Thursday, May 24, 2012

Four Days of Insanity. Part 4: NCAC Day 4 (May 20, 2012)


From May 17 to 20, 2012, I rode 450+ miles in 4 days.  I rode in the NorCal Aids Cycle (NCAC) as well as the Davis Double Century.  The recap of my four day adventure will be done in four parts, one part of each day of craziness.  This is part 4...the last day of my crazy adventure...returning to NCAC and riding to the finish at the Capitol in Sacramento, CA.  


In the wee hours of the morning, I wake up and drag my sore body out of bed.  Since the Davis Double took longer than planned, I opted to not return to the NCAC camp after I had finished as most would be sleeping by the time I got there.

After dragging myself up, Craig drives me and my bike to Woodland.  He drops me off in front of the school.  I wander into the cafeteria and quietly place my bike in the corner. I see some folks are eating breakfast and I wander by trying to find Bronwyn to tell her I am back.  As I walk through, a group of my new NCAC friends spot me.  One says "we were just wondering about you."  Then, a person or two starts clapping and then, more people until the whole room applauds me for doing the double.  I just wanted to quietly return back to camp but so much for making a quiet entrance.  But, it is very touching. And, what a wonderful welcome back!

Tweet:  "got a super warm welcome back from my fellow NCAC'ers!  such great peeps!"

I wander out to the back to look for my duffle bag in order to get my NCAC jersey to wear.  We all are wearing our NCAC jerseys today.  It is quite the sight to see, everyone wearing the same jerseys today.  I remember on the first day, there were various riders wearing their team jerseys and others, like myself, who were not part of a team, wearing their own jerseys.  But, here we are on the last day wearing the same jerseys.  We all match and are no longer different teams or individuals, but one team.

After putting on my jersey,  I rejoin everyone in the cafeteria and grab some breakfast.  We chit chat a bit.  I tell them about some of my adventures in the Davis Double.  They share about some of the happenings while I was away.  Though, the most amusing happening I had missed out on was that in the middle of the night, around 3 a.m., the sprinklers had gone off at camp and everyone was woken up to move their tents.  Some riders told me how they were moments on the ride where they were feeling kind of bad/tired/etc but they thought of me riding 200 miles and that motivated them to keep going.  Funny thing is that while I was out there yesterday feeling bad/tired/etc, I was thinking of how I did not want to disappoint all of them by failing out there.

Then, as it nears 7 a.m., we all get our bikes and get ready to roll out on our final day of our journey!  Again, I am moved seeing all of us together wearing the same jerseys.  It is quite the sight, seeing all of us matching. For many, we all started off as strangers, coming together for a common cause.  But here, on day 4, we are now friends and perhaps even more passionate about why we are here.

Tweet: "getting ready to roll!  day 4 of NCAC!  riding from woodland to the Capitol sporting our NCAC jerseys!"

We roll out and I hang at the very back of the pack.  I am going easy peasy today.  As soon as I begin to pedal, my knees and my bottom ache in pain.  My body tells me, you really are going to make me ride this darn bike again?!  I tell it, it's just 50 miles today and we will go easy.  And, easy, slow and pokey pace is about all I can handle at this time.

I then realize my gloves are missing.  I thought I had them this morning.  They are not in my jersey pocket or my handlebar bag.  Did I leave them at home?  I have a vague memory of putting one on.  Then, I remember setting them down earlier, on the moving truck so I could put on my jersey.  I guess I can ride the day bare handed.  Not ideal as my hands are a little tender from the three prior days of riding.

I hang at the very back of the pack and ride along out onto the country roads.  As I near a turn, I see some crew at the corner cheering us riders along.  I roll up and stop in front of Michael, who snaps a picture of me.  I then tell him how I accidentally left my gloves on the moving truck.  I can ride without them but I would like the gloves to eventually get back to me.  As I have said in the earlier days, the crew here is THE best!  He immediately gets on his phone to see if someone can locate my gloves. 

I continue on the country roads towards Winters.  Oh, all these roads are looking mighty familiar.  I rode on some of these yesterday, during the Davis Double. It is a little weird to be riding on them again so soon after.  At one point, Jim rides by and kindly helps pull me along for a bit.  I greatly appreciate it as it is going to take awhile for my legs to get into their groove, if at all.

After a bit, Jim drifts away from me and I continue pedaling along.  My legs eventually get into a decent groove. I am not riding quite as brisk as I was on Day 1 but my legs can still pedal along at a decent clip.  I eventually roll into Winters.

Tweet: "22 miles into day 4!  in seat is a bit tender.  my knees ached when I started but think I've gotten the gears going again!"  

I roll into the park in downtown Winters.  I snack on some delicious brownies and chit chat with folks.  A few people come up to me and ask me how the double went and how do I feel today?  I tell them I feel a little sore but good.  But, I feel happy. Today is an exciting day for everyone and I think the excitement in the air energizes me.

