ALC: Day 1 June 5, 2012 at 5:00 am

Today was the first day of AIDS LifeCycle. I spent much of the night nervous unable to sleep because, ironically, I was worried I would not get enough sleep and the day would be a disaster.

After getting out of bed at 4am, my wonderful friend Matt drove me and another rider, Russel, to the Cow Palace for what was to be the first day of the ride.

Opening Ceremonies at the Cow Palace included what was one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever heard of why people ride on ALC. A young lady described how her mother had lived quietly with HIV for 10 years. The mother was finally telling her daughters she was not going to live much longer. This was in 1994. Then HIV cocktail medication therapies came out and prolonged her Moms life further. Her Mom was going to help on ALC last year as a Roadie but, as if she had not been through enough, had been diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter announced proudly on stage “My mom kicked cancers ass, and is here to join us this year on ALC 2012.”

     Such was the mood for the ceremony, but then it was time to head out on the road. Nobody told me it would be this cold in Spandex at 4am!!!! Brrrr. But it was ok, there were tons and tons of people cheering us on from the route as we exited. It was really fantastic.

     As we wound our way up to Skyline Drive and beyond I realized that I don’t often take off work anymore and just watch and take in the scenery around me. My lord how wonderful a gift the nature in California is!!! The views from Skyline overlooking the water as the sun came up on the horizon were awesome.

     There were definitely some climbs today, but I had a ton of energy. I spent most of the day biking with Paul and Russell. Its really easy to bike 82 miles when you have someone funny and interesting to talk to. I almost biked with a fella named Greg who came to the ride from Chicago and another group, Eva, Todd and Rand, who came to the ride from L.A. Everyone was amazingly friendly and supportive.

     Along the route there were rest stops on the ocean. How cool it was to be biking along the ocean!!! The last time I’d really, really taken in the ocean via route 1 was in 2003 when I drove cross country so this was a huge treat.

       We ended the day in Santa Cruz at a little camp ground. Everything was very well organized. My knees were a little sore, the right in particular, so I went to the medical tent which was staffed with 20+/- chiropractors and sports med techs. They were super helpful and taught me all sorts of strange stretches to try to loosen up my knees. We’ll see of they work tomorrow!

      Tomorrow is a century ride, 109 miles to King City. I’m excited to do my first 100+ ride. More updates to come! Pictures will be uploaded when I figure out how hehe.

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