Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ALC-Day 25 (124 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

Currently I have a 7-speed Miyata hybrid that I adopted from a good friend who moved to Colorado--which is a really dependable bike but after this weekend's hilly trip, just doesn't cut the mustard.  Before I even signed up for the ALC ride, I didn't know what kind of bikes were what.  Brand names fused together for me, I couldn't tell you a thing about bike parts or their components and certainly didn't know how to ride one.  Well, I know how to ride a bike but didn't know really how to ride one (there's a lot more to the posturing than I knew).  

I'm still no expert but I have come a long way from where I was.  And now I'm looking for the right bike for me.  For other beginner cyclist, here's a quick lesson on road bikes (and their offspring) lifted from Wikipedia:

Compared to other styles of bicycles, road bicycles share common features, such as their tires are narrow and smooth to decrease rolling resistance and are often quite lightweight.  The term road bicycle can also describe any type of bike used primarily on paved roads, in contrast to bikes primarily intended for off-road use, such as mountain bikes. Several variations of road bikes include: 
  • Hybrid bicycles, designed for a variety of recreational and utility purposes. While primarily intended for use on pavement, they may also be used on relatively smooth unpaved paths or trails. 
  • Utility bicycles, designed for utility cycling and are a traditional bicycle for commuting, shopping and running errands in towns and cities (Roadster is a specific form of the utility bicycle developed in the UK).
  • Recumbent bicycles, designed for variety of recreational and utility purposes, but are characterized by the reclined riding position in which the cyclist is seated.
  • Vintage road bicycles, also known as classic lightweight bicycles, are generally older bicycles with frames which are manufactured using steel tubing and lugs.

If you are looking to buy a road bike I highly suggest you do your research.  Visit bike shops, talk to cyclists, go for a few test rides and find out what kind of bike you like best.  Pay special attention to your measurements (inseam and reach of arms) to see that you are riding the right size bike for you.  Just think of that episode of Oprah (R.I.P.) where she had a boob expert come on and tell all these audience women that they've been wearing the wrong bra size for most of their lives (because they never got properly measured).  Don't be that person.  If you're thinking about riding with any regularity, remember, fit is important and separates the hobby cyclist from the moderately to avid cyclist.  Measure your legs, your arms and your boobs (just to be safe).

In training news, in addition to the weekly ride and two spinning classes, I'm doing a class called "Guts N' Butts" which targets and works just what you might think from the title. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

ALC-Day 24 (125 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

I nearly collapsed this morning as I tried to lean over to tie my shoe.  I am no cyclist and all those 30 mile joy rides I've been doing on flat land are nothing compared to the Marin loop I went on yesterday with Tom, Chris, Matt and Hung.  Yes, I have reached a point where I am not messing around, so says my aching muscles that have only just stopped complaining. 

I woke up early Sunday and was excited to put on my new cycling outfit, which I'd purchased earlier in the week; gloves, shirt, padded shorts and leggings, all new or slightly new.  (Cycling gear is pricey!)  But, as I pulled out my padded shorts I saw that the large plastic censor was still on it, snapped through the front of the right thigh.  Urgh!  I called Tom (no answer) to see if he could lend me a pair of his shorts.  Half asleep Jon said, "Stop freaking out, just cut a hole in the spandex."  I racked my brain and decided it would be easier to get my hacksaw and saw the sucker off.  Who thought that was a good idea?  Good news: I got the censor off.  Bad news: I ripped an even bigger hole in the front of the shorts.  

I had to meet the boys in SF (me coming from Oakland) at 8:30am.  When we finally met up we rode a route known as the "wiggle", a path named for its weave along the outskirts of the really big SF hills toward the Golden Gate Bridge.  To an avid cyclist this might not seem like a trek, but for little 'ol me and my current crap bike (sorry bike, I don't mean it) I felt like I was working twice as hard (more on that in a minute) just to keep up with the rest in my group, who seemed to breeze through the streets.  What a gorgeous ride through Golden Gate Park, the Precidio, over the Golden Gate Bridge, speeding down the Sausalito hill into downtown and then along a path into Marin snaking through the wetlands.  

