AIDS LifeCycle 2009
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Michael does

AIDS LifeCycle 8

A 545 Mile Adventure - May 31 - June 6, 2009

Holy Sore Butt Batman, Michael is Doing the LifeCycle!

From May 31-June 6, 2009, I'm bicycling in the AIDS LifeCycle - a 7-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to help men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS.

Please help me support people living with HIV and AIDS by making any donation. Your contribution goes to help people in need and support two non-profit organizations in California.  You and I will never know who receives your donation, how it helps or means to them.  We do know it will go those in genuine need.

I have to raise $3000 in order to go on the Ride. ANY contribution is very much appreciated as are your words of support.

With much love and gratitude,

Michael

Please click here to support me by making a donation

Got a comment or question? Click here to email me

Wanna see more training photos?  Click here

Wanna see the route I'll be riding? Click here

 

Quick Links to Training Blog Entries:                                       

(oldest to newest)

Last Updated: July 15, 2009

 

How did this start?

Sunday 10-19-08: The First Training Ride

December 2008 Update

January 2009: What I like and don't like about training.

Week ending February 7,2009

February 14, 2009 - Tour de Palm Springs

March 8, 2009

March 20, 2009 - My Friday the 13th was Thursday the 12th

April 21, 2009 - The Training Begins Again with a Vengeance!

May 21, 2009 - The Launching of The Red Rocket  

May 29, 2009 Ė On the Eve before the Ride

 

The Story of the Ride

 

 

How did this start?
Last year I was a massage roadie and during the Ride I (you pick the adverb) optimistically, idealistically or foolishly signed up to be a rider this year. (Hey, I saved $25 off the registration fee!)

Actually, ALC 7 was an amazing experience. Some how I knew it would be an incredible adventure and a Utopian society. Rarely do we get the opportunity to be with 3200 (2500 riders and 700 support staff) people working together for the benefit of people most of us will never know.

There are so many different stories on the Ride. As a massage roadie, I had one. A rider has another. The crews building the tent cities had another. The people staffing pit-stops, bus and truck drivers, medical staff, administration, food service, route patrol, bike support, shower crew - the list just goes on and on - all had their own slice and perspective of the Ride.

I won't lie and say I signed up solely to benefit very worthy organizations and help people genuinely in need.

I signed up to push myself physically and see if I could do it. I signed up to see some of the most beautiful country in the world at 12 miles an hour. I signed up with the goal of riding every grand, glorious and Goddamn mile. I signed up before I knew how many hours of training it would take. I signed up before I even owned a bike or had any idea of what I was in for...

I signed up for another slice of the adventure.

And that my dear friends and family is what I will be blogging about in the months ahead.

Sunday 10-19-08 The First Training Ride
Bike Odometer: 340 Miles

Today was the first AIDS Life Cycle (ALC) training ride. We rode from Hillcrest (the city where I live) to Coronado and took the boat fairy back to the main San Diego Harbor and I rode back home - a total of 30.25 miles. I have never ridden that far in one day. I'm sore and excited. There were about 20 people all ages, shapes, sizes and orientations. Most knew each other from a previous ALC; but, I was instantly welcomed and felt as if I belonged to the group. That alone was a wonderful experience.

 

I can't describe how happy I was while riding. Another rider said to me, "You look so happy." And I was. I had such a big smile on my face. This ride  was an incredible experience. There I was with 20 other people beginning an odyssey. And I knew it. I savored the natural beauty.  I played and made

 

 

 

On Coronado with downtown San Diego

in the background

"vvvrrruuummm" sounds when I sped up. When we got to Coronado and waited for the boat fairy, my legs, butt, neck and shoulders were sore and tired. This will be quite a physical challenge! Some how I'm not afraid I can't do it...

As I sit here writing this - contemplating and reviewing the day (it took over 5 hours to ride the 30 miles) - I now know this will be far more of a profound life experience than I had thought or more accurately could have conceived before today.

 

I wonder how will I change as a person.

