9 June 2002
The Boobs have done their bit for hunger. All three of us are tired, but feeling good
about our accomplishment (of course Haggie
rode about 2 miles farther than Olivia and I did, because she was trying to take care of
us old ladies and did a lot of back tracking to make sure we were all right).
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Olivia came and spent the night last night, after wandering around in the dark in Davis
for an hour, trying to find our house (she kept calling, but the line was busy, because
I'd inadvertently knocked the receiver off the hook! But that was OK, because we weren't
home anyway--we were in Sacramento seeing Phantom of the Opera).
We got up and did some carbo-loading at 6 a.m. and began loading the bikes on the back of
the car, when Haggie arrived. We, of course, had to take an official "before"
picture with all of us in our "boob" t-shirts.
(get your own Boob t-shirt and other stuff at Cafe Press).
It's amazing how much junk you need for a simple bike ride. Helmets, gloves, jackets,
camel backs, sox, power bars, jerseys, cameras, etc., etc. But eventually we got it all
loaded into two cars and we caravaned in to Raley Field in Sacramento.
We joined several hundred other registered riders of all ages, shapes and sizes getting
our free raffle ticket, wristband for lunch, and ride t-shirt. Then we stopped by the food
table and picked up a power bar and some Odwalla sport drink and we were ready for the
start of the ride.
Haggie and I stood there wondering what had happened to Olivia as the ride started and
hundreds of riders passed by us. She had simply disappeared. We looked and looked and
looked, but no Olivia. Finally I happened to spy her brightly colored jersey off in the
distance with the bikers. She wasn't behind us, she was in front of us.
We sped off to try and catch up with her, and the ride was officially on.
There were flag persons and traffic cops to hold back the traffic and point us in the
direction we were to go when we reached turns. All the flag persons shouted encouraging
words at us or cheered when we passed, so we felt very special indeed.
I'm not sure if we lucked out on weather or not. The last two days have been in triple
digits and I just don't know how I could have ridden what turned out to be about 18 miles
in that kind of heat. But instead we had what Olivia has so affectionately called the
"goddamnfucking (gdf) wind." What started as a gentle breeze turned into, in
spots, gusts of up to 40 mph and there were times when I was afraid I was going to tumble
down into the river, as we rode along the River Road.
It wasn't so bad at first and we made some good time and even successfully scaled 3
dreaded overpasses. The first one we encountered was quite long and steeper, I think, than
my own dreaded overpass. As we rounded the corner and saw it looming in the distance, I
groaned and Olivia eloquenltly shouted "Oh fuck!" But we pedaled our little legs
off and with Haggie shouting encouragement and with the expert use of the
"downshift" (which I am in the process of perfecting), it was a great triumph to
crest the overpass and coast down the other side at 22 mph.
Then it was on to the shores of the Sacramento river, definitely out in the country, and
now the breeze was really picking up. It didn't seem too bad because it was more of a
cross wind than either a front-on or tail wind.
Lemme tell you, the very best $30 I ever spent was on
the camel back. I carry 70 oz. of water on my back (ice cold, thanks to ice cubes),
and I was able to remain hydrated the whole way. Thirst, in previous rides, has been
my biggest complaint and that has been all but eliminated.
I was looking for the turn-around spot along about mile 8 of this supposedly 16 mile
course, but we didn't encounter it until about mile 9+. However, we were treated like
sweaty royalty. There was a long line at the port-o-potties, and there were tables laden
with power bars, juice, water, cheese and crackers and bananas. We partook of all of these
perks and lounged around for a bit and then started retracing our tire tracks.
The way back to Raley Field had the gdf wind in our faces all the way. There were times
when I had to shift to the lowest setting just to move forward on the flat. When the
overpass loomed ahead again and I was struggling to maintain a brisk 5 mph in 1st gear, I
knew that there was NO way I was going to be able to make it back over the hill again.
Haggie made it, but just barely. I walked my bike with another exhausted biker and the
wind was blowing so hard that instead of reaching speeds of 22 mph as we coasted down the
other side, by the time I reached the bottom of the hill, i was barely moving, and that
was with pedaling!
But it was clear sailing from here, through city streets, where the houses cut off most of
the wind. We made it back to Raley field, enjoyed a nice lunch, courtesy of all sorts of
vendors, didn't win any prizes in the raffle, and ultimately came back here to put all of
our photos on CDs so we can all have copies of everyone's photos.
I have now participated in a sporting event. I lived to tell the tale. I enjoyed myself.
And I have the t-shirt to prove it.
When's the next event?