AIDS/LifeCycle 11: Photos from Days 5, 6 and 7
The second to last day of the ride takes us 86 miles from Lompoc to Ventura through Santa Barbara and the adorable beach side community Carpinteria, although the ride out of Lompoc to Rest Stop 1 is a bit of a 16-mile incline and slog. Once past the first rest stop however it’s pretty smooth, flat sailing. The main issue for me on Day 6 would be, of course, my saddle problems, and the heat. For the first time all week it felt like summer – a hot summer—although my iPhone app had promised it would be in the 70s. I’m never trusting that iPhone app again.
Not all of Lifecycle is rainbows and ice cream. There are real dangers when 2,200 cyclists are attempting to navigate narrow roadways in traffic. I like to think of myself as a very careful rider, but I know that accidents happen. I rode out of the first rest stop down the Gaviota Pass, a truly stunning vista. Later, I would find out that a couple of riders crashed on the pass, one of whom I’d met three days earlier when we were battened down in the artichoke restaurant in the frigid rain. A few days later I discovered that he’d gotten a concussion in the accident but that he was doing just fine. Still, it’s stories like those that drive home the precariousness of riding so far and how looking out for each other is imperative.
At Rest Stop 2 at El Capitan Beach just north of Santa Barbara I posed for photos with my ride friends. There are so many people I’ve trained with throughout the year who’ve become my Lifecycle family.
Next it was off to lunch, but what most riders had on their brains was Paradise Pit, an ice cream stop at about mile 60 that the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce has erected for the past 17 years of The California AIDS Ride and Lifecycle. Members of the Chamber dole out scoops of delicious ice cream replete with our choice of toppings. And the port-a-potties they set up have the soap and running water – as opposed to the sanitizer we grow accustomed to at most rest stops. I know I have a tendency to wax on about bathrooms on the ride but when one of the mottos is “Drink, ride, pee” you have to expect the potties to figure in rather significantly.
Paradise Pit arrives after a leisurely cruise on the bike path in Santa Barbara that runs along the beach. This year I overheard people who’d never been there talking about how beautiful it was, and again, I took a moment to consider myself lucky to live in Southern California.
After the Pit we blew through Carpinteria and on to the 101 for a bit before arriving at the final Rest Stop 4 of the ride, which features a DJ and dancing by the ocean just north of Ventura. The theme this year was Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. These elaborate costumes always make me wonder what the hell their luggage looks like.
The day ended in Ventura at San Buenaventura State Beach. That night, following camp announcements there is a candlelit vigil, which I’ve missed on my prior two Lifeycles. Thousands of riders, roadies and family –many loved ones drive up from around LA to visit—walked silently to the beach carrying lit candles to pay tribute to those we’ve lost. Once everyone was on the beach and we raised our candles in remembrance we walked to the water to extinguish them. As careful as I thought I was being, a wave lapped up to kiss my Converse, and I was soaked through. Rather than concentrate on the wet sand in my shoes I chose to think of it as those I loved letting me know they were there.
Rest Stop 1
El Capitan State Beach
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