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Saturday, November 19: Three Sisters and Wetlands Park, 36 miles

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ALC8 Day 1 reflections


You won't be seeing many, if any, more of these long posts until I get back home at the end of the week. No way I'm typing all this stuff on an old cellphone! I'll be sticking to short messages and crappy cellphone pics.

Those who know me well know that I very rarely can say that I'm actually happy. Today, I am happy. I successfully completed Day 1 of ALC8, and my pace was only 0.1 mph slower than last year's pace ... and I can sort-of justify the difference because the tailwinds didn't pick up until late in the day this year, and because I deliberately took my time climbing out of San Francisco.

This makes me happy because I was somewhat uncertain whether I could complete even one day of the ride this year, let alone seven. My recovery from my late-March illness has been very slow, and my late-season training (when I should have been at my best) left much to be desired. So today I actually did exactly what I had been saying I wouldn't do, and after about the first 20 miles, I "rode it like I meant it," not dilly-dallying too long at the rest stops, and getting in to camp nearly 90 minutes earlier than I did last year. (Of course, it's a ride, not a race, etc. etc.) And the good news is that I'm not especially sore or anything like that, and I feel like I can make a good effort at riding most or all of the week.

But I'm also happy because today I felt a sense of community that, while always present on the ride, has often eluded me in the past. I saw many familiar faces, and the camaraderie from the folks I trained with was amazing. And I didn't see anything that put me in a foul mood -- no nasty riding (at least nothing really nasty), and nobody copping attitude with anyone else. In a way, I wish I could be in camp tonight for the evening announcements (starting in about 10 minutes), but choosing to stay at home tonight is definitely the right thing for me this year -- the extra sleep (and the better climate control) tonight and in my hotel rooms the rest of the week should help me stay somewhat healthy.

So I look forward to seeing everyone bright and early tomorrow morning. My ride leaves Mountain View at 5 a.m., which should get me back to camp in plenty of time to make the 6:30 a.m. ride-out. 108 miles tomorrow! Let's hope the wind is at our backs and is nice and strong.

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