Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bicycle Diaries II - Birthday in Santa Barbara

What is the better way to celebrate my birthday than on a special-fun-great bicycle ride? None. So I rode with more than 160 riders, most of whom are also AIDS/LifeCycle riders, on the two-day Santa Monica-Santa Barbara Ride.

This was my second year doing this back-to-back century ride which was organized by Shifting Gears, a cycling club in West LA. Despite some headwinds that we hate and dazzling here and there on Sunday, the weather had been pretty much very cooperative. None of my regular cycling buddies sign up for this ride, so on the way u to Santa Barbara, I was riding by myself most of the time. I finished the ride shortly after 4pm.

I went to dinner with Steven, Lorenzo and Kevin at an Italian restaurant. I told them it was my birthday, but to my surprise, they told the waitress, so she brought me a piece of chocolate cake and they sang me birthday song, which I haven’t heard in years. Yea, I don’t really celebrate my birthday, at least not in the partying way.

By the time we got back to the hotel, more people were told it was my birthday, so I heard another birthday song by the pool at the hotel. Then one of the TRL, Martin, who happened to bake a chocolate cake for a rider who had her birthday a few days before, kindly shared the cake with me. As a result, I had another piece of birthday cake. Yes, the ride was special, doing the ride on my birthday make it more special.

After a not-so-well sleep I woke up around 6am on Sunday, getting ready for the ride home. This time I rode with Pam, Cynthia, Michael, Evelyn and Judith. We really had fun and kept a pretty fast pace along the coast. The ride along PCH in the afternoon was certainly dangerous as usual, with lots of cars traveling on full speed and surfers, beach goers, visitors getting on and off their cars, we had to ride with extra caution. Of cause, team work was important too, as we taking care of each other and make sure everyone gets back in one piece. I finished at around quarter to 4pm. Both days I better my time from last year and I didn’t feel as tired.

I felt bad when Kevin told me he fell twice on the way back to Santa Monica. Why? Because he is new to ALC and cycling, at one point he asked if he could ride with our group, and I say of course. I didn’t pay much attention at him as I thought he could keep up with our pace. But that was not the case. I should have look after my new friend. Well, besides birthday and cakes, I learn another lesson. I will not let this happen again in the future.

Thanks to all the staffs and volunteers who worked so hard to make this ride a success.

Total mileage of the week: 206 miles

Registration, meet-n-greet in the morning

Breakfast is very important

Yes, you can have more than one piece

Don't forget about the drinks

And stretching (leads by Leslie)

Everyone wants to prevent injury

Oh, that's our bags

Cycle Buddy Kerry, she incharge of the traffic

Get to pit stop 1, eat!

and drink!!

of course, who could resist a massage?

hardworking bird, wow.

Ginger in pink, as sweet at the strawberries

Sarah and Sheri handling out sandwiches

there's pasta and potato salad too

Michael, Evelyn, Pam and David enjoy lunch at the park in Ventura

TRLs Scott, Brian and Daniel

Dragon relaxing at pit stop with new friend, the ALC Monkey

Another friend, the ALC Bear

Their parents... j/k Vince and Pam

Greeting from Amtrak passengers

Riding in to the El Prado Inn

Birthday boy with birthday cake

The gang, me, Steven, Lorenzo, Kevin

Sunset in Santa Barbara

Getting ready for the 2nd day ride

I didn't know sunscreen comes with different colors

Looking strong after first 30-mile

Pit stop with Chinese theme

Ginger in another special hand-made costume

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