ALC Training Ride

{moszoomimglink:Sausalito}My friends Stephen and James decided they would go to the AIDS LifeCycle ride this year again, and are getting all their friends to help out, or join. After a little bit of prodding, and after a very positive weather forecast, I finally agreed to join them for their Sunday training ride.

I thought it was just going to be a bunch of guys from spinning class, but it turned out to be a major training ride for the whole San Francisco contingent of ALC. So, while I was puzzled as to why we would want to meet at 6:45 for a ride that wouldn't start until 7:30, it all made sense once I saw the about 200 riders congregate.

Safety speech, introductory speech, ra-ra speech. Once the speeches were over, the ride leader (some guy with a funky British accent) told us that we were going to follow the route of Point Reyes Express, the grueling Saturday ride that had made me sweat for the longest time. The only variance would be a diversion to the Cheese Factory, a small (what else?) cheese factory cum deli. So it would be even LONGER.

I was a bit apprehensive, but I knew that a bunch of the folks in our group couldn't keep up with me in spinning class, so the threat was not too bad. Additionally, I could see folks from all walks of life – no kids, but definitely octogenarians, and more than one butt that would envelope its seat fully.

We left on a still chilly morning, riding the usual route through Sausalito and Corte Madera. By the time we reached Camino Alto, I knew I was going to be ok – checking how everybody was bitching and moaning. I started feeling better about the whole thing, and by the time I got to the top of the hill, I had enough time to relieve myself in the bushes, knowing I would catch up with the rest of the bunch.

Promptly, of course, I lost them. I followed a guy that really couldn't have been a lot slower on his way down the hill. Not a good time to pass, but I was tempted a great many times. I ran after them, trusting that I had heard the directions correctly, and I finally saw them getting into Ross.

By the time we hit Fairfax, we had our first rest of the day. There were a lot more to come, which is quite unusual for cyclists like me, but seems to be the norm with AIDS LifeCycle. Coffee, cookies, cakes, you name it!

We left off on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, heading up Nicasio Valley Road. I kept up just fine, and was surprised when we all stopped at the Rancho Nicasio for another rest, then moved on to Cheese Factory hill. More climbing there, a broken chain, another rest. Back up the hill, then all the way to Olema – another rest. This one was lunch, and our last real rest stop, but by now it had become a strange habit.

On the way back, we'd go Sir Francis Drake all the way, as I am used from the PRE rides. I rode most of the time with Isaac and Ian, then moved over to James and Stephen. Finally, I got a call from work and had to rush forward, getting home around 2:30 – salty from all the sweat, excited about the ride, ecstatic about riding again after such a long time! 

Go, AIDS LifeCycle! You've made it possible to have a well-organized setting for people to push themselves physically while doing good. It was not your invention, but you certainly have made it work extremely well! 

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