Yesterday was such an incredible day that it made today seem very tedious by comparison. It was my least favorite day of riding. The route was short but hilly. It was also unusually hot, making it hard to get motivated. We left at 7:30am, but since the mileage was short we made a point to relax and take our time. Early on the ride, my shoulder began to pinch and my knees were sore for the first time. The topographical layout on the route sheet was incredibly inaccurate, making for a frustrating day.
The first half of the day was very uneventful. Pit 1 was at park, and we took some time to swing before hitting the road again. Pit 2 was the most spirited pit that day, the Neverland pit, complete with Captain Hook, Smee, Tinkerbell and Peter. And, of course, plenty of fairy dust.
Before the Pit 3, Jackie got a flat tire, and as Jennifer and Stephanie helped her fix it, I decided to take advantage of the bushes and have a little pit stop. Unfortunately, I failed to notice the prickly weeds until about 40 little stickers became lodged in my shorts. Waddling my way out of the bushes, I managed to fill my shoes and socks with them as well. I was very thankful for Stephanie's blanket, which I wrapped around my waist as I plucked the stickers from my shorts one at a time while Jacquie helped clear my socks and shoes. My embarrassment was made worse by the large number of passing truckers, and the accompanying gusts of wind that made the blanket fly up. At least none of them honked their horns. All that time, the others were working on Jackie's tire. Her spare tube had a broken valve, and the flat tube had too many holes to patch, so she had to SAG to the next pit where the bike crew could get her fixed up.
The heat was really wearing me down as I got into Pit 3. The local firemen were selling barbecue to riders, but despite the heavenly smell, the hot weather had me feeling too nauseous and I had to skip it. The Clif bar station at Pit 3 had Luna bars on ice, which hit the spot on the hot day. After taking a rest, we continued to climb. I was feeling pretty run down and my shoulder really flared up. Luckily there was a slight breeze, but it still was tiring to work so hard in the sun. There was a beautiful flat section in a beautiful green valley, and up ahead I could see riders grouped. Then I saw it. On my right, high above my head, there were riders climbing up the hills. The hairpin turn revealed a mile-long climb, not too steep but difficult because you see the whole thing. Officially called the Vandenberg Grade, but the route sheet named it "Pain Pass." Shortly after there was another long climb, "King of the Hill." At the top of hill was Ginger, with plenty water to keep us riders cool.
We passed Vandenberg Air Force Base and had a lunch stop in the parking lot of the Spaceport Inn. Some riders splurged for lunch in the Spaceport Cafe, but we we content enjoying our lunch under a shady tree. A lizard sneaked up and had a few licks at Jacquie's cambelback before she shooed it away. We relaxed there for a long time since it was only 8 miles of downhill to camp. We cruised into camp at 4:15pm. It was nice to have a little extra time. The campsite was beautiful, set up in a park with a duck pound and lots of trees. I met Craig, my rider rep, and chatted with him about his adventures in India. I wished I had more time to talk with him, but I had to eat before my massage. I almost missed it, and ran up just before they gave my spot away. The massage was incredible. Karen worked out all the tension in my shoulders and even showed me a few stretches to keep me loose on the road. I got back to the dinner tent just in time for the entertainment - Disco Night! We danced the night away, finding energy in the funky tunes despite five days of riding behind us.
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Day 5 Menu
Breakfast: Cheese omelet, hash browns, bacon, oatmeal, Danish, chunk pineapple.
Lunch: Salami on hoagie or veggi sub, sliced fruit in cocktail syrup.
Dinner: Tri-colored tortellini w/Alfredo pesto, kielbasa, dinner rolls, zucchini and tomatoes, tossed green salad, carrot cake.