Saturday, December 31, 2011

When I first started this blog, it was right after I had been blogging for AIDS/LifeCycle 4 in 2005 and I was a little addicted to writing.  In time this addiction fell off, although my thoughts never did.  Every morning in the shower I have thoughts that I think I really should write down, but never get around to doing it.  It's now almost seven years later and I'm gonna try to start this up again.

I don't blog for you to see, I blog for me to get it off my mind.  Sometimes what I think won't be so nice and really I don't care.  I'm not here because I want you to comment on anything, I'm here to write what I am currently thinking.  Sometimes it won't make sense, sometimes it will.  Sometimes I'll have correct grammar and spelling, sometimes I won't.  If your read it or not really doesn't matter.

My sister died of lung cancer a year ago October.  It was a hit that I was not ready for, nor was anyone else in my family.  It made me think of life, what moves people- what drives people and what makes people die, or want to die.  It also made me strongly realize what I don't want around me in my life and that's negative stuff that puts out negative energy.

Easy to say of course, but much harder to keep out.  I try to stay away from people who constantly swear and use the f-bomb, for instance, because for me that hits me as negative energy.  Although the other person could care less and doesn't see it that way, I do care that the energy comes to me that way and so I will try my best to politely avoid it when I can.  I try to stay away from worry, especially of things I cannot do anything about or cannot directly affect. I smile and laugh even when I may not be so happy, because I know that action for me, will make me happy.

This is probably why I was so drawn to AIDS/LifeCycle that first year and wanted to make it a part of my life.  For the past almost 10 years I have surrounded myself with folks who for the most part are always upbeat, happy and striving for a successful goal most of the year.  When folks become negative, unhappy or depressed I simply stay away.  I've found that when I try to help, it rather brings me down and pulls out my negativeness which is not where I want to be.

That's me.  Take it or leave it.

I anticipate that this Ride, ALC 11 will be my tenth and my last to ride.   There are other things I want to do in the world, other goals to attain, other jobs to do.  Don't hold me to this though, I have been known to change my mind a few times.  There are other groups of people out there who I want to engage with, and contrary to popular belief cycling is not necessarily my first love, my family is my first love and hanging with them is actually my favorite thing to do these days.  In time I'm sure I'll find even more people to engage with that I will also enjoy.

My mother is now 90 years old and she and I know that our time together is precious and limited, so we laugh and make fun of each other as much as we can.  She annoys the hell out of me, but she is not negative--- ok her opinion filters are gone which means she says what she thinks out loud--- but she, like I try to laugh and every stupid thing in life.  I try not to let her dwell on sad things, and keep her matter of fact whenever I can.  I'm sure I annoy her just as much.

The season for ALC training is upon us.  I lead a training ride on Fridays from the Golden Gate Bridge to points north.  I still remember growing up in San Jose, and not even knowing that there was anything on the other side of that bridge, and now I live there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Year... Another Ride... Another Job.

Wow, I didn't realize that I had abandoned this blog...over a year ago! Okay well I promise to pick it up again so that you can all know what I'm up to.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More on the days to come...

Day 3-   QUADBUSTER and of course the BBQ lunch in the town of Bradley...  Quadbuster... a long hill.  Not steep but a steady climb.  Its actually one of the more fun climbs because all along the way there are people cheering you on up the hill.  Enjoy it.  The first time I rode,  I burst into tears when I got to the top as everything I had trained for brought me to that point. (little did I know I'd have more tearful goals reached that week).   

Day 3 is also the day we ride on Highway 101.  YES, THE FREEWAY.  Keep this in mind:  you may NOT pass another rider unless you are both well within the white line.  And the road on the shoulder totally sucks with deep cracks and buckles in the asphalt.  So PAY ATTENTION and listen for someone saying "on your left" because you'll need to move over to the right for them.  NO ONE MAY PASS OUTSIDE THE WHITE LINE. And if you are going to pass then SHOUT : "ON YOUR LEFT" BEFORE YOU GET TO THEM so they have time to mover over.
It's funny, once you climb Quadbuster you think your all done for the day.LOL!  Day 3 is usually a very warm day, right now it's forecast for 85 to 90 degrees so wear layers and plan accordingly.  

Day 4-  Paso Robles to Santa Maria:  This is the day we reach the halfway point in our ride.  The pull off for taking a picture with the "halfway to L.A." sign is on the left side of the highway so be extremely careful when you pull off.  Unofficially, many people stop in Cayucos for coffee (or if you get there 'round 11:30 you can have burgers and fries as it comes just before the lunch stop).  Also on Day 4 is an unofficial stop in Pismo Beach for World Famous Cinnamon Rolls.  I used to stop and eat a cinnamon roll and iced coffee so that I would BLAZE through the rest of the route.  Just remember that, THAT kind of sugar rush drops with a thud.. so make sure you still stop at each rest stop to grab a small snack.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thoughts per day...

