Day 1 of ALC 2015 is in the books. Eighty two miles from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. Much of it on Highway 1 along the Pacific coastline. Simply spectacular. What is even more amazing is the outpouring of love and support along the way. Little kids stand on the side of the road and clap and cheer. Random people show up in costume with disco music blaring through speakers to provide encouragement as we struggle up a hill. There’s coffee, fresh strawberries, candy and all sort of surprises as we ride by. Talk about random acts of kindness. A total stranger in a van who had nothing to do with our ride was stopping to help people fix their flat tires today.
The best part was time to disconnect from my day to day life and soak it all in. To feel the sun and the ocean breeze. To focus on nothing more than the hill In front of me. To not think — just be and do.
The most special part of the day came near the end. Just a few miles from camp. A woman stood on a street corner holding a sign with a picture of her brother and the dates of his life. He died in 1990 of AIDS and she has come out to greet the riders every year for the last 22 years. She’s there all day, waving at the first rider and staying until the very last. She doesn’t want her brother to ever be forgotten. Words can’t describe what it means to see her after riding nearly 82 miles on a bike. It is humbling and puts it all in perspective. All any of us want is to be loved and remembered.