 

 

 

December 2008 Update
Odometer: 569
On average I'm doing 2 training rides a week between 15 and 30 miles each and I still use and love that I take the bike for 90% of my errands. The ALC San Diego training rides have not been all that well attended and I've missed a few. Not really putting a lot into it right now. I've been told training really ramps up in February.

January 2009: What I like and don't like about training.
Odometer 694

What I like:


1) There is such beauty to enjoy during the rides! I strive to look for beauty everyday and riding 10 to 14 hours a week gives me so many opportunities. The vast beaches, harbors, hills and California chaparral around San Diego and the city itself gives me a lot of opportunity to see and savor many types of natural beauty. Riding along the coast enjoying the ocean, the salt water smell, the sound of the waves, the eye candy; riding inland and looking at wild flowers, grasses and trees; the beautiful sky and clouds... I'm going to create a webpage with photos from the rides. I'll post the info when I do.


2) My legs! I got out of the shower the other day and I have to say my legs are looking good! I'm really enjoying pushing myself physically. If you've known me for more than an hour, you know I'm not much of an athlete and yet here I am, riding for hours at a time and every couple of weeks increasing the average distances I'm riding. It's a very good feeling and I'm very proud of myself.

 

What I don't like:


1) Holy crap it takes a long time to ride 30 miles! A good cruising speed is 14-16 miles per hour. Uphill can be as slow as 4 mph and when there's a head wind, God it becomes painful! I can do a burst of speed up to 28 mph on flat ground. All this adds up to it taking about an hour to ride 10 miles. Now that I'm riding 30-40 miles three times a week, you can figure out how long it's taking. I had no idea training was going to be a part-time job!


2) All the snot. Yeah, you read it correctly, "snot." My nose runs a lot when I ride. This is common with other riders; but, mine really runs. I've taken to carrying a bandanna for a handkerchief because the manufactures of Kleenex couldn't conceive of my nose's output and I'm not willing to do "snot rockets" if the name doesn't tell you what those are, I'm not going to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanna see more training photos?  Click here

 

Week ending February 7, 2009
Odometer 825 miles

 

This week I began training three times a week and rode 46, 36 and 38 miles 120 miles! I have never ridden so much in one week. I'm sore in all the places you'd think; and it's a good sore. Next Saturday the 14th I'm riding 55 miles in the Tour de Palm Springs. The most I've ever ridden at one time is 46 miles. My plan is to pace myself, stop at the 3 rest stops and take my time.

In other training news, I'm really starting to get the feel for shifting the bike. I feel for the cadence and stress on my legs and shift up or down accordingly. I've learned to maximize downgrades and upgrades. All this is adding up to me being able to ride faster and better it's exciting!

What type of bike do I have? A 21 speed hybrid. I had no idea how many different types of bikes there are.  It's a lot like buying a car, do you want a sedan, sports car, pick up, station wagon, SUV, etc? My bike isn't a road bike (the ideal bike for the ALC). It's built for comfort, run errands and for 25ish mile rides. Road bikes are lighter and have a different body position to maximize speed and distance riding. I've thought of getting another bike; but there's something sacrilegious about that. This is the first bike I've owned since high school. I've learned to ride all over again on her. I've learned how much fun it is to go riding. I've learned I can do the Ride all 545 miles, thanks to that bike.

No she doesn't have a name. Got a suggestion???
 

 

 

February 14, 2009 - Tour de Palm Springs


The Tour de Palm Springs is yearly ride ridden by thousands of people from around the world yeah, it's that big. The cycling routes are 5, 10, 25, 55 or 100 mile. I'm doing the 55 mile ride and up to today the farthest I've ridden is 46 miles.

 

 

Second Rest Stop - Tour de Palm Springs

The day started with the potential to be incredibly beautiful and it only got better. It had rained the night before and the morning was bright and sunny with a crystal blue desert sky and big puffy clouds. For the first 10 miles there was a piercing bitter cold headwind with a lot of up hill riding. My normal cruising speed on flat ground is ~15 mph. Mostly because of the headwind, my average speed was 4-9 mph and literally hundreds of other riders were passing me. It was a long demoralizing 10 miles... Then the course changed and there was a long downhill ride with now a light tailwind. In no time I was going 28 mph and it was wonderful! The composition of the road was a rough aggregate that made the front end of the bike vibrate and wobble - the higher the speed, the greater the vibration. I knew there was a possibility of losing control; and I just peddled faster. After a miserable 10 miles to be zooming down a hill at that speed was exhilarating.

 

The first rest stop was at 19 miles. I stopped, ate and drank. I was feeling good. At this point in my training 20 mile rides are easy for me. The second leg began with a very long gradual uphill. I started riding harder than I was on the first leg and shortly started to pass other riders. I felt strong and I rode harder passing more and more riders. The tendons on the outside of both my knees started to hurt and I only rode harder. It was incredible. "On your left," I said as I passed another rider. The course was now long rolling hills and I rode harder and harder faster and faster. "On your left." I'm averaging 20 mph and often hitting 29 mph which is really fast for my bike. I only wanted to ride harder and faster. "On your left." The pain in my knees was there; I only wanted to go faster. I took advantage of every downhill to ride faster and push myself harder on the uphills - always looking how to go faster. "On your left."

 

I did often look around at the incredible beauty of the desert. Around me were barren mountains and mountains with snow and beautiful clouds and the course took us through desert valleys and in between local mountains.  It was wonderful watching as the terrain changed with the course.

I finished the next 14 mile leg at a very fast pace and stopped at the second rest stop - mile 33. (The picture above was taken at that rest stop. I ate and drank and talked with some of the other riders. My knees hurt when bent; but, I felt good. I'm excited and am enjoying the ride. The third leg was 12 miles to third and last rest stop - mile 45. I wanted to ride hard and I did. "On your left." My knees hurt and I didn't care. I only wanted to ride faster. I'm feeling great and realize what I'm feeling is an endorphin rush. The first one I think I've ever had! I get it! I understand why athletes push themselves so hard. It's an amazing high and rush!

I get to the third rest stop at mile 45. Again, I eat, drink, chat, rest and look forward to riding the last leg 11 miles to the end. Back on my bike, I eagerly look forward to watching the tripmeter pass 46 miles - the farthest I've ever ridden at one time. I'm riding fast; but, slower than I had been over the last two legs. "On your left." I know I'm in new distance territory. I hit 50 miles and the riding pain and body fatigue became too great. I slowed down and finished the last 6 miles of the ride. I was tired, in pain and very proud of myself for having completed the 56 miles (total of 60 for the day!). Wa-Hoo!

 

March 8, 2009
Odometer: 1163

JUST five weeks ago the most I'd ridden at one time was 36 miles and I was averaging 70-90 miles a week. For the last few weeks I've been averaging 120-130. In the last six days I've ridden 163 miles! I am amazed at my progress. I'm truly obsessed with increasing the odometer. I have no problem getting out of bed at 6 am to go riding. I ride three times a week and each ride takes 4-6 hours. My average cruising speed is now 15-18 mph up from 12-14 mph six weeks ago.

Two weeks ago the bike was in for service and with a trip to LA I wasn't able to ride for 10 days. I was surprised how disappointed I felt to not be able to ride for so long and how much my body missed the training. It's quite remarkable how all this training is part of my life.

So what do I do for hours and hours on the bike? I play a lot - the bike is a ship, I'm the captain, there's a crew and a few scenarios I play out - like... well...the nerds know where I'm going with this. I do sprints and push myself until my legs burn. I sing out loud - usually one small piece of song over and over and over and over and seriously, over again. I guess at distances from point to point. I curse headwinds and smoky cars. I lament work I'm not getting done. I savor the staggering beauty around me and there's SO much within a 50 mile radius of San Diego. I think how lucky I am to be able to do this much training.

