Anyway, 4:30 rolled around and I got up, put on my DAY 1 OUTFIT and said a silent prayer that I survive the week. I want to interject here that all 7 of my outfits were specifically planned, organized, and packed into 2 gallon zip locks in my gear bag. No can ever say I was not prepared. I also want to point out that DAY 1 jersey was a gift from my co-workers at the Juice and it was, as you can see, a custom job with my name on it, and what you can't see: completely glittered out. It was glorious.
Opening ceremonies was short and sweet, but not so short that we could forget what the purpose of the event was. A riderless bike is walked through the ceremony as a symbol of all those that are lost to AIDS, and I cannot think of better motivation to ride the next 7 days than that imagery.
I will admit, however, that as motivated as I was, walking outside and seeing the foggy cold and realizing for the next week that bike OWNS you was one of the most intimidating things I have ever faced down. The only thing I could think was that everyone around me was in the same boat. If they can do it so can I...right?
And I did. All 79 miles (and some pretty big, surprise mountains). Day one included the glory of my first rest stop snack binge, my first lunch eaten alone (like a 7th grader with head gear...I told you, I don't make friends well) and the first day of realizing that this challenge was going to be so much more mental than physical it actually scared me. The scenery was very beautiful, and we were next to the ocean most of the time, which I much prefer to...not the ocean (more on that to come). The fog and moisture killed me. Despite all of these things, I rode every mile and actually made pretty good time back to camp with all kinds of cheering, friendly faces.
Now, there are very few things as satisfying as finishing a ride like that so it's great to get home and...have to lug you crap for a mile and put up a tent alone...and then shower in a truck. Let's just say these things took a little adjusting to. But I figured out the tent and the showers and finished my first day. I asked myself countless times on day 1 when the fun part starts. Little did I know.
Entering Opening Ceremonies
At least it was sunshiny and pretty that day...right.
I also, because I am the most thorough person ever, give everyone a little additional coverage.
Michael Owen of the LA Times was also a rider and wrote a piece to recap each day. I am including this because he is, undoubtably, more articulate than I am.
Also, I am including the link to the official ACL pictures in case you are interested in seeing more images than the three I stingily provided: