Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Pride!

I was in the parade again this year with Different Spokes.  We rode right behind the lifecycle which was great because I wanted to ride with them as well.  I love being in the pride parade!  It's 1.3 miles and it took us about a half an hour to get through.  I held the sign:

Here we are before the parade:

And we had to stop a bunch of times because the group behind us, "Hooters on Scooters" kept falling way way back.

Roger was totally the crowd favorite.  I wish I had a fan club!

After, I went and worked the booth for an hour which was fun and then we walked around.  It was great!  Jeff and Nathan got to join us and we had lots of fun walking around and looking at people.  Pride was very political this year.  And it should be.  I'm all of favor of a huge party with towering drag queens and disco music but this is a critical year and we have a lot going on. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Monday, June 11

I got up early again and went for a nice long walk through Beverly Hills which is very very pretty.  I brought Jeff back some coffee and then we went and sat in the glamorous rooftop hot tub for a while.  Then we checked out of the hotel, went out for lunch where our waiter was likely a semi-celebrity of the small small screen and then headed to Venice.  Jeff had never been the Venice.  The beach is what you've heard of.  Wide, white and pretty with lots of tacky tourist stores and people rollerblading.  But behind the beach are all the canals with gorgeous little houses.  Quiet and pretty.  We loved it!  Nick took me there for the first time last year and Jeff loved it too.  Here's a pic of the two of us:

Then we headed to the airport, turned in the car and flew back to San Francisco.  I really enjoyed visiting LA and am looking forward to going back.
Saturday, June 9 - Day 7

Day 7 is my second favorite day on the ride.  You start off riding through agricultural areas of Ventura and Oxnard but then you hit PCH and follow it all the way through Malibu into Santa Monica.  I got up and out early and had lots of fun.  Here I am at pit 1.  I'm gonna miss those guys:

Here I am at a beach I stopped by after pit 2.  Southern California is very beautiful.

I got in at 10:20 (rider #7 which is pretty much meaningless because tons of fast riders started later or stopped in Santa Monica).  I almost got hit by a car at an intersection right at the end that wasn't marked well becasue the traffic guards hadn't showed yet but was still TOTALLY MY FAULT.  And I will be much more careful next year.  But my heartfelt apologies go out to the smartly dressed older lady in the black vintage VW bug and my thanks that she's kept her brakes so well. 

I got a yellow shirt this year and then changed into shorts and walking shoes that I'd brought in my camelback. Jeff's plane wasn't due entil 11:30 and he's kind of directionally challenged so I thought I'd leave my bike at the close and walk from close in Santa Monica to my hotel in West Hollywood.  I went through Westwood, UCLA, Beverly Hills and finally into West Hollywood.  Here are some fountains in Beverely Hills.  Gorgeous!

And their city hall:

And some random urn.  I think it's an allegory for undocumented Mexican labor supporting the lifestyle here.

I guessed right on my route and with a little help from Nathan over the phone was able to find the hotel right after Jeff had gotten in.  We went and ate and then headed back to the VA so I could get my bag and turn in my bike for shipment back to San Francisc.  Then I headed back to the hotel.  Ate another meal.  And went to bed early.
Sunday, June 10

I woke up early and went for a long walk in Beverly Hills.  Nobody walks in LA.  I couldn't believe it because it's gorgeous and there are nice, wide sidewalks everywhere.  People viewed non joggers with suspician.  But with my headphones on I tried to look like I was "power walking" and I fit right in.  I brought Jeff some coffee and we hung out in the room and then went to Malibu for lunch at Gladstones.  My friends the Felds had taken me there on a visit many years ago and it's a great restaurant right on the beach.  Vegan food was a little sparse but the Mojitos were delicious and really Jeff is the one who cares about food.  Here I am on the beach!  As you can see,  Jeff was unable to get me out of my ride shirt today.

We went back to the hotel and headed up to the pool.  Jeff swam a bit and then we headed back to the room.  I was tired and went to bed early.
Thursday, June 7 - Day 5

Red Dress Day!  I wore all red and stained my cheeks a cheery rose hue.  Which prompted some straight guy to say to me "Oh my god you're horribly sunburned .... no you're pretty!"  Nice recovery.  Day 5 is only 45 miles to Lompoc but it's very hilly and not an easy day.  I had lots of fun and got in pretty early.  Wilfredo asked me not to put my bike in bike parking because he wanted to go do laundry but I somehow missed him (again!) and he went without me.  We had team pictures which went all right except somebody stole my ride leader t-shirt while I we were taking team different spokes pictures.  I couldn't believe it! 

Friday, June 8 - Day 6

Day 6 is amazing.  You start off in Lompoc and head to the coast that involves a SCREAMING downhill and hit the coast at Gaviota State Park.  They held at pit 2 before Tajiquas because there was a bridge and they had to close a land and the CHP was being difficult so I had to deal with a pack again after they finally let us through but I'd broked either ahead or behind them by the lunch stop.  Then we went through pretty Santa Barbara and then ride down the coast to Ventura.  I love coming down the PCH...  It's so much fun.  And the Ventura campsite is right on the beach which is awesome except for the park ranger who's a total bitch and is forever walking around camp yelling at people.  Oh well, the park is pristine and if that's what it takes to keep it that way.  Wilfredo and I hung out on one of the lifeguard towers around sunset and it was very Baywatch and I felt a little Pamela Lee-esque.
Wednesday, June 6 - Day 4

I also love day 4.  We started off in Paso Robles and headed to the coast.  Then we went through Morro Bay which is about the prettiest city that we go through on the ride.  Then through San Luis Obispo where I missed the turn AGAIN but I'm starting to know my way around because I've gotten lost there so many times that I was able to find my way without turning around.  It reminds me a lot of Santa Fe, NM in the way that it's a small, small town with lots of shopping and restaurants.  I was able to resist the call of Banana Republic and headed off towards Pismo Beach which has the greatest name and quite a bit going on in it.  If you're very old or very young it's the greatest!  Then I headed south to Guadalupe and then to Santa Maria.  Here I am in Bike Parking.  Note the absense of bikes:

The wind really picks up in the afternoon and this can be a very
challenging run, but I hit it around noon and it wasn't much of a
bother at all.  I felt kind of bad when everybody was complaining about
how tough it was and I had to admit that I was in before the wind
kicked up.  My tentmate Russ bailed on me!  He didn't want to discuss
it so he rented a car in San Luis Obispo and it was a fait accompli by
the time I found out about it.  I'll miss him he was the greatest tent
mate.  But he said he had business to attend to. 
Tuesday, June 5 - Day 3

I love day 3 too!  You start off in King City and then ride up into the mountains before stopping in Paso Robles.  There's a pretty sizeable hill called quadbuster early in the day but it's not a big deal for somebody from Northern California who's been doing tougher hills all season.  I stopped on the other side of it and took this pic of riders hard at work:

Then we rode through Hunter Liggett Military Reservation and down into Lockwood.  That's a fun ride.  We have lunch in Bradley where they actually keep the schools open a few extra days so that they be in session for us and they throw a big barbeque.  Which I skipped because there's no love for poor vegan Joseph at the Bradley BBQ.  Then we went into Mission San Miguel where they were still setting up but it's so pretty to hang out there that I hated to leave but camp was calling me.  My tentmate Russ mentioned that he was thinking of bailing on the ride because he was having a hard time keeping up with his business, a guesthouse in Provincetown which was generating dozens of reservation calls a day.  I didn't know what to tell him but I hoped he wouldn't leave.  Total Mileage 78.
Sunday, June 3 - Day 1

I got up at 4AM and Jeff took me to the Cow Palace for opening ceremonies.  I'm not much for either opening or closing ceremonies so I hung out in the hall outside with the Different Spokes crew.  Don't you love the jacket Miss Glidden's got on??  I'm always broke when they do their orders and the club stuff, although fabulous and totally worth it, is pretty spendy so I just have a jersey and I mitre it's use.

I started talking to one of Bob Katz as we made our way to our bikes and got swept out with the pos peds who are always the first which was fabulous.  Day one is a pain because it can take a long time to get ahead of the pack and I don't like the crowds...   Here I am before we set off.  Can you believe the bags under my eyes???  This is why I wear sunglasses.

Here's a shot looking ahead towards all the pos peds.  We're all wearing these helmet covers that they collected at pit one and they were all used to make an installation that they showed at closing:

I set off and managed to get ahead of the pack pretty early.  There was a pretty significant route change this year.  Instead of dropping down into Half Moon Bay we went over Kings Mountain which was a LOT more climbing.  I felt sorry for people who hadn't gotten their hill training in because it was a tough hill.  This is the hill I do when I've been very bad and need to be punished.  But I've been doing hills pretty much non stop so it wasn't so hard for me.  Here's one of the sexy convicts from pit 2

