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UC Berkeley Web Feature

Bears on bikes
Day 3: Missing out on 72.3 miles of fun

Claire Veening was recruited for the Cal women's crew team from Bishop O'Dowd High School, in Oakland. She starts at Berkeley this fall (possibly with an integrative biology major), but for now is on the road with AIDS LifeCycle 6, riding "for all those who can't and all those who never got the chance."

By Claire Veening | 6 June 2007

— Day three was a tough day for me. After completing my first century on day two, I was beat up. Wake up time was 5:30 a.m., which some may consider too early to function. As I got dressed in my sleeping bag, I was excited about heading out of King City and off to Paso Robles. Little did I know what was in store for me. I stopped by the chiropractic/sports medicine tent to check out a back injury from day two and a knee injury that has been bothering me since March. After a quick adjustment, they were able to get me out in 15 minutes. The ride to Paso Robles had begun.

Hill called "Quad Buster"
Killer hill known to cyclists as "Quad Buster." (Devin Wicks photo)
 

The ride began just like any other: Pump up the tires, fill up your water, grab a road map. Once you pass start, get that odometer going; only 77.3 miles to go. As I approached mile 3, I knew my knees weren't going to make it. (As I later found out, I may have a torn meniscus.) By mile 5, I was out for the day. No Quad Buster (a monster hill legendary among AIDS ride cyclists) and no barbeque at Bradley. I was going to miss out on 72.3 miles of fun.

A sweep vehicle picked me up and dropped me off at rest stop one, a cowboy-themed rest area on the way to Quad Buster. I went to medical and got some ice and waited for the bus to take me to camp.

The bus rolled into camp about 1:30 p.m. and it was off to "chiro" for me. Services at camp include medicine, chiropractic care, sports medicine, and massage therapy. They were very thorough and made sure I got the best care possible. I was prescribed ibuprofen and ice. Maybe, with luck, I'd be able to ride in the morning. It's the best I could hope for.

One of the best things about the ride is meeting new people and really getting into your cycling groove. Once you find your pace, you find people who ride similarly to you and it's inevitable that you will ride together. As you're coasting down Highway101 or pumping up a massive hill, it's nice to have those people nearby, ready to support you and willing to push for that extra mile.

There are many different reasons why people do the ride, but we are all able to come together for each other and provide support to end this pandemic and raise awareness in our communities. Each rider and roadie can make a difference. Let's do this together!