Friday, June 6
Good morning Safety Orange day! Yep, you heard that right, this year, Day 6 was deemed Safety Orange Day. How could I not enjoy a day dedicated to wearing my favorite color? (yeah I know, the day is supposed to promote SAFTEY, not the color orange, but whatever.) I hadn't originally planned on wearing my orange jersey; I actually figured that I would wear my houndstooth one (which if you know me, you know that I'm just as obsessed with houndstooth as I am with the color orange). But how could I not join in on Safety Orange day?!?
Anyways, after another 4:15 am wake up, I opted to skip going to the food tent for breakfast this morning and instead fueled up with a protein bar I had from the day before. I'm not big on eating breakfast in general, and I was really tired of eating oatmeal. I was also starting to get tired of eating the protein bars as well. But it was a case of being a little lazy and over the food.
Once I got my stuff all packed up, Jen and I packed up the tent. We dropped off our gear at the trucks and I headed over to the bikes with Scott. We met up with Ken, Jamie and Michael and got our bikes ready for the day. We hit to road and made our way further south. I couldn't believe that we were getting to closer to Los Angeles and we were only one more day from finishing this.
The day brought us some slight variation in weather, which provided for some pretty cool dramatic photos. I really like the coloring in these photos from the road.
Our first rest stop was at mile 15. There wasn't much of excitement at this first rest stop, and I didn't even take any photos so I have no clue what the theme was (I can't remember). I'm sure it was something orange, but other than that, no idea. I kind of stopped caring about taking a ton of photos of the rest stops, or in general, by this point. I usually get to a point that I want to just keep riding and not stop to take photos, so that means that I don't have any visual reminders of the places I've been or the things I've seen. Oh well, maybe one day that won't be the case.
Anyways, Scott and I made our way back out onto the road and towards the exciting but dangerous downhill. The other guys had been riding faster than us so they were a bit ahead of us at this point. For the next 4 miles we were going to be going downhill along the highway. When we are on the highway we needed to make sure that we stayed to the right side of the white line. The downhill was crazy awesome and there were sections that were over 10% grade (at one point it was even as steep as 25%). As much as I enjoy going past on the downhills, I made sure to keep my speed in check. We had been warned about this downhill and there was no way I was going to put myself in danger. No speed records would be had this trip! Up until this point we had been on Highway 1, now we were going to be getting onto Highway 101. If you aren't familiar with California, Highway 101 goes from the northern boarder of the state all the way down to Los Angeles, so it is a pretty major highway.
After getting onto Highway 101, we started to approach what might have been the most dangerous part of this section of the route... Gaviota Pass. The road narrows to travel between the hills and the road curves making it hard to see what is coming up ahead. This area has been home to many accidents over the years. Unfortunately, as Scott and I passed through, we came across one such accident. There was a cyclist that was down on the road, but help had already arrived. We were slowed down and directed around the scene. At quick glance, I didn't recognize the cyclist. I just hoped the best for them.
As you can see, we got a little bit of rain, not enough to really get our clothes wet or anything. But it was enough to stick to the lens of my GoPro.
We made our way to Rest Stop 2, which was at mile 26 and had an outer space theme (which I only really know because I saw photos from others). This was an interesting rest stop because they told us that the route going forward would be closed until 9am. This was because the CHP would be helping us get safely passed a section of 101 by blocking off part of the right lane. Of course, we got to the rest stop right before 9am. We took our place in line and waited for the cops to open the route. Since they let the cyclist go in the order they came in to the rest stop, we had a while to wait, and there was no way to pass through.
Once we finally got through the rest stop we continued down the coast and made our way into Goleta to our lunch stop at Girsh Park. Some of the guys got to lunch before me. I pulled in and found a spot on the bike rack. I cleaned up my hands (always important to take the gloves off and wipe down your hands with the wipes and purell) and then made my way to the lunch line. After grabbing my food, I starting to play Where's Waldo... AKA I tried to find my friends in the large crowd at the park. As I was standing there searching, one of my other teammates saw me and called out to let me know where Jamie, Michael, Ken and LeeRoy were. I was very thankful, because I don't think I would have found the guys. They were hiding off in a corner where they had found some tables in the shade. I joined then and soon Scott joined us.
I really enjoyed lunch each day on the ride. It was a fun time to relax and just enjoy good company. Thankfully the food wasn't too bad either. Plus, the cookies were always good. Man I really miss being able to eat two large cookies and not feel an ounce of guilt. Those were the days... haha.
After we were done eating, we all headed over to the bikes. Once we were all ready to roll, we hit the road and made our way towards our next destination, rest stop 3. As promised, Day 6 was about to provide us with some beautiful views along the route.
Right before we got to the rest stop we stopped off to take a photo with the gorgeous Leadbetter Beach in the background.
Rest stop 3 was not very crowded. We assumed that had to do with the next stop that is shortly after this rest stop, but I will get to that in a little. The theme of this rest stop was biking bunnies.
We took a group shot with the crazy bunny ears that they had.
And another on the beach.
I really enjoyed riding through Santa Barbara because we were literally riding on the beach. This is the first time I had been in Santa Barbara and I loved it. I really need to go back and maybe spend more time there. You don't really get a true sense of the beauty of a place as you ride through, but you can get an idea. Just look at this, how could you NOT enjoy it?
We stopped to check out this guy who was working on a crazy sand sculpture of a mermaid. Unfortunately we couldn't get a photo of the sculpture without paying the guy. He made sure to put himself in front of it if you tried to take a photo and would say that he does his art work for tips, any amount would be appreciated. So, yea, you will just have to take my word on it that the sculpture was pretty cool.
We continued along the bicycle path and made our way to our next stop....
