Wednesday, June 28, 2006

AIDS ride Day 7! 6/10 Ventura-Los Angeles

Amazing. Somehow we seem to have made it to the last day of the trek. Our last excuse for eating WAAAYYYY too much at breakfast. The last day to give thanks to our cute, punky roadie, with her adorable Mohawk hairdo. The very last day to have to endure morning poo filled porta-potties ( I know, I know, but I left it to the last day and for heaven sakes, 2000 people have NEEDS in the morning, and damn it I never was up early enough to use the potties when they were clean. It was traumatic!)
The sweet Chicken lady has left eggs filled with M and M's and a nice note on all our bike seats. Thanks Chicken Lady!
We are up early, rather anxious to get started as we have received numerous warnings that the route will close, precisely at 3:15. Since T and I are usually among the last group to roll in we live in fear of not being able to complete the ride, on this day of all days.
We pass Pt Mugu and Pt Hueneme, it's a little sad to see how empty these bases are as their usual occupants are off on an extended vacation in the Middle East.
We hit the coast in earnest at the start of the Santa Monica mountains. We barely stop at the rest stops. D is craving fried oysters for some reason, but we do not stop. Until... T's wheel isn't spinning true... another broken spoke! In a miraculous turn, the SAME bike tech is there, and he still has T's box of spokes with him! We are quite sick of the bagged lunch on offer at the stop, but we eat it, waiting with baited breath while super-tech checks T's bike, to see if we can indeed go on

We ride through Malibu and wonder where the heck the stars are? Where are Cher and Brittney? (D) and Barbra and Johnny?(T)
The ocean front isn't THAT big, you'd think one of these hotshots would at least SHOW themselves! George C where are you?
Major beach-y traffic, as it's a sunny Saturday in June (Note: "Carback!" is still shrieked with the same nerdy, earnest intensity of 7 days ago. It's all but intolerable. T & D are just not that into groupthink)
Get this: 2 cyclists get moving violation tickets for going through red lights... Aren't the Malibu cops just the sweetest? Course T and D think it's funny because it's the hotshots who get caught.
We are on PCH along with all of the traffic, then we get shunted onto the Santa Monica bike path. It's a blast to be riding a road we know well. We go under a tunnel where D and T have to carry (oof!) the all of a sudden much heavier than usual bikes down, then up a flight of stairs. We go up our last hill, up to San Vincente Blvd. get Red Vines at the top as usual.
People are lining the streets of Brentwood, cheering and waving, we are both just TIRED. Have to stop and take a quick breather just blocks from the finish. So Dang HOT.
As we climb into Westwood, the streets are teeming with spandex clad riders. They are at Jamba juice, Starbucks, Baja Fresh, Barnes and Noble... Anywhere but on the road. And there is only one block to go! Tempting fate I guess. We make it with 45 minutes to spare.It's a thrill to make the finish line. REAL cheers. We have a glorious sense of accomplishment and triumph. T's bike super-tech, Ted asks him to autograph a poster, which seems ironic, T tempted to give Ted kiss full on the lips for all he did, but thinks better of it, settles for nice many handshake. T gets a nice picture taken by a newspaper at the finish line. It's the one of him grinning that appears here:

Now it's a whirlwind of picking up our completion T shirt, drinking bottle after bottle of Vitamin water, failing to find a place to piddle, then grabbing our bikes for the closing ceremony.
LOOOOOOONG wait for the ceremony to begin. Uncharacteristically we are in the first phalanx of riders. D barely able to stand, and bladder protesting vehemently the Vitamin water.
The final moments are something to remember, wave after wave of rider come in to the pens, hoist their bikes over their heads (T and D just grin and wave) It's a long ceremony, Mayor Villaraigosa gives a speech, D has to hop fence and sprint to port-a-loo, as the Champagne that has been generously given her is the last straw. D hops back in time. Big whoop from the crowd!.... Then it's all over.
T's Mim, and niece, E somehow manage to rescue us from the madding crowd. Mad rush to find gear, find car, pack gear.... then home on the 405s to Laguna Beach.
Months of planning, terror of not being able to raise the money, not being capable of riding, less than pristine equipment, fear that D and T will fight all week and dump each other at end.... It was indeed a terror, but also a great joy, and a bonding experience and a whole lot of adventure. Maybe next year... We'll do it again!


VS said...

Holy shit, girlfrien'! I just read your entire odyssey in one sitting - pretty friggin' amazing! So admirable and impressive and generous and brave and ever so slightly barmy. But by the sounds of it exhilirating too. I was a touch jealous - though I would probably check into a hotel with mild paplitations shortly after breakfast of the first day. Congratz to you both!!

demondoll said...

Congratulations on a Ride well done! You are both champions on and off the saddle. Hurray!