Do you have all of your ducks in a row?
Yes it’s time to think about the logistics of getting to day one from here…
First a shout out to the Volunteers!
At every step of the way please make sure to thank the volunteers and roadies for the work they do supporting the cyclists. Without them we are nothing. As you will hear many times (and its true) “ROADIES ROCK!!!”
Packing and Supplies
Here are some excellent resources on packing such as the ALC Packing List and this Packing Clinic with photo’s and descriptions of not only what, but how to pack. Bear has also posted a packing blog – Packing Slip. If you haven’t yet considered investing in a rolling duffle bag as it can be quite a hike from the gear truck to your campsite.
Medical Information Form
The medical information form is now available in your participant center. You can download a PDF form to fill out and mail or you can complete an online form (advised). Completing the form prior to orientation will greatly speed you through the process.
Choosing a Tent Mate and Tent Assignment
In early April, tent assignment (TA) will be opened (you’ll see a link in your participant center). All tenting assignments including requesting a particular tent mate, grouping, etc, require all participants to be at the $3k minimum level in their fundraising efforts.
If you haven’t already decided who you would like to tent with and prefer not to be assigned with a stranger (even though no one is a ‘stranger’ on ALC), you should be asking folks from your local training group, team, etc if they have a tent mate and if not, would they like to share a tent?
Once you have a tent mate you can then request each other while completing the TA request. If you are part of a team, the team leader will create and share with the team a group code to be used when completing your TA online. That will assure your team can be near each other in camp. If you are not part of a team, folks that train together from a particular city (for example) can also coordinate and setup a group code.
If you are not at the minimum you will need to go to TA at orientation day and it can not be guaranteed you will be close to your group.
Umm, what? Yes you read that correctly, ‘princessing’. Otherwise the practice of staying at a hotel versus camping. Some choose to princess the entire ride and others will only princess one or two nights as a luxury treat to themselves. Its up to you. If you choose to princess the entire 6 nights, make your hotel reservations early. The rooms in the smaller towns fill up fast. You’ll still ride into bike check each night and then you can grab your gear bag and head off to the hotel. If you have a significant other or friend meeting you then you probably have a ride. Otherwise you will need to find a taxi, Uber, etc into town. If you are only princessing one or two nights make sure your tent mate is aware and it doesn’t hurt to let the gear truck roadies know so no one wonders why there is an extra tent and send out a search crew.
If you do not have a ride home from the finish line you should consider taking advantage of the bike shipping offered by ALC. You can find information (click here) on their website. If you live in California you might consider coordinating with others in your area to rent a truck or van and have one or two people from the group drive the bikes back. If you have enough people it can be cost effective. You should plan on making these arrangements sooner rather than later to avoid last minute stress.
So, the most important task is done, you know how your bike will get home. What about yourself? If you plan to fly, shop early. As with bike shipping, consider coordinating a car pool or passenger van rental to transport your team and luggage back to your hometown. You should plan on making these arrangements sooner rather than later to avoid last minute stress.
You should plan on arriving as early as possible for orientation day. The gates open at 10:00 am, and it will be packed. The first thing you will do on arrival is to check your bike. Take your helmet and water bottles with you (don’t leave them on your bike) to prepare for ride out on Sunday.
From bike check proceed to the first line, the orientation video. After watching the safety video, if you have raised the $3000 minimum, completed your tent assignment, completed your medical info form then you can proceed directly to check in. All cyclists will receive their participant wristbands in their Check-In packet. These wristbands must be worn during the entirety of AIDS/LifeCycle. Cyclists will also receive their helmet and bike frame numbers. These numbers must be displayed on your helmet and on your bike during the entirety of AIDS/LifeCycle. If you completed your tent assignment you will also receive your luggage bag and tent ‘chips’. Remember to attach your luggage bag chips before dropping it off at ride out on Sunday morning.
- If you haven’t met your $3000 minimum you will need to go to Donor Services and either drop off any remaining checks or forms for processing, or you can sign a guarantee (you can also do this online from your participant center.
- If you haven’t confirmed your tent assignment online in your participant center you will then head over to Tent Assignment.
- If you didn’t complete the medical information form online or mail it in, proceed to Medical.
Do you have any incentives to pick up? For example your $5k or $10k jersey? Well head on over to the incentive pick up desk! Finally, you can sign up for next years ALC ride which usually gets you a t-shirt.
Once you have completed all the tasks you are free to mingle with your 2,500 new closest friends for a bit and then head to your hotel, family, friends for dinner and a good nights sleep.
Up and at-em! Plan to arrive at the Cow Palace by 5 or 5:30am. First thing will be to drop your gear bag at the appropriate gear truck (Alphabetical – last year I was truck C for example). Make sure to introduce yourself to your gear truck roadies and thank them for their dedication and hard work! Next up head inside for some breakfast and coffee. It’s a good time to top off your water bottles if you haven’t filled them yet.
Find a seat and get out your tissues, it’s time for the opening ceremonies.
After opening ceremonies ALC will announce that the 2015 course is officially open! Time to put your hard work and training to the test! Hug and kiss your loved ones good bye and head to bike check, pump your tires up, make sure your water bottles are filled and RIDE OUT! (why am I crying as I type this, what are these feels?)
We hope these pointers help you. If I missed anything or you have additional suggestions please leave a comment!
— Curtis Paullins