When we reached our turn around point, me far behind everyone else, Tom took a look at my bike.  He lifted the front wheel off the ground, gave it a spin with his hand and the wheel came to a tense halt.  "Your brake is rubbing on the wheel."  After some tweaking and pulling of cables, he spun the wheel again, this time like a pinwheel in the breeze.  I'm a little embarrassed I didn't check that before because, let me tell you, bikes ride much smoother when you don't have on the parking break.  File this experience under "Learning Moment".  

We rode a total of 35 miles (5 more than my longest ride) and except for the hill coming up out of Sausalito, I didn't give up.  I'll get it next time.  When I finally got home my butt was sore and my legs alright...that is until this morning when I thought my quads wanted to buckle under my weight.  Pass the Advil, please.  

 Chris, cute pose, me, not so much.

Tom, our cycling guru.

Click here to give.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Nerve!

I'm on the board of my HOA which, among the general building maintenance and upkeep, is a role that deals with a lot of gossiping, complaints and other shit--I love it!  It is this kind of urban fodder and First-World problems that keep me entertained.

Below is a letter the board got from a woman in our building.  I particularly love the absence of commas.

Subject: Poop by the front door

Hello All:

This morning when I took my dogs out for their morning walk there was a pile of dog poop at the front door needless to say I was upset. 106 was coming up the walkway and I told her to be careful she advised that it was there when she took her little boy to daycare. I told her that I would clean it up when I got back.

It was to close to the door to be a dog from the street if that happenend the owner had to bring the dog to the area.

When I returned I cleaned it up but it was loose so I had to come to my place and get a couple of wet paper towels  believe me I was angry and the only reason I cleaned it up is because everyone here would have thought it was my dogs. We have two dog owners in the building myself and tracy in 306. It is enough for me to clean-up after my animals to have to include someone elses.

The very nerve of people this is quite different from picking up paper of other article that owners drop and fail to pick-up. Ok I've ranted enough have a great day and I will try and salvage mine.

bcc; Ryan could you add this to your next newsletter advising everyone to clean up after their pets.
bcc: Leanne could you please sent a letter to all owners about their resposnibility if they have pets in fact it could be to just me and Tracy.


ALC-Day 19 (130 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

My parents and sister, Lauri, are going to Puerto Vallarta for vacation.  We had originally planned that I would meet them at my house early this morning (where they would have free parking) and I would then drive them to BART to catch a train that connects to SFO.  Not so.  There was a big accident on I-80 that backed up traffic so bad that cars were hardly able to crawl.  Instead they parked their car at the El Cerrito BART station (not near me) and I met them at a connecting station (during morning rush hour).  It's always something with the Joneses.

I had been talking to my mother last week about this ALC ride and she said she'd be happy to donate.  When we finally met up on the crowded BART train heading to the airport, my mom promptly whipped out her checkbook and, squeezed between businessmen, said loudly, "Who do I make this check out to?  AIDS?"

"Mom, we have plenty of time to do that.  Put your checkbook away and hold on."  She stumbled around, bumping into people as the train lurched forward, continuing to fill out what she could on her check.

"I know, but just tell me.  Is it to AIDS or is there something else?" she persisted over the roar of the commute.

Lauri chimed in, "She's like Susie [the family dog] with a rat," mimicking a dog determined, focused and pointing.  A seat opened up and I motioned for my mom to sit down, which she did before a nearby hippy could.  Then again, now yelling from her seat, "I'm going to make this check out to AIDS.  Is that it?  Tell me."

"Mom!  Not now," I said as fellow commuters looked up from their Nooks to better observe.

"Well, what is it?"

"You can make it out to AIDS Lifecycle."


Getting loud myself, "AIDS LIFECYCLE!"

 "Lifecycles?  Plural?"

"Mom!  No.  Lifecycle, singular as in, 'The life cycle of a fly.'"

"Oh, okay." Scribble scribble scribble, rip, "Here you go." 

Love her.

My mom and Lauri on BART.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ALC-Day 18 (131 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

I decided to write to a few local businesses that I like to see if they'd donate to my ride.  Here's my generic letter: 

Dear [company and that I love],

My name is Ryan Jones and the week of June 3-9th I will be cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles with AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545-mile bike ride that raises money, awareness and support for people living with HIV and AIDS.  I am writing you now because [company name] is my favorite businesses to patronize, you have the best [clothing/coffee/hair weaves/taxidermy] and give back to community organizations.  For that reason, I wonder if you might consider donating to my ride. 

