Celebration Ride 2 Day Five (can I get an AMEN?!)
Date: Oct 15, 2011
Route: Long Beach, Calif. to San Diego
Weather: Sunny, pleasant
Overall feeling: Fantastic
Key highlights: First fight
Can not believe DAY FIVE is finally here! Four days ago it seemed like it would never get here! I was eager to get on the saddle. I cleaned the car out (can't stand a mess) had a delicious Gen UCAN breakfast and I was on the saddle! San Diego here I come!
It was already sunny and hot. Thankfully it is a California heat so no humidity! Score! The sunscreen got misplaced thanks to my cleaning the car (second time in two times). I didn't worry. I knew I could find some.
A little over two years ago I was in Long Beach for a sponsorship/work event and I had to get in a long run of 36 miles (training for a 100 miler). So I ran from Long Beach to Huntington Beach and back. It was indeed epic. The kicker was that I had planned to do the run in two stages. However, as I kept running I knew it was going to be extremely difficult to leave my hotel room. So I decided to keep running. The problem? I didn't have enough water/food for a 36 mile run. The solution? Ask and you shall receive. Read the recap on I ran 36 miles with the help of strangers here.
So with that being said (written), I knew sunscreen would be a piece of cake. PCH is right along the coast and that means plenty of beach goers and parking. I kept my eye out for surfers heading to catch some waves. I rode through the small little towns and felt really strong. For Day Five, I was stoked! Finally, I saw a group by a car up ahead and I pulled over and asked if I could have some sunscreen. They said sure and then said keep the the bottle!! How super nice! So I slathered it on me and then stashed the bottle in my jersey pocket. Huntington Beach never fails me :). Took a photo op by the pier, then it was back to business.
The other kicker? And, pardon me for TMI, but I'm all about being real. But my period stared last night. As if I didn't have enough blood issues this week already! So I started having cramps. Of course I never get cramps. Go figure, I would get them on a 600 mile bike ride. So I had that demon to ride out.
I kept cranking. Or as Joshua would say "get some girl." I was really, REALLY focused on getting San Diego. Sometimes it seemed SO CLOSE and other times it seemed so far away. Maybe it was the cramps I was having - the theory that riding to make them go away is indeed a myth - or the 500 miles I already had in (on?) my legs or the heat, I was a little cranky. Yep, chipper Sarah, cranky :).
The good part? Three-fourths of the route today had no hills, so that was a welcome change! The route took us through small towns. We stopped at the Farmer's Market at one of them and got an Avocado and Pomegranate. HMM. I LOVE fresh produce! Back on the saddle and on we went. We were both tired. Cramming 600+ miles into five days was aggressive. And I guess it was wearing on us, because we had our first little fight. Aw. We are more than just two strangers!
I was riding at a pretty good clip when another cyclist pulled up beside me. He said "you're a strong cyclist! I've been trying to catch you for a few hours." That was a nice ego boost. He offered to ride with me and take me through Camp Pendelton and on down to San Diego. He was training for Ironman AZ, so he was also riding long today. Because Joshua couldn't follow us through the military base, we pulled over and Jeff gave him directions as to where to meet us. It would be a few hours, so I grabbed some food, stuck it in my back pocket, refilled my water bottles, ate some Tuna and then we were off. We kept a pretty good clip (18mph-22mph) over the course of the next few hours. Riding through Camp Pendelton was awesome. I'm a huge military supporter. There was a group training for what looked like a hostage situation. And some bootcamp type workouts also taking place. I really wanted to join in :). There were a few climbs going through the base. We passed a few cyclists (both guys for the record) on the climb and Jeff told them what I was doing. They said "whoa, you are riding well!" I said thank you :).
We finally got to the Joshua meeting spot, only I didn't see him. We kept riding. I had my phone with me so I wasn't worried. Jeff got me through the town of Carlsbad, then I said I had better wait for Joshua and with that, my riding angel took off.
I called Joshua and enjoyed a few minutes stretching my legs while he caught up to me. I really longed for a nap. But it was back on the saddle. I still had some miles to cover! The next few hours were kind of a blur. I kept my head down and kept on cranking. Even though it was day five, I felt really strong on the bike. The human body is amazing!!
Then it happened. Our first fight. For spending 24 hours a day for the past six days together, it is amazing that we made it this far! I made some flippant comment about staying on the right side of the white line. Totally my fault. Well, Joshua pulled the car over. And we were stalled for about 20 minutes. At one point Joshua was going to leave right there. To be SO close and yet SO far away. It seemed like getting to San Diego might never happen. Finally, he got back in the car and I got on my bike and away we went. I was riding even faster now.
Soon we were at the La Jolla hill. It's not a easy climb and after the week I've had, I was even less excited about climbing it. I knew we VERY close to San Diego. Just get up this hill I told myself. The views were amazing. I love it here! I wished we would've had time to hike/run around it, but we didn't. I made it up the hill. Cars were honking in support of me. In fact one guy pulled over and got out and yelled "welcome to San Diego"! Awesome!
My bike had been making strange sounds (like a screeching Turkey) and I couldn't describe it to Joshua. Well he finally heard it and he pulled over to figure out what the racket was all about. And then we made up. I gave him a hug and said I was sorry for getting angry. He said don't worry about it, we are both exhausted. Let's finish this :). I love this guy!
And then in the next few miles it happened. We were supposed to go right. But we went straight.
I kept climbing hills and thinking WTF. I thought I was done climbing ages ago! Finally, Joshua pulled up and was like I think we are going away from San Diego. So I just climbed for nothing? GRR. I pulled out the map, figured out where we were and how to get back on track. We threw the bike in the car and then drove back to where we supposed to be. Got back out and was ready to finish this puppy up. Riding into San Diego was surreal. I had no idea if the ride would even happen, much less get to this point. I thought of the past few days and thanked God for getting me this far. The sun was just setting. A perfect ending to a challenging, sweaty week. Rode into town, few cars and people clapped. Hoisted my bike in the air and took a few photos. Joshua and I hugged. And that was it.
Celebration Ride 2 was over. 600+ miles. Five days. Raising money plus awareness for Kids on Bikes. Many, many cities. Beautiful sights along the way. Great, kind people. Pain, blood, sweat and tears. It was hard to comprehend just what we did. In fact as I write this a month later I am still in shock of the accomplishment!
I got in the car and we were on the hunt for FOOD. Our one meal of the day :). Downtown was packed- it was Saturday night afterall. And since I had been in San Diego a few months ago, I suggested we go over to Little Italy. Along the way, we pulled over in a quiet area and I changed into dry clothes. Took a quick Action Wipe shower. That felt great!
Finally we found the Burger Lounge. I had my usual burger with no bun, no cheese and a big salad. I was SO, SO, SO hungry. We talked with the one of the guys at BL. Joshua told him what I just did and he brought us Sweet Potato Fries on the house. Yum.
Joshua and I sat side by side and talked about the last few days. They seemed so long. He put his arm around me and told me "I care about and love you like my sister. I just wanted you to be safe. I am so proud of what you have done. And you are one strong machine." I nearly cried. Like I said days ago, I could not have prayed for a someone like him to help me on this project!
It was nearly 8pm and we had to drive to our host family- Ben and Katie - for the night. So we walked back to the car and made the trek.
Got a wonderful hot shower and then fell into bed. I would get to sleep in and not hop on the saddle first thing :).
Celebration Ride 2 is over. (Sigh)
Full slideshow is here.