Part of my job on this trip was to videotape the ride. I wanted to get some footage of the riders before they had a chance to get too spread out, so Bruce and I moved along in order to catch the pack. We ran in to a little trouble at C Street in Wilmington. The riders were told to go down that street, but it was one-way only (and not OUR direction), so we had to head down D street. The riders had managed to get a good jump on us, so it took us longer to catch them than we’d expected. Over there! Three riders with the new PenCC kit on! The problem is, we didn’t recognize any of them. I got a good look at the rider in front and he didn’t look familiar to me (this is not conclusive of anything, being new around here, many of the riders don’t look too familiar to me, unless they come by the shop often). A brief discussion followed, wherein Bruce and I considered the likelihood that we’d just happened to run in to three riders wearing the new kit that just happened to be out for a ride. It didn’t seem likely. Pretty quickly, however, we saw more riders, so we knew we were on the right path.
As we glanced down the road we realized that the whole bunch was spread out before us for about four blocks. Soon we came upon Tony, who wanted to give us his phone battery, and Rochelle wanted us to take her arm warmers. The exchange with Rochelle was done “tour” style, with us driving right next to her as she tossed her warmers through our open window. I started shooting some video. We followed the riders closely for a mile or two. I’d asked Bruce to take a couple of slow passes so that I could get some footage of the riders.
We had to be careful. While it was important for me to get some footage of the riders, our main job was to follow-up the rear, while van #1 headed off to get the first rest stop set up. We decided to pull over and let the pack pass us. We were looking for Bob Spalding, who’d graciously agreed to be sweep. The sweep follows up the rear, making sure that no riders are left behind. Being sweep requires qualities not found in all riders – he or she has to be strong enough to catch up with other riders if need be, but comfortable with coming in last. Some riders just can’t do that. As we waited for the last riders to go by, we kept our eyes open for Bob. He’d be the last rider by. We saw the rider that we didn’t know, but he was now alone; the other two riders with him were gone. Then came Bob, so we knew that we’d gotten to the end.
We drove along to get to rest stop one, right on the beach in Huntington Beach. We weren’t responsible for setting it up, but we needed to be there. I stopped to take some shots of the riders approaching the stop.
At the stop there was about 25 riders milling around the snack table. There was a huge amount of food for the riders—sugar (Snickers and red whips), peanut butter filled pretzel bites, a fruit bowl full of melons and gel packs, energy bars and other Hammer Nutrition health products.
We’d heard reports that Al D’Amico had punctured just shy of Huntington Beach. Al was not planning to complete the entire ride; he’d planned to go only as far as Huntington, then get picked up. We called him on his cell to confirm that he was OK waiting for his ride home, since we were ready to pick him up and bring him to the rest stop. Al said he was fine and didn’t need to be picked up by us.
After shooting a bit of video at the stop and getting a snack, I asked about Jay, who I knew had been a the front of the pack. “Oh, they left about 30-40 minutes ago.” Oh no, I thought, we have to get out of here ASAP. We were quickly losing any chance of getting to rest stop #2 before Jay got there. Rest stop #2 WAS our responsibility, so we got out of there post-haste!