Every summer AIDS/LifeCycle brings together hundreds of cyclists to individually raise funding so we can collectively make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past.  This is my first year participating on the ride and I have pledged to raise $3,000.  Your tax-deductible support would not only bring me closer to my personal goal, but also support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, a powerhouse non-profit that helps to reduce the rate of new HIV infections and improve the lives of people living with the HIV/AIDS.

I am not a cute Girl Scout selling Samoas (unless that is someone for whom you would open your wallet), just a guy with a bike and a heart (and calf muscles growing by the day).  If you have anything to spare to this cause, please follow the link below.  Everything helps.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Ryan Jones
participant #4371 

Friday, January 20, 2012

ALC-Day 14 (135 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

Two weeks in and I've been feeling great, eating great and...*screeeeeeecchh crash*  I've also eaten two big bowls of ice cream each night for the past two nights and have just finished a sleeve of Oreos.  I've been in the bathroom for the last hour and a half punching my stomach and staring in the mirror, telling myself how worthless I am.  Not really.  But I did have a strong sugar craving I couldn't ignore and am feeling guilty for giving into it.  

I haven't talked at all about weight loss/gain and dieting while training for this ride but it is something I'm thinking a lot about.  And cutting down on sugar, which I eat all the time, is important because it effects my energy and mood in a negative way...and I don't want that.  Most days I'm eating fruits and veggies with some protein, little or no sugar and no alcohol (during the week at least).  I'm going easy on myself for January while I get used to the exercising and eating schedule.  Maybe I'll start documenting my eating habits as things amp up as it is a significant component of getting myself up to par for riding 545 miles. 

In my last post I talked a lot about fund raising and how amazed I am when people successfully do it.  Then I got to thinking, I work in fund raising.  I don't think of myself as a fund raiser and I'm not the one directly asking people for money, but I set the stage for those who do.  Among other things, my main job is planning events and targeting potential donors.  Whether it be a mixer or a luncheon with keynote speaker, in many ways I prime attending guests, get them in the giving mood by showing them all the good my non-profit does and give them lots of wine.  Then, once everyone is properly pickled, we let loose the wolves...ahem...the gift officers to go in for the ask (or the kill, if you want to keep with the wolf theme).  It's not as underhanded as it might sound but it is focused and strategic--something I need to be more of.

I was talking to my mom yesterday and she told me that she read Tina Fey's Bossypants and just started The Hunger Games series, which has nothing to do with the ALC ride.  Then my mom said, "I heard you're doing a crazy ride.  I'll give you some money."  It made me feel so happy.  I don't always feel like I've got a lot of buy-in from my family when I do things but the fact that we were able to talk about books we've both read/are reading and that my mom acknowledged this ride made me feel so acknowledged and happy.  Let it be known, I've got a rad mom.  If nothing else, this ride is letting me know the people in my life in a new way.  And I'm thankful for that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ALC-Day 12 (137 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

I'm well through my first week of training and am feeling great.  Kinda.  I awoke at 5:30am this morning to go to my spinning class and at the 30-minute mark of the hour-long session, I nearly passed out.  Nearly.  I've been really pushing myself to increase my endurance and was feeling so light headed I had to back off my resistance just to keep from tumbling over the handlebars.  Oh yeah, I also was cycling on an empty stomach, which I don't recommend.  I did finish the class but had to lay on the floor in the gym (by a sweaty woman doing floor ab exercises) just to get my bearings back.  Urgh.  Will take things easy or at least nibble on a biscuit next time I push that hard.

In other news, I've already raised $425, which blows my mind!  I'm thrilled and am so so very thankful to all of my supporters!  I've never participated directly in any fund raising as an adult and as a kid, never took part in selling wrapping paper, cookie dough and magazine subscriptions for Conde Nast as many school-age kids do nowadays.  I have given to causes and money-driving efforts but have never been on this side of the fence, asking for money.  I mean, it would be one thing if I was an apple-faced kid asking you to buy Snickers bars for my baseball team, but as an adult, I dunno, it just feels different.  Something else I need to get used to I suppose.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

ALC-Day 9 (140 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

I am awake at 5:30 am and have been reading news articles online and found this one with the headline "Gene Hackman struck by car while riding bike".  This is one of the reasons I'm always scared about riding along roads.  Note to self: Ignore stories like this in the future.   

