“The one thing my tent-mate & friend Kate mentioned earlier today, at the beginning of the ride really, was that in previous rides on this day she came to rethink really how she treats food, especially produce.
That's something that I noticed today also during the ride, watching the strawberry pickers hunched over in the fields pretty much all day. Strawberries, cabbage, artichokes, these are all different kinds of produce that can't be machine harvested like corn or soybeans or wheat, it's a manual process, so the farm workers are paid very little, so it makes sense not to waste your food.
You think of strawberries that tend to go bad pretty quickly, someone worked pretty hard to pick those strawberries, you have to be sure to appreciate them all you can. But also these are farm workers who might have to be working in plants that were sprayed with pesticides, and assuming they work all day for several months of the year,
working with those pesticides can't possibly be good for you, or good for them anyway. So I think it makes sense that even if you don't think that, if you don't care what chemicals go into your body, you might think of the chemicals that are going into other people's bodies because there are workers who picked it. So it's a good case for eating organic fruits and vegetables.”
Today has been pretty fabulous, I woke up today around 4:45 in the morning. Didn't really sleep to well in the tent, but with a little coffee in me and a meal, I was good to go!
We headed out around 6:45, we were leaving Santa Cruz and then we came across this place called the Ugly Mug in Soquel that offers free coffee to riders, at least one day a year! And, apparently it's the cafe owner's favorite day of the year, so there was some coffee and some dance music going. I probably killed an hour, actually, between coffee & waiting for the toilet.
After that I tried to make up for lost time, and I was cruisin'. Today I broke the 2000 mile mark on my odometer, that's over 2000 miles since January. Today was 107.5 miles, and did that in 6.5 hours, an average of 16.5 miles per hour, which is actually my fastest ride ever, but I think I'd have to put an asterisk and a "wind assisted" next to that time if we put it in the record books, because it was quite windy out there! Yeah, and that was definitely helping out the second half of the ride. I was easily, you know, pedaling more than 20 to sometimes mid-30's miles per hour just on the flat ground. It was a pretty flat ride actually.
Got in to the campground 5:25 which is a little bit later than yesterday, but for reference I spent the same amount of time in the saddle today as yesterday and biked an extra 30 miles.
So, another treat today was deep fried artichokes, which were really good. It was just a gorgeous ride today, riding through strawberry fields which smelled so good, and cabbage fields, artichoke fields, vineyards, mountains, everything!
So, as for the themes of the rest stops: rest stop 1 was a good morning/sleepover kind of theme. rest stop 2 was Muppets, in space perhaps? Lunch stop had a farm theme, everyone was dressed up as farmers, which was appropriate. Rest stop 3 had a Pan-Am/ALC airlines/flight attendant kinda theme. The water stop at Mission Soledad, where they had Auto Pops, was a burning man, kinda raver theme, and rest stop 4 was a jail theme.
There was also an informal stop at mile 89, with a "cookie garden" where we could get some cookies and milk that some people made, and that was pretty awesome.
One thing that's true is that kids love the riders, there were a group of kids in Santa Cruz that were giving us all high-fives on the way out. And some people were giving us Twizzlers in Salinas, I think. Anyway, there's definitely a lot of love for ALC Riders.
Another cool thing is there's a rider I met yesterday named (Bru?), who is riding from the Ivory Coast, and then today we found out that there's a contingent here from the Ivory Coast here that's learning all about the logistics, and they're trying to set up a ride in the Ivory Coast in 2010 called the Hope LifeCycle, which is a pretty cool thing to check out, and something to think about for the future.
I think that's about it, so tomorrow we're riding...”
“Okay, it looks like the first part of my post wasn't saved, so I'll try to say it again quicker!
I'm in Santa Cruz, it's nice and sunny, it's beautiful. We started off, we woke up today, this morning, at 4:15 to get to Cow Palace, and that's where the ride started. It was really slow-going for the first few miles, but after a while it started to thin out. The actual ride didn't start until about 6:40. I arrived finally in Santa Cruz at 4:15, it was about 82 miles of biking.
There was some really thick fog on Skyline in Pacifica, and it was generally overcast up until San Gregorio. I saw one cyclist took a big bad spill, and I talked about that in part two. It seemed like cyclists are maybe a little crazy at times.
Each of the rest stops had themes: The water stop, the first stop in San Francisco had a pirate theme. Rest stop 1 had a Green theme, characters dressed up as the Incredible Hulk and the Green Giant. Rest stop two had a "Happy Birthday" theme, where all the staff were wishing everyone a happy birthday all the time! The lunch stop had a "Rock n Roll" theme, and that was a nice turkey & avocado croissant sandwich, plus some other stuff. Rest stop 3 had a 50's theme, so everyone was dressed up in poodle skirts. Rest stop 4 had a wrestling theme. Everyone was dressed up in high school wrestling uniforms & people were having pictures taken with the wrestlers. I hear that rest stop 4 is always the best rest stop of the day, so I'll be sure to check that one out for sure... as well as all the other ones! They plan the rest stops a year in advance, and they have a website: reststop4.com, so you might wanna check that out.
They had some free strawberries at the top of 92 between Half Moon Bay & San Mateo, and also some free strawberries from the Swanton Berry Farm.
We had a nice warm welcome in Santa Cruz from lots of random citizens, and also at the camps, it was great! And we've been appreciating all the fans along the roadside
So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, it's going to be 107 miles towards King City, and probably pretty hot! But it'll be pretty flat and we'll see tailwinds, I hope.
“Guess I was talking too long in the previous post so I'll keep this one shorter. Anyway, I don't know, the guy apparently hit a curb and did some flips in the air and then landed on the ground, and it seemed like he was still unconscious after about 10 minutes or so when the ambulance finally arrived. So, I'm not really sure what's up with that. We'll find out maybe later tonight when they do the announcements for the day. And then there were some more ambulances later on, it might've been Half Moon Bay. So, people are biking a little crazy I guess. Half Moon Bay was, or taking the highway to Half Moon Bay, was a little tense. People riding basically fender-to-fender or tire-to-tire, climbing the hill. But there was a nice descent in to Half Moon Bay. Beautiful riding after lunch... the sun started coming out in San Gregorio, and it was pretty much nice in Santa Cruz county in general. People in Santa Cruz were watching us. It was great and actually there have been lots of fans & friends cheering from the side of the road. It's been great. There were some free strawberries, one at the top of 92 and another at Swanson Farm. So lots of good support for AIDS riders so far!. I'll leave another announcement or talk tomorrow. Bye!”
It's hard to believe, but in mere hours I will be riding out of San Francisco with 2,500 of my closest bike buddies. By this time tomorrow, I'll be getting ready to hit the sack (a sleeping bag) in Santa Cruz.
Thank you so much for all your support and donations! It's been quite a journey since my training began in November. In this month alone, I've biked for over 42 hours, covering 586 miles and climbing over 20,000 ft. I'll cover about as much distance in the next week! One side effect of all this riding is losing 10 or so pounds since I started training, and now my weight is at its lowest since sometime in college.
I'll try to blog here by phone. There's also official AIDS/Lifecycle Web coverage at http://experience.aidslifecycle.org/. Be sure to check in later when I post some photos and more detailed writeups after the ride.
By the way, the State of California threatens to cut over $150 million of aid to HIV/AIDS programs throughout the state, so your donations are more valued than ever. If you would like to donate further, you can still do so at http://tofighthiv.org/goto/arun.