We’re fortunate to have a great number of charity rides throughout the year in Los Angeles, but the Tour de Summer Camps has been one I’ve been targeting for awhile.
This one is a bit personal as CiclaValley Junior is coming of age and I can see the benefits she’d have of going to camp.
Growing up, I rarely went to school or synagogue in my own area, so developing socially early on took a backseat.
My family was a little short to afford sending me off for a week of camp, but for those couple of times they sent me off for weekend trips, I knew I was missing something.
Doing the Tour de Summer Camps to raise funds to give other children the opportunity to attend Jewish camps definitely felt like a way of giving back, but having the Laemmle’s lead the charge for this event added another layer of motivation.
Greg and Tish have been longtime cornerstones of the cycling community raising funds for a number of causes, serving on boards, hosting the Tour de Laemmle and volunteering their time in a number of capacities.
The allure of the Pacific Ocean
Like many others, I always keep an ear to support anyway I can.
Organizing a team for any ride sounds easier than it looks because it involves recruiting, fundraising, social media and organization to make sure people are prepared to ride (thanks to Marc & Lesley for their help too).
I couldn’t keep track of the whole group because people were starting at different times, but I’m guessing there was a couple of dozen riders making it out to Camp Alonim in Simi Valley supporting Team Laemmle.
There were a lot of familiar faces there, but I was looking forward to riding along with Jason who not only has helped out as one of the most exemplary ride marshals you’ll find around, but also just a great guy to hang with.
We chose the metric century which follows my new rule of picking the route just below the longest (century).
The UCLA Cycling Team can change flats as fast as they can ride
The streets were quiet and it was a great environment to chat with everyone without having much else to worry about.
I’ve ridden through Simi before, but not on the northern edge which had a nice ranch feel while negotiating the rolling hills.
Our first pit stop was super well stocked with a lot of enthusiastic volunteers which ended up being the norm along the way.
While there was excellent SAG support along the ride including the UCLA Cycling Team, we couldn’t help ourselves in assisting those with mechanicals along the wayside which added the benefit of spending more time together.
One thing I like about courses like this one is when the ride gets better as it progresses.
The descent down Potrero always a fun one which was a contrast from Phil’s Cookie Fondo watching riders painstakingly climb it.
On the back end of the loop, I had never ridden Santa Rosa Rd. before, but I could tell by the features that this was a turn of the century passageway that still retains some of that character.
People were eager to finish the last 100 meters to get to food!!!
I didn’t really look down at my Garmin because enjoying this experience around other like-minded cyclists seemed timeless.
Returning back to Camp Alonim, it’s refreshing when there’s a good amount of volunteers to cheer you on and food left over when you’re one of the last people coming in.
With all the types of riding I’ve done, rarely have I used the word comforting to describe a ride, but with the atmosphere and company involved while raising money for a good cause made it one of my most fulfilling rides yet.
The next Tour de Summer Camps ride is slated for October 18 and I’m looking ahead to enjoy another experience and to wear my Team Laemmle jersey!