This will be my fifth year on the AIDS Lifecycle Ride. This year, I am going to focus on helping others on the journey, enjoy the beauty that is California, and show my continued support for my brothers and sisters who are afflicted with this dreaded disease. I'm sure, I will start the ride with all of the fears and concerns but I'm also sure I will feel the joy of riding with old and new friends and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Highway 1, the Salinas Valley, the Central Coast, and the Malibu. I'm also sure, there will be moments that that can only be described as painful.
You can help by contributing to fundraising that supports the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
My ALC Experiences
In 2016, I really had no idea what to expect. Would I be physically and mentally able to complete the ride? Would the long-hours of “seat-time” each day become unmanageable? Would I fit into the Lifecycle community that I had little experience with? Fortunately, my fears were simply “false expectations appearing real.” After the ride I wrote that, “I was welcomed into AIDS Lifecycle community which one of the most impressive loving communities that I have ever had the honor of being exposed to. People were loving, kind, caring and frankly working hard to create what could only be described as the "beloved community" described by MLK.” In 2016, ALC had 2372 riders who collectively raised $16,209,843
In 2017, I thought I knew what to expect but was concerned about the stresses of the ride. Would my body and my bike hold up? Would I be repeating the same experiences or would I see the experience from fresh eyes. Much to my delight the ride was a new experience with lots of reminders of the previous experience. I came home refreshed and ready to go again....in part because of the sheer joy of being part of "Love Bubble" and in part knowing I was working hard to make the world just a little better. Frankly I was amazed how many people I remembered and how many people remembered me. I was also shocked by how much I remembered that just was not so. Hills and rest stops that were in the wrong place in my memory. In 2017, ALC had 2,231 riders who collectively raised $15,319,609.
In 2018, I was convinced all I had to do was keep up training and I would be ready. As luck would have it, fate intervened. First, the Thomas Fire visited tragedy on Ventura and Santa Barbara County on December 4th. Then, on January 1st if found myself in an emergency room with a pinched sciatic nerve. I struggled to recover fully for the 2018 ride. Getting back in form was a long hard journey that included a painful stops along the side of the road working out leg cramps. Fortunately, by ride-out I was physically ready. With the help of a friends (Robin, Denise, Amy, Michael, Estie, and all the people who helped along the way) the ride was the best yet. I rode faster then in previous years and had more time to enjoy the community. In 2018, had 2317 riders who raised $16,635,848.
In 2019, it seemed that everything came together. I was physically strong and mentally prepared. However, the ride-out from the Cow Palace still left me feeling all of the doubts and fears that I had felt in previous years. Those doubts and fears receded in just a few miles. As the first day went by, I found myself helping two new riders change a flat tire and making their first day just a little better. Fixing those flats set my tone of the ride. I was finally able to offer help and encouragement to others and still finish the day.
During each of the rides I've been reminded of a song with the lines,
some people don't care if they live or they die,
some people want to know what it feels like to fly,
they gather their courage and they give it a try.
2019 was the year for me to know what it feels like to fly.
A Little About The Ride
The route is as follows.
Day 1 - San Francisco to Santa Cruz - 82 Miles - along the California Coast
Day 2 - Santa Cruz to King City - 109 Miles - into the Solanas Valley with miles of flat farm roads and great tailwinds
Day 3 - King City to Paso Robles - 63 miles - over the hill thru Fort Hunter Ligget, and Camp Roberts in the heat
Day 4 - Paso Robles to Santa Maria - 91 Miles - over twin sisters back to the coast back to SLO and onto Santa Maria
Day 5 - Santa Maria to Lompoc - 50 Miles - Red dress day, more hills, cows, and past Lomboc Federal prision
Day 6 - Lompoc to Ventura - 88 Miles - Hills in the morning, back to the coast, and finally the road home (my bed)
Day 7 - Ventura to Los Angeles - 62 Miles - Rolling hills along the coast, the city traffic, and a finish line.
My Personal Web Log
December 3 Ride
Rode to Carpinteria and home along the coast. Weather was low 60s with clouds. A long-sleeve T-shirt under the jersey was about right. Good day to ride along the coast with good views of the islands, a bit of wildlife, and light winds.
by Vern Novstrup on Wed, Dec 04, 2019 @ 9:42 AM
After a lot of resistance to blogging, I have finally decided to post notes about each ride.
December 1, 2019 - Today, I took a 26.6 mile training ride from Ventura out to Santa Paula an South Mountain Road. The weather was cold and cloudy (59F) with a significant wind out of the east. Amazing how much difference not having sun makes. 60F with sun is near perfect. 60F with clouds makes it more challenging to stay warm. I would have been much more comfortable with a long-sleeve T shirt under my jersey and long pants but overall it was not all that bad.
I made really good time at 14.4 miles per hour in part because I needed to keep moving to stay warm. Also, this route goes directly up the Santa Clara River valley so there is not much in the way of significant hills.
December 2, 2019 - Today I rode to Ventura to Ojai (Carne Rd). The weather was cool and sunny (62F). A long-sleeve T-Shirt under my jersey was warm enough. Good day for riding hard. A word about the Ojai Valley. Ojai is the sort of place where you can talk to a donkey, admire the plumage of a peacock, and see someone walking a lama all on the same day. Oja always offers something that is new and interesting.
by Vern Novstrup on Sun, Dec 01, 2019 @ 5:54 PM