Day 5 was red dress day which was crazy awesome! I was on little sleep but the fun of red dress day carried me for many hours. Everyone dresses in red but dress in red day quickly turned into red dress day so there are many amazing outfits. I wore my awesome red corset and a devil outfit.
The route was short today (42 miles) so the riders get there early and we were very busy!!! Our captains were off site so I had to step up as interim captain when one of our roadies got heat stroke and allllllll the riders were in need of info. I think I did well and it really confirmed how much I love working for this kind of community as how much I hope to get a worker position at Fest.
It was a very fun day and I got lots of compliments on not only my outfit but also my hard work. It felt great!
Today, off to Ventura!!!
From the husband of one of my co-roadies on the ride, who, by the way, told me the most inspiring story of actively addressing and dismantling his taught homophobia so much that he for ALC every year!!!:
And then there is Cora. Cora is a beautiful young woman, eye-catching in tattoos and a presence that simply attracts one’s attention. She is also brilliant, a PhD professor at Berkeley City College. Ten years ago she helped at the closing ceremonies of ALC 2 in Los Angeles and was so inspired by what she saw that she vowed to do the ride. She did, cycling in ALC 3 in 2004. Life happened, and she became a full-time student, unable to afford the time and money to do the ride. But last year she decided it was time to do it again. She began training in earnest (she has a burning intensity about her that makes me think that her training was probably ferocious), but suffered a rotator cuff injury that took her off the bike. She struggled for months with the dilemma of needing to train fully, but unable to get back up to the distance that she needed. She was finally told by the doctors that she simply could not do the ride. Devastated, she did what many injured riders have done and became a roadie. Cora brings a dimension to the information services tent that is invaluable. Her intensity, intelligence, and good nature are a tremendous asset to her co-workers and to the cyclists who stumble into the tent, bewildered, brain-dead, and in need of something. She is a gift. She says she was drawn to ALC because of the tremendous community spirit and what all these people together accomplish for such a critical purpose. She has a heart for the LGBTQ community, and is acutely aware of the losses suffered at the hands of HIV/AIDS. She wanted to ride. At the roadies’ meeting on orientation day she broke into tears as she shared her story with her team. Cora rocks. She’s a key element of the ride. She raised her money, she paid her dues, she got the short end of the stick, and chose to take what she has and add it to the mix. She is a vital part of the community of ALC that attracted her to the ride. She is resplendent today in a dazzling red corset and tutu, black fish-nets, and little red devil horns and red tail. Red dress day was not wasted on this woman.
Day 4 we went to Santa Maria. It was beautiful out but windy! We saw lots and lots of tents flying across the field! The camp was nice and I got a run in. There were swings, so I got to swing and there were kitties!! We spent hours playing with the kitties! I got to chat with a rider from LA who lives in the exact building Where I am staying in LA! We are going to hook up for pride! Fun was had, but I worked the late shift so I am tired today, but today is RED DRESS day so the energy is high and we're off to Lompoc!
Day three was excellent again! We had a relatively easy day as roadies which was a nice relief. We drove to camp in Paso Robles and were all set up by 11AM. I decided to princess (aka stay at a hotel) so I went over to my hotel, swam for a bit and did my laundry. They even upgraded me because I was waiting!
I went back to camp and did my work shifts. Some highlights-- finding a pizza place for some riders and them saying 'thank you so much!!! You just made our day'... Also, we had a sag rider working with us and he was HILARIOUS. He was like the gay male version of me so that was fun. I also bought ALC undies and a TENT for only TEN DOLLARS!!!
Then I stopped working and went to get wine and food. And look what I found!!! Got 9 hours of sleep and am ready for Day 4!!
Day two was another success though a bit more stressful! The riders did 109 miles so they were pretty tired when they got in. The busses with roadies made a stop which allowed me to get some vanilla creamer for coffee and some candy. We moved on to King City which was HOT!!! When we got to camp I was tired and grumpy, but these things made me very happy: swinging on the swings with Nicole (I'm a bunny and I'm swinging!!!); my very own tent courtesy of one of my team mates; early sleep. Now we're on our way to Paso Robles where I will be princessing (aka- staying at a hotel). Laundry and a dip in the pool will be a great help!
Today was the first day of AIDS/lifecycle! There was opening ceremonies which was really inspiring. Then the riders rode off! That was a bit bitter-sweet because I wish I were a rider. But later I saw a training ride leader who I know from training and who has had two shoulder surgeries. He said I am doing the right thing because if I continue to ride I will also need surgery.
So, roadies took buses to Santa Cruz. We made lunches for roadies and then set up our booth (info services). I found my tent mate and set up our tent. And then we worked and had fun all day. Some highlights: the crew is trying to come up with a good nickname for me which might sound silly, but I have never had a nickname so that feels good. I scoped for butches which was really fun. I learned a new card game, which involved talking like a pirate! And one of our crew members is an ASL interpreter who just got a certificate from BCC and she and I got to talk all about the program! My 50$ sleeping bag was crazy warm!! And my air mattress stayed firm all night! I slept I credibly well.
Super fun day! Now for day two- King City! The riders are doing 108 miles today!
People are still talking about what an amazing evening Friday was. About you specifically:
"Oh! She was fantastic!" "The one about choosing both really got to me. She got
me and she got to me, if that makes sense. I feel like we're always being told
to choose one or the other, but says who?!" "The end totally made me cry, it was
Thanks again for being a part of Word Up! Come back soon :)
That is some serious happy... :) Thanks Santa Cruz for being so kind and welcoming! I really needed that!
Project Bring the Happy!!!
This is the simple beauty that brings the happy!