Who do I ride with? I have a ride buddy, Daniel, and we usually ride one or two days a week. Every weekend there is at least one ALC training ride with five to sixteen riders and I do a lot of solo rides. Even when I'm riding with others, most of the time I'm alone. We all have our own pace and meet up at specific points. For example, today there was an ALC training ride around Chula Vista and Otay Lake (60 miles). There was a route/direction sheet with meet up points. Most of the riders are much faster than I am and they raced each other. I enjoy the solitude and the knowledge that I'll be meeting up with them.  Some

 

Self Portrait - Otay Lake

(Ya, gotta love cell phones!)

times someone will ride with me for a few miles and we'll chat. We look out for and encourage each other; but ultimately my bike gets from point A to point B because I peddle it.  I can be part of a group, and yet it's all an individual activity.

 

What's my training routine? When I'm riding with Daniel or alone, I typically ride 20 miles stop for a ten minute break to eat and drink and then back on the bike for about 15 miles and take another ten minute drink and food break. Until last week, most rides were up to 45 miles and the two breaks were enough. Now that I'm riding longer, breaks are around 20, 35, and 45 miles.

At the end of this month is a 100 mile ride that I want to do. At this point it's really going to be pushing myself to go that far. I'll keep you posted...

Thank you for all your kind words of support and generosity!

 

Wanna see more training photos?  Click here

March 20, 2009 - My Friday the 13th was Thursday the 12th

Iím trying to decide how honest to be here.  Letís just see how it goesÖ

Daniel, my riding buddy, and I rode passed a true dive bar with a sign ďBloody Maryís $2.75 until noon.Ē  Now I ask you, how could we pass that up?  As I approached the bar, I misjudged the curb and the front tire hit dead on.  Because I was almost standing up on the bike, my pelvis went right into the stem (the part that connects the handle bars to the bike) and I went down in a lot of pain. 

 

Fortunately the pain quickly dissipated and we went to have our drink then off to the light house in Point Loma and on through Ocean Beach.  We turned into an alley and one of us, Iíll blame Daniel, said, ďRace you to the topĒ and away we went.  As I got close to the top a car turned in and I hit the breaks and veered to the right, lost control of the bike and went down for the second time.  Now I knew I had some good bruises on my knees and elbows and my left hand hurt, a lot.  Being a wimp, Iím not usually a fan of ďNever say die;Ē but, today I just got back on the bike and we rode on through Ocean Beach.  My palm below my thumb was swollen and weak and we stopped at another bar (much nicer than the first one) and got a shot (or two Ė Iím not seriously going to tell you the whole truth) of pain killer and a bag of ice for my left hand.  We played a couple games of pool and then went for lunch. 

 

On the way home we stopped in at the bike shop where Daniel bought his bike because he wanted to show me the next bike he thought I should get.  It was a beautiful fire engine red road bike.  It pretty much was love at first sight.  I foolishly took it out for a spin.  Road bikes are much faster and can turn much tighter than my bike.  We were riding in a large empty parking lot and I turned too tightly and you guessed it, down I went for the third time.  We took the bike back and discovered I had cosmetically damaged the shifters. The price to replace them was $350 or $1300 for the bike.  I know; tough call.  It is the perfect next bike for the type of riding Iím really enjoying doing.  So what did I do?  Iíll tell you at the end of the story.

 

As for my left hand, I hoped it was only banged up and nothing more.  For the next few days I kept icing it and taking Motrin.  By the forth day it really wasnít getting better and I knew it needed to be x-rayed; and yep, I broke the bone in between my wrist and thumb.  The cast will be on for between 4 and 8 weeks.  Worse yet, the doctor said I couldnít ride again for 12 weeks (that would be mid-June) two weeks after the LifeCycle ended. 

 

Things were not looking good for our hero!

 

Remember that, ďNever say dieĒ expression I donít usually use?  With the road bike I crashed, the body position is leaning forward and at times with a good part of my upper body weight right on the broken bone.  But, my bikeís body position is more upright and I can safely ride it without stressing the broken bone at all.  So as of right now, I should be able to go on the Ride.  Because of the break in my training I probably wonít be able to ride every mile.  But, thatís ok.  Iím going to do the best I can and itís not over!  Stay tuned!!

