The AIDS LifeCycle Experience: Day 2

This post is adapted from a series of emails I sent to the people who donated to support my participation in AIDS/LifeCycle 2014. If you’d like to support my 2015 ride (and the thousands of people living with HIV that depend on the Los Angeles LGBT Center for health care), click here. And many thanks in advance if you do.

Day 2: Santa Cruz to King City

108.3 miles today. Well, almost. I should confess that I’m short a couple of miles because of a minor medical scare between the fried artichokes in Moss Landing and rest stop #2 outside Salinas. Oh, of all the days for our team to dress up as super heroes!

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After noticing a somewhat painful sensation radiating downward from my belly button, I stopped on the side of the road and hitched a ride to the next rest stop with one of the amazing ALC sweep teams because I was worried I had injured myself. (Sweep teams follow us along the route and pick up any riders who need medical or mechanical assistance.) Had I strained an abdominal muscle? Was it a hernia? Well, it turns out it was just a bit too much… gas. Captain America does not let gas stop him from saving the world! And I decided it wouldn’t stop me, either. Though I did have a minor heart attack when I realized I had left my phone in the sweep vehicle.

But one of the many astounding (and this shows just how jaded a city boy I am) things about this Love Bubble is that lost items always turn up eventually. In my case, the roadies of Sweep Team Bear tracked me down at lunch and gave me my phone and a hug. We do a lot of hugging on the ride. Everyone knows how exhausting this journey is, no matter what role you happen to play. Hugs help more than you expect them to, especially the ones from from people you just met.

They're VERY friendly at the Otter Pop Water Stop.

They’re VERY friendly at the Otter Pop Water Stop.

So onward we rode, with (mostly) tailwinds helping us to push southwards and deep into the central valley. We sailed past strawberry farms and vast grape orchards. But the unintended side-effect of dressing up was that we kept getting asked for pictures at every rest stop. Now this may sound like a very “first world” problem to have, but it did delay us a little throughout the day. We barely made it out of rest stop 4’s My Little Brony extravaganza before it closed! We coasted into camp just past 6 p.m. after experiencing the full-body earthquake that is the King City bike path. Seriously, you need a chiropractic adjustment after enduring it, and we have to ride it AGAIN tomorrow morning out of town.
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Ride the brony. Ride the brony.

There’s more I could say about this long, tiring day. But the fact of the matter is that it’s 10:43 p.m. and I should really be in bed right now. My butt is numb. My abdominal muscles are not, in fact, compromised. And I made it back to camp in once piece. So on that note, I’ll share a few shots from our Super Friends sojourn and bid you farewell until we meet once again in Paso Robles.

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