed that my back tire was flat. I had to fix it before I went to bed. Because of the experience I gained; I was able to finish within 30 minutes, but that equal to missing 30 minutes of sleep that I need desperately. (Now you know why I had less than four hours of sleep). We got back to Peet’s Coffee around noon and lunch was ready for us. The turkey and veggie sandwich that I had were so good, maybe I was just too hungry.

For most of the previous rides, I didn’t bring along my camera, or I had to leave it in the car. But this time, I carried the camera with me, because I know picture worth a thousand words and I posted some of them here to share with you.

Oh yea, for your information, this ride is called Paul Hulse/PozPeds Half-Century in memory of Paul Hulse who pass away few years ago. He was one of the creators of the original California AIDS Ride, which changed its name to AIDS/LifeCycle five years ago.

To be continuing……

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you have my full moral support!

We are proud of you!