Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 5 - Santa Maria to Lompoc

Thursday, June 5

Good morning Red Dress Day! I have been looking forward to you for quite a while! There were two reasons for that: 1) I couldn't wait to see everyone in their red attire and 2) the route was only 43 miles. Since the route was shorter, this also meant that we could sleep in a little bit. You aren't able to get into camp until after 1:00 pm (which if you leave at 6:30 am when the route opens, you can easily make it to Lompoc before 1).

After waking up and being thankful for that extra 45 minutes of sleep, I headed over to get something to eat. I ended up finding Michael and Delilah and joined them at the table. Once I was done eating I headed back to the tent to get ready for the day. After Jen and I got dressed, we packed up all our gear and took down the tent. Since no one was really in a hurry this morning, it was fun to just hang out and take photos. Plus, it was fun to watch all the red slowly emerge from the tents.

There was a group of us on the South Bay Blaze who decided to go with a Sriracha Sauce theme, and I was calling us the Hot Sauce Hotties.

On Red Dress day, anything goes... as long as it is red :) You have your Mini's (Mayor Bob)

And your Superman (Jamie)

And of course, your traditional Red Dress (LeeRoy)

Once everyone was ready and all packed up, we dropped off our gear at the trucks and headed to bike parking. As we were getting our tires all pumped up and ready to go, Greg stopped to say Aloha before he rolled out.

Getting out of Santa Maria was rather slow because we had to deal with all of the traffic lights. It was fun to see a massive group of red waiting for the lights to change and then trying to get as many people through the light once it changed to green.

Our first rest stop was at Pioneer Park on the other side of Santa Maria, which was about 9.6 miles from the starting point. I pulled into the rest stop and parked my bike. I headed over to the snack table and found some teammates nearby. Along with our regular rest stop offerings, there was a coffee truck here. Thankfully I don't drink coffee, because the line was very LONG! Instead, I headed over to the porta potties and soon figured out that the best and safest approach, take off the tutu. You never want to loose anything in the porta potty so usually that means removing anything that could easily fall off or dip down into the blue liquid of doom. But that's enough about the porta potty, because i'm sure you just love reading about it.

Soon enough I was back out on the road. There was some climbing to do before getting to the next rest stop. I love how everyone always talks about how short Day 5 is, but no one really mentions that there is a good bit of climbing. Why aren't these hills named like Quadbuster and the Evil Twins? Anyways, the rest stop was at mile 22, which meant we were a little over half way done with the day's route. I found a spot on the bike rack and hung up my tutu on the handle bars. I headed over to get some snacks and refill the water bottles.

Before we headed out of the rest stop we got some group photos since there were quite a few of the Blazers there at the same time.

Me & Gino

Earl, Ken, Jamie, Me & Justin

Pavani, Gino, Earl, Ken, Jamie, Me, Justin, Michael, & LeeRoy

Our last stop for the day was going to be our lunch stop. There were 17 miles to go to get to lunch. We started out on the road, and soon enough we got to a nice hill. What is with this climbing? I thought this was supposed to be our easy day! Thankfully with all of the South Bay Blaze training under my belt, the climb wasn't actually that bad. The one thing I did love about this hill was that there was a U-turn on the hill so we could see the hill ahead as well as where we had just come from. I loved seeing all of the red on the road. We truly did look like a big red ribbon out there. I should have stopped to take a photo, but I try not to stop on hills because it isn't all that fun to start uphill. I did find this photo taken by the ALC photographer that shows the red ribbon effect I was talking about...

Eventually we stopped climbing and it was all pretty much downhill for the remainder of the ride. We managed to get to lunch a little before noon. We planned on taking our time and hanging out at the lunch stop for a little since we couldn't get into camp until 1 pm and we were only 3 (flat) miles away. We parked our bikes and headed over to get in line for lunch. As we got near, Jamie and I snapped a photo with one of our favorite lunch roadies, Stefanie (along with her sister Nancy, she was one of the SBB teammates who was doing roadie work on the event).

