After eight months of training, the ride is finally here.
I sit writing this after a day that came surprisingly too soon. I spent the last week in self care: an acupuncture session on Tuesday, a massage from the Body Mechanix sports massage therapist Rachel Gronningsater on Wednesday, and a chiropractic session from Dr. Yasaman Seirafi at Body Mechanix on Thursday. For the first time ever, my beloved Sylph has had the rack that typically holds my work gear removed.

Sylph is feeling a little under-dressed.
This morning brought a flurry of emotions with an early rise- our team had planned a breakfast gathering in Daly City before our orientation time. Being able to meet so many of the other members of the team was astounding. SheSpoke is a phenomenal group of women. The range of skills, talents, and passions is inspiring, and each has a deep, heartfelt connection to this ride.
Once at Cow Palace, we gathered for a moment as a team. Some of us live in the Bay Area, some in southern California, and yet others in different states. Women gathered together for the sole purpose of supporting each other when we ride.

These women inspire me. Go, She Spoke!!!
Bike checkin happened so rapidly that I didn’t realize I’d left my water bottle for the day there, leaving me unable to retrieve it until just before heading out for the night.

$5k raised to fight HIV and AIDS. THANK YOU!
It was a dizzying moment confirming that I’d received $5k in donations. I was filled with shock, awe, joy, and most of all… gratitude. A trip to medical to confirm my health issues and how I manage them killed time while waiting to receive our packets and tent assignments. We were released to pickup any incentive gear we’d earned and put our rider numbers on our bikes before leaving to finish pack and take care of ourselves.

Bike/rider 3745. Let’s do this!
(Thanks go to my fantastic tent mate, Seema, who kindly gave me a ride back from orientation!)
Seriously- I’d had my bag almost entirely packed, but after the jerseys picked up from orientation, of course most things needed to be redone. The nerves of doing something so monumental was truly weighty. After repacking and including all the last minute items, dinner and bed came all too quickly. Knowing how early I planned to rise, I was sound asleep by 9 pm.