 

 

 

This is the second cast and yes, it is bubble gum pink.  The first one was royal blue. When I found out I'd only have to have the second cast on for less than 3 weeks, I wanted to go for a color that was subtle. 

 

March 27, 2009 - Update

I got my hand x-rayed and Iím healing very well. The cast will be off April 14th!!!  Less than 4 weeks after the various "mishaps."  I have a new cast that is much smaller and allows for much more movement.  Will I go riding with a cast?  Iíll let you know!

 

So did I buy that shiny new bike?  Well, you probably already guessed Ö Iíll post pictures of my really hot bike soon. :-)

 

 

April 21, 2009 - The Training Begins Again with a Vengeance!

 

Thank you so much for all your very kind words of support and sympathy.  I really appreciated all your good wishes.

 

Iím thrilled to say the cast was removed Wednesday, April 8th (if youíre keeping track, it was on for only 3Ĺ weeks.  Originally the doctor said 4 to 8 weeks.  In this case, it was a plus that at Kaiser you donít see the same doctor every time. :-) ).  I was surprised how weak the thumb was and how tender my wrist and lower portion of the palm were.  Just as one example, my thumb wasnít strong enough to grip and lift a glass of water for 5 days.  It wasnít until Saturday that the hand started to feel a little better.  

 

I didnít feel safe trying to ride the bike again until Monday April 13th.  It had been 5 weeks since I had last ridden and youíve heard ďone bitten, twice shy?Ē  Appling that to me, I was ďthrice bitten, six times shy.Ē  Added to my trepidation about riding, while checking the air in the tires before the ride, I some how managed to puncture the valve stem on the front tire and within seconds it was flat.  As I was pushing the bike to be repaired I wondered if God was trying to give me a message Ė ďSeriously Michael, what else do I have to do to keep you from riding?Ē

I got the tire repaired (the guy at the bike shop had never seen that type of puncture before) and I started riding very slowly and tentatively.  I kept waiting for another sign from God.  But it never came.  I knew I wasnít going to push myself and I intended to ride about 25 miles.  I just wanted to see if I could survive the ride.

The weather was typical for San Diego Ė perfect.  It was sunny and there was a nice breeze and after about 7 miles I was feeling good and more comfortable riding the bike. There are many places I repeatedly ride to or around because there is little traffic and/or theyíre particularly pretty.  Such is the case with the 3 mile stretch that runs along the 8 freeway out to the beach.  This is an especially beautiful ride because it starts along a fresh water stream that transitions into salt water from the ocean.  All along are beautiful wild flowers.  In no time I was smiling and enjoying riding again. That happy feeling I had felt so many times before began to return.  There was a cold head wind from the ocean and I didnít care.  I rode faster than I would have thought into a head wind smiling and savoring the scenery. I wasnít pushing myself, my legs and the bike just felt like going faster.  The ride only got better from there as I continued on to other similar pathways that run along the winding bay coastline. 

 

What I hoped to be a 25 mile ride turned into 43 glorious miles.  I got home feeling great, surprised how easily I rode 43 miles and not sore at all. 

The bike was having some difficulty shifting so at the end of the ride I took it in to be checked out.  A few days later I got the diagnosis Ė the frame is bent from one of the falls.  Unfortunately, it isnít repairable.  It is safe to ride; it will just be a little finicky

 

The route along the 8 freeway out to the beach.

getting into gears and ultimately the gears will wear out faster.  Itís hard to describe

how sad I felt when I found out the frame was bent.  I felt I had hurt a friendÖ

 

The next day I could ride was Friday the 17th.  Did I do an easy ride? Hell no!  I did 53 hard miles.  I rode like I hadnít been off the bike at all.  I went up and down hills just to make the ride harder.  It was a full on serious training ride.  I couldnít believe how hard I was pushing myself and how easy it was to do it!  My legs just wanted more!

 

 

This is the view from top of Soledad Mountain Road -

that 3 mile hill.  Pretty cool, huh?

 

I found another local group that was doing a fairly easy 30 mile ride on Sunday Ė or so the description saidÖ  It turned into 50 miles with a number of hills including one that is 3 miles.  It was incredible.  I certainly am not as strong as I was before but I was kicking a$$ and taking names! 

