(May 14th – May 16th) After very little sleep, 50 hours in the car, and some very sore butts, Bike4Alz6 is officially underway! We decided to take the scenic southern route and saw the beautiful states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico! We ran into a nasty thunderstorm in Oklahoma and JB bravely conquered it while hauling the trailer for the first time haha. After very warm weather and expensive gas prices, we finally arrived at the University of California Berkley Fiji Chapter’s House! Because we drove straight through the night both nights, we were rewarded with a couple of free days in San Francisco! While here, we explored the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, ate some great food, experienced Chinatown, and caught a San Francisco Giants game! On May 17, we went on a practice ride around the city and saw some incredible views along the way! The team biked 30 miles and had a blast along the way. We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsor Nats for hooking us up with some sweet jersey’s and providing us all of the biking supplies that we could ever need!
On the 18th, the big day finally arrived, the journey begins!! We strapped our helmets and jerseys on and set off from the west coast in pursuit of the east coast. With tires sinking into the sand of the Pacific Ocean, the team took off! Many of us had to wear undershirts because it so was cold, but I guess that’s why Mark Twain wrote “the coldest winter I ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco” haha. Our first ride was from San Francisco to Vallejo. Although the ride was only a shade over 30 miles long, the crew rode over the Golden Gate Bridge and followed the coast through some beautiful cities. Once we arrived in Vallejo, Bob Arp, a Fiji graduate of UCLA, barbequed for us and allowed us to stay at his house for the night. Thank you, Bob, for being so accommodating to our group!
(May 19th) Saturday took us to Davis, CA, a town 56 miles away and home of the bicycle hall of fame! Dennis Whitcomb, aka “Uncle Dennis,” hooked us up with a very nice place in West Village, an apartment complex on the campus of UC Davis. Our timing was very lucky, as we were able to attend watch the UC Davis Fiji colony receive their charter!
(May 20th) Sunday was our first rest day of the trip. It was very nice to have everyone together for a day to experience the city together. Uncle Dennis and his wife Trish took all 13 of us out for breakfast that morning at a restaurant called Froggy’s and also arranged a fundraiser at another restaurant called “The Graduate,” where we got our first taste of advocating for our cause. Dennis also contacted Bob Bowen, who gave us a private tour of the bicycle hall of fame, giving us even more encouragement in our biking endeavors. One of our support vehicles had lost its ability to reverse, so Seth and Jeremy took it into the shop to diagnose the issue. After a couple hours, they broke the news to us that our transmission had to be rebuilt, which would cost us nearly $3000.
In less than 24 hours, generous contributions came from all over the United States to cover our mechanical issues in full. THANK YOU to anyone who gave, shared, or told someone about our fundraising need.
(May 21st) On Monday, we had the pleasure of being interviewed by Good Day Sacramento which you can watch online! After that, we had a beautiful and (thankfully) easy ride into Folsom, California. We were able to stay with the very generous LeBlanc family and got to know Jason, Michelle, and the rest of the family. Also, Jason allowed us to store our trailer at his home for the time our vehicle was being worked on. Thank you so much to the LeBlanc family for being so hospitable and accommodating. They have quickly become some of our best friends on the trip.
(May 22nd) On Tuesday, was a tough ride from Folsom to Somerset, CA. This was our first taste of some very long, winding hills but was a simple snapshot of what was to come the next day. Somerset is home to Mr. Tom and Katherine Turner who were nice enough to let us crash with them for the night. Tom and Katherine had a beautiful property that sat in between some of California’s most beautiful vineyards. After Tom entertained us with some of his legendary fishing stories, they cooked us both dinner and breakfast (and we needed it). Thank you so much, Tom and Katherine! Can’t wait to see you soon!
(May 23rd) Our next day was our toughest yet—the Sierra Nevada’s in Kirkwood, CA. We climbed about 6,000 feet this day. All of the riders agreed it was one of the toughest challenges they had ever faced physically, but the views at the top were incredibly rewarding. We were able to stay at Kirkwood Resort—a luxurious ski resort that is the staple of Kirkwood. Thank you to Ben Hutchinson for taking such good care of us after such a tough day!
(May 24th) What a rewarding day. Most of this Thursday was downhill through some of the most beautiful mountains on the earth! We got a great picture at about 8,500 feet of elevation. It was an incredible ride in which we got up to about 50 mph going downhill and rolled through California and into Carson City, Nevada. The views were absolutely gorgeous and made the climb totally worth it! (May 25th) Also, we received a much-needed rest day in Carson City. The O’Neill was nice enough to open their beautiful home to us that sits right on Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, NV. We enjoyed staying with them and getting to reconnect with our main man, Dennis Whitcomb for a few days.
Thank you to everyone that made California so incredible! Stay tuned for our Nevada adventures!