And so it all begins. Orientation day had come at last. I loaded up my bike and headed for the Cow Palace in San Francisco. We were told to only bring our bikes, no gear bags, for orientation.
Here is my baby all cleaned up and blinged out. I got so many compliments on my spokes from riders as they passed me all week. It was a nice change to the standard 'on your left'. Some riders even asked me if they lit up. Now wouldn't that be cool, unfortunately they don't. Maybe next time. :)
I met up with some friends and we headed across the walkway to the Cow Palace.
We stood in line to drop our bikes off. It is such a weird feeling handing your bike over to a stranger and getting a flimsy little sticker in return to signify where your bike will be inside. You start to think, how will I ever find my precious bike among the 2300+ other bikes? (Thankfully it wasn't too bad, but I will get to that later.)
Next we headed over to stand in line to view the safety video. This is a requirement of all riders. After watching the video, you receive a orange wrist band that you have to wear the entire week. If you loose it, you most likely have to watch the video again in order to get a replacement. Safety is no joke, they take it very serious, and with 2300+ riders, you can begin to understand why. We also got a Safety Orange bandanna (guess what I will be sporting on Safety Orange Day?)
My friends and I then headed over to the Registration Packet pick-up line. This was where we would get our ALC wrist band, tent & gear bag chips, and bicycle and helmet numbers. My rider number was #2356 and my tent grid location was D 055.
Our next stop was the ALC Store, also known as the camp store. However, in camp they had more items such as toiletries and other camp essentials. At Orientation they just had apparel and branded items. I picked up a few things, like a hat, t-shirt and the ALC 2014 commemorative jersey, which I wore on Day 1.
Now that we had all the important things out of the way, my friends and I just hung out, took some photos and tried to get some free swag.
The last thing we needed to do for the day was to go to bike parking and put our numbers on our bikes. We headed there and I was almost overwhelmed with just how many bikes there were. When you think of 2300+ riders, you know that is a lot, but seeing the bikes in one room together really puts it all into perspective.
There is my bike, right in the middle of the A rack. That will make it easy to find the next morning.
Our team captain is in the middle and the rest of us are all first time riders. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be sharing this experience with.
It was time to head home, put those last minute items into my gear bag and get some sleep. It was going to be an early morning tomorrow.