Yesterday I joined the ALC training training ride to Marshall Wall, the last ride in the CATSeries! One of the reasons I haven’t gone on more group training rides is because they start REALLY EARLY in the morning. I understand that the route opens early during the actual ALC ride, but it’s hard to get up at 4:30 in the morning during regular life hours (people got shit to do).
So, yesterday, I woke up at 4:30am to meet up with the group at 6:15. I drank some coffee and tried to force some food down. This was difficult, I wasn’t hungry. I rode to Sports Basement (about 7 miles) and was annoyed that my food hadn’t settled yet. Blah! I got there a little late, the group stretch had just begun.
After stretching there is usually some kind of motivational, “this is why we ride” speech that always makes me cry. This time, someone who works on the HIV hotline that the foundation supports, talked about a recent call from someone who just tested positive. I cried all the way to the bridge. I think it’s a combination of the way this epidemic has effected our community and the world and emotions about the ride being so close.
This ride began like most rides. Cross the bridge, Marin Bike Path, Camino Alto, Fairfax, Nacasio, Cheese Factory… blah, blah, blah. The most nerve wracking part of this ride was the anticipation of “The Wall”. Apparently there was this hill somewhere that got the nickname because it was so steep.
I began to anticipate “the wall” as I turned onto Marshall Road. We were on this road for quite some time. All there were were small rolling hills. I began to question the existence of this “wall” and began creating an elaborate story about how this was all a big joke on the newbies. The wall didn’t really exist! They just wanted to psyche us out. I kept waiting for this hill and finally I got to it. It wasn’t a joke.
It was a really long climb, and there were definitely some steep parts, but I wouldn’t call it a “wall”. Maybe it was easier because of the disco support vehicles blasting ABBA, The Bee Gees and Gloria Estefan’s “Turn the Beat Around” (which I got stuck in my head for the rest of the ride).
The iPhone pic app has never really done justice to the views I see riding in the Bay Area, but here’s a view from the top of the wall right before it got even more beautiful. (P.S. If I can find a new camera before the ride that mounts on a bike/helmet, I’m going to get it!)
This ride felt great over all. The disco support and our other support vehicle encouraged me along the way. I also ate and drank very well, did yoga at very rest stop (!), and had a lighter more aerodynamic setup.
I didn’t really start feeling the miles until I hit the Marin Bike Path (about 15 miles from home).
This was amazing, the best I’ve felt on a long ride yet. I take it as signs of getting stronger and learning how to take care of myself on the ride. I’m super excited/overwhelmed for the ride. All I have is a few Twin Peaks rides to go! Whoop!