I woke up sunday morning and went to have brunch with the same friends I had dinner with last night. It was a busy weekend at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a Buddhist campus where I work part of the week. A group of Humboldt State University students were making their semiannual visit; a well-respected community member passed away recently and his family was doing a service on campus that day. And of course, the pilgrims on the Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage would arrive later on this day. I decided to ride all the way here on day 1 instead of staying with the group at KOA in Asti so I could help to prepare to greet the pilgrims and make sure their program--including a sit-down meal--would go without a hitch.
I got some colleagues to communicate with the kitchen and the assembly hall to confirm the schedule. Scott, who has driven the gear truck for many years of the pilgrimage showed up first. After he unloaded "modesty attires" from the truck we stood on the curb outside the gate for a while. Heidi, whom I have known since the first edition of the pilgrimage, showed up next as she was assigned to help me set up the meals later. It won't be until slightly past 10AM when the first two riders showed up. 10 minutes later, other riders and some volunteer-driven vehicles began to string in. I helped to get them settle down, and gathered them together. Soon, Rev. Heng Sure, who was giving the talk to the group today, came and led a big group of them to the assembly hall for a short tour and a talk. As more pilgrims came in, I directed them toward the assembly hall to join the group.
I walked in a little later to the hall to check in. I gently inform Rev. Heng Sure that he had 15 minutes left, then I walked with Heidi to the kitchen and began to transport food to the dining hall. The kitchen/restaurant staff had prepare plenty of very delicious vegetarian food for the group, complete with dessert and organic grape juice made from grapes grown in the vineyards on the ground. Soon the group, finished with the talk, came and enjoyed the meal. I waited for most of them to finish eating, then changed into riding gears, and left for Abhayagiri Monastery.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012
|Pilgrims Checking in at Spirit Rock|
|Sukho on his Bridgestone XO-2|
|folks at Cheese Factory|
|Drafting behind the Tandem|
|Two Rock Church|
|Sae Tae Win II lunch stop|
We chatted and rode north on another stretch of the West County Trail to Forestville, then rolled toward Russian River on River and Wholer Road. We crossed the river and turned east on Westside Road toward Healdsburg. As we chatted I found out that Rachel actually goes to the same Gym (Ironworks) as I do and attends the same spin classes. We stopped on Middleton Farm and rested some, then continued toward Cloverdale. West Dry Creek Road is one of my favorite roads in Sonoma County, and after cross the river on Lambert Bridge, we turned north on Dry Creek Road. It was approximately 2:45 at this point, and it was definitely getting hotter, but still quite bearable even with my long-sleeve base layer.
|Shadow Panda on River Road|
|Riding on HWY 101|
|Sunset View on Old River Road|
|Sequoia at CTTB|
At the end of the day, my tally was 114 miles. I have never missed participating in this event since its inception, and my experience varied from year to year. Some years I wasn't physically ready and suffered some. Some years in extreme heat I dragged myself to the end of the day on both days. In the last couple of years I have been in good shape, and the relatively cool weather helped me to have physically pleasant two days on the bike. But every year I have always felt the great and warm energy from everyone participating in this year's event. This year especially I felt Lauren's great enthusiasm and warm, caring energy permeated the whole event on this first day. It was a beautiful day!