Day 71 – Bike Ride to Victorville, California
Today was filled with headwinds and rolling hills. I rode with Amanda, Abby, and melissa. The scenery didn’t change that much throughout the ride. But we did pass some dinosaurs.
Eventually Amanda and I broke off from the group and once we got into town started heading towards a bike shop. Both of us needed some routine maintenance done. We were about 3 miles away and were battling some extremely strong headwinds while going up hill. It was miserable to say the least. We stopped and seriously reconsidered our need for a shop. Trying to come up with any excuse not to go we double checked google and were pleasantly surprised to find that today was Sunday and they were closed. We headed to the host location guilt free of not getting our bikes checked out.
Day 72 – Bike Ride to Wrightwood, California
Today I ride sweep with Jeff for I’m pretty sure the last time. It was an extremely short day of about only 40 miles. In the beginning we made a quick stop at a 7/11 for something called Soda Shaq. Apparently Shaquille O’neil has his own soda brand.
We climbed for pretty much the entire day on steady switchbacks.
When we arrived to Wrightwood we hung out in a coffee shop before we faced the last 3 miles of climbing to our campsite which what we heard from the leaders it was going to be extremely intense.
Jeff and I were hanging out at the coffee shop waiting for people to leave, since we had to be at the end of the pack. It began to rain outside and I checked the weather to learn that we were expected to experience some thunderstorms.
Talking to the girl working at the coffee shop about this she began to take pity that we would be camping in the rain. So she pulled out a phone book and began calling churches around the town for us to stay. Soon enough she came across a place. I sent out a group message for everyone to turn around and come back to town to where the church was. Some were happier than others about this. Those who did all the work climbing the mountain were a bit disappointed to pack up the tents and the trailer again and ride back down. However, everyone was pleased to find that we all had beds and hot showers rather than a cold floor and a hose shower.
Day 73 – Bike Ride to Palmdale, California
Palmdale, the home of big time rapper Afroman. I rode with Julie for the day, my prom date. The ride was very very short. Only about 35 miles which have us plenty of time to get in early and do some goodwill shopping for prom clothes. It took us much longer than expected to pick out clothes. Being that there was no theme, each couple chose their own theme. I wanted to go classy, which took an extensive amount of convincing to get Julie to go along with.
Once convinced, it took over an hour of searching through clothes and dresses to fit the appropriate style. Then took about another ten minutes to find a suit for me. In the end Julie looked absolutely beautiful ad was happy I convinced her to go with the classy look.
Day 74 – Build Day – Palmdale, California
Today was our last build day and our best build day. We worked with Youth Build which is an organization that mentors kids and teaches them skills through construction.
There was something for everyone at this site: demolition, framing, painting, and pouring concrete.
I started off with demolition. We were knocking our drywall of a building that would soon be turned into dorms for low income students.
Later on in the morning it was time to pour concrete, my favorite. I was waiting all summer for an opportunity to do so. It was finally something that I didn’t mind getting filthy and exhausting myself for. It reminded me of the summers I would help my dad and his frieda pour cement at their homes. Only this time it was a bit more work because we had to mix the bags.
During the build day we learned that different Bike & Build groups have been working on this site for a couple years. And because of that the community center would display and honorary plaque of Bike & Build’s work towards the community.
Day 75 Bike Ride to Santa Clarita, California
Today I rode with Chris and Kaitlin downhill just about all day. It was another short day of only about 35 miles. We did a bit of climbing in the morning and then after that It was all down hill switchbacks.
We stopped at a neat lunch location near a waterfall and relaxed on the rocks for a bit.
Then after that it was more downhill into our host. A very relaxing day indeed.
Day 76 – Bike Ride to Santa Paula, California
Today I rode with Matt, Julie, Melissa, Claire, and Kaitlin for another short ride of about 40 miles. We were riding through a town definitely known for their oranges. Almost the entire streets were lined with orange trees. Matt and I stopped to dig our nails in their skin and enjoy their sweet juices inside. They were delicious, very sweet and refreshing in the California heat.
We arrived fairly early so I went on a short 3 mile run with Justin, one the Bike & Build program directors that met up with us for the end of the trip. I could only push out three miles due to quickly realizing how unprepared my calf muscles are to pounding concrete.
For the end of the night we sat around a fire and relaxed for one of our last times together as a group.
Day 77 – Bike Ride to Santa Barbara, California
Our very last ride day has finally come. We never thought we would make it here. It didn’t even feel like we were crossing the country. It just felt like we were waking up each morning and going for a casual bike ride as a team. It’s amazing the progress we have made. I rode with Emily today because she was my riding partner for our first ride day. We were teased for the majority of the day from riding along the shore for the majority of the day. We fought our urges to jump in so we could all go swimming together as one team.
We all met up as one big group about 5 miles away from the beach so we couple all ride in together. This gave me the chance to ink up my tan lines like I’ve been waiting to do for the past few states.
One of our riders, Ellie, was injured and unable to ride for our final ride so we managed to rent a petty cab so she could roll in in style leading our pack.
About a mile away from the shore my riding felt a little more bumpy than normal. I leaned over and sure enough my front tire was flat. I pulled off to the side and pumped it up quickly hoping it would hold til we hit the ocean. It did not. It went flat again after about ten seconds so I rode the rim the remaining mile. Out of all the times to get a flat it had to be here. Luckily it was my front tire so not much weight was put in it.
FINALLY!!!!! We hit the shore!!! We all threw down our bikes, tore off our shoes and socks, locked arms and ran together as one into a salty blue ocean. The feeling was unreal to have literally gone ocean to ocean, coast to coast. Such an amazing accomplishment I still can’t even wrap my head around it. We will now all be considered ultra-badasses for the rest of our lives.