Saturday, October 13, 2007

Day Zero: Driving from Carson to San Francisco: 28 Sep 2007

Friday September 28, 2007

We left @ 3:30 am so we could beat the traffic into San Francisco and have some time to sightsee after we checked into our hotel. We took the boring route 5 that runs through California’s central farm valley. Here’s what that trip looks like on a map. According to Yahoo! Maps this is a 399.4 miles trips that should take 5 hours and 49 minutes to drive.

We had fun sightseeing in China Town then joined all the riders and their families for the opening dinner. This is the 7th year for the event and we have raised over $4 mil over those 7 years! This year we (240 riders) are on the way to raising $1.4 mi!! The money raised is used for research and for the camps for children with arthritis.

Time for bed! We have to get to the start at 6:00 am for breakfast.

Day One: San Francisco to Santa Cruz: 29 Sep 2007

Saturday, September 29

READY…SET…PEDAL!! We started at the Host hotel after breakfast then cycled down the coast into Santa Cruz, completing a total of 75 miles.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL!! Cool, crisp, sunny, and NO FOG! We have great pictures of the Golden Gate bridge and along our route.

I clocked in a maximum downhill speed of 48 mph down the Devils' Slide.

When we came to Half Moon bay, I glanced at the ocean and it looked like God has floated aqua crystals on the ocean and they all simmered as the sun danced on them.

We met a woman doing the ride who works for AIG, my new employer! She loves working for AIG. In fact, AIG is thinking about sponsoring a team for this event next year!
At dinner in camp Dave and I sat at a table of 5 other Daves! Not planned.

Click here for Day 1 Audio! Gabcast! #2

Day Two: Santa Cruz to Monterey: 30 Sep 2007

Sunday, September 30
This leg of our tour was 53 miles. We rode from Santa Cruz, through farm land and into Monterey. The temperature was a crisp 45 degrees this morning when we started. But, as it warmed up, we began removing the layers of clothes that were keeping us warm. The skies were clear and the views were awesome.

Dinner tonight was at Bubba Gump's in Monterey.

There are several couples who are doing this tour with us. There's Alan and Bonnie, Rick and Karmen, Bruce and Pat and many more. It's wonderful being able to ride together. You spend a lot of hours training for this event so sometimes, because of our busy schedules, the only time you are together is on the training ride.

After we checked into the hotel, I was able to get a massage in tonight before dinner! Our room is very nice. We have plenty of space and even have a fireplace in the room. This place is so classy, they even fold the tissues.

Day Two Audio via Gabcast Here!

Click Episode #2 on the Gabcast page! #2

Or Here: Gabcast Flash Player! Gabcast! #2

Day Three: Monterey to Big Sur: 1 Oct 2007

Monday, October 1
Today we rode from Monterey to Big Sur. The route took us along the 17 Mile Drive which is a scenic drive along the beach in Monterey. The pictures speak for themselves! It was another beautiful day along the beach. And the houses are so big; it’s hard to believe that anyone really lives in them.

At 38 or so miles, this ride is the shortest of the whole tour. At the same time, it’s one of the longest. There are so many places to stop and take pictures that we kept it at a slow pace. I’m so grateful to be able to ride along and share this experience with Kellie

While Kellie has been in this area before, today’s ride and most of the next two days are in areas of California I’ve only seen in postcards. In fact it was hard to take a snapshot of one famous landmark or another without it looking like a familiar postcard, so I made sure to include myself in a lot of them to heighten the interest. You can thank me later.

We were thinking about what we could write about besides its beautiful out here. So we’ll write about an important part of the ride: injuries. There are 250 riders riding 525 miles which adds up to 131,250 miles! With that many miles, you know there will be some injuries. You don’t want injuries but they always seem to happen. Sometimes its car vs. bike sometimes its bike vs. road hazard sometimes it’s a careless rider.

We had five riders injured on day 1 leaving out of San Francisco. They were all injured at the same spot: a treacherous railroad crossing about 70 miles into the ride. Not good because you are tired and not as alert. If you don’t ride a bicycle, you might wonder what the problem is with railroad tracks. These tracks crossed the road at an angle that seemed to be designed to capture a road bike tire. If you were not alert and did not swing far to the right before crossing the tracks then immediately to the left you would get caught in the tracks. I have my cycling coach to thank for avoiding that hazard! He is always telling me to look ahead, look ahead, and keep your eyes on the lookout for hazards. I saw those tracks and went over them with no problem.

But one fellow got his tire caught in the tracks, whet down and broke his collarbone. Our friends Rick and Karmen also took a fall there: first Karmen then Rick when he swerved to miss his fallen wife. They were badly hurt with a dislocated shoulder and injured legs and ankles.

