Why I Ride: Day 6 of the AIDS/LifeCycle
DAY 6- Lompoc to Ventura
Words and photos by Ryan Elizalde
The trip from (not so lovely) Lompoc to Ventura was filled with sights that I’ve seen several times when traveling by car to visit my parents up north. However, on a bike you get a totally different perspective. But before I could do any sight-seeing, I had to get on the freeway, on my bike, and ride on it for extended periods of time; this is something I hate doing.
Since the beginning of my training I’ve always had a huge fear of riding my bike on the freeway. Cars race by you – sometimes within a few feet – at 70+ miles per hour, and most of the time the drivers aren't paying much attention or giving a thought that someone will be riding a bike along the same road.
At one point there was a nice sized hill we coasted down along Highway 1, cars racing by on my left and steep cliffs to my right. One of ways I kept focused and tried to take my mind off of that
pressure was singing out loud. Of course, the only song that came to mind was Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” so for the next ten minutes or so, there’s me, controlling my decent riding down a hill at roughly 35 to 40 miles per hour, belting out a corny pop song to alleviate my fears of cars smashing into me. This must have been a real sight to see (and hear).
Later, that experience got me thinking of all the dangers people who ride bicycles face every day. It would just take one distracted driver, just changing the station on the radio or answering a phone call, to ruin your whole day or maybe even your life.
I did hear (now this is second and third hand) someone was racing down that same hill this ride, but going much faster hit a bump or a hole, and had to be taken to the hospital for injuries. I have no clue how severe his injuries were, but hope they aren’t life changing and he recovers quickly. During a charity event like this, I don’t see any reason to race down a hill or pedal as if I’m in the Tour de France. I’ve pretty much gone at speeds that have been comfortable to me and when it comes to downhill, I do remember I only have about an inch of rubber between the asphalt and me, so I take my time.
Once the scenery started to become more familiar to training rides I’ve done around Ventura and Santa Barbara, the reality that I was getting very close to home started to set in and my mind wandered about my life and work. I had not really thought of either until the settling feeling of being back to reality entered in my mind. The hundreds of emails I have to sift through, the issues at work that I have to address, and the hours I’ll need to spend behind a desk making sure my department is running as smooth as possible are all weighing on my mind.
I have one more night in a hotel and then 61 miles to the finish line in Westwood (just a few blocks from my office!).