Day Zero aka Orientation Day:  don't get there at the break of dawn, or even at 10am when we start. It's waaay too crowded and will annoy the heck out of you.  Come around noon or 1 (in fact be sure to eat first!).  The lines are the worst first thing in the morning.  Do, however, be sure to give yourself at least 2-3 hours to get it all done (depending on what your E-ticket says we still need from you).  Bring along some water too, not a bad idea to start pre-hydrating before Day 1!!  If you have additional donations to bring, then print up your donor forms (they're in your participant center!), make sure you have one or each donor and have them all filled out ahead of time.  This will save you from having to fill each one out while you're there.  And no, the pledge office will not do it for you. 

Day 1:  DO get there BEFORE the crack of dawn.  Give you bag to your gear truck roadie but make sure you have EVERYTHING you'll need for that days ride like:  your cycling shoes, gloves, sunglasses, water bottles, etc.
Eat something... you will likely get up at oh, say 4am or earlier?  You'll eat breakfast then and by the time we ride out (7 or so) you will be hungry again.  Bring a little snack (I bring PB& J sandwich) to eat just before ride out.
Day 1 is the only day that all 2300+ of you will be riding out at the same time.  This means you need to pace yourself and do not get all hot and bothered about going too slow!!  I have seen many an accident happen in the first 12 miles of the ride because people get all freaked out about riding too slow. ... better to ride too slow than to not ride at all because of a broken collarbone!!  I'm SERIOUS!!
Stop to take pictures often!! For some of you this will likely be the first and last time you'll ride your bike from SF to LA, you might as well have some proof to show the grandkids!  
PACE YOURSELF!  it's only Day 1 and you have to have some energy for Day 2, which is one of the longer mileage days of the week!  The route does not close until 7pm (hint- the later you are, the shorter the lines are for the shower!). 
Think about this:  pack a little compact totebag (the kind that fold up into themselves- most sporting goods stores sell them) or a fishnet bag-- some small bag that will fit into your seatbag, or fit into your jersey pocket.  At the end of the day you can use that bag to carry your water bottles, helmet, gloves, sunglasses, etc with you without having to juggle it all when you go over to the truck to get your gear.  ALSO A GOOD HINT- PUMP YOUR TIRES NOW, instead of in the morning.  You WILL lose a little air over night, but not much. In the morning, the line for the pumps will be hella long.  Some folks wait until rest stop 1 to pump their tires, but its been my experience that even there the pump line is long (and they have less pumps to go around).  

Walk over to your gear truck, grab your bag and your tent (unless your tentmate already has) and find your spot on the grid.  Set up your tent.  It's easy and fast and if you ask anyone around you they will be glad to help, I promise!
Grab something to snack on from Camp Services (they will have all of the leftover snacks from the rest stops).  Eat something while you wait in line for the shower, or better yet- go eat first (dinner starts serving at 4 and goes til 9) and then go take a shower.  Again, the shower lines are shorter later.  But be sure to eat because otherwise you could bonk while standing in the shower!

Get to the dining tent for evening announcements every night at 7:30.  There will be information you'll need to know for the next days ride, as well as some pretty special announcements.

Day 2-  Especially TODAY, plan to get up EARLY and get on the road when the route opens at 6:30!!  It is Monday morning, and we are trying to get out of Santa Cruz along with all of the Monday morning commuters!!  Again, be PATIENT!!
Today there is an unofficial stop in Castroville for artichokes!  It is a tradition that folks stop there to have either deep fried or steamed artichokes. My advice? Go with the steamed artichokes.  They are ready to go, there are no lines for them, they are better for you and hell, they won't come back to visit you at mile fifty like the deep fried ones will....
Also day 2- an Otter Pop & water stop at the Mission Soledad.  Be sure to go in and check out the Mission, it is quite a beautiful place.  

Also to note-- the winds will likely be crazy:  headwinds, tailwinds, crosswinds and the rider in front of you breakin' wind... from those deep fried artichokes I tell ya!

more to follow.... I'm gettin' sleepy!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

What? How? Where?

Keep in mind, this is my personal blog... my annoyingly picky comments are my own....

First off let me just say... most of the answers to your ALC 8 questions are in your Participant Center, or on the main page of .  But here are some FAQ's I seem to be getting regularly these days:

1) What happens if I don't raise the minimum by Orientation Day? Well, you have some choices:  a) don't ride  b) put up a Donation Guarantee on your own (again- see your participant center for the details on the donation guarantee program) c) fund the rest entirely yourself (without doing the donation guarantee).  You must have $3k in your account on Orientation Day or you may not ride on ALC 8.

2) Do my donors get a refund if I don't ride?  No.  This is a fundraising ride, they are not "paying you" to ride, they are donating money to the SF AIDS Foundation and you needed to fundraise a certain amount of money to do this ride.  This is a tax deductible donation too, by the way.

3) If I have already made my minimum and I have more than $3k in my account, can I transfer funds to another rider?  Once the money is posted to your account, it is your fundraising dollars and funds not transferable. C'mon people, its about raising lots of money for a very important cause!!  Everyone should be working hard to raise their own money... 

However, if someone hands you a check made out to ALC...  you could consider giving that physical check to someone else... but just remember that anyone who donates money to YOU thinks that they are donating to YOU.  They will get a donation thank you letter from the Foundation thanking them for making a donation to XYZ Rider, if that money is not posting to your YOUR account then they will get a letter thanking them for their donation to that person you gave the check to... does that make sense?

