Try the 12,000-15,000 that start the L.A. Marathon Bike Tour, about half of whom don't seem to have been on a bike in 5 or 10 years and are correspondingly dangerous. You obviously won't do anywhere near the same mileage, but the crashes (see "dangerous riders" above) and the screwball bikes (waaaa-a-a-a-ay beyond Frankenbiking) are great compensation. Besides, you can do the whole flippin' ride in a bit over an hour, and then have plenty of time to pick out a good spot to heckle the runners when they come by, then get breakfast and follow that with a real ride.
Got to remember not everyone starts at the same time. The last time, we went didn't start until 8:30 but as I drove into town, around 7:00, people were rolling out.
Usually see the biggest clump of people at the rest stops, usually around the food and the outhouses.
Just pace yourself and don't waste too much jumping into fast groups. Gotta save some energy for Foxen Canyon and the Wall. If you don't, it makes for a long, suffering day.
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