Cal road warriors: Quad-busting climb, Lycra-clad chorus

PASO ROBLES — Reporting on Day 3 of the 2011 AIDS LifeCycle — Tuesday’s leg from King City to Paso Robles — are Cal Team members Hari Phatak, a Ph.D. candidate in business, and student Chathu Day. The San Francisco-to-Los Angeles ride benefits HIV/AIDS services and promotes HIV/AIDS awareness. Fresh factoids from team co-captain Devin Wicks: this year’s riders range in age from 18 to 83 and hail from every state in the union (plus Washington D.C.); number of Cliff Bars consumed during the ride: 11,000.

AIDS Lifecycle 2011 logo

Hari Phatak, Ph.D. candidate, Hass School of Business

Our route today was short relative to the 107-mile slog yesterday. But it included the infamous “Quadbuster,” several miles of climbing that drives many cyclists to walk their bikes the last few hundred yards.

Cyclists climb Day 3's infamous Quadbuster

Cyclists climb Day 3's infamous "Quadbuster."

Once that challenge was conquered, we were rewarded with a relatively flat, picturesque ride to lunch. But since no time on the road is totally uneventful (at least for me), I managed to collide with a bee that left a nice little forehead welt as a souvenir.

A major highlight of Day 3 is the lunch stop at the town of Bradley, which each year uses AIDS/Lifecycle as a fundraising opportunity. Students sell hamburgers and sugar-laden baked goods to hordes of hungry riders eager to support the local school. Kids man the registers, distribute potato chips and dole out water and Gatorade.

A bone-jarring ride along the shoulder of Highway 101, heading into our last rest stop before camp, gave us ample opportunity to taste our lunches a second time. The bumps were worth it, though, as we were greeted by a stunning dance performance, to Rihanna’s “S&M,” by the boys of rest stop 4. Dressed as Lycra-clad aerobics instructors of the 1980s, they did the song full justice.

The nice thing about a short ride like today’s is the opportunity to spend time in camp catching up with small matters of hygiene, such as laundry, that I might have let slip a bit. Right now, I’ve got jerseys and shorts binder-clipped to every available surface of my set-up. I’ll wager the sun here in Paso Robles will do its thing.

Chathu Day with Lori Jean, executive director, L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center

Chathu Day and Lori Jean, head of L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

Chathu Day, student

Apart from the brutal 1.3-mile climb at “Quadbuster,” the rest of Day 3 was full of amazing views, straight flat roads; a wonderful BBQ put together by citizens of Bradley; and a surprise coffee treat by some generous ladies on the way out of King City.

We know we’re getting closer to L.A., as we had to remove our arm warmers an hour into the ride. Sixty miles without bad traffic allowed us to enjoy the special treats our rest stops had to offer. Speaking of rest stops, #4, dubbed “Jazzercise,” was extraordinarily entertaining.

Thank you, AIDS LifeCycle and the Cal Team, for allowing me to help make a change.