Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ALC-Day 53 (96 days to go)


Okay, having missed a second weekend of riding, I'm officially slacking off.  But I'm not going to anymore.  I'm not going to be Carlos*.  Who is Carlos?  A princess.  

Several years ago I kinda ran in Carlos' circle.  He had no plans for the future, no work ethic and while other people busted their humps at dead end jobs to pay the bills, he always somehow fell ass-backwards into money.  Carlos also participated in ALC.  But it wasn't for the cause, it was for the boys--which he also seemed to fall ass-backwards into (sorry for that visual, Mom).   

There is something on the ride referred to as "princessing" as in I'm going to be a princess and let others do the work.  Every day of the ride there's a bus that trails the pack of cyclists.  The cyclists who, for whatever reason, cannot or do not try to ride the length of each day's leg of the trip, and are picked up and shuttled or "princessed" on a plush air conditioned bus to the next destination.
Carlos was a princess.  He raised his money like everyone else, which I'm learning was/is no small feat, and that money did go to a good cause.  So, good for that.  Still, each day while cyclists rode into camp, sweat-soaked, out of breath and burning from physical exertion, Carlos, as the story goes, was always neatly dressed and saucing it up with some other rider du jour.  And he princessed most every day.  

Please hold while I get up on this *grunt* soapbox... 

Carlos completely missed the significance and challenge of the entire ride.  Remember that thing I said about half-assing (and full-assing) this whole thing?  Well to half-ass this ride, which is to say, not try, is deceptive to donors who selflessly give, not to mention disrespectful and demeaning to the people who need and benefit from the money ALC raises.  I remind myself of that every time I feel like slacking off.  And another thing I know (knee blows out from too many Spinning classes)  WHOAAAA!  *CRASH!* (Pots bang, a tire rolls by and a light bulb sparks out)   

(from the floor) ALC is as much about the journey as it is the ride itself.  No excuses.          

*Not his real name

Friday, February 24, 2012

ALC-Day 49 (100 to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Today marks day 49 of my training and only 100 more days until the big ride!!  It's all double-digit days from here on out.  Also worth noting is that I've raised a whopping $1,330 for ALC, putting me at 44% of my $3,000 goal!!  I'm ecstatic and so pleased, for all those who gave.  

I've been putting off having to actually ask people for money fearing I'd become one of those guys you see and try to avoid, turn the other way or pretend to be on your phone because you know what I'll ask you if we interact and you don't know another way to say no because I clearly haven't taken the hints you've been throwing my way.  Is that crazy of me?  Maybe.  But the crazy has paid off and after yesterday's ask to friends, family and co-workers (perhaps you got an email?) I'd like to thank the following people who have given to my ride within the last 24 hours:
  • Henrriette Mena: Long time friend and card shark.  She'll cut you! 
  • Brandi Brashears: Gave a second gift, which is astounding considering there are probably many other things more deserving of her hard-earned-cash and she chose to give to me, twice!  Amazing and so selfless. 
  • Faaalu Lealaimatafao: Co-worker and terribly sweet and patