Sunday, July 9, 2006

Back on the bike. I moseyed around the bay all afternoon and I had a great time. First, I went over to rincon hill to visit my friends Chris and David. I hung put with them for an hour and then headed down third street down to the bayshore district. I headed over to Little Hollywood which is a pretty neighborhood stuck in an unfavorable location bordered by caltrain, a recycling center, the 101, and candlestick point, Not the greatest location but it's a cute little neighborhood with lots of 40's architecture and a growing korean population. Loved it. Then I headed down Tunnel ave to Brisbane and then to the airport. I watched planes taking off and that was really fun. I saw the KLM MD11 at the gate which was a treat because that's about my favorite aircraft in about my favorite livery. Nice! I saw the British Airways 747 coming in looking very elegent. Swank! I also saw a Singapore 777. Not my favorite aircraft to look at but I'm a big fan of singapore and it was nice to see it. Came back the same way except I hit McClaren part on the way in. So it was a lot of hills but not so much grunt work. A really fun day. But I forgot sunscreen so I"m a little burned and I'm kinda tired tonite.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Home alone!

Jeff's out of town until the 6th of July.  The dogs think armageddon is upon us.  The house has assumed a gloomy pallor kinda like Tara right after the burning of Atlanta but before as god as my witness I'll never be hungry again.  But it's only a week to go and I'm sure he'll be back before I lock myself in the study and begin hoarding cats. 

Pride was a lot of fun last weekend. I went out to the beach with Nick and Jason and Cat and their dog Trevor who had lots of fun frolicking in the dunes and playing in the water and totally made us forget that it was about fifty five degrees and really foggy.  Then we walked back through the park.  I saw a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before.  There's a pretty new pond and path that they've put in that evidently already comes with a ranty old man.  We also met a twenty year old dog (either a small samoyed or a large spitz) and its owner who seemed the dogs relative age in human years.  I ended up getting on the train at 14th st and went home to feed the dogs and myself.  Then I went to Dolores Park to meet my friend Vic and his cure friend Sean who was throwing a dance party at a restaurant by the pride celebration the next day that I was unfortunately too wiped out to attend.  Then I went and visited with Chris and David downtown.  We hung out for a couple of hours and then went to the castro.  It was crazy.  Lots of suburban fags running about and way too drunk for 10PM.  I went home pretty early.

I had to get up pretty early for the parade.  I rode with Different Spokes and we were really early on in the parade.  Right behind "Mikes on Bikes" and ahead of the Cheer SF folks.  The mikes on bikes were an interesting bunch.  Some of them were nude.  One of them was wearing the plow_king outfit down to the crown.  It was awesome.  A few of us got invited to their post parade orgy.  Alas, my invite must have gotten lost in the mail.  The parade is pretty short for the paraders--  only from spear st to 8th st so we were done pretty quickly.  But it's really fun to be in the parade and there were a LOT of people out to watch.  After, I hung out at the booth for a while.  I concluded that we were the best looking bunch of all the groups in the "jock block" section at pride.  Close runner up were the scuba boys.  At the tail end were the karate guys because a couple of them were hanging out in briefs (and they really, really shouldn't have been) mystifyingly reapplying sunscreen every ten minutes like it was the first part of some mating ritual that I was absolutely not going to wait around to see how it ended.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I only took three pictures the whole lifecycle but luckily other people were a little more vigilant.  I'll be fleshing out my ride narrative in the next couple of weeks with pictures from other people.  Thanks Brook for the pics!  You're the greatest!

Monday, June 12, 2006

I spent most of sunday unpacking and getting situated.  I'm back in San Francisco for the rest of the year which I'm actually excited about because I've been gone so much and it's good to be back.  I was on my bike by 10am on Sunday morning running errands and doing hills.  Aren't I nuts??  This ride was really fun for me because I love my bike and I love biking.  But not everybody on the ride feels that way.  For every person who's like me who looks forward to the training and the riding there are two people who hate their bike and hate training and hate riding and are only doing it because they're alive and somebody they loved is not.  The day they cure AIDS these riders are going to be the ones putting there bicycles in their driveways and driving over them until all that is left of them is flattened metal and carbon.  These are the riders who impress me the most.  I hope I was helpful enough to them. 

Day 7 - Los Angeles - 60 miles

I looked for my bike for 49 minutes at bike parking before finding it.  Ouch!  Next year I'm paying more attention to where I leave it.  The ride was fantastic, fast through Ventura to Oxnard past Pt Magu and then through Malibu.  I got in before eleven.  My pal Nick was such a champ for collecting me.  Let's review all the things he did:

1)  Got up at 6 am on a saturday

2)  Flew down to LA

3)  Rented a car for the day (convertible!  swanky!)

4)  Collected me withing ten minutes of me getting off my bike

5)  Took me out for indian food which was so good

6)  Took me sight seeing at these beatiful canals around Venice beach

7)  Got me to the airport in plenty of time

8)  Got me drunk at the bar

9)  Dropped me off at my place in san francisco. 

Good job Nick!  You're a quality pimp. 

Day 6 - Ventura - 80 miles

Fun Fun day.  It started with a very slow, very gradual climb up over some coastal mountains followed by a screaming descent down to the coast.  Then a fast ride down the one into ventura which has my favorite campsite-- right on the beach.  I ran into my friend Elise from the paradise ride in 2002!  She was riding and looked fabulous!  There were a lot of former paradise ride alum on the lifecycle this year.  Too bad they aren't going to put that ride on again because it was so much fun. 

Day 5 - Lompoc - 41 miles + 8 bonus miles

Just because this day is short doesn't make it easy.  There were two significant hills this day.  The first one was one of my favorites so I did it three times (the bonus miles).  Don't think I'm crazy, Ben did the second of the hills (the easier one) TEN times that day.  It's a tradition for this day for the riders to dress in red or better yet to wear a red dress.  I actually saw a drag queen in like five inch heels, one of which had cleats.  Amazing.  I didn't do that.  I wore a red sleeveless jersey and my red armwarmers and liberally applied some red rouge to my cheeks which prompted some woman at pit one medical tent to say to me "I'm very concerned about the sunburn on your cheeks".  Yikes!  Guess I won't be wearing it to work.

Day 4 - Santa Maria - 97 miles

This day has a lot going on.  It started with coastal hills to Morro Bay.  We hit the halfway point for the ride about twenty miles out of Paso Robles which is where I took the only pics I took all week.  Then, we headed south through San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach.  And Pismo beach is so pretty and the terrain so easy that you think you're done.  But no, there's still hills, a crazy sidewind, another rest stop, and a wild tailwind before getting to Santa Maria.  Winds weren't as hard as last year, but then again I was pretty early.  I couldn't get up to 30mph with the tailwinds coming into Santa Maria.  But I tried.  Lousy 29.5. 

Day 3 - Paso Robles - 78 miles

The camp in Paso Robles is very hot and everything is a bit of a walk which makes this camp problematic.  But I had a great ride day.  I did get a flat but it was as I was coming into camp at the end of the day so I didn't have to fix it on the road which was nice.  Camp was very hot and I was very tired and I went to bed early and left my tent door open which has evidently resulted in some photos of me sleeping on top of my sleeping bag wearing boxer shorts that didn't turn out to be as full coverage as I would have hoped.  No it won't be in my thank you letter.

Day 2 - King City - 103 miles

This day is kinda flat and really long.  We headed up the Salinas valley from Santa Cruz and stayed at Kind City at the top of the valley.  There was an awesome tailwind at the end of the day which is always really fun.  The campsite is also really pretty.  A couple of riders got food poisoning, presumably from popsickles, but I wonder if it's because they were swimming in the river.  I had really wanted to go swimming but I get so focused while biking there's no way I can stop for more than ten minutes and swimming is out of the question.  Well, maybe next year.

Day 1 - Santa Cruz - 78 miles

Beautiful day, fast ride down the coast.  I saw Barbara from America By Bicycle from my tour last month coming down Skyline Blvd and said Hi.  They're supporting a ride up the coast.  Man they're on the road a lot.  It was foggy pretty much until I was coming into Santa Cruz and then it got pretty warm.  After setting up my tent, I infiltrated Cosco in search of diet coke.  They must have been onto us after I left, because they kicked out Dave and Michael when they went over because they weren't Cosco members.

Day 0 - Registration

I rode my bike to registration which was fun because I went over McLaren Park and stopped at the viewing area which was looking pretty.  And then that crazy downhill through Sunnyside projects where you're hoping nobody's feeling like target practice.  Registration was pretty quick and we got out of there without too much drama.  Ride leader jersies look great this year.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We leave on Sunday and I can't wait!  I got my bike checked out yesterday and it's OK but it will need a little work when I get back.  I rode out to the beach after work yesterday and it was really windy but really pretty.  Ashley's foot seems to be a lot better so I have one less thing to worry about.  Mimi, of course, has completely recovered and is back to romping around the house all day long.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I went on an AIDS lifecycle training ride this morning--  nothing very challenging just a slow 17 miles out to Tiburon on the flats.  The ride was staying for lunch and Margaritas and taking the ferry back.  I had a party in the afternoon so I ate my luna bar and headed back to San Francisco.  I felt a little sluggish and my bike definitely needs to get the gears tweaked but I think the rest of it will hold until after the AIDS lifecycle.  I'm going to head out tomorrow by myself.

Here's bike #2 that has been such a trooper this year. 

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day 0 for the AIDS lifecycle is one week from today and I'm very excited. I was a little worried that after my long tour I would not be looking forward to it but I'm so excited and I find that my fondness for biking has increased instead of waned. I've been taking little rides before work and taking the slow way home almost every night this week. I haughtily boasted that I wouldn't be experiencing an separation issues from my tour but last night, I blew off plans with my friend nick and proceeded to wash and lubricate first my three bikes, then Jeff's bike, then the neighbors upstairs' bikes and then there wasn't anything with two wheels left to work on.

I had to go to Kaiser for a check up on Wednesday and some 70 year only russian lady totally felt me up on the Geary bus on the way back. And I wasn't even in bike shorts. She tried to make off like it was an accident but it totally wasn't an accident because the bus wasn't really crowded and the length of contact was ... extended. I'm looking forward to my layout in AARP magazine where I'll be photographed scantily clad filling out the medicare drug benefit forms.

I'm very pleased with REI this week as well. They reassembled bike #2 and luckily my half assed packing job did not result in any trauma to my bike this time. I'm never packing my bike again!!! I wouldn't have this time but there was no other option because I needed it right away. And that bike goes to Lombardi where I get free gear adjustments because I bought it there but the only way I can make it there on a weekday is on my bike. So.... it had to be assembled at REI. They did a great job for $30. Can't beat that. I was back a few days later to get a gear adjustment on Bike #1. I could probably save a lot of money if I learned to do all this crap myself but I'd rather go to the professionals rather than risk my bike or my safety with my own crappy repairs. My cleaning skills are pretty good though.

Today we had to go out to the Richmond to get a smog cert for my truck. And it passed! It turns 10 next month and shows no signs of slowing down. We had lunch at a Korean place and I had Bi Bim Bop which is about my favorite and it came in the hot stone bowl which made it better still.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I got up early and had a nice bike ride this morning.  Nice to see I'm still interested in biking.  My bike is assembled at REI and I'm going to go get it after work.  I'm excited that it wasn't ruined because I had to pack it myself and I did a crappy job.  The guy at REI was a real trooper and didn't scold me on my half assed effort but rather showed me the important parts on my bike I'd neglected to proptect.  Ouch! 

Monday, May 22, 2006

Back to work!  I've been eating all day like some kind of crazy person.  Today it's OK but I've got to get back to regular diet pretty quickly or I won't be very happy with the results.  Taking my bike to get reassembled after work.  I need it for this weekend because I've got a training ride because I'm kinda out of shape :)

Day 28 - Travel Day SAV-SFO

Woke up at 6:30 very hungry.  I had a nice breakfast with Klaus who seemed a little sullen until he realized there was a waffle maker--  which I might point out that he has mastered the use of to the point that he knew there was a waffle maker in the room because he could recognize the ding it made when it was done cooking.  Stan took us to the airport where I hung out until my flight.  Flew on Delta Savannah to Atlanta and then Atlanta to San Francisco.  The flight to Atlanta was on an MD88 and it was really neat because it's such a short flight they don't need a lot of fuel and we were off like a rocket when we took off.  Easily made my connections to a 767-400 that was continuing to Honolulu and was back to rainy San Francisco in the late afternoon.  Jeff made me cold soba noodles for dinner and they were just delicious.  Had trouble getting to sleep because of the lack of exercise that day but eventually drifted off in my comfy comfy bed.

Day 27 - Savannah, GA - 105 Miles

Today was a fun day.  Hot but fun.  It was a reasonably flat, fast ride from Vidalia to Savannah.  The countryside is beautiful and got prettier and prettier the closer we got to the coast.  Everybody seemed to have a good day and nobody got into too much trouble.  I finished pretty early so I took a brief tour of Fort Pulaski out on Tybee island. 

When everyone was assembled we biked the final five miles to the beach to dip our wheels in the Atlantic and then then we were done. 

We went to the hotel, I had to box my bike, and then I went for a fun but fast walk around Savannah. 

Then we had our final banquet and it was time to go to bed.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Day 26 - Vidalia, GA - 103 miles

The days have been getting a LOT easier as we head for the coast.  Honey, we're racing through Georgia faster than Sherman did.  We saw a lot of farmland today and we went through a few cute little towns.  Vidalia, unfortunately, is not one of them.  There's a lot of traffic and all I saw were highways and trucks.  There's probably a lovely part to Vidalia but I'm not sure where that is and we missed the onion festival.  Tomorrow we go to Savannah and our journey is finally over.  I'm really looking forward to going home but I've had a fabulous time.  Here's a pic of me in our kitschy hotel room. 

The news from home is that Mimi needs to drink more water so we're going to be introducing a consumme course to their dinner in hopes that she'll drink more and Ashley will eat less.  Man are we whipped.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 25 - Perry, GA - 97 miles

Today had a lot of variety.  We started out going through a beautiful river walk up to Fort Benning.  Then we headed through rolling hills through Buena Vista, GA and Ellaville to Perry.  It's a beautiful town with friendly people.  I enjoyed a vegetarian meal at Arby's with the staff who were eating waiting for the dinner rush to start.  Then I headed back to the hotel.  Only two days left!  Here's a pic of Johannes and I from the cracker barrel gift shop.  They have all sorts of genuine country things.

The news is all abuzz over the bigoted same sex marriage ban they have in Georgia being thrown out on a technicality and the governer is going to call a special session to protect the good people of Georgia from -- you guessed it -- me.  It would seem that I'm such a threat to the southern states that it's a wonder I haven't been whisked off to Guantanamo by now.

Day 24 - Columbus, GA - 110 miles

Today started off with some horrible news.  The ride leader Mike's mother was taken ill suddenly and he had to leave the ride to go make preparations.  We bade him goodbye and started off on our day.  First, we made a visit to the Emerald Mountain Christian School to visit the kids who had been following our journey via or postcards and updates from the ride staff.  They were very sweet.  Here's a picture of Rachael posing with some horrible rasberry twinkies I'd gotten her. 

Then, we went through Tuskegee, AL.  Gorgeous!  Small, quaint, friendly, and southern.  Also the home of a fine University:


and the home of  George Washington Carver

Nice!  The rest of the day was a little dull--  nothing but pine trees and single wides.  After a confusing detour, we finally made our Alabama Getaway into Columbus, GA.  Our last state!  It's a town outside of  Fort Benning that has a beautiful downtown.  We stayed pretty close to it, but our hotel was stocked with so much white trash I was wondering where the tractor pull was.  I babysat one of the rider's dog while he was at dinner and we went for a little walk through the historic district:

Then I watched the final of America's Next Top Model (go Danielle!) and went to bed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day 23 - Prattville, AL - 120 Miles

Another big climbing day in Alabama with 6000 feet of climbing.  Who knew there were so many hills in Alabama?  Besides the Alabamans.  I started the day in a crappy mood because I saw a reelection campaign commercial for the Alabama governor pledging to "defend the sanctity of marriage".  From me.  Yep, you heard it here first..  the good people of Alabama need to be protected from me and my insidious desire to have the same rights as everybody else.  Unbelievable.  I keep forgetting the thing I liked least about the south was not the heat or the poverty but the bigotry.  And whether you're a bigot with a hood and a burning cross or a bigot with a bible in one hand and republican national funding in the other you're still a bigot.  And that means you too Bill Frist.  The record will show that I knew that Jeff was the man for me the second we met and I married him the first chance I got.  If that threatens your marriage than you're relationship has problems that keeping us down isn't going to fix.

So I was pretty pissed for the first few hours but I finally got over it when I found two adorable puppies playing in their front yard.  Luckily for Jeff I couldn't keep them but they were so sweet--  lab hound dog mutts and I think I saw their daddy a little further up the hill.  Most of the day was pretty monotonous.  Trees and single wides with an odd farm or two.  We stayed way away from populated regions for some reason so I focused on staying on top of the hills and trying to get in a good run.  Which I did.  After lunch I headed into Prattville, a cute little town outside of Montgomery.  It has an old cotton gin factory that is very pretty.

and also a pretty victorian-- although it could be Antebellum it looks 1870's to me or maybe a little later.

I got totally lost on the way to the hotel and ended up on a busy road and the motorists were not happy about it at all.  Man everybody seems awful wound up in this town.  With all the honking and shouting and cursing I heard you would of thought I was walking down the street buck naked with a burning flag in one hand and wiping my butt with the bible with the other.  Sheesh!  I wonder if they make Xanax in town size?  Tomorrow we're off to Georgia!  I can't wait.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Day 22 - Tuscaloosa, AL - 110 miles

Today had 5000 feet of climbing but it was all rolling hills so I didn't have any problem with it.  We're in Alabama now!

Note that my bike is the only one pointed into Alabama.  Ain't no way I'm going back to Mississippi.  Almost immediately I saw my first "Tara".  I expect I'll see many more versions of that house as we head towards Georgia.  Coming into Tuscaloosa, which I believe is an indian word meaning "hard to spell", we passed by Lake Lurleen which left me chuckling about Lurleen Lumpkin, the Simpson's favorite country singer:

Once I got into town, I went to the bike shop and got my handlebar tape replaced and my tires rotated.  The guys at the bike shop were really nice and did a lot of things on my bike for very little monry.  Also they were hot in a country fried way.  Then I took a short tour of the University of Alabama campus.  Man, they love their football here.  The bank machine actually played the Alabama fight song while it spits out your money!  The campus is enormous and very beautiful. 

This is the home of the president of the university.  Or maybe Coronel Sanders.  It's really kind of hard to tell.  Then I headed into the hotel to get ready for tomorrow.  120 miles to Prattville, AL.  Only five ride days left!

Day 21 - Aberdeen, MS - 135 miles

This was our last really long day, a backwoods ramble through rural Mississippi.  We were chased by many dogs and several of them meant business.  Aberdeen, MS has a small Antebellum neighborhood.  I was impressed by The Magnolias


The town itself, unfortunately did not hold up to it's architectural heritage.  There wasn't much in the form of food and the hotel restaurant evidently had a "animals only" policy.  So I had french fries and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.  But that only cost $1.65 because I brought the peanut butter.  On budget!  It's probably a good thing that this ride is winding down because I'm getting pretty skinny but at least I don't have zombie hands like Nicole Ritchie.  Yet...

At least I got to watch Simpsons although I also watched The Family Guy which did a Hitler bit which totally horrified Klaus.  I couldn't even explain it to him myself.  It was a little tense because the Germans don't find anything about Hitler funny AT ALL.  I don't blame them.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day 20 - Senatobia, MS - 112 Miles

We passed over the 2000 mile mark and there's less than a thousand to go.  As much as I'm looking forward to getting back to my life, I love riding and I love touring and I will be sad to see it end.  We left Arkansas today for Mississippi which is either a step up or a step down depending on whether you're from Arkansas or Mississippi.  Breakfast came out VERY slowly today, so we all lingered at the first SAG so we didn't get too far ahead.  Here's a picture of David and I.

David has Diabetes and has had to be very organized on this ride.  Check out his blog:

He's got a great attitude and has been a lot of fun to ride with, although he's so fast that I rarely see him. 

We crossed the Mississippi river today

Then we crossed the Mississippi delta region, home of some of the most grinding poverty in the south.  I felt threatened for the first time on this ride in Crenshaw, MS while enjoying a cold drink at a gas station where some of the locals seemed inordinately interested in the value of my bike.  I got the heck out of there and finished my diet Coke under the veranda at the local library.  Then we rode out of the delta to Senatobia in the rolling hills above it.  Gorgeous!  The land is covered in Kudzu and dotted with horsefarms and cattle pastures.  Our hotel is a lot nicer than anything we've seen since Ft. Smith and there are a bunch of OK choices for dinner.  Score!  Tomorrow is the last of out long days, 138 miles to Aberdeen.  I can't wait.  We have seven ride days left and eight until I see Jeff and the dogs.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Day 19 - Brinkley, AR - 100 miles + 15 bonus miles

Why the bonus miles??  Well I made a wrong turn right out of the hotel this morning and then I found myself in a town called Pickle Gap that made me think about pickles for ten minutes and then I realized I was heading north and not east.  I found a connecting highway through beautiful farmland that eventually met up with the main road, but I added a bunch of miles.

The rest of the day was fast with a hearty tailwind that left me going 29mph on the flats!  We rode through some swampland and rice farms  and finally ended up in Brinkley, Arkansas.  Brinkley is the kind of town that people make fun of Arkansas for.  Small, backward and strange.  They about had a heart attack at the Sonic when I ordered my BLT without Bacon and then I had to explain to them what a vegan was which almost sent them over the edge but luckily they had been told there'd be bikers in town so it didn't turn ugly.

I went  for Chinese and it was a bizarre experience.  First, the restaurant was actually staffed by chinese.  And these chinese had thick southern accents.  A chinese Bubba!  Second, their idea of chow mein is to deep fry the noodles until crispy and then serve them separately.  Ouch!  I avoided those entirely but luckily it also came with rice so I was able to have that with the vegetables and although it was a little weak in the taste department it filled me up.  Also, I got some onion rings and they were pretty good.

We are the only people at our hotel and I don't know why that is.  I've already told Klaus of my intention to use him as a corpse shield when the hillbillies come for us later tonight.  Tomorrow 112 miles to Senatobia, Mississippi.  I'm expecting a similar experience there but I'm avoiding Chinese food until I get back to San Francisco.

I'm all set for the AIDS Lifecycle.  I've made my fundraising minimum which is Fantastic.  I've got my tent situation set up with my friend Russ.  I can't wait!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day 18 - Conway, AR - 122 Miles

Fabulous day!  We had this crazy tail wind that left me with about a 20.9 mph average for the day.  Arkansas is beautiful.  Gently rolling hills and tons and tons of trees.  Gorgeous!  We're stopped for the day is Conway and the best thing I can say about it is that we won't be lingering.  But that's OK because the country is gorgeous and that's what I came here to see.

Here's a picture of myself and Rachael.  She's from England and experiencing Hostess porducts, one by one, for the very first time.  I personally recommended the pink snow balls that she enjoyed very much, and now she's moved on to Suzy Q's.  I believe Ho-Ho's are next on her list. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 17 - Fort Smith, AR - Rest Day

Fort Smith Arkansas was once known as the western most outpost of civilization.  Current sensibilities might put that point a little farther east.  I walked all around town today and I was almost ready to give up on dowdy Fort Smith until I stumbled upon the large, beautiful University of Arkansas campus.

Not a lot of people about but the campus was stunning.  In fact, pretty much the only other pedestrian I saw all day was Johannes, one of our riders.  Go figure.  Urban renewel has yet to come to Fort Smith, but there was a pretty rose garden downtown.

Tomorrow we're supposed to get pretty strong tailwinds.  Let's hope the weather forecaster is a little more accurate than the sign maker:

Tomorrow we're off to Conway, a little town north of Little Rock.  I can't wait.  We have ten ride days left.  I had chinese for dinner and my fortune cookie said "Use your abilities at this time to stay focused on your goal.  You will succeed."  Believe it.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Day 16 - Tuesday, May 9 - 105 Miles

Long day as well, despite the reduced mileage.  It was hot and we had some headwinds but it was a pretty day.  We're in the Ozarks now and they are green and gently rolling.  Our day ended in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  State #6!  We're having all sorts of tornados in the area this evening.  Sirens have been going off all night but I don't think it's going to amount to much but it might keep us up.

Day 15 - Monday, May 8 - 150 Miles

This was probably the hardest thing I've ever done on my bike.  It started out with eight or so miles of rolling hills.  Up and down.  Endless.  Like Oklahoma is corrogated or something.  After lunch there were a few problems with the map which added only six miles to my day but ten to other peoples.  Ouch!  Once we were back on the course, I passed a farm that had dozens of cow skulls on pikes all around the perimeter of the property.  Let me tell you as a former New Mexico resident.  One cow scull is an accent.  A dozen or more is Deliverence.  I wanted to take a picture but understood that display as nature's way of saying "Keep on movin'".  The last thirty miles were a lot easier and I managed to get a nice run in.  I blew past the mechanic going about 23 or 24 and he couldn't believe I had it in me after such a long day.  Believe it. 

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Day 14 - Sunday, May 7 - 125 Miles

Today was so much fun.  We rode through rural Oklahoma and ended up in Chickasha, OK, a beautiful little town I'm afraid I can't pronounce.  Well we're leaving tomorrow and I can only do so much.  The ride was so pretty!  I'm not sure what I thought central Oklahoma was going to look like, but it is certainly prettier than that.  We got chased by quite a few dogs, although only one of them was serious about it. 

We also hit the ride's halfway point.  Which makes me feel great.  I'm performing well, feeling good, and having a great time, but I've been gone two weeks and it's nice to feel like this trek is starting to wind down.  We did laundry and the hotel is really nice.  Tomorrow is a 145 mile day.  Do I have 145 miles in me??  You bet I do!

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Day 13 - Saturday, May 6 - 98 Miles

Another rainy headwindy day with no end in sight.  But it was less windy and less rainy so today was a huge improvement.  We left Texas behind and biked to Elk City, Oklahoma

This area is a lot hillier than I thought it would be and we had increasinly rolling hills as we came into Elk City.  Food options are limited here and I actually ate at Arby's.  Yes I found a vegan meal at Arby's and wasn't hustled out the door by the irate staff. 

We haven't been able to do laundry and Klaus put his wet stuff over the heater to dry and I came back to the whole room smelling like feet.  Yuck!  But admittedly the rank odor fit the crappy hotel we are staying in to a tee from the spooky sixties style pool to the science project of a bathroom.  Klaus apologized profusely and we pledged to do laundry tomorrow.

We have two long days coming up tomorrow and Monday and it looks like headwinds both days.  Ouch.  I'm sure I'll finish but it isn't going to be pretty.  We hit the halfway mark on our ride tomorrow and we'll be done in two weeks.  I'm having a lot of fun but I miss Jeff and the dogs so much and it's really hard to be gone so long.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Day 12 - Friday, May 5 - 110 miles

Headwinds again!  This time with rain and fog.  I was convinced we'd get no love from Texas today, but around mile 40 the weather managed to clear and I had a great afternoon.  I was the first one in by about 20 minutes today, mostly because of my hauling ass ahead of an impending storm.  Good thing I did because some of the riders behind me got hailed on.  Hail!  Tomorrow looks like more of the same but it's a shorter day and we'll be in Oklahoma.

Thursday, May 4, 2006


Day 11  - Thursday, May 4 - 95 miles

Welcome to Texas!  Today was another dayDay  of headwinds but I was better prepared for them had a much better day.  We're staying in Dalhart, TX a friendly town where a farmer actually drove slowly enough for me to follow him to the Wells Fargo bank.  Here's a pic of me at the border.


Tomorrow we go to Pampa, Texas with another day of headwinds, this time with rain.  Well I was probably too dry anyway.  Headwinds are not my specialty, but I'm getting a lot of practice so hooray for me.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Day 10 - Wednesday, May 3 - 110 Miles

Today had such promise.  Only 110 miles (?!?) with a 3000 foot descent.  But we didn't count on the 25 mph headwinds so today pretty much sucked.  But it's over now and tomorrow is a measly 97 miles so headwinds or not it's going to be shorter.  We passed over the 1000 cumulative mile mark.

Don't I look delighted??  We'll be halfway through the ride in another couple of days.  My knees are holding up and I'm feeling pretty well. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Day 9 - Tuesday, May 2 - 135 miles

Today was the hardest day we've had.  Lots of hills, lots of climbing, lots of interstate highway.  We went from Albuquerque to Las Vegas, NM via Albuquerque's east mountains.  It was super tough.  I wasn't completely sure I was going to be able to complete today and I was very relieved when I did.  Tomorrow and the next day should be a little easier.  They certainly couldn't be any harder. 

Monday, May 1, 2006

Day 8 - Monday, May 1 - Day off in Albuquerque

We had the day off, but it was important to stay moving so I went for a long walk first thing in the morning.  I walked over to the university and then through downtown to old town.  Athena and Quela came down from Santa Fe and we went to lunch and then headed to Acoma Pueblo.  Acoma Pueblo is the oldest continually inhabited settlement in the new world and was founded around 1150.  It's a pueblo built high on the mesa with spectacular views.  We took the tour which was very interesting and walked around a bit.

The tour guide told us all about the spanish missionary Father Ramirez who converted the indians, forced them to construct a church using timbers hand carried from Mt. Taylor 30 miles away, and then sold their children into slavery to purchase church fixtures.  The Acoma people finally had enough when he bashed an alter boy in the head with a chalice and tossed him off the mesa.  And yet they're all still Catholic.  And here I'm ready to become Episcopalian over the marriage thing.  Kinda makes you think.  We decided my Acoma name was Joseph Light in the Mocassins.

Then we went to El Malpais national monument before heading back to town.


Day 7 - Sunday, April 39 - 145 Miles!

I rode 145 miles, more than I'd ever ridden, from Gallup to Albuquerque.  The first thirty miles were a grind, up about 800 feet to the continental divide.  My knees were stiff and it was cold but I grunted my way up the hill.Here's a pic of my roommate Klaus and I at the marker. 

The rest of the day was much improved.  We caught a tailwind and a gentle descent and I made it into Grants in no time.  We got off the interstate right before we hit town and rode sparsely populated side roads until after the Laguna Pueblo.  And it was beautifl.  The rest of the ride into Albuquerque was a long, dusty grind but I made it around 4PM.  I ate an enormous amount of  food and finally went to sleep.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Day 6 - Saturday, April 29 - 125 miles

Long day.  We went from Winslow to Gallup through the beautiful but barren desert.  Coming into Gallup we started to see beautiful mesas.  I miss New Mexico and am glad to be back.  A couple of riders had to go to the hospital with food poisoning or the flu or something I hope I don't get and a few others are having problems with the altitude but that's not really a problem for me because I used to live here.  Don't I look delighted??

Tomorrow we bike 140 miles to Albuquerque.  It's the ride I've been looking forward to most of all.  Can't wait!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Day 5 - Friday, April 28 - 110 Miles

We rode to Winslow, AZ today and it was so much fun.  We went through Sedona which was so pretty so unfortunately I couldn't take a lot of pictures because most of the views were hidden by clouds and also it was freezing cold. 

Then, we had almost 4000 feet of climbing up a canyon to Flagstaff where we had lunch.  The weather had cleared by the time we got to Flagstaff, so we had a nice tailwind for the last sixt miles, a slow descent to Winslow on I40.  I was on fire! and got in about 3PM.  I looked around Winslow (Yikes) and then headed in to the hotel.

Jeff reports that Mimi is recovering well after her kidney stone surgery and has recovered most of her sass.  Tomorrow--  off to Gallup!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Day 4 - Thursday, April 27 - 105 Miles

Today we had to cross three mountain ranges before stopping in Cottonwood.  The final descent was so scary!  We climbed up to the pass on Mingus mountain at 6000 feet which was a total grind given that it didn't start until mile 80.  Then, we lost almost 4000 feet in 12 miles which is a lot steeper and more winding then it sounds.  I pulled into a scenic viewpoint because my hands were cramping up and actually said to some stranger "Can you believe I'm doing this on a bicycle?? Aren't I nuts???"  They agreed I was. 

We went through an old mining town called Jerome which is literally built in the side of the mountain because of a nearby copper mine.  The mine is closed now and I'll bet every therapist in Jerome helps people cope with their fear of heights.  I saw the couple I'd spoken with at the scenic viewpoint and they congratulated me for surviving.  I agreed.

Day 3 - Wednesday April 26 - 115 Miles

We crossed into Arizona early in the morning.  After thirty more miles on I10, we headed north through Brenda towards Wickenburg, a cute little town settled by German Miners in the nineteenth century.  We shared the hotel with a bunch of motercyclers who were suprisingly cool. 

Day 2 - Tuesday April 25 - 120 Miles

Hot hot and dry.  We had to ride more than fifty miles on I10 today which pretty much sucked but at least I can say I biked across the Mojave.  We stopped in Blythe, a small agricultural town on the Arizona border.  It was a long dusty day but it was really fun.

Day 1 - Monday April 24 - 122 Miles

Fabulous!  After first riding to the coast to dip our wheels in the pacific, we headed along the Santa Ana river trail towards the desert.  LA is huge!  We went over some hills and dropped into the desert.  I hit a huge pothole and nearly got tossed off my bike.  I got a flat tire and knocked my wheel out of true.  I went to get a spare and realized my spares were still in my luggage (idiot!).  Luckily, one of the other riders helped me out and I was back on the road in no time.  We went through palm springs before finally stopping in Thousand Palms.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Day 0 Costa Mesa, CA

My bike's all set up and I rode it a little around Newport Beach.  My new computer made me briefly feel that I was a superstar until I realized that it was set for km.

A little tired from all the moving and getting ready and I'm definitely ready to ride tomorrow.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I leave on Sunday and I'm very very excited.  My bike is off to be boxed and get a couple of other upgrades.  I'm woefully undertrained but my knees are in shape and either I'm going to be able to handle the high mileage or I'm not. 


Still haven't met my fundraising minimum for the lifecycle. Starting to panic:

Tan Lines

Monday, April 3, 2006

I rode a hard hard century on Saturday up to Petaluma with some additional hills.  It was cold and damp and I got a flat tire but I had a good day.  Sunday my ALC training ride got cancelled because of rain and there wasn't really any point to going off on my own because it was WET.  In fact, it's still raining the next day.  I'm glad I did devil's slide two weeks ago on my epic trip over king mountain because that road will be closed for a long time due to slides.  Yuck!  The rain has totally screwed up my training.  I think I'm going to do pretty well on my ride which is three weeks because the rides I have done have been long and hard but that first week is going to be hard!!!

New dog treat favorite:  Wrap a milk bone with a slice of bacon.  Dog Appetit!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Bike #1 is out of the shop and it's fabulous.  The rear wheel had blown the rim and I had the drivetrain upgraded as well:

Mavic Speed City wheels

Shimano Ultegra crankset and bottom braket

Shimano XT cassette

My crappy old deore and tiagra derallieurs look pretty shabby next to the new parts and I'm going to upgrade them as soon as I can but this isn't the bike I'm taking on tour so it's going to have to wait.

My new shoes are in and I'm going to run over to REI after work to go get them.  I'm currently using Shimano R151's with my road pedals and I totally hate them.  Mostly, it's because the carbon sole doesn't have any kind of protection at the heel and the carbon has worn off in sheets because of it.  Also, they're clunky and the wide velcro strips look terrible and are difficult to close properly.  I'm getting Sidi ZETA shoes and I'm really excited about them because they look SO much cuter and everybody I know who has them loves them.  They aren't carbon but I really don't care.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Back in training!

March has been a pretty crappy month for me riding my bike.  We had to put our border collie Bubba down after a long illness.  He'd developed doggie dementia and was horribly incontinent towards the end and it was very sad and left me not really wanting to do anything for quite a while.

But I'm riding my bike across the US in less than a month so I had to get back on my bike.  Bike #2, the carbon bike, has had something wrong with the brakes--  they're hitting the tire and not the rim which is really bad for braking so I haven't been riding it.

So, I rode a century yesterday on Bike #3.  And a tough century it was.  I rode down the  coast to Half Moon bay and then took highway 84 up to skyline and then took that up over King Mountain down into Woodside.  Then I came back through Crystal Springs canyon up through the bike trails and then took Millbrae ave down to the airport where I watched planes take off for a while and then Camino Alto back into San Francisco.  It was a good hard ride but I felt good all day and I feel good today.  The bike performed really well but It would have taken a lot less time if it had been a little lighter.

I forgot my camera which sucks because it was a beautiful day and I had a great comfortable ride.  I saw a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before and loved every minute of it.


I'm picking up #2 today and will ride it after work either straight home or a little longer depending on how long the rain holds off.

I've got all my travel preparations planned and am pretty much ready to go.  Yesterday's ride pretty much showed me that I'm in the shape I need to be in but I need to ride really hard until it's time to go.

I'm still needing many pledges for the lifecycle so here's the link if you haven't pledged me already:

Thanks again!

Monday, February 27, 2006

I was on my bike all weekend (big suprise).  I rode 85 on saturday out to point reyes station and back through nicasio and then 45 on sunday out to tiburon.  It rained pretty much the whole ride sunday but we still had a good time.  There was a woman on a very heavy recumbant bike who I didn't think was going to make it across the bridge but she rode thirty and couldn't believe it.  Good for her.  I'll bet I'll see her on the last day of the lifecycle this year and she'll have done just fine.

Pouring down rain this morning.  I came in on Bike #3 which has these fabulous disk brakes that are so great in the wet and give you such control especially when you compare them to the wet weather performance of Bike#2 yesterday which was an EXERCISE IN TERROR coming down camino alto but I survived it so what can you do.

Jeff managed to get all the cooking, cleaning, wood hauling, laundry, dog petting done all weekend.  Why I'm practically a lady of leisure!  I dopn't know what I'd do without him!

I've got homework to do tonight.  My class is over in three weeks and then I'm going to start biking for two hours after work every night.  I've also got four new episodes of Yu GI Oh! GX that I haven't seen yet so I'm going to watch those too.  Jeff's in class tonight so I'll be home alone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yesterday was President's day and I took the day off.  I slept in late and then we went to north beach to walk around. 

We're at Jack Early park.  Nathan wanted to go because everytime he went the gate was locked and he was strating to think that it was all part of some elaborate brank I was playing on him.  Here he is looking sinister:

"These Humans Disgust Me"


I biked all weekend but it pretty much sucked.  Saturday, I rode 50 out to fairfax in wind, rain, and 43 degree temperatures.  My poor feet were numb all day.  I was riding with this guy from Lake Placid, NY who was a really strong rider but I wasn't going to go any faster than I was because the pavement was so slick.  We got passed by team Phonak in town for the bike race.  Made no attempt to keep up.  I was shocked to see the size of one of them.  Bikers are usually pretty little but this guy was HUGE!  Maybe he wins by eating the other riders.

I did the lifecycle training ride but it was really cold and I was sweeping (following the last rider to make sure nobody gets lost) so I never really warmed up all day.  Here's Stephanie and Ian from the beginning of the ride

It was a tough day too.  Some jerk ran into one of our riders on the bridge and cut his finger and knocked him off the bike and he didn't even say he was sorry he just got back on his bike and rode off.  And then, when I was coming back to the bridge on the hill out of Sausalito, this guys blows by on the right, in the shoulder and almost hit me and the guy in front of him.  I called out in my loudest voice a few comments about his riding manners and I can neither confirm nor deny that a string of explatives might have followed.