Why I Ride: Day 3 of the AIDS/LifeCycle
DAY 3- King City To Paso Robles
Words and photos by Ryan Elizalde
I was barely able to open my eyes this morning and when I finally got up, boy was I really feeling the pressure and sore muscle pain in my quads. It seems appropriate that I would feel this on the day we were to ride up the famous “Quad Buster," a name given to a particular mountain at the beginning of today’s route that climbs roughly 2,000 feet. During all of my training, this is the ride all of the veterans talked about as being the most difficult.
When I made it to the first rest stop— right before Quad Buster— I felt more tired than I did when I first woke, which wasn’t a good sign. I wasted time at the rest stop, but realized that I would eventually have to take the plunge and try to conquer this hill.
After a few leg stretches I got on my bike and started the climb. Halfway through I felt like I was going at a good pace and it was similar to hills I climbed in the past (Thanks Team Ventura and Casey Keller!). My pace slowed as I reached the steeper grade, but still I churned along until I saw bikes scattered at the top of the mountain and other riders along the side of the road cheering on folks who were still climbing.
Suddenly, I had reached the top. I had just conquered the nefarious Quad Buster. I had to stop, catch my breath, and soak up the moment.
The lunch stop today was in a small town called Bradley. Going up Highway 101 I’ve seen the sign “Bradley Next Right” probably 1000 times, but never ever stopped. Riding into town, their welcome sign says the population is 140 and just beyond that was a school bus that donned a homemade sign reading: “Bradley Welcomes AIDS Ride 2010.”
In the city center, which looked like it was right out of the 1950s, I think the entire population was out to support us. From the homemade hamburgers and buttons, to t-shirts supporting their High School, to the free massage tent, these small town folks were a class act. It was a very welcoming sight and really made me remember that there is a lot of good in people, that not all rural/smaller town folks are “socially” challenged. I really enjoyed the people I spoke with and will stop by the next time I’m traveling north to visit my parents.
Today’s ride (we’re 44% done now!) took us through some really beautiful parts of California. Sprawling ranches, pristine wineries, and some historical landmarks. The next leg will be just shy of 100 miles. I’m looking forward to more California hidden gems, and to getting a good night of sleep.