So we don’t end this post on a bummer, I will say that today was a beautiful, short day of climbing and fast downhills. The air is scented with pine trees and salt air here at camp. The sky is bright with the stars we never see in the city. The laughter over a dinner shared is contagious.

Day Four: Big Sur to San Simeon: 2 Oct 2007

Tuesday, October 2
They call today two-turn-Tuesday because you turn left out of the campground onto Highway 1, ride 64 miles then turn right into the campgrounds (or in our case, the hotel!) in San Simeon the locale of the world-renowned Hearst Castle.

We have found that the ker-cunk, ker-cunk, ker-cunk sounds that car tires make as the move over the lane divider is music to our cycling ears. That sounds means that the car coming up behind me is moving to the left as it is passing me.

Today's ride is one of the hardest (beside day 1), because it is about 65 miles of up and downs hills along the coast. Dave finished this challenging ride but I had to skip the two biggest hills because of some knee problems. I will rest, ice and elevate it tonight and hope I can ride tomorrow.

--From Dave--
I had to stop a couple of times in the hills, but I'm happy to report that I rode every mile.
Here's where all that brutal training in air-conditioned Spinning classes with mirrors & music & nearby water fountains really paid off!

Completing the Day 4 ride has given me a new level of confidence. Kellie trains on the toughest, hilliest roads in LA.

I'm going to start riding with-her when she goes to Angeles Crest & on La Tuna Canyon!
This picture is of the sea lions lying in the sun just outside of camp!

Day Five: San Simeon to Pismo Beach: 3 Oct 2007

Wednesday, October 3
I feel really blessed to be able to ride as far as I have gone so far, and to be able to ride along with Kellie.
We are fundraising for Arthritis research and motivated by our daughter, Deidre.
Deidre contracted Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) after her pregnancy with her daughter, Leah, now two years old. We have learned that the big hormonal shifts, pregnancy, menopause are is a contributing factor for women that developed RA.

We are impressed with Deidre’s resolve, to take care of herself, and her family.

A full 25% of the riders on this tour have some form of Arthritis.

We are also impressed with the physical and mental dedication it takes to accomplish this kind of activity along with the training required, that sometimes nobody else sees or cheers on.

Day Six: Pismo Beach to Solvang: 4 Oct 2007

Thursday, October 4
There is a lot of planning that goes into putting on this event. The riders must train and raise money but the Arthritis Foundation also does a lot of work: Donna Trujillo, the coordinator/planner for this event works for the Arthritis Foundation. Backroads, a company that does cycling vacations, is hired by the Arthritis Foundation to take care of the riders for this event.

Each day of the ride, a mini city is set up then moved to the next camp site. Each campsite has bathroom, showers, masseuses, bike mechanics with bike parts, and a catered breakfast and dinner. Backroads employees transport our camping gear and luggage (if you choose to stay in hotels) from campsite to campsite. In additions they drive along the roads we are riding and pick us up (and our bikes) if we’re tired or injured.

We check in at the lunch stop that has been set up along our route, and eat. Along the route we ride, there are also rest stops with food and water. And boy does this army of 250 cyclists eat!!! We ride for 4, 5, 6 or more hours a day and we all consume unbelievable amounts of food. But there is never a shortage of food.

--From Dave-- This is an unusual day of riding. It was fun to go alongside the farms and see and smell the different kinds of crops we could recognize, like broccoli, collard greens and cilantro! We left the Coast, headed inland into small towns and farms and it got a little hotter weather-wise. There were some long challenging hills also and the feeling crept in that it would be nice to just put my hand up when the support van drove by, or make a phone call, and just take a ride to the end. So for Kellie and me to complete it on our bikes made us both happy. It was a character-building, if not the most interesting day of the Tour.

Day Seven: Solvang to Ventura: 5 Oct 2007

Friday, October 5
Today's ride was exhilarating, which is not a word I use often, so trust me, it was!
There was a lot of the kind of riding I enjoy, on or near the beach with rolling hills. I don't even mind the traffic. We'll get more of the same as we head home on Pacific Coast Highway, through Malibu. The 80 miles from Solvang to Ventura started with a tough climb out of the valley and onto Highway 101 at the Lompoc exit.
Everything happens at full force there!
You get a long climb, then a fast drop along the coast, while tractor-trailers are rumbling by about 2 feet away! At the same time, you see the waves and for much of the ride, can even taste the salt spray of the ocean. It was a real high-energy ride.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Less than a day away!

The California Classic starts Saturday, September 29, 2007!

Kellie and I are really looking forward to it. These photos are from a recent group ride with the OCRR in Seal Beach. We'll update this blog with daily podcasts from the ride!
Gabcast, Click Here! C6 2007 #1