A couple crew members make sure I get my gloves, which have been found and brought to the first rest stop for me (what did I tell you, the here crew absolutely rocks!!).

After a bit, we get rolling again.  It is mellow day as we will not roll into the Capitol until noon so no hurry this morning.  The next stretch is from Winters to Davis.  I know this stretch very well so it is rather nice to be riding on familiar territory.  And, it is a lovely sunny day out this morning too!

I ride with Mike for a little bit but he disappears ahead of me when he picks up the pace.  I ride with a few gals the rest of the way.  At one point, I am pulling the pace line.  But, not a moment passes before Emily comes riding around me saying I shouldn't have to pull today.  Us gals ride along, chit chatting, and just enjoying a lovely ride on a lovely day.

We pass by a few folks who ask who we are and whether we are a race team, since all are matching.  We tell them we are with NorCal Aids Cycle and finishing at the Capitol today!

We eventually roll into the UC Davis Fire Station for a rest stop.

Tweet: "at uc davis...37 miles in...resting up before we make our final stretch to the finish!  having a fabulous fun time!"  

Here is a small area but a lot of love in the air.  There is lots of hugging and pictures getting taken.  Everyone is smiling and happy.  A ton of positive energy in the air.  Whatever soreness and exhaustion I may have from the days prior is dulled by all the energy and excitement of the people around me.

After a bit, we start rolling out towards Sacramento.  Mike says he'll hang back with me this time.  It is nice that this stranger I met and befriended on the first day is riding with me on the last day.

We ride through Davis.  As we pass through downtown Davis, it is quite the sight of this large pack of cyclists, all wearing the NCAC jerseys.  Fun to watch people we pass by look at us curiosity, with intrigue.  As I reach the Yolo Causeway, I think this is my first time crossing the Yolo Causeway and what a memory it is.  Traffic is not too bad on the Causeway and I am with good company so not so bad.

After getting into West Sacramento, I see various crew members and the crew vehicles all along the way cheering us on as we near downtown Sacramento.  It is kind of surreal that the ride is nearly over with.

We then cross the bridge into downtown Sacramento and roll into the Crocker Park to a nice applause from our fellow crew members and riders.  We all applaud as each person rolls in!  We did it!

Tweet: "just rolled into sac...51.8 miles...regrouping before we all ride together to the Capitol at noon for the closing ceremonies!  come watch!"

Now, we just have to hang out until about noon before we roll into the Capitol for the closing ceremonies.

My fellow WAV riders are riding from Folsom down to the Capitol today to welcome me back.  A couple have sent messages inquiring where I am. I just tell them I will be rolling into the Capitol right at noon.  I am touched that my WAV girls have ridden downtown to witness the end of my four-day journey!  Such a loving, supportive group I am so proud to be the organizer of.  I cannot wait to see them at the Capitol.

We all hang out at the park.  There is tons of pictures being taken.  Everyone seems to be relishing in our accomplishments of the past four days.  I kind of wish I could just be around all this happy, positive energy all the time.  

About 11:45 a.m., all the cyclists gather together for the final stretch together.  The end of this journey together.  I feel a bit emotional and know that I am going to get a little teary eyed.  Jim makes a few comments.  

The motor crew gets ready to roll ahead of the cyclists.  We hear them rev their engines.  This already gets my eyes to start to water a bit.  Then, they roll ahead.  

Two by two, we each roll out together down the street the Capitol.  I roll out of the park with Jake and Stacy, on the tandem.  As we approach the Capitol, I see the balloons and a huge crowd of people there to welcome us!  My eyes are watery but they are happy tears as I am very moved by all of this.  

We reach the Capitol and have to get off our bikes.  We roll our bikes to the Capitol steps.  The crowds are cheering us as we come in.  I try to look for my friends.  Then, I see Lisa right there with her camera, of course.  I walk around and see the UC Davis Band-Uh playing at the steps.  We all gather all along the steps.  I stand beside my new NCAC friends.  

While standing watching the rest of the cyclists roll in, I am amazed at how many there are of us.  I know I have spent a number of days with them but it is quite the site to see the line of cyclists roll in, two by two and gather on the Capitol steps.  

I look out around for my friends but there are so many people.  Then, I see a person in pink flailing her arms for my attention.  I see that it is Kallie.  Next to Kallie, I spot the rest of the WAV gals as well as Craig (who has lovely flowers for me).  It delights me to see them there for me!  I feel lucky to have such wonderful friends in my life and that my friendships continue to grow.  :D

After the cyclists have gathered onto the steps, all the crew members joins us in front of us.  According to NCAC tradition, all the cyclists pull out their water bottles and dump or spray water on all the crew members.  

We then listen to the various speakers talk about the event, about AIDS awareness, about how much money we have raised and for which organizations will benefit from the funds we have raised.  It is amazing that we all raised over $300,000 and to me, it is nice knowing the organizations/providers that benefit from those monies, and that most are local organizations/providers.  


