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Day 0: Orientation day

Today is a full day of activities at the Cow Palace in preparation for tomorrow's 6:30 a.m. ride-out.

Put bike in Bike Parking, watch safety video, check in and get orientation packet, buy this year's event jersey (no free $5k jersey for me, alas, unless $600 magically shows up in the next two hours), put rider number on bicycle. (No line for tent assignment because I already took care of that online, even though I'm not really staying in a tent.) In past years, this has taken several hours -- most of it spent waiting in long lines -- but we're told that this year should have fewer and shorter lines.

Don't forget to add plenty of time for socializing, etc.

Tip for first-year riders: Bring a water bottle, sunscreen, something to snack on, and possibly a jacket or sweater. Lines often run outside the buildings, there's no water readily available, it might be windy, and the on-site food vendor will charge you a small fortune. And don't forget to bring an extra $60 (cash or plastic) to buy the event jersey, which is different from the $5k jersey and which none of us will see until today.

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