In other news, Chris, a veteran ALC rider (also riding this year) and kinda my adopted cycling mentor, is taking me on my first training ride this morning.  I was trying to weasel my way out of it because I didn't have a decent training bike, but the truth is my current bike cuts the mustard...at least for the kinds of rides I'm going to be doing at this stage.  So, I bit and am about to go for a ride in a couple of hours.  Chris and I will meet in Pleasanton and ride to Lafayette on the Iron Horse Trail, roughly 25 miles.  Click here to see the trail map. 


Okay, back from the ride! 
When I met Chris he looked like a total biking pro: gloves, biking shorts, shirt, etc.  I, on the other hand, was wearing blousey gym shorts and a T-shirt.  Chris, thankfully, had brought an extra pair of biking shorts for me to use.  If you've never worn biking shorts then you know they have the comfort of a maxi pad with the feel of a diaper.  Still, without it I would be feeling like a sore-ass duck on a salt pond about now.  

We ended up having such a great time that we went past Lafayette and onto Concord, the entire length of the Iron Horse Trail.  The trail is very flat and in most places, lined with oak trees and squirrels.  When going through the Pleasanton and Danville stretches you'll be met with families and parks.  When going through the Concord stretch you'll be met with Cholos and cement farms.  We're not in Danville anymore... 

I'd like to acknowledge Trish and husbands, Bob, who have recently donated to ALC and have always been such a blessing in (boyfriend) Jon's life and now mine.  Thank you Trish and Bob, you've given me a lot of faith that I can actually tackle this mountain of a project.

Beware, I'm going to be this guy in 3, 2, 1...

Click here to give.


Originally written 1/14/12

ALC-Day 8 (141 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

BAM!  Longtime friend Heather Forest is officially my Sloppy Second donor!  Yeah for her and the Forest family!  She's a mother of 3 (and soon 4) and has given me a generous donation that might have otherwise gone toward putting food in her kids mouths and dressing them in fancy clothes.  Heather, I will think of your little raggedy-dressed offspring eating lentils and wet bread as I cruise down to Los Angeles.  Love you!  Mwah! 

One of the office assistants brought in his bike from home for me to look at today.  He heard I was looking for a bike because I've only mentioned it to everyone in the office for the past three days.  It's a little rusty and needs new wheels, gears, brakes, chain, seat, handlebars, and shifter.  He said I could get it fixed up and ride it, which is so nice.  Then I asked him how much he wanted to sell to me for, and he said, "Oh, I'm not selling this.  It's just a loaner."  Mmmkay.  I pay for new everything and you keep it?  Yeahno.   

So, another guy I know who did the ALC ride in '09 wrote me to say: 

"ALC - YES! I did this in '09 --the best experience I've ever had on a bicycle.  My advice: You should be training RIGHT NOW ;) haha At this point, I was averaging 45-65mi a week (total), so like 10 or so daily, which I increased going into March at 60-80mi a week.  You should also have the bicycle you're going to ride and sport fitted to you."

So I'm up to 10-20 miles a week and have no bike.  (Internal thought) Not going to freak, we're going to be fine.  Just eat a burrito and breeeeeathe...   

Originally written1/13/12

Friday, January 13, 2012

ALC-Day 6 (143 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

I don't normally feel depressed but was awfully low last night.  Not even bad reality television could cheer me up.  (Isn't it all bad though?) 

I was telling (boyfriend) Jon that everything is just piling up more and more (need to buy new bike, cycling clothes, sore back, knees creaking, raise money, etc.) and am letting myself feel overwhelmed and not having any fun.  Sound dramatic?  Yes.  I am.   And it's been less than a week.  Just as I was going on about this process feeling so big right now I checked my email and saw I got my FIRST donation!  From the Beckes family!  I yelped loudly and have seriously felt so happy and elated that someone took the first step.  So happy, in fact, that I got up this morning at 5:30 am and went to a spinning class!  (No fan drama this time.) 

I only know Chloe Beckes (formerly Mounce) of the Beckes family, who is a friend from High School that I haven't seen in close to 10 years (wow, that's a long time).  Thank you Chloe!  Up until your donation came through, I felt like I was shouting into an abyss with no answer.  Having never done this before, I really didn't know what to expect.  You truly turned this around for me and I will never forget you and your family as my first donor (you never forget your first).