 

But wait thereís one more ride to tell.  Today Tuesday the 21st I did another 53 miles of hard fast riding.  Iím back to averaging a speed of 16 miles an hour again.  And yes I did the 3 mile hill again!  It is unbelievable to me how hard and fast Iím riding.  Am I sore? No, not really.  Iím not forcing myself as much as you might think.  My body wants to do this!

 

So if youíre keeping track, in 9 days Iíve done 4 rides totaling 196 miles!  Iím back to riding every other day.  Thursday Iím planning a longer easier ride to Coronado and back (~65 miles).

 

Howís the bike doing?  Surprisingly well.  Considering that the frame is bent it only occasionally has shifting problems and they arenít that bad.

Howís my hand doing?  Every day itís a little better.  That first ride I did on the Monday the 13th, bumps in the road jarred the hand enough to cause a good bit of pain.  Now a week later that rarely happens.  Unfortunately, my left thumb still isnít

strong enough to push the shift lever and thatís OK.  The left hand controls the three large gears and 85% of the time Iím in the second large gear.  The right thumb controls the 7 minor gears and those are shifted constantly.  When I need to up shift the large gears my right hand is able to reach over and do it. 

 

I donít know when Iím going to be able to ride the new road bike.  Iím due for another x-ray and Iíll see how the bone is doing.  The body posture of the road bike puts pressure directly on the broken bone.  Whereas the first bike doesnít at all.  So Iím in no hurry to take a chance of re-injuring the bone.

 

All in all, Iím very lucky and grateful.  Considering the three falls I had last month, Iím grateful to be back training so quickly.  Iím surprised and excited with how quickly my body got back into training mode.  And most of all it feels so good to be training again!

 

Iím back with a VENGEANCE!!

 

 

 

May 21, 2009 - The Launching of The Red Rocket 

 

I started riding the new road bike on May 8; her full name is The Red Rocket (or Red for short).  The bike is named after her attributes.  The acceleration and handling are amazing compared to my other bike.  To use a car analogy, my hybrid bike is a 1972 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon (with fake wood paneling on the side) and the road bike is a new Porsche.  The perfect line from a movie to describe Red would be from The Philadelphia Story, ďMy she is yar.Ē  (Katharine Hepburnís character described a sail boat as ďYarĒ - meaning quick to the helm and fast.)  And the Red Rocket sure is. 

In other news, last week I started training two days on and one day off and until May 13, the farthest I had ever ridden at one time was 64 miles and on the 13th, I rode 84 miles.  It took all day, but I did it!  That week I rode the most miles Iíve ever ridden in one week Ė 350 miles.  For the last few weeks I had been averaging around 200 miles per week.  I could really feel the extra 150 miles.  Not that I was sore; but, more my legs and butt muscles were tight and would go into spasm occasionally. 

 

Meet The Red Rocket!

A Few Training Statistics:

 

  • Started training in October 2008

  • Total miles ridden: 2100

  • Miles ridden since February 1, 2009: 1500 (I didnít ride from March 12 to April 9 because of the broken bone in my hand)

  • Most miles ridden in one week: 350

  • Farthest single day ride: 84 miles

  • Last weekís average single day ride: 70 miles

 

  • The LifeCycle Ride is over 550 miles in seven days

    • The shortest dayís ride is 63 miles and the longest is 107

 

My goal remains to ride every mile.  Given the above statistics and my physical reaction to the 150 mile increase in a week, the goal would seem very difficult to achieve.

 

So whatís my strategy?  There will be 4 full rest stops with food, drinks, bike support, toilets etc and a lunch stop Ė 5 stops in all.  My plan is simple, to ride from rest stop to rest stop and not look at the dayís ride in total.  Take long breaks 20-30 minutes at each.  Stretch often.  And most of all, take my time.  Iím planning on being on the road by 7:30am and riding, if needed, until the route closes at 6:30pm.   My training rides are usually fast enough to push myself continually. During the LifeCycle Ride, I will intentionally slow down, savor the beauty of the road, take my time and not push myself to go faster.  I have nothing else I need to do except ride the bike.

