Click to view my Strava route for today: San Francisco to Santa Cruz.
Today is the day!
Oh gods, 3:30 alaready? Thankfully I had frozen (gluten-free) waffles ready. Scrambled eggs didn’t take long to prepare to round it out. At the same time, the hour before we called our Uber passed far too quickly!
My partner was wonderful enough to get up with me and come cheer my team on as we embarked. He and I arrived at Cow Palace at 5, having shared the Uber with a rider from a team called “Unpopular.” There were already so many people! Coffee and people watching occupied our time, as well as me slowly limbering up. Once the whole team was there, we headed in to watch the Opening Ceremonies.
I was calm listening to our speakers… up until the riderless bicycle (for those we have lost) approached the stage. After that, the tears were on. The energy of the room was potent, settling a gravity over each of our shoulders. We raised $16.3 million dollars for this cause overall. WOW.

Sent off by my fantastic, supportive partner. Thank you, Patrick! <3
Following last hugs and kisses from our loved ones, we slowly rolled out around 7. Getting out of the city took forever. I’m sure many Muni patrons especially were annoyed…
I haven’t mentioned our cheerleaders yet. SO MANY people turned out in support! Astoundingly, it wasn’t just at Cow Palace or along the initial route. It was almost continual for the first six miles, but there were people waiting for us ALL DAY to cheer us on along the way! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence gave us strawberries along Devil’s Slide. Team Wino had a party pull over with a DJ I was loving as I rode past. There was the woman just outside Santa Cruz, who lost her son to AIDS in 1996 and has been a staunch supporter of the ride. There was something incredibly moving about the whole experience. What we are doing is, and has made, a difference.
The ride itself was beautiful, and went splendidly. We rode 81.2 miles, and I pulled into Santa Cruz at 4:30. The scenery was stunning, with fantastic riders to acquaint myself with. I took quick trips through the rest stops, and joy of joys- a gluten-free sandwich was available at our breathtaking lunch spot!

ALC lunch day one: San Gregorio State Beach.
I rolled out from the beach just before 1. I was there pprobably a scant half hour. I kept pace from there to rest stop 3 with a rider from LA named Doug. This was his 5th year as a rider, though he’s also intermittently done two years as a roadie.

ALC day 1: halfway between lunch and rest stop 3 with my new friend Doug!
I bypassed the last rest stop of the day when I realised it was only another eight miles to camp. Despite promises of a fantastic show, I REALLY needed to get in and get some rest!
I met tons of people today, and saw many more I’ve encountered with training for this journey. It’s hard to process, but beautiful nonetheless.
My evening summary: Grabbed the gear and tent, got it set up. (No tentmate tonight- she’s spending it with family!) Freshened up and got my massage for the week. Just before the third rest stop, my right inner thigh (adductor) wasn’t happy, and the massage was just what I needed! I stuffed myself with a delicious dinner, then She Spoke met for a team photo. After my time journeling, it’s now 8:50. Say what? If all goes well, I’ll be asleep by 9… My goal is to be up at 4:30 as I’m hoping to leave early to avoid the Monday morning commute. One day down, 6 to go!