After grabbing food, we went to find a spot to sit down, eat, and enjoy the crazy show that the rest stop 4 crew would no doubt be putting on any minute. You can always count on some crazy entertainment from those RS4 guys. We found a good spot, but unfortunately the grass was a little out of control in this park. I wasn't all too excited about sitting in the taller grass because I have had issues with grass irritating my skin in the past. I was going to go sit on the sidewalk but Jamie offered to let me sit on his cape (superman to the rescue). What a gentleman! Here is my little crew, the best guys around (Scott, LeeRoy, Ken, Michael and Jamie)!

After we were done eating, we hung out for a while. I looked over and noticed that LeeRoy had laid down to rest. I couldn't help but laugh when I looked over at him. Its not a sight you see everyday...

Since there wasn't actually a rest stop 4, the guys from the rest stop were at this lunch stop. They were dressed like they were from Soul Train and there was a GIANT twister board. Every so often they would start up a big game, pitting the riders against the RS4 crew.

I realized that this was the only stop that I actually knew what the theme was. I hadn't been paying attention to any of the themes of the other rest stops. I think that since it was red dress day and everyone was in red, I didn't notice any of the themes stand out. Oh well.

After a nice relaxing lunch break, we decided to make our way to camp. We rode the three miles into Lompoc to get to the camp site at River Park. It was fun to see the locals out, stopped on the sidewalk to wave and cheer us in. There was a cute little family with small kids that were so excited to see us ride past. We started to wonder, how the parents would explain to their kids why there were grown men wearing dresses and strange costumes riding past on bikes. 

When we pulled into camp there was music playing which was a nice change. We headed over to bike parking and found a spot for all of us. I gathered up all my stuff and put it into my handy reusable bag that I stashed in my seat pouch.

Day 5 Ride Stats
Total Distance: 42.6 mi
Elevation: 2,171 ft
Ride Time: 3:15:51
Average Speed: 13.0 mph

ALC total Miles: 382.8 mi

Ken told us that he had to go get on the swings; it was a Day 5 tradition. Michael decided to join him. I didn't think that my legs were up for getting me going on the swings, so I just stood by and watched. 

After a trip into the past (back to middle school recess) we headed over to the gear trucks to get our things. Thankfully the gear trucks were very close to where our tents were, which was awesome. I didn't want to lug my stuff around the bumpy, uneven ground that was littered with mole holes.

Once the tent was set up, I gathered my shower stuff and camp clothes, including my South Bay Blaze t-shirt. We had team photos that evening, so I finally got to don the new team shirt. I wanted to keep it nice and clean, so I hadn't worn it yet. The shower trucks were on the other side of camp, so I took the path along Kiwanis lake. The lake was beautiful and I was slightly jealous of those whose tents had lake views. That was until we saw that someone not only had a lake view, but their tent was almost on the lake, with one pole in the water. The wind was crazy there and they apparently hadn't weighted down their tent with their gear bag, so it had moved in the wind. We are not allowed to use tent spikes since we are often camping at public parks or sport fields. A missed spike can be dangerous and harmful to equipment. Therefore, we have to use our gear bags to hold down the tents when it gets a bit too windy.

After getting cleaned up, I headed back over to the tents and hung out for a little before heading over to the met-up location for the team photos. We didn't have an official time slot, so we were just waiting to fit in between teams when there was a chance. Apparently the time slots filled up really fast, but it didn't matter because we were able to get our shot anyway.

You can see just how large our team actually is. With our training rides, since everyone rides at different paces, you usually end up riding with a small group of people. I think there were a little over 50 of us there in that photo. These amazing people are like a second family to me. I love them and couldn't have done this without them.

Since we were right next to the food tent, a group of us got something to eat and just hung out for a little. The nice thing about the down time in camp was being able to catch up with people that you don't get to see out on the road. We all kind of ride our own pace, so little groups form of riders out on the road. It was interesting how there were people on my team that I pretty much never saw the entire week (except for when we all got together for the photo) and then there were the guys (Michael, Scott, Jamie, and Ken), who I practically spent every waking moment with.