So, that's the story of my four days of insanity.  I rode a total of 459 miles.  Many told me I was crazy to ride that much in four days but I managed to pull it off.  It was crazy and not always easy.  I definitely felt my body get worked after four days.  And, it certainly helped to have a lot of support from my awesome friends.  My friend Tawny said after the Davis Double that it is one part determination, one part grit, and one part being too stupid to realize when you're beat.  I would definitely agree with that statement.  I may sometimes too stupid to realize just how insane the things I attempt to do are.  But, I seem to manage to get through it.  There were times that I felt like crap and I begin to wonder why am I doing this to myself.  But then, I remember what I was doing it all for, I remember the people that generously donated to NCAC for me to do this ride (and those that wanted to see me pull of the craziness of doing a double century in between) and that kept me going.  

The NCAC part of the experience was simply one of the best experiences ever.  The new friends I made during NCAC were all such great and amazing people.  I will say it again, the NCAC crew was seriously the BEST!   The whole NCAC ride was very well organized and supported.  It made for a memorable and wonderful experience.  And, what it is all for is certainly important and that to be surrounded by so many caring, determined people is also something in itself.  When I do my doubles or whatever crazy event, people are determined to accomplish things usually for one own's self fulfillment.  But doing the NCAC, we have some of that, but people determined to accomplish things for a particular cause, an important one that that.  

I certainly would love to do NCAC again.  I think next time, I won't break away to do a double century so I can be part of the whole thing.  And, I hope more of my cycling friends (or other friends) might be inspired to participate next year (or in future years).  It was definitely one of the best bike rides of my lifetime.  



To the organizers of NCAC for organizing such a magnificent event and putting together such a fabulously supported and memorable experience.  I also thank you for being supportive in my crazy endeavor to break away to do the Davis Double.

To the crew of NCAC for being the best dang crew out there!  Having been on poorly supported rides, I appreciate rides where I am well supported and this was the BEST support ever!  Not just in taking care of us cyclists with good food and drinks but just generally taking care of us out there on the road.  The cheering as we rode along or when we arrive into a rest stop always made me feel so special.

To my fellow cyclists of NCAC, I thank you for being part of such a wonderful experience.  It was the utmost pleasure befriending so many of you and getting to ride with you.  I greatly appreciate all the support you all gave me during the ride as well as when I went off to do my crazy 200 miles.  I hope to ride with you all again soon(ish).

To those that donated to NCAC for me - Alice, Amy, Bill, Brandon, Bruce, Charlie, Cheryl, Chris, Daphni, David/Debbie, Diane/Jeff, Eddie, Elijah, Emilie, Eva, Gerry, Janice, Jason, Javier/Kallie, Jeff, Jessie/Sallie, Joan, Joanne, Jonathan, Julie, Kara, Ken, Kim/Dana, Lhia, Linda A., Linda Y., Lisa G., Lisa M., Lisa S., Lora, Lourdes, Manny N., Manny G., Mariah, Marissa, Marley, Michelle, Mike, Paul/Theresa, Perry, Ralph, Rayann, Richard, Ruben, Russ, Sarah, Scott, Shannon, Sheila, Tammy, and Wendy!  Thank you SOOOO much for your generosity!!  I was able to raise above my original goal of $2000 and raise $2615!

Thank you to all the friends who sent encouraging and supportive messages to me during my four days riding out there!  Those messages really help keep me going!

Thank you Tawny for your support and encouraging the crazy idea to do both the NCAC and the Davis Double.  I really thank you for coming to pick me up in Williams and taking me back to Davis.

BIG thank you Craig for your wonderful support throughout the whole thing from taking me to Beals Point on Day 1 to welcoming me back on Day 4 and all the things you did for me in between.  Everything you do for me is greatly appreciated and I feel lucky that you are so supportive and encouraging of my completely insane ideas.  Hopefully next time, you can there with me for the whole thing (minus the double).  ;-)

Thank you to my beloved WAV riders.  The biggest group to donate were from you all.  Such a wonderful loving group of women I am so proud to be the organizer for.  In the past year, I have watched this group blossom into such an amazing group.  I love the love and support you all give to one another and to me.  I thank you for your generosity.  I want to give special thanks to Joanne, Lisa S., Linda, Lisa M., Becky, Kallie, Debbie, and Deanne for riding down to the Capitol to welcome me back!

Extra special thanks goes to my sweet Joanne!  I thank you for being there to see me off at Beals Point on the first day, for sending all those emails to the WAV riders encouraging them to donate to NCAC for me (I think you really racked in some extra donations for me), and for organizing the WAV ride to the Capitol to welcome me back.  You really are just such a fabulous friend to me and I am most thankful for that!  :D

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading your blogs. Not just the NCAC, but the ones about running as well. Your writing technique, not quite stream of consciousness, is really cool. I really like that you met Gordy Ansleigh and got a picture with him. Good luck with all your future endeavours. Mike from NCAC