Getting Up at 4:20AM

[Note: I hope that you’ll expand on what I’ve written about my experiences during this very special event by adding your own stories and comments. It was a great time! Thank you—Bob.]

Most everyone was on time. One rider was even a little early, having left at 5:30AM, while the rest of us were content to meet under the 110 freeway at 6:15AM. At this time of day the Park n’ Ride lot under the freeway looks like a place a serial killer would hide his bodies. Getting there early it looked deserted, with a few cars that looked abandoned and some debris blowing around. It reminded me of the beginning of Terminator II, where Arnie appears crouched and naked under the freeway. Soon riders started appearing and the placed looked a lot more inviting.

The sign-in was a bit chaotic, but veteran race, I mean ride, director Tony Jabuka had seen it all before. His registration team had been well prepared. We checked everyone off, got those who’d avoided signing the release forms to sign them, and handed out spa tickets, ride maps and numbered ID cards that the riders would then attach to their bikes.

Tony asked me to take a break from registration and start shooting some video. Tony, and to a lesser extent, his team, spend a huge amount of time getting this event together. Tony meticulously reviews aerial maps of the course, documents all the turns and distances (who else hands out ride maps that note distances down to the hundredth of a mile)? Tony even took two trips down the course route, each time leaving small biodegradable pink fluorescent arrows to mark the more confusing turns. One arrow wasn’t enough: he’d put down two coming in to the turn, one in the turn, and two coming out of the turn. Now that’s dedication! Check out the “Ride Preparation” tab for more on how much work went into this ride.

As 7:00AM approached, Tony mounted the back of the U-Haul truck to give the riders some final instructions. This year it was imperative that the riders have their IDs with them. We’d gotten permission to ride through Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, and ID was required to “board” the camp. I use “board” because that’s how the Marines describe it. I assume that this is because the Marines are part of the U.S. Navy, although I’m not sure that they bring it up often (the Marines, that is). Having given the riders their final pep talk, off we went. The crew started cleaning up the registration materials and tables. I was in Van #2, with Bruce Steele driving.

To see more pictures from the ride, select this.