 

Do I think I will make my goal?  Eryn, the owner of my bike shop said, ďDonít come back until youíve ridden every mile.Ē  So I guess Iím going to have toÖ :-)

 

What are my thoughts about the Ride to this point?  Iím really looking forward to it and really looking forward to it being over.  The training has been long and hard.  But, Wa-Hoo the best part is almost here!

 

Next entry will be what the Ride was like!

 

Thank you again for all your words of support and donations.  

 

 

May 29, 2009 Ė On the Eve before the Ride

 

Iím in LA getting ready for the Ride.  Yesterday I bought a lot of things for it Ė decorations for the bike, the tent and me.  For example: Day five on the Ride is Red Dress Day and at Target I found a great skirt.  I bought red silk flowers to put in my helmet.  I got pinwheels to put out in front of the tent and battery operated Chinese lantern.  Iíll make sure to get a lot of pictures.  Iím getting excited as it becomes more real.  Iíve arranged a carpool up to San Francisco with 3 other people (2 riders and 1 roadie).  No one knows any one.  Last year I hitched a ride up with a couple and had a blast!  Based on how fun the emails with the 3 other people have been I know the ride to SF will be a fun adventure too.

 

Yesterday, I road from Woodland Hills to Burbank - a total of 53 miles.  I averaged 19 miles/hour, which is a pretty darn good cruising speed.   Just a few months ago the farthest Iíd ridden was 36 miles and was averaging 12 miles/hour.  In total Iíve ridden ~2200 miles.  The number blows me away.  Iím very proud of myself for what Iíve accomplished. 

 

While I was riding yesterday, I started singing and feeling happy and strong and I thought how lucky I am to have this experience.  My mood and strength yesterday bodes very well for the Ride.  

 

 

 

I look forward to sharing some wonderful stories with you.

 

After all the months of training, part of me canít believe itís finally here.  Iím excited and very much looking forward to this adventure.  I have some ideas of what Iím in for from being a roadie last year.  There will be a lot of firsts for me: riding 550 miles in one week, riding 107 miles on day two and riding 7 days in a row.  This isnít a race and my only goal is ride every mile and each day I will have about 11 hours to complete the dayís ride.  Iíll have lots of support and 550 miles of spandex clad butts to keep me going. ;-)

 

My concerns are: 1) My knees.  On and off Iíve had problems mostly with my left knee. 2) How my body will deal with riding every day for 7 days in a row.  On a road bike like Red, I feel every bump in the road and bad roads can be very jarring to the hands, head, neck, shoulders and back side.

 

Iíll let you know how it all turns outÖ In just hours, I will be off for an adventure!!  Wa-Hoo!!!

 

I want to thank you all again for your generous donations and words of support. 

 

 

The Story of the Ride

 

I wanted an adventure, and I got one!

 

I left LA for San Francisco at 4am Saturday May 30 and went straight to orientation.  I carpooled up with three other people -2 other riders and the driver was doing sweep (he would drive the course all day picking up riders in trouble or who for some reason decided on to continue).  The ride up was filled with excitement and good expectations.

 

Orientation takes most of the day.  We watch a safety video, get a tent and tent mate, turn in final donations, check in bikes etc.  This year there were 2100 riders and 500 roadies and a couple hundred volunteers to help process us through.  There is a line for everything.  I saw people I knew from last year and had fun.  There's a wonderful feeling of family and that makes sense.  Everyone - rider and roadie - are going to be working VERY hard for the next 7 days.  Everyone will have very long days, challenges, joys and pain.

 

Orientation and Ride Out were at the Cow Palace in Daily City.  Note: the row of 18 Budget trucks for our gear. 

 

 

Opening Ceremonies

Believe it or not there were about 5000 people all together.

 

 

 

 

Red and me at Ride Out.

 

 

 

 

2100 riders all leaving at once.  Probably took 45 minutes for everyone to get on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

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