Saturday, June 6, 2009
Day 0 - the Ride for Impact - San Francisco, CA
Today, 28 cyclists from across the country and parts of the globe arrived in San Francisco, CA to be a part of the Cross Country Challenge by America by Bicycle. My dream for the last six years is unfolding right before my eyes!
Our group is a varied bunch ranging in age from 29 to mid-70s. They are from all over the U.S. as well as from London, UK (my roommate), Switzerland, and Ethiopia! After flying from Seattle to San Francisco (which I do believe will be the easiest miles of this adventure!), I arrived at the hotel with boxed bike and luggage. First stop was my room to unload and then the third floor function room to check-in and have the team mechanic unbox and rebuild my bike. In addition to the myriad of paperwork to sign and read, I received an ABB jersey, hat, and button with my name on it to wear or affix to my bike bag. That way each of the other riders can say "Hi" when they're passing me on a hill! (Or maybe I'll be saying hi to them...)
From 3 to 6 pm, we had our orientation and meet-and-greet. We discussed all the rules of the road and the ins and outs of cycling with America by Bicycle. They are a well-organized group with five staff members who will be either cycling with us or driving the two support vans. We discussed our 73-mile route for Day 1, which will include riding to the Pacific Ocean for a wheel dipping ceremony (tradition among coast-to-coast cyclists), riding over the Golden Gate Bridge, touring through Sausalito, riding around the north end of the Bay, and arriving in Vallejo, CA on Sunday night.
Following the orientation, we headed to the next-door Sizzler where all 28 of us filled a long center table and filled up on steak or chicken. The highlight of the evening was swapping stories with our new friends and learning about each other, where we were from, and what we were looking forward to the most.
Our day begins awfully early tomorrow. Breakfast is at 5 and we hit the road around 6:15. For a 73-mile day, that seems far too early, but once we hit the sandy beach at the ocean, I suspect there might be some lingering in the sun.
More tales to tell tomorrow. But for now, I'm still in awe that I'm about to begin this amazing journey! Thank you again for your prayers, support, and well-wishes! See you in Vallejo tomorrow!