The next stop was one that Jamie & Ken, having done ALC before, were very excited about. Apparently we were in for a treat. Welcome to Paradise Pit...
This may be an unofficial ALC stop, but it is well known! Every year in Santa Barbara, the town puts together a stop for all of the ALC cyclist with free ice cream and all the toppings. There was also fruit and cookies. Thankfully they even had a non-dairy option. It was such a treat to enjoy some nice cold ice cream, or sherbet in my case, on a hot day.
Once we had our fill we continued on to the next stop, which was a water stop at mile 69. By the time I got to the water stop I was feeling a bit tired and a little cranky. I found a spot for my bike on the rack and grabbed a snack and filled my water bottle. I wanted to be by myself so I took a seat on the hill alone. I noticed that the guys were close by, but I really needed some time to clear my mind. Once I was ready to get moving again, I found Ken & Michael by their bikes. They were ready to get moving, but Scott was still on a phone call and Jamie didn't want to leave him behind. So, Michael, Ken and I decided to keep going, while Jamie waited back with Scott.
We made our way to the final rest stop of the day. In order to get there, we had to take a bicycle path that was along the highway. It was a little frightening to know that all that stood between you and that Big Rig barreling towards you at 65+ mph was a Jersey Barrier.
Ok, so that isn't the Big Rig in that photo that I was referring to, but you get the point. Either way, it was an interesting bike path.
We could practically hear the rest stop before we could see it. Rest stop 4 was a big crazy dance party with a live DJ and everything! After pulling in, I found a spot for my bike on the rack. I made my way through the crowd and grabbed a snack and refilled my water bottle. I put my water bottle back on my bike and then found the guys. Ken wanted to get a photo with the rest stop guys so we got in line. When it was our turn, we were handed some signs and posed with the guys.
Michael really liked his little sign.
Afterwards we decided to hang out on the wall to wait for Jamie and Scott. Michael and I were just content to sit and enjoy the view.
However, Ken really wanted to go down on the beach, so he climbed over the wall and down the rocks. Pretty impressive since he was wearing cycling shoes.
Soon enough, Jamie and Scott joined us at the rest stop. They made the stop a short one so that we could get on our way and head to camp. There were only 8 miles left on the route.
As we were on the final part of the bike path heading into camp, we saw our teammate Delilah heading in the opposite direction. She was trying to make up some miles from the other day when she was pulled off the route because she didn't make it out of a rest stop in time. Silly girl. Although this wasn't the craziest thing coming from Delilah, but I'll get to the tomorrow.
We pulled into camp and it was somewhat bittersweet. I knew this was the last time I would be pulling into camp and parking my bike for the night. I was sad, and yet slightly relieved at the same time. I had been having a blast so far, but I was getting to the point of being ready for it all to be over.
Day 6 Ride Stats
Total Distance: 86.3 mi
Elevation: 3,719 ft
Ride Time: 5:46:41
Average Speed: 14.9 mph
ALC total Miles: 469.1 mi
After grabbing my stuff from my bike, the guys and I headed over to the food tents, that were right next to the bike parking. We were planning on just checking out what was on the menu for the night and grab some chocolate milk (or soy milk in my case). However, before we knew it, Scott and Michael were in line and grabbing food. I wasn't hungry yet, so I just grabbed some soy milk to mix up my protein recovery shake.
Once I had finished my shake, I headed over to the gear trucks to grab my bag. I quickly located the 'D' grid flag and started to search for my tent location. Since the camp sites were set up different each time you never really knew where your tent was going to be located. I started at the beginning of the row. To my right D001, the left, D100. Next set of tents, right D002, left D099. Stupidly enough, I didn't see how this was going to end (I was D055 by the way). By the time I had rolled (more like dragged) my bag to the end of the line where my tent was located (which felt like a mile away) I was so over the whole camping thing. I threw my bag on the ground (I know if Scott was reading this he would have broken out in The Lonely Island's "I threw it on the ground" by now, haha). I also uttered my famous, according to Jen, phrase of FTS. It's not appropriate to type out, but lets just say it starts and ends in some rather choice words.
I placed my bag inside the tent and gathered my shower stuff and a change of clothes. I also borrowed the power adapters from Michael so that I could try to get my phone, Garmin and gorpo juiced up for the final day. On my way to the shower trucks I stopped by the charging tent and found a spot for my phone. There were so many electronics plugged in that I was lucky to find a spot. Next stop, the shower trucks. I desperately needed a hot shower to relax and wash away the frustration.
After my shower, I headed back to the charging tent and swapped out my phone for my Garmin and found another spot for my gopro. I then made my way across camp to get to my tent. I hung up my towel on my tent with some binder clips and found the guys to see what our plans were for the night. There was a candle light vigil on the beach to honor those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. I figured that I would attend if the others were going. When I spoke with the guys Jamie said that they planned on heading into Ventura for dinner and he wasn't planning on going to the vigil. That was fine with me. I hung out with Scott and Michael for a little while we waited for everyone to be ready to go to dinner.
I made sure to grab my headlamp before we headed out for dinner. The guys and I headed over towards the hotels where we knew we would be able to get a taxi. The five of us (Scott, Jamie, Michael, Jim and myself) squeezed into a taxi and headed over to Ventura. We headed to Yolanda's (http://www.yolandasmexicancafe.com/) for some Mexican food. (Jamie picked the restaurant, I think that he goes there every year. Also, I swear Jamie only ever eats Mexican.) The food was good and it was nice to get out of camp and eat something of my own choosing.
By the time we got back to camp it was pretty dark out. I was thankful I had remembered to grab my headlight. It definitely came in handy as I made my way to my tent. Jen was just getting ready to go to sleep so my timing was good. It was time for lights out.
One day left!