While we were at the food tent, we listed to the ALC Announcements. After the announcements, we listened to Congressman Adam Schiff. I didn't realize that we were riding with a congressman. How cool is that. Apparently he spoke at the closing ceremony last year in LA and said that if the congressional recess ever aligned with ALC, he would ride it because he was so inspired by the riders last year. Well, low and behold, this years recess just happened to be the same time ALC was. So with very little notice, he packed up his bike and headed to San Francisco. He was telling us that unfortunately, his bike didn't make it so he had to go out and purchase a brand new bike and have it fitted right before the event. He went on to tell us that he was thankful for his wife Eve, who was taking care of their kids while he was gone for te week. Yes, they are Adam and Eve. He also told us that his tentmate was a very nice guy, named Steve.h We all laughed when he said, "Leave it to ALC to turn Adam and Eve into Adam and Steve!"

Later, when I got back to my tent, I realized that my electronics that I had plugged into my battery pack earlier were not charged but the lights on my battery pack were off. This could only mean one thing, I had finally run out of juice. Not a great thing, but not too bad since I had been charging my phone, Garmin and GoPro. Thankfully my phone was still half charged, as well as my GoPro. The only thing I was worried about was my Garmin. Good thing today was a shorter day, because that meant that I didn't drain too much of the Garmin battery. Also, there was a charging tent available for our use. The only downside, I had forgotten to pack the USB/Power Outlet adapter. I specifically made sure that I had all the right cables (the Garmin cable, the GoPro cable, etc.) but I never thought about the fact that I may need to recharge the battery pack. Oops! Thankfully as I was explaining my situation to my tentmate Jen, the guy across from us overheard. He kindly offered up his adapter, as long as I made sure to return it to him. Love bubble in full effect. Strangers helping strangers. :) I called down to Michael to see if he wanted to head back over to the service tents where the charging tent was. As I yelled out "Michael!" the guy across from me replied "Yes?" How crazy, his name was Michael as well. When my SBB Michael got to my tent, I jokingly told him that I had found a new favorite Michael, this one was providing me with power.

We headed over to the charging tent and I found a place to plug in my battery pack. We then headed over to the food tent where we sat down to enjoy the rest of the talent show that was going on. I don't know how much we had missed, but we were still able to enjoy a few acts. I think we heard two people singing. But our favorite act was the comedy act. He had a really good skit about how you know it was Day 5. I can't remember all of the jokes, but a few of then went something like this (these may not be the exact things he said, but it is close enough that you get the point)....

You know it is Day 5 when the remaining straight guys are all greeting each other by saying "Hey Girl Hey!"

The interaction between two cyclist when one is passing the other on the road:
  Day 1: "On your left"
             [cheerful] "Awesome bike, is that a Cannondale? You know they are one of the sponsors this year
             right? Have a great ride"
  Day 2: "On your left"
             "Thanks, have a good ride"
  Day 3: "On your left"
             "On your right"
  Day 4: "On your left"
  Day 5: "On your left"
  Day 6: "On your left"
             [irritated] "Really, NOW you are going to pass me? You've only been riding on my butt the last 20
  Day 7: "On your left"
             "Have a great ride, see you in LA!"
(*this joke relies on the tone of voice, and I tried to reflect some of that, so hopefully you understand where is is going. If not, too bad, because it was pretty funny! Also, it probably makes a lot more sense to those who have done ALC.)

Once the talent show came to an end, I headed over to the charging tent to retrieve my battery pack. Michael and I headed back to the tents, guided by the light from our head lamps. Those headlamps are amazing and I'm thankful that I was told ahead of time to make sure I had one. So much better than trying to use a flashlight! Anyways, I got back to my tent and returned the power adapter to the Michael in the tent across from me. When I got into my tent I plugged in my Garmin to the battery pack, only a few minutes later to find that the battery pack had turned off again. I severely under estimated the time it takes to charge up that battery pack. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get it fully charged, but I thought I would be able to get at least a little juice in to it. I should have just taken my Garmin to the tent to charge. Oh well, there was nothing I could do now but hope that it would make it through the entire route the next day.  

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