The ride to the coast was pretty fun except for two things.  First, I ran into former coworker and general crazy man Bill Lithgow and he started riding 2 abreast which I don't like and about six inches from my bike which made me nervous until I told him I was gonna be pissed if he ran me off the road.  I think it was some man thing I don't get.  When I finally managed to get him a less terrifying distance away from me we had a good hard run and that was really fun.  He's in really good shape and he can go really, really fast.  He kicked my ass!  Second, I was heading down a narrow descent when I heardsomebody shouting at me to pull over so they could pass.  It was a car and it was the lifecycle safety vehicle no less!  I couldn't believe it because California law is very specific about cyclist being allowed full use of lane when they need it and that road was not wide enough for me and a car so I took the whole lane.  Yet, I didn't want to have to explain my actions the next morning in order to get my bike out of the hold section the next morning(which is what they do if you misbehave while cycling) so I pulled over and let him pass.  Jerk. 

All was forgotten when I hit the coast.  Look at this view:

I don't know what to tell you poor suckers who don't live in California but don't think I don't appreciate how lucky I am to live here every day.  The ride was uneventful into Santa Cruz.  We stayed at the same campsite we were at last year and I like it very much.  I couldn't find Wilfredo but I was pretty beat and went to bed at 7.
Monday, June 4 - Day 2

I love day 2.  It's a ride through the agricultural Salinas River Valley up to King City.  You start off with strawberry and lettuce fields and as you head up the valley it gradually becomes dryer and dryer and gives way to grains in the valley and grapes in the hills.  There's a place at Millers Ranch where a lot of the riders like to go
skinny dipping but I was totally against the prospect of getting of the
bike and lounging and then getting being wet and putting bike shorts
back on so I didnt' stop.  The wind picks up towards the end and you get this crazy tailwind after pit 4 that's really fun.  I rode pretty hard and didn't get much wind at all because I was in pretty early.  I hung out and waited for more people to show in bike parking with Ben. 
Friday, June 1

Busy busy day.  I had to finish up at work and then get the rest of the stuff I needed.  They didn't have the clips I needed at REI so I went to Performace Bike and they had them.  The guy that rang me up was doing the lifecycle as well! 
Saturday, June 2 - Day 0

Got up bright and early to go to register for the lifecycle.  It's pretty much an all day affair.  You have to wait in many, many long lines and watch a one hour orientation video.  Ugh.  Ran into Wilfredo when I first showed up:

There were a lot more riders this year than last and I think they had a little trouble with them.  It was a 90 minute wait to register, a 45 minute wait to get a tent assignment, and we had to go back for the orientation video because the first time we went it was full.  Kind of frustrating, because at the end of it all you feel like you've accomplished something when really all you've done is wait in line.

Here I am at bike parking with a "I've finally finished" smile on my face.  Registration was tougher than the ride.  We all left our bikes at the Cow Palace overnight.  The next morning we return with our luggage at 5AM, put it on trucks, retrieve our bikes and off we go.

Thursday, May 31

I went out riding over lunch.  Another glorious day in San Francisco.  I ran into my cycle buddy Kari Boatner, who is a hottie, loading stuff into trucks for the ride in the front of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Wednesday, May 30

I went out to the ocean after work and rode up Anza street in the Richmond.  I don't get out there very often and there's this huge hill in the Thirties and you totally can't see it from anywhere in the city and I'm totally suprised every time I'm up there.  But you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.  Unfortunately my big monkey head is blocking it.

Monday, May 28

We had to go out to the east bay today in my truck to help my friend Sandra and her fiance Randy pick up some stuff at Ikea.  Here's Mr. Poe in his new car before we left with a big smile on his face.  Hello gorgeous!

Ikea is in Emeryville which is a former industrial area that is now filled with large commercial structures and big condo buildings.  Everything is kind of fortress like and there aren't a lot of people on the street.  We managed to find Ikea pretty easily because the building is

1) Enormous
2) Blue

Here's a picture of Mr. Poe standing next to flowers that match his shirt.  Hello gorgeous!

They were all done shopping by the time we got there so Jeff only had time to cough down one hotdog and a glass of lingonberry drink before it was time to leave.  We didn't have too much trouble getting everything in the truck.  Randy, as most straight men do, tied everything down tight enough that the cargo wasn't going to move in any circumstance be it tornado or godzilla attack.

Here are Jeff, Sandra, and the ever glamorous Michael Fantasia before we headed back.

Sandra and Randy had just moved into this unbelievably fabulous place right by McLaren Lodge.  They're still unpacking but it's going to be spectacular when they get it all finished.

After we finished unpacking we headed over to the rose garden to see what was blooming.  It was sunny, warm, and everything was in bloom:

Hello gorgeous!