Saturday, June 10, 2023

ALC Day 7: Ventura to Santa Monica

We made it to day seven.  It was a pretty flat ride down to Santa Monica along the Malibu coast. Even though it'd seem like an environment where you could enjoy the view, it was 29 miles of four lanes of traffic, including trucks (2 lanes each way) with cars and trucks parked along the side. Not incredibly dangerous, but always requiring vigilance. My stories today are somewhat more sparse than other days.

We started in the bike corral that morning.  Each row of bikes was named after a gay star, so I was parked in Neil Patrick Harris.

As we meandered through the lot on our way out, we went past the Brandi Carlile row and two guys in front of me said "I didn't know she was gay." I told them that she was and related the story of her being rejected for baptism as a teenager because of her sexuality. I didn't know this story before the assistant rector at our church, Maggie, told the story in one of her sermons.  Their response was an honest "that really sucks." I'm proud of the fact that my church, the clergy, and the people in it teach and practice acceptance.
One of the larger climbs of the day, maybe 400 feet of easy grade, was as we came in Malibu at the top of the hill. People from the LA LGBT community have been staffing this for years, handing out chocolate (I gave in to a Reese's Peanut Butter cup and a small bag of chocolate M&Ms) and they made this part of the thankless road seem welcoming.

We got to the finish line and finished as a team, with Peter and me at the front, Joe and Evan behind. Hopefully the photographers caught it and I will add it later. Here are the pictures to the entrance to the fair and our team picture as we opened our champagne bottle and share a celebratory toast.

I did get my picture with the retired LA schoolteacher who was in costume all along the route cheering us on. Some of his costumes were a Viagra pill, a condom, a bottle of preps, and more. This is the Viagra hat that he wore as he waited for his husband to ride in.

As I went through the fair at the end, with group photos and celebration (our own little pride celebration), I did pick up the heart and the cloth flower lei. This certainly made me stand out in the terminal at LAX, and I ended up talking to numerous folks taking planes back home. It was a great way to end the ride.



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