Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
On Friday we went to the beach to do a little communing with nature and deep breathing. I needed a lot of those things to stay calm and not to totally freak out from nerves. Also I got my nails done. I discovered my camera was broken, so the rest of the trip was captured by my nifty new camera...picked out by Eric because I was in no state to make decisions (although electronic decisions are never really my thing).
So on Saturday it was time to head to the Cow Palace for orientation. Yes, this whole thing started at a place called the Cow Palace. Ridiculous.
Anyway, I drove (!) Ivy, Tara and myself over to Daly City (!) to be oriented. All prepared with my plastic sleeve of paperwork, I was ready for anything. While there we watched a safety video, turned in forms, bought tee shirts (that was just me???) and got our tent # for the rest of the week. Very exciting!
It was all a little bitter sweet for me to go through all of this without Autumn. I actually cried during the safety video (Autumn LOVES safety!) and had to straight lie to the tent people (oh yes, my tent mate will come pick up her tags soon!) and it was very hard not to have her there. Being that scared and nervous and excited is something only people in that position could really understand and it was really difficult for me not to be experiencing it all with her, the only person in the world who could really understand just what I was thinking. It's hard to readjust your thinking when you have planned something one way for so long, but it was what it was, so I just had to deal with it.
On I went through the day and checked into my hotel for my last night on a real bed. It was glorious. Waking up at 4:30 the next morning: not so much. Time to begin!
Our wonderful and amazing friend Chris made this little sign to make sure everyone that wasn't riding this year would be there with us. Autumn is on there on the bottom corner. Don't worry, I cried. Love you, Chris.
Tara and Caitlin. Cow Palace rock stars.
So, because you all have been such dedicated blog followers, I feel obligated to give you a comprehensive recap of all 7 (really 8) days of this adventure. As noted in the past, Autumn is much better at this kind of thing than me, but I will do my best.
I will say that it really bothers my OCD self that as I post all 7 days they will show up in reverse order, but that is the nature of the blog and posting them backwards makes my head hurt, so I will just have to deal. Enjoy!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
We had such a great time waiting for Caitlin to roll by -- the 1 mile to go corner went literally in front of Caitlin's apartment, so we spent 3 hours cheering for the riders and making sure they knew how fabulous they are. When we finally saw Caitlin, with her ribbons in her hair, I'm not sure what the rest of the group did (I managed to gather 12 friends and a few strangers wandering by to wait on the corner) but I made a complete and utter fool of myself and screamed at the top of my lungs. And when my dear friend got off of her bike to say hello again, I dissolved into tears and hugged her tight. She is amazing. She is a Hero.
ALC9 raised over $10 million. There were just under 2,000 riders, 200 or so Roadies and even more support staff. They rode for 7 days and changed lives.
One of Caitlin's new friends, Jay (whom I met at the Candle Light Vigil in Ventura, CA on Night 6...Caitlin will give more details, but the dark pictures above show the 3,000 people gathered on the beach), stopped at the corner to say hello. After chatting and laughing with him for awhile, I asked him why he decided to ride in AIDS/LifeCycle. He told me that he rode this year because he has been HIV+ for 10 years, so he rode to celebrate living this long. I asked him if he would ride again. He said, "IF I make it to 15 years, I'll ride."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Day 4 wasn't without its pain for Caitlin. Unfortunately, her neck problems she's been having since the first day we got on our bikes flared up and she had to break a little early today. Understandably, Caits is disappointed and mad that she won't ride every single mile, but she had to put her health first so that she can ride the next 3 days. She planned to get some Physical Therapy attention tonight and rest, and will continue to get Therapy treatments twice a day on her neck until the ride is over.
I can't wait to see her on Saturday! Can you even imagine what she's going to have to tell us when she gets back? Here are some more pictures that were taken at Opening Ceremonies and on the route by fellow riders:
Monday, June 7, 2010
I asked her if she was having fun. There was a long pause, a lot of umms and finally, "I feel really good about what I'm doing." So there you have it. No fun, but not terrible. I think that's progress!
She's got 5 more days and lots more miles and lots more peanut butter and lots more nights in a tent. She claims she's a pro at setting it up by herself. I also heard that she has a fan club of this jersey: The day Caits left for San Francisco, you know, to ride her bike back, her co-workers gave her a "legit Juicy biking jersey with glitter and everything." She wore it Day 1 and apparently it was quite the hit with all the fabulous gay men she is now friends with.
Meanwhile, I'm holding down the fort in Brentwood. No surgery date yet.....yeah, frustrating would be the nicest word I could use. But never fear, Dr. Name on the Door has stepped in and is helping this show to get on the road. I think that the whole team at Vargo PT made me take for granted good service, attention to detail and care for their patients......not everyone/not every office operates the same way. Hopefully, July will be the month for back surgery! (an explanation point doesn't really make it better)
I miss my friends. I miss the pain of lots of miles on the bike. I miss....sigh. Can you miss something you've never done? I'm not sure, but I am sure that I would rather be in a tent right now than in my comfy apartment. I miss Caitlin.
But she's doing so awesome! And she is going to have amazing stories to tell.