Tuesday, June 06, 2023

ALC Day 3: King City to Paso Robles and a bit of rain

Day 3 is known to be a tough day. While it is a relatively short 66 miles, Jolon road has a big climb nicknamed the quadbuster.  I walked up the last bit of that climb in 2019, but rode it well this year.  And Peter, with the youthful spirit, got to the top, rode back down and did it again. 2019 was blazing hot, reaching 105 degrees on the last bit of the ride. I had to sag the last 15 miles that year, as I was getting dehydrated no matter how much I drank: I was sweating faster than my body could absorb the water. Little did I know that 2023 would have a different set of challenges than sun and temperature.

It was Taco Tuesday. Say no more.

Rest stop 1, at the base of the quadbuster, was fun.  I had new cleats that I brought with me, as I knew that the ride destroys Shimano road cleats in a week, I stopped there, got new cleats put on by Nikki, from Australia but now living in LA, who had done the ride a few times with her husband but was a roadie bike tech this year. Here is a pic of me with the movie stars.

Mikes Bikes happened to take my picture at the top of the ride.  Kyle, from the 2019 ride, sent a screenshot of the picture to us. I look great on the right.

They had said that there was a chance of rain.  About 5 miles on the downhill side of the quadbuster, the skies opened up.  I got wet, wetter, and wetter still. There is a TMBG song called Older that has a line "you're older than you were before and now you're even older, and now you're even older, and now you're older still."  I was singing this with the word "wetter" in place of "older." Water was sloshing in my bike shoes at the bottom of each stroke, and every rider was getting wet and cold.  We knew we just had to make it to rest stop 2 and shelter.  People were huddled under sunshade tents. The medical tent was wrapping people with space blankets to keep them warm. After a bit under the tents, I was still cold and I saw people up the hill in the church and another warm building.

The rest stop was at St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Jolon, and it has been an ALC rest stop for years as you can see from their Facebook page. A women who was probably the senior warden opened up the church and the guild room to riders so that we could escape the elements and get warm. This was the first major adversity of the ride, and it was amazing to see strangers consoling each other as we warmed up. I did talk to her as I was leaving to thank her as a fellow Episcopalian and that we used to be in the same Diocese until we moved up to Berkeley. Over 400 people bailed on the ride at that point and sagged the rest of the way back. I am still grateful to the people of this church today.

The ride did get better from there. The rains subsided a bit, and it finally got warmer. The rain stopped by rest stop 3 and I dried out. And I finished the ride strong again.

I didn't take any more pictures that day.  Bradley was great with their fundraising barbecue; I savored the double cheeseburger. We stayed at a hotel in Paso Robles that was wonderful and allowed a long warm shower. The term for ALC people who stay in a hotel rather than camp in tents is "to princess." We did that for three nights.


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