On that note, I decided I need to stop acting like a hysterical girl when something isn't going right and take my training and fund raising efforts one step at a time.  Unless you're a snake, you can't swallow a meal whole, you have to take it one bite at a time.  Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom...


Originally written 1/11/12

ALC-Day 4 (146 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

My back is actually still quite sore from Saturday's ride, like when you sleep on your neck funny and wake with it kinked to one side and scream expletives at the child you don't have when you try to straighten it.  Like that.  I never really thought much about the fit of a bike and how sitting/riding on it for hours and hours could ruin your body.  Mine's not ruined per se, but I am definitely taking this knot in my back as a sign of things to come (if I'm not more careful).   Also trying not to think about the fact that I've sometimes got the back of a retired gymnast.  Let's hope I don't have the knees too.

I've decided I need to approach my training a little more like I would buy a suit: ensure that it is comfortable and that you could bounce a coin off my ass.  No.  But I do need to be comfortable and the adjustments made to the handlebars, seat, etc. are tailored to my body.  Learning so much and actually feel a little dumb that I haven't known to ask/research before.  Since I still kinda have a lot of time to train, for the rest of January I'm going to spinning class 1-2 times a week and weight train and yoga 2-3 times a week.

I was in Santa Cruz this weekend (pic above of SC beach) visiting a friend and Tom (who has participated in the ride for the past 3 years) and Matthew (who is participating in the ride this year, 1st time) were there too.  They were giving me all kinds of great tips and made me think that I shouldn't over-train and push myself to a point where I can't physically maintain a regular workout.  Any good Jockey will tell you not to come too strong out of the gate.  Endurance and stamina are going to be a big hurtle.

We also discussed the outfits, padded shorts and other gear I will eventually have to invest in.  I was saying I just want riding outfits in solid colors and Tom said that solid colors is what makes an erection stand out, should you get one.  It's the busy patterns on the cycling shorts and shirts I should be looking for, you know, just in case.  Have you seen the busy carpets in movie theaters?  They could hide vomit .  This is all good information. Then we naturally segued to AwkwardBoners.com, which, among other things, has pictures of athletes with erections under their singlets, jogging shorts and Speedos.  (You're welcome, have fun kids.)       


Originally written 1/9/12

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dear Christian Mingle Dot Com

I've gotten two emails from ChristianMingle.com, a dating site for single (straight) Christians, in the last four days and can't help but think they're barking up the wrong tree. I wrote them an email but can't seem to find a direct email address to send it.  (Sent it to generic 'help' email instead, and will likely never get read.)  Didn't want it to go to waste:

Dear Christian Mingle,

I'm a guy, single and ready to (Christian) mingle.  I recently received an email to join Christian Mingle dot com and believe finding your email buried amongst penis pump offers
in my junk folder was truly His way of telling me it is time to put faith in my Dell laptop and let its technology and your sacred database find my one true eternal soul mate (since God and I have been striking out like a wet match).  Sadly, after registering on your site, the results were nil.  What gives?  

About Me: After a sad break from a former soul mate, I have been praying hard (sometimes bleeding) on the issue of dating again.  I have looked everywhere for the one; Bible study, Ultimate Frisbee mixers and even my Christian Puzzling Group (we talk about things that puzzle us: hot pants, no dates, etc.)...and OF COURSE prayer prayer prayer.  Still, no bites. 

In my profile I held nothing back.  I impressed upon the importance of His presence in our relationship at all times--something my second soul mate, Leslie, didn't believe enough in.  I strongly prefer a woman with the looks of Spencer Tracy and the constitution of a fireman.  She must have the capacity to hold me tight when I'm upset, believes deeply in long walks and can wield an axe (Angel, soul mate #4 couldn't do any of those things).  And also I need someone, a woman, perhaps, who is Interdenominational or Southern Baptist and is fluent in tongues (would consider a Lutheran with big hands).    

