This year, I decided to try something new. I had just bought an iPhone, which had unlimited Internet access and GPS capability. Along the route, I took photos with the phone and would send out emails to a group of people who signed up for it. These emails would have a couple of photos, the location of where I was at, and a half page talking about the day. Here are the emails, photos and “My Location” links:
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:42 PM
Subject: First email, drive to San Fran
Welcome to my blog! This is the first posting and I am really excited to have you aboard.
Randy and I volunteered to drive the truck with the Colorado bikes to San Francisco. We had the 28 bikes load up yesterday and left early this morning, with plans to be in SF by Friday night.
Right now, we are in Buford, Wyoming… Population 1. =).
I have attached some photos for your enjoyment… Us packing bikes, bikes in the truck, the HUGE truck, me driving, and the Buford town sign.
Thanks for following along with me on this wonderful trip, it really means a lot to me that you want to be there with me!
My Location (Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:11:13 PM MT).
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 12:03 PM
Subject: Lessons Learned
My Location (Friday, May 29, 2009 9:59:39 AM PT).
We are about 5 hours into the second day of the drive and very excited to almost be in California. We ate at a truck stop this morning where there were lessons to be learned and we have been enjoying the wonderful Nevada country side on the smooth Nevada roads ever since.
Making an early morning of it, we had breakfast at a truck stop diner where Randy learned that yes, you can put too much gravy on biscuits. Luckily, my French toast was quite decent.
After breakfast we topped off the diesel in the truck, where we got a lesson in big rig fuel pumps and gas cards. We also found out that truckers have their own sense of humor and it really isn’t that funny at 6 o’clock in the morning.
Before the drive started yesterday, I had thought that Wyoming would be the most boring state to drive though. Turns out I was wrong, Wyoming was quite pretty and very geologically interesting. Nevada on the other hand is dry, and very very boring. Luckily there are only about 411 miles to cover going through Nevada.
The best part is, there are these cement roads that I never had a problem with before, but in this truck at just the right speed they turn the cab of the truck into a martini shaker. We have passed a lot of construction and thankfully it looks like they are installing asphalt road beds.
Tomorrow is “Day 0″, or check-in day. Lots of long lines and time to catch up with old friends.
Honestly, I am excited and can’t wait!
Sent from my iPhone, which has no spell check to help me out.
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 12:44 PM
Subject: Lunch – Day 1
My Location (Sunday, May 31, 2009 11:41:05 AM PT).
Just a quick message to show you where we are… This is lunch Day 1, 40 miles here, 79 miles total today.
I will try to send a longer email tonight.
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 7:44 PM
Subject: End of Day 1
My Location (Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:44:52 PM PT).
We are now at camp for Day 1 and very happy to be here! Today we conquered an early morning, dense fog and bike adjustments.
Opening Ceremonies required us to wake up at 3 am (crazy, I know). Opening is always very energetic; seeing all the riders geared up and ready to go, hearing to motivational speeches and having all 2150 riders biking out at the same time.
It takes a few miles and a rest stop or two to get the pack spread out enough, but the ride still has a large impact on the people around it, no matter how spread out it gets. There are people lining the roads with signs that say why they are thankful we are riding, and to hear those thanks and too see those signs always gives me the energy to ride.
San Fran was fogged in this morning and the fog didn’t lift until just before lunch. This made for a wet, dizzily ride, but with my Colorado training, this didn’t bother me as I was prepared for it. It really turned in to a beautiful day once the fog lifted.
Since I boxed my bike and reassembled it to get it to SF, I had to re-tweak it at lunch since it just didn’t feel right. This seemed to make my knees much happier afterwards.
Today ended up being an 80 mile day, with lots of rolling hills and some very large climbs. We had a nice tailwind at the end which really did wonders for pushing us the last 20 miles into camp.
Camp was a welcome sight! We thoroughly enjoyed the shower truck, dinner and now the relaxation of our tent. Everyone leaves when they want tomorrow, as long as it is between 6:30 and 8:30.. We plan to be on the road at 6:30. With it being a 107 mile day, we want as much time as we can get.
Time for me to get some rest.
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 1:47 PM
Subject: Lunch Day 2
My Location (Monday, June 1, 2009 12:24:01 PM PT).
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 5:45 PM
Subject: Emails on hold
Camp Day 3 / Day 4:
My Location (Tuesday, June 2, 2009 4:30:16 PM PT).
Lunch Stop Day 3:
My Location (Tuesday, June 2, 2009 12:49:25 PM PT).
At camp, but they have covered all the wall outlets were I was planning to charge my phone. So until I can get a charge, emails will be on hold.
60 miles today, rode whole way!
Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 10:56 PM
Subject: Day 3 & 4
My Location (Wednesday, June 3, 2009 7:22:16 PM PT).
Found a place to charge the phone!
The highlight for yesterday was a hill that they nicked named “Quadbuster” due to it being a mile long and very steep. I have to say though, Lookout Mountain back in Denver puts it to shame! After doing my training on it, I was able to climb Quadbuster without stopping.