4) How do I get a tent assignment?  Well, you can do it online if you raise your minimum $3k by May 15th.  Once you hit the minimum, a notice will show up in your Participant Center (there's that word again!)  If you have a tentmate in mind, then if they are at $3k too, you can do online tenting.  If not, then you will need to go to Tent Assignment on Orientation Day (aka Day Zero)

5) How big are the tents?  8' x 8' 

6) How do I get home?   You are responsible for getting yourself home from the Ride.  If you are in SF and want to ship your bike back to SF, you can do so via McCollister's.  Information on bike shipping can be found in the Travel Planner (again, that's in your Participant Center).  If you are in L.A and need to ship you bike up to SF for the start, again my suggestion is to use McCollister's.

7) What is Red Dress Day?  Red Dress day is a special day where all riders wear something red on Day 5.  With all of us riding the hills between Santa Maria and Lompoc, we look like one big red AIDS ribbon.  It's quite a sight!  Wearing red is not mandatory, but I will tell you the first year I wore pink because I didn't own anything red and I still felt pretty out of place!

8) Packing?  Your sleeping bag, pad (or air mattress) and all of your gear needs to fit into one bag that cannot exceed 50lbs (okay really its more than that, but do your gear truck roadies a favor and try not to exceed 50lbs).   It's easier if your bag is on wheels, but again not mandatory if you are ok lugging it from one spot in camp to another.  Each camp is set up differently so you never know how far your gear truck will be from your tent grid.

9) Weird things I pack?   A cheapie shower cap to put over my seat at night while its in bike parking.  Parking is outdoors so you will get quite a bit of dew on your bike.  Also I carry a little collapsible tote bag (it folds down to about 2"x3" and has a keyhook on it - sportsbasement carries them) that fits in my seatbag.  At the end of the day, I open up the tote and put my helmet, gloves, and water bottles into it so its easier for me to carry around... from there I go over to the truck to get my gear bag so I don't want to be trying to carry all of my crap in my helmet hoping that it won't fall out and be lost!

10) What if I can't ride every mile? Then get off your bike and take a sweep to the next rest stop and from the rest stop wait for the SAG bus to pick you up and take you to camp!  Don't hurt yourself trying to be the martyr and ride every mile.  You have already raised three thousand dollars!! you are already a hero!!

that's it for now... or at least all that I can think of for now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sample Fundraising Letter...

Here is a copy of a fundraising email I sent out last year, just after Tax Day... feel free to plagiarize whatever you need to finish up on your fundraising.

Hi Everyone!  Happy New Tax Year! (I'm sure you're now looking for a good deduction?)

Once again I will be riding 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in AIDS/Lifecycle 7.  This is my annual "annoy you to ask for a donation" email, the first of a few to ask for a (tax deductible!) donation to my goal of $5,000.

The past year has been a difficult one for my very good friend, Michael F.- who is a cycling buddy and also a Positive Pedaler.  After years of taking the same meds and maintaining a decent number of T-cells, and having the ability to ride his bike from SF to LA TWICE- he has recently had to be hospitalized and his t-cell count has gotten dangerously low.  He is now on a new cocktail of pills and they are hoping to get him on the mend ("and back on his bike too, damnit!" he says) soon.  

That is only one of the reminders of why I choose to ride each year.  Not only for those whom I remember, but for those who are the face of AIDS and HIV in my life.

Now remember someone you have lost, or think of that great person you know who struggles with HIV.  Chances are you know someone, or know someone who knows someone.  That is how widespread AIDS still is.  Young people in the U.S are at persistent risk for HIV infection, especially youth of minority races and ethnicities.

Your donation to my AIDS/Lifecycle Ride will go directly to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in support of the services it provides both locally and globally.

Thanks in advance for even considering it for a moment! 

Please donate here:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What to pack it all in....

This is the bag I have used the past 6 ALC rides.  Well, ok the first 4 years it was this bag in purple, and then the last 2 years it was this actual bag... with my monogram (Brown) on it!

Your bag must weigh no more than 70 lbs (but hey, please don't stuff it just because you're allowed 70lbs!) and hold your clothing for 7 days, your sleeping bag and your pad (thermarest or air mattress).  You COULD tie your sleeping bag to the outside of your bag, but with a bag this big you won't need to.

This particular bag is the Rolling Adventure Duffle from LL Bean.  In Extra Large, it is $99.50 so be sure that you are planning to use it a few more times to make it worth your while.  

Packing:  Start looking for 2 gallon ziploc bags.  I use 1 bag for each day of cycling clothing- my shorts, jersey, sport bra, socks and bandana.  At the end of each day, my stinky clothes go into the ziploc bag, and my clothes for the next day go into my sleeping bag so that my body heat can keep the clothes warm for the next morning, when I have to put them on before daybreak.  At the end of the week, the ziploc bags all get emptied directly into my washing machine (eeeeuuuuww!)

Wondering about more?  Stay tuned, or drop me an email to ask me!