AIDS/LifeCycle 11: Photos from Days 3 and 4
AIDS Lifecycle 2012 Day 4:
The fourth day of Lifecycle has always reminded me of the old Wide World of Sports slogan – “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” Clocking in at a cool 97.7 miles for Paso Robles to Santa Maria it has always been the most challenging day of the ride for me despite making to the halfway to LA point and the stunning vistas past the monolith in Morro Bay.
We set out bright and early on another crisp, sunny day toward the ride’s other legendary hills, The Evil Twins, which are essentially a seven-mile climb to the Halfway to LA point, where, anyone who’s got a Facebook friend who’s done Lifecycle will know, we take the holding-the-bicycle-above-our-heads / Halfway to LA picture that inevitably becomes our profile pic for a few days.
I made it to the first rest stop just nine miles from camp to refuel for the climb. There, SheWired’s associate editor Boo Jarchow was forced to stop at the medical tent due to a persistent and painful knee injury. Against my better judgment as I would have liked to make it to the halfway point together, I left Boo behind at the rest stop. I knew that if she couldn’t ride that one of the amazing sweep vehicles would take her to the next rest stop, but I was heartbroken knowing she might have to miss the halfway celebration at the top of the twins.
Thanks to the endless hill training I did with Shifting Gears and the Chain Gang during training rides this year, the Twins were really no big deal. Case in point – training really does make a difference. I was hanging around at the top of the Twins taking my requisite photo and chit chatting with some riders when I heard Boo scream my name. She had forged on to the top of the Twins, no sweep vehicle and no walking the bike. There’s something about being on the ride that pushes some riders past their limits. For some it’s a competitive spirit, for others it’s about making every mile for their sponsors or the people they’ve loved and lost, for many, it’s a little of both.
The descent down the Evil Twins is exhilarating or scary as hell, or a little of both, depending on one’s level of comfort level riding at 30 mph or more. I don’t like to go faster than 30 but people blow by me.
Next up, we began to near Morro Bay and the iconic rock that rises out of the water. I’ve passed it twice on my bike before and each time I’ve thought that I’m beyond lucky that I get to see that in my lifetime – and that I rode there on my bike.
It was then on to lunch at Cuesta College, and I was already feeling a little behind the 8 ball, as it were. I left lunch just a half an hour before it closed, which meant that, unless I pedaled like the wind, or avoided stopping the rest of the day, I risked getting closer to the caboose (the last vehicle on the route), and therefore getting sagged all the way to camp. By the halfway point my saddle had become a veritable hot potato, and I was trying to ride out of the seat as much as possible, so as not to further injure myself.
I made it through Pismo Beach to the water stop at mile 67.3. I was hot and wildly uncomfortable from the seat. I made the decision, and it was not a light one as I am one of those people who truly wants to do every last mile of the ride, and swept to Rest Stop 4 about 18 miles out. Even from the comfort of our sweep vehicle, those 18 miles of rolling hills on roads dotted with farms and fields and 18-wheelers whizzing by, feel like the longest, most grueling miles ever.
From Rest Stop 4 I got back on the bike and road the 11 miles of tail winds into Preisker Park in Santa Maria. That night we bunked down at the Historic Santa Maria Inn where we stayed in a room that once housed Jimmy Steward. The room next to us was once an overnight home to Judy Garland. Did I forget to previously mention I’m what they call a princess? I don’t camp in tents for lifecycle. For a while I tried to hide the fact that I was a princess, ashamed that I wasn’t as hardcore as the rest, but at the end of the day, I’m an incredibly light sleeper, and hunkering down with less than an inch between tents and all sorts of sounds abounding would just lead to miserable days of riding.
Rest stop 1 before the "Evil Twins" and "Halfway to LA"
Yep, that's a line for the port-a-potty.
Boo and Tracy at the halfway point.
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