A friend Lukas (just friends), who leads my Thursday's group and has thick forearms but no single twin sister, advised me that I should not give away so much information on my profile.  "Be general," he said.  "Wait until the first date to let her know the real you, maybe even the third," he said.  I don't agree.  Last Cmas I really wanted a pair of those toe shoes (that make your feet look like those of a primate).  But when one of other my sponsors from a Wednesday group asked me what I wanted for HIS birthday I said, "You don't have to get me anything."  Later, when he did surprise me with a Mikasa tea set (really gorgeous with gold inlay), I was upset because I didn't tell him what I really wanted: monkey feet! 

In my loneliest moments (oh, when will God give me that special someone) I think of what Carrie Anne, the soul mate before Alexandra, told me: "Soul mates are extremely rare and when God blesses you with one, you must never let him her go."  Even if there are not many 6' 3'' strong women out there with broad shoulders and strong jaws, I need to keep patient and understand to let God and the Heavenly search matrix at Christian Mingle work their magic.  How did Christians find soul mates on the internet before? 

On a sidenote, a friend of mine that is not me wonders if you have ever considered adding a Christian M2M group to your site?  Seems like an untapped market.  You could be the first!

In His loving grace,

R. Jones

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ALC-Day 2 (148 to go)

(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research.  Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)

I'm off and running (riding). I started training for my ALC ride today by attending a spinning class.  I've taken a spinning class before for fun but now feel more of a purpose (and dare I say, drive) to push myself.  The instructor, Asha, that leads the hour-long class brings lots of old school funk and modern pop music to class, making it all that much more fun.  Sometimes people will sing along (which I would otherwise find annoying) as we pump up a "hill".  There's another class I've taken with a teacher-guy who has a ponytail (David??) who plays a much more spiritual soundtrack that doesn't drive me in the same way.  But if you ever want to know the rush of what it might feel like to run along the beach in the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire, then you might want to check it out.

Speaking of, during my class, I was on the bike in the corner near the fan.  That person, I've learned, is the one in control of turning on/off the fan.  Ten minutes into the class I had several people ask me to turn it on, "Cool me down, brother."  When I did turn on the fan I got a dirty look from a nearby guy cycling in place.

"I want to sweat.  Can you that off please? Make it more natural."

My shrug said, "But other people want this on," and I said, "Isn't having wind blowing on you more natural?"  With that he got off his bike in a huff, picked it up and moved forward about 4 feet, crowding the front row of riders.  Clearly, we were not going to be friends.  I kinda wanted to push the issue because it seems logical that if you were riding, on a bike, through air, you would feel a breeze and maybe even a headwind.  Right?  Am I alone on this?  Spinning culture is so weird.

After class I went for a quick 5 mile ride on my own and actually felt quite scared riding alongside traffic.  I've read too many articles about cycling deaths in urban areas caused by careless (car) driving.  That has, in fact, kept me away from cycling more.  I need to not think that if a car did clip me, they'd likely need to get a touch-up paint job while I would be dead or in traction.  Doesn't seem fair.  At any rate, on mile 4 my back started to ache.  I decided to stop into a bike shop to see about getting my seat, handlebars, etc. adjusted and the guy working there said, "This frame is too big for you," and went on about the ergonomics of cycling and a bunch of other stuff I never thought much about before.  *sigh*  Looks like I'm going to have to buy another bike.  I'll put that on my long list of things I can't afford right now.  Still, I'm going to do this ride one way or another.  I made a commitment.

At the time of writing this, I have raised $0.00.  Such a long way to go.


Originally written 1/7/12

Friday, January 6, 2012

ALC-Day 1 (149 to go)

The week of June 3-9th I will be cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles with AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC).  What you might know is that this ride is a 7-day, 545-mile bike ride that raises money, awareness and support for people living with HIV and AIDS.  What you might not know is why am I doing it?  

I have recently been supporting a dear friend through breast cancer treatments and though this journey with ALC has nothing to do with breast cancer, the inconvenience of having to fight for your life is scary and costly and has made me look at life-threatening illnesses and disease in a new light.  So I'm part of ALC this year because I'm healthy, able and have the capacity to help (and I also like to be out on my bike).  But mostly I'm riding because I don't want to live in a world where I need a reason to help a friend, a relative or a stranger in need.          

This is my first year participating and I have pledged to raise $3,000 for AIDS/LifeCycle.  Please support me by giving what you can.  You'll be helping me reach my goal, yes, but you'll really be helping someone who has to wake up every morning, look themselves in the mirror and find the courage, pride and strength to press on.    

Originally written 1/6/12