Today was two back to back hills called “The Evil Twins”, at the top of which is the halfway to LA point, which is marked with large “Half Way to LA signs. The 90 mile ride finished off with a really nasty hill that had a grade of 17%! (Note the grade seen in the photo was a hill at the end of yesterday).
Randy, my husband, along with our friend Randi and another Randy steamed up the Evil Twins like a train… they nicknamed it “The Randy Train”.
They told us tonight that on Day 1 a rider fell while going downhill. He is in serious condition at the hospital but seems to be improving. Cycling accidents always touch me hard after I saw a lady fall in front of me during Day 4 back in 2005. Witnessing that accident and holding her until the paramedics showed up really hit me hard that year and hearing about similar events always shake me up.
Randy and I meet up with his parents and caught a ride to a local laundry mat, we were in pretty desperate need to do laundry. It is too bad we are missing out on sleep to do it, but it must be done.
Day 5 (tomorrow) is known as Dress in Red Day. The idea was that when seen from above, the line of cyclists would look like a long red ribbon, similar to the AIDS ribbon. Of course, all the queens on the ride have changed into “Red Dress Day” and the result is all the riders wearing crazy outfits, including red dresses, high heels, Minnie Mouse outfits and just about anything else.
Tomorrow is normally a short day, less than 50 miles, but it sounds like we have lost the permit for one town. This is causing a detour though Solvang which is upping our miles to almost 70 to get us to camp in Lompoc.
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 12:12 PM
Subject: Day 5 & 6
Day 5 (Red Dress Day) was a detour from the usual as for one reason or another we lost the permit for one town. This caused the ride to go through Solvang, a very pretty town settled by the Danish.
Red Dress Day brought out the creative side in everyone, even traffic control dressed up for it. I don’t like the idea of wearing a dress, so the best I could do was a orange and blue jersey. Randy at least had a red jersey to wear.
Last night we camped in Lompoc, in a very large campground. Last night was clear skies and seemed like all we would have to deal with is the typical morning dew. We were wrong. I woke up at 2 am to go pee and it nice and dry, but by 5:00 am it was raining hard. The tents are made to let air though and keeps most of the water out, but we still ended up with wet clothes, wet shoes and wet sleeping bags.
Even with the rain, everyone was still geared up to ride. Route opened at 6:30 like normal and people got out the route. There was a car accident caused by the rain which closed the route ahead of the first rider. ALC held the remaining riders in camp and the riders out on the route were held at Rest Stop 1. After the accident cleared up, CHP (California Highway Patrol) cancelled our permit for today’s ride due to the continuing rain.
So they are regrouping everyone at camp in Lompoc and after lunch will be transporting everyone to the next camp. Lots of riders are bummed about not getting all the miles, but I figure that the money has been raised and we have done what we set out to do. We are here to help the people who need the services that this money provides and by raising the money we have done that. This is the world’s largest annual fundraiser, this year alone raising over 10 million dollars, and with budget cuts, that money means more than it ever did before.
People are already signing up for next year, and we are making plans to join them.
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 6:21 PM
Subject: Last Post: Day 7 & Ride-in
I have been enjoying a bit of time off before sending you this last email.
After lunch on Day 6, everyone got transported by buss to the last camp in Ventura and all the bikes were loaded in trucks and moved down.
This was a very well coordinated effort made by the ALC staff that seemed to go off without major problems. They used all 7 coach busses they had, plus called in a couple more from local buss companies and even got some school busses from the local high school. They then emptied all their cargo trucks that where setting up camp in Ventura, drove them to Lompoc and loaded the bikes up.
Joe, Randy’s cousin, took the day off work to cheer us on from the side of the road, so when it turned out we wouldn’t be riding, he was happy to drive up and pick us up. We had a great time spending the day with him. He took us to an awesome Thai food dinner and was our taxi to and from camp. He even let us crash at his place, which was nice change from waking up with rain in the tent.
Day 7, the last day of the ride, started off surprisingly very well. I was afraid finding our bicycles would be hard, but after they unloaded them all they took inventory and printed off lists for us showing us which row of bike parking our bikes were in. Very helpful!
The weather really worked for us, we couldn’t ask for anything better. We had a tailwind pushing us all the way into LA, mostly clear skies and best of all, no rain!
There was a minor delay at lunch due to an accident on the road ahead of lunch. This was quickly cleared up and they let us out in groups of 20 every minute, which prevented congestion and allowed us to ride safely.
Randy and I got to the end as fast as we could as we needed to pick up the rental truck for the return trip. We won’t be driving the truck home, but since I was designated truck captain, I collected the money for it and need to pay for it.
The truck rental wasn’t to hard, but driving it back in during Closing Ceremonies could have gone smoother. Thankfully the bike load up went VERY fast and we were able to get to out of there in a timely manner.
We spent the next 24 hours sleeping, eating and vegging out by the pool trying to even out our tans. (We got some pretty funny tan lines as a result of being on our bikes for so long).
Now we are spending time with old friends and looking forward to going home tomorrow.
Thanks for joining me on this adventure. It was a lot harder then I thought to find time to type out an email and even harder to peck it out one letter at a time on my phone. An then add in the typos and spelling errors and I am sure you had fun reading it!
Sent from my iPhone