If you missed the post on the race itself, you can check it out here. The expo lined the streets of the starting corral area, so I explored a little before and after the race.
I wanted to spend as little time as possible lugging a bike around, so I waited ’til the ride got closer to rent one. This was not the brightest idea anyone’s ever had, because I ended up running around like a chicken with my head cut off before the start of the ride. I gave myself almost an hour to rent a bike, which I figured would be plenty of time considering all the rental places were right there in the expo. I also called a bike rental shop a week or two beforehand; they said there would be plenty, so I figured I was fine.
In the end, I was fine. I don’t know why it took me forever to find a rental. First I was asking around about which booth had rentals. Of course it turned out four of them did, so I kept getting sent in different directions, and every time I found a booth, they were all out of bikes! (I don’t know why that was so surprising to me since I was in the last group to start (of five distance options, with the earliest group starting at 6am).)
I finally found the elusive fourth booth that surprisingly many people didn’t know about. All the people at that company were really nice. Shout out to FunSeekers!
While I’m doing shout outs, quick shout out to Pacific Premier Bank for my sweet new piggy bank, also to lovely Mariellen and Burt from Massage Rx. They had a massage booth and were raising money for MS. (Mariellen has MS and went out and rocked the bike ride! (Then she gave massages for the rest of the day, so hats off to her!)
Burt gave me the absolute best massage of my life after the race. I might have to do this ride next year for the massage alone!
One thing that was really cool and fun about this expo was that every single thing was brand new to me – all the jargon, all the fun challenges and events, everything was completely new. Did you know that people spend seven days biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles? (Multiple companies host an option for that.) The first booth to tell me about that ride was the California Coast Classic, and they told me you get finisher medals!
In magazines and forums here and there, I’ve heard that cyclists like to be “real athletes” and make fun of runners for always wanting something just for being a participant – as a cyclist you have to “earn it.” I was pleasantly surprised to hear that plenty of cyclists like getting medals, and plenty of biking events offer them. I guess that means I can be a cyclist!
Another booth that had the San Fran to LA option was the AIDS LifeCycle booth. These were the coolest people ever. When I was talking about my 52 half marathons in 52 weeks, Victor, one of my new friends there, even asked me if I had a blog, without me having to yammer on about it!
Everyone here really had me convinced that I could (and should) ride a bike many miles a day for a whole week, camping in between, riding over 500 miles in the process. Keep in mind, at this point I didn’t know how to ride a bike. (I’d say I still only have a pretty tenuous hold on it.) I also am not sure I would love camping. I mean, I’m awesome at going days without showering (lol), but I’m kind of terrified of animals (and I don’t particularly love the outdoors). Either way, the people working this booth had me convinced!
(Although, I can’t ride it this year even if I wanted to be crazy enough to do that because I already have a half marathon going on during their ride, but all of your reading should sign up!)
Not only did AIDS LifeCycle have the best, most fun, noticeable booth, they had fun events (some even included free food!) throughout the weekend – a barbecue, a film screening, a recovery ride, and more. I mean that’s a lot of planning and love they put into this weekend, right?
I cannot wait to tell you about the barbecue and my incredible hosts for the weekend and all kinds of good stuff tomorrow!