This past weekend marked the beginning of my three month alt. travel journey. It all commenced with an on-time arrival in San Francisco, and straight to dinner with three friends from my very first internship, at Abbott Laboratories, in 2008. Two of the fellow interns I haven’t seen since the internship, so catching up with them was kind of incredible. Also incredible: We chose a Korean BBQ restaurant, where we were definitely the only white people in the entire restaurant. Authenticity for the win.
I spend the next day racing around the city, picking up my bike, lunching at Fisherman’s Wharf with Caroline (Longhorn reunion!), picking up the MS150 rider packet, and then transporting my luggage (and bike) from one friend’s apartment to another. It actually wasn’t too messy (thanks for the lift, Caroline!), until I had to hike my luggage and bike up a classic San Francisco hill, to arrive at Kasey’s apartment. Kasey, good job securing an apartment at the very top of the hill. Nice view, strong calves.
I arrive at Kasey’s apartment, with a homeless woman circling me (how defenseless I feel with all my gear), and Steve in the shower. 5 minutes later, I text Steve, “Suspicious person…feel threatened….please hurry”. To Steve’s credit, he certainly does hurry. So much so, that he runs outside in his towel to save me from the wandering nomad (the homeless woman, not me).
We quickly get ready, as we have a taxi pick-up at 6:15, to meet Whitney’s previous UT professor for dinner. 6pm rolls around, and no Whitney in sight. She landed in SF at 3:30, and went straight to the bike shop. The trip took a bit longer than she expected and we see her flying up the steps to Kasey’s apartment right at 6:15…only slightly frazzled. Well done, Whitney.
After dinner, Whitney and I prepare for our 5:45am wake-up and start to the MS150! Steve crawls into bed, and the polygamous trio cuddles in a full size bed. Typical.
In the morning, Whitney and I hop on our bikes and bike to the start of the MS150. On our way, I see another cyclist and I quickly yell to Whitney “Hurry, it must be another MS150-er! Let’s catch up and follow him the rest of the way.” I speed up, and right as I’m about to call out to the cyclist, I notice he is wearing a suit. My first thought is “Hmm, how odd. Who bikes 100 miles in a suit?” Second thought: “Mormon.” I don’t call out to him. He was definitely not one of us.
Everyone who knows Whitney Yang, please continue reading. I hope you find this as absolutely entertaining as I did. For those who do not know Whitney Yang very well, let me preface this story: Whitney and luck go hand in hand. She is the kind of person who will go to Vegas for someone else’s birthday and win $1500, while the birthday boy loses. Also, she is a strong cyclist. She biked from Austin to Alaska, with essentially no problems at all. Here’s the story of what happened to Whitney while attempting to bike 175 miles through San Francisco:
- Whitney fell down playing kickball on the Wednesday before the ride (3 days prior). She got a concussion. She decided riding 175 miles through the steepest and longest hills in the nation was entirely doable. I agreed.
- Whitney cut her palm, during said fall. As a result, she could only partially grip the handlebars of the bike.
- 75 miles into the first day, we arrive at lunch. I know, why was the lunch stop 75 miles in?!? That’s what I said. We get to lunch and Whitney is not looking straight at me. She is not looking at anything. Her eyes are a blank, and she doesn’t really say much. She decides it would be wise to get a ride to the campsite, rather than try to bike the last 25 miles. We go to the medic tent to re-bandage her hand and wait for a lift. A bee lands on her good hand. A bee stings her. As it turns out, Whitney is allergic to bee stings.
- We arrive at the camp grounds, have dinner, and retire to our hotel for the evening. Whitney notices she has two very enlarged saddle sores on her buttocks. This has never happened to her before. She spends a lot of time examining her buttocks, while I laugh hysterically, and take pictures. I know, I’m a good friend. She attributes the sores to our rented bicycles.
- The next morning, Whitney pops 6 ibuprofen (wise decision—drug yourself before the bike ride), grits her teeth and gets on the bike like a champ! We pep-talk it out, and she makes it to the first rest stop. She pops a few more ibuprofen and by the time we reach lunch, she is smiling and completely numb, in all parts of her body. A very good thing, because she will soon be hurting more….
Meeting a Famous Person Moment #2: