Day Two: Sunday, May 29th, 2016
It's early morning at Half Moon Bay and everyone is up slowly packing up gear for a long day of 100 miles. Since Saturday (day one) was about getting acquainted with the rig we only completed half the miles we originally planned, which meant Tuesday (day two) would be an intense ride day of making up the miles.
I thought I would share what it's like for a disabled person to go camping. I really love camping, I love nature but it doesn't love me. For one it's been very cold, at least to me. During the day it's been about high 60s, low 70s with wind and at night it's been low 50s which isn't actually cold. But 80 degree weather is sometimes cold to me and 50s might as well be low 20s and below. I'm perpetually cold due to lack of muscle. It seems obvious but before I began losing muscle I didn't realize muscle is our bodies' insulation. It goes to prove that only with loss that we truly appreciate all the amazing inner workings of our body and that absolutely every part of it has a purpose and links to another parts' purpose.
I was told by my doctor another reason I'm always cold besides muscle depletion is I don't have what is known as the 'shiver factor'. When a regular person is cold they shiver which warms up their body. I don't shiver. I did this illustration a few years ago to depict how cold my body and feet feel. I feel like I'm locked in an ice cube and it's the worst feeling. It's why I'm so in love with the desert. So the slight cold we have been experiencing on this ride is immensely cold and difficult for me and last night in the tent at Half Moon Bay was simply awful to someone like myself.
The second aspect of camping that I thought I'd share is the logistics and how camping isn't for the disabled. Not saying disabled can't camp because clearly I'm doing it, it's just that the logistics of my husband lowering me into the tent and moving me around is extremely difficult. Everything for a disabled person is ten times harder than a "normal" person. Everything. From the extreme minutia we never think about or have to think about to the big things.
Facilities aren't always built for disabled either. In fact just bet that the world isn't built for disabled. I wasn't able to shower because there wasn't a stall big enough or one with a bench but also because it was so cold. Sleeping on the ground is also very painful and then add the mix of a body that's always in perpetual pain. Our friend even lent us an air mattress and we quickly found that even that didn't help because it deflates during the night. And since Jason, my husband, has to turn and move me every few hours during the night, which by the way moving me is essentially like moving dead weight, doing so in tiny tent with a leaking mattress with no leverage is a feat in itself.
I thought I would share these perspectives, I think it's something people are curious about and/or not even aware of.
The team took their time getting it together this morning, making coffee, pit fires, packing and re-telling jokes and stories from day prior. It was a misty chilly morning and we team took off around 9am for the road with 100 miles on our mind.
I thought for some of these blog posts I'd ask the rider's perspective, particularly the ones new to tour and this San Francisco to LA route. I personally get satisfaction from seeing people try new to challenges and the satisfaction they receive when they complete something they didn't know they could. That has been one of the more rewarding experiences of Bike for Kam; how it's changed them and becomes a forever memory of a challenge they overcame.
I asked Mel for this day. Mel was brought into Bike for Kam by her boyfriend Ben, a veteran Bike for Kam rider who has completed all 4 rides and is doing this last ride. Mel is active but she's not an extreme cyclist or athlete. An additional thing is she has been away doing her masters program on the east coast and really hasn't biked since last year. In fact she just arrived in California, her home state, in time for this ride. I knew she was a little nervous about riding 500 miles and unsure how much she could complete but she's been doing it all and well at that (and I say this as someone who is writing day 2 post on day 5). Despite her concerns and perceived lack of experience she said she did it for me and I couldn't be more prouder. So here's a little recount of her experience with day 2 and 100 miles. I interviewed her in our SAG van.
Mel: "It's exhausting the energy just drains through you throughout the day. You're just cycling to get to the next destination and you don't really get to enjoy the scenery because all you're trying to do is make time. When we did stop the others would comment on how beautiful the scenery was, but all I could do is look at the ground, thinking about completing the next milestone.
The team dynamics is great. I was at the end of the line thinking I had nothing left and many times Andy was caboose. Andy was very helpful and could see I was drained of energy so he'd give food and words of affirmation which helped me through.
Because of the sheer amount of miles we had to complete we didn't do the rig today. It was very windy and 100 miles was hard enough to complete. So Jason and Kam spent the day as our personal SAG (support and gear) van and would drive back and forth along the coast for nearly 14 hours giving us water breaks, bringing us fresh produce they had found along the coast from farm stands and offering encouragement. Seeing the SAG van ahead was like an oasis in desert...not only for the food food but also needed emotional refuel to keep pressing forward.
The head winds were major today and added even more difficulty. Because of those winds it was important to be drafting behind someone to lessen the wind intensity. I did my very best to keep up and make sure I wasn't too far from the group but at time it's was hard but I completed the 100 miles even though I didn't think I could.
It was just before 9pm, I was cold, tired and physically exhausted but the team knew camp was just on the horizon. I could almost taste the finish line except there was one last major climb just to get into Monterey camp...a kind of hill that is known as the ultimate spirit breaker...but we all completed this rough day together and the satisfaction was worth it. "
I think that says it all. Super proud of everyone. We needed it with a late night BBQ and raccoons that kept stalking Sara.