I remember the moment, standing over my duffle bag full of camping gear at 4am, half-awake and trying to choose between a pillow and long underwear. The pillow won. Over the next several days we woke up from camp @ 530am to a car alarm someone was setting off on purpose (and i thought i got away from the city) to sucker us out of our sleeping bags and tents and inside for coffee and breakfast before heading out for our long daily adventures up in and around Auburn, California… my decision would come back to haunt me… zooming down steep hills at 7am in nothing but a cycling jersey and t-shirt clocking 40 miles an hour max was a fine recipe for bronchitis — and yes, it was so worth it. We had a blast, me and my team ladybugs compadres and i definitely contributed at least 250 miles (i confess i didn’t do them all this year).
The weather was outstanding, the crew was incredible, the food was excellent, the cyclists were friendly, and the Gold Country Fairgrounds was a very nice homebase. Nobody got injured (i heard one person maybe fainted) and everyone worked together to make it a safe and sweet trip. I particularly loved listening to tent zippers and trains chugging along, rattling through the night. I hope to stay on the every other year plan but who knows. I seem to have less and less time anymore to do anything. For now my plan is to get back and finish Book #3 of my trilogy — the Daughter of Darkness series — so you probably won’t hear from me for a while about running or cycling events.
Oh! I forgot to mention i could not wear my prescription eyeglasses so i got a little bit lost every single day of the ride. We were trying to follow arrows taped to the ground to know where to turn and thankfully we had maps and crew looking out for us, so i never went more than a mile or two off track. Also, in Auburn i greeted a unicyclist with a coffee who was riding a steep grade like a pro, and one gorgeous solitary deer the last day on the American River Trail heading home. There were plenty of horses and cattle and goats and bees in boxes, and the occasional snake which had unfortunately been run over. We also got crop dusted the first day at one of our rest stops. The planes seemed to be dusting us more than the fields! Don’t know what that was about – we don’t look like crops? – but it felt like a mean country bumpkin trick and we got out of there as soon as we could!
The final day we rode into William Land Park [via the Sacramento Riverside road and Marina and Old SacTown and a desperate turn through Loaves & Fishes and the Railyards] to a staging area for lunch, and I was the VERY LAST one to arrive because i got lost again that day, somewhere near Loaves & Fishes. I got on course and pedaled hard and made it just in the nick of time, as we had to line up and ride with a motorcycle escort to be at the Amphitheatre by noon for the celebration. A cyclist with a puppy dog in his basket fell over and some asshole almost ran him over. Everyone got scared and angry for a second. Then he was back on his bike, puppy intact, and everything was golden again because the group that was there to celebrate our homecoming was spectacular and loud! And the mayor of West Sac was there to give a nice speech as we stood up with our bikes on the stage and hero medals around our necks. I shed some tears myself, which immediately crystallized into salt on my cheeks. I was rather dehydrated.
Anyways, thanks to all our friends and supporters, and to the organizers of the event! This year we have thus far raised close to a quarter million dollars! Love from me to you.
KatYa ‘just another ladybug on wheels’