I had a great time. Start with a very enthusiastic greeting from event staff and a ridership that is amped up about the ride…some just as riders and others with commitment to the cause (stopping diabetes). Riders with diabetes self identify in a special red jersey and are cheered on with chants of “Go Red Rider!” everywhere they go. This is the only time we can ride over the two harbor bridges (Gerald Desmond in Port of Long Beach and Vincent Thomas in Port of Los Angeles). These are big climbs (over 250 feet above the water with great views of the port. It is like a party at the top of the Vincent Thomas and we’re only 6 miles into the ride! The event offers 11, 32, 61 and 100 mile ride options that all get to go over the bridges. The 8 mile ride option offers a kid friendly option which sticks to bike trails exclusively in a simple out and back course which has its own rewarding scenery. The 11 mile participants enjoy a return trip on a harbor cruse boat while the 32, 61 and 100 mile rides continue their journey. Although this is a suburban route, the scenery is the best LA and Long Beach have to offer. Wild peacocks cheer us on as we climb up the Palisades of San Pedro. The 60 and 100 mile routes continue for a lap around the Palos Verdes Peninsula past multimillion dollar homes and up the famous PV Drive East switch backs. The 32, 61 and 100 mile routes all overlap and share the same roads back to Long Beach through the harbor district so if you are not feeling up to the distance you’ve chosen you can always bail out on one of the shorter choices. The “back forty” of the 100 mile route is much flatter and has a clover leaf design which provides additional “short cuts” should you need them. The route in Long Beach highlights class 1 bike lanes and share lanes through down town Long Beach which have made Long Beach a regional leader in bike friendly planning. Back at the finish we go through a gauntlet of cheering supporters and are rewarded with a great healthy lunch from Wahoo’s Tacos, put our feet up in the team tent village (for teams raising $5000 or more) and are entertained by local bands on the stage overlooking the Long Beach marina and the Queen Mary. I’m signing up for next year’s ride as soon as I can.