Day 3 dawned cool and clear and pretty calm. Day 3 of the ride is “Red Day”. All riders wear red to honor those living with HIV/AIDS. I must say, the riding outfits for red day far surpassed even the Aloha attire. We had Wonder Woman, men in red dresses, a tight little sequined mini skirt, a couple of tutus and even a strawberry. I chose a red tutu and my red jersey that says “Ride Like a Girl” for my outfit. Accessories included a few streamers of red netting off the back of my helmet to keep track of wind direction 🙂 Although the morning scene is rowdy and fun, it is still a day of honor to those living with HIV/AIDS – some of those people amongst our group as riders and crew.
Day 3 is a shorter mileage day (only 80 miles) though we have more climbing. We paraded out of Williams a sea of red, and quickly put the first 10 miles behind us. At that point we were at the start of the 8 mile climb before our descent into Capay Valley. I set a steady pace and meandered up the hill to the wild cheering of our crew team members. Somehow they seemed to know just where to place themselves to distract us with their music, funny song and dance routines, and posters and cheers with words of encouragment, to get us through the tough spots. People thanked me for pulling up the hill, though I am not sure one gains much advantage drafting at 6-8 miles per hour 🙂
Our reward at the top was a beautiful, long mix of descent and rolling hills along Cache creek running down the Capay Valley. It was hard to take it all in when I was racing down the hills, and I could enjoy the scenery more when it became flat or uphill. The rest stop was at a beautiful park with grass and trees. We were greeted by our wonderful crew members who reminded us to “take off your gloves and wash your hands”, before they would help us with snacks. My staple snack seemed to be bananas with peanut butter and orange slices, with an occasional small cup of nuts and M&Ms, and of course water for then and to refill my bottles.
The key to rest stops is stopping long enough for input/output and a short rest. Staying too long tends to make it harder for me to get back in the groove as easily as if I make a shorter stop. Speaking of output. Drinking enough fluids is a challenge. and my goal is to drink enough water so that I have output at every stop – about every 20 miles. Getting dehydrated is a sure fire way to have fatigue set in, and it’s hard to make up the difference chugging water back in camp without feeling waterlogged.
Our destination for this day was Woodland High School. We rode by Cache Creek Resort, and I was pleasantly surprised that we had no obnoxious drivers this year. I even had two guys drive by, slow down and say “nice dress” as they politely drove off. It’s one thing when you are riding with a group of others dressed up and all looking silly. It’s another thing when you are riding along alone in a red tutu. This area can be a bit dicey as people are drinking, the road is narrow and speeds are fast. This year was a pleasant surprise.
We arrived at Woodland High School around 3:30 or 4:00 with time to set up camp and shower before dinner and the evenings entertainment. Families were invited to join us for dinner and the evening show so there were many introductions, and I learned more about other riders’ lives outside biking. The Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus (a portion of the chorus) entertained us with numbers from their upcoming ABBA Extravaganza Show. Entertainment for us, was practice for them for their big performance June 7th and 8th at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. We had 4 members of NCAC in the chorus which made this part of the program even more special.
Early registration for next year was opened up to the cyclist and crew and I committed to do the ride once again next year for the NCAC 10th Anniversary ride. (Do I hear groans from my supporters?) 🙂 Perhaps some of you will join me next year for this wonderful adventure and worthy cause.
One by one, weary, road worn cyclists broke off from the evenings activities to brush teeth and climb into sleeping bags for one last night before our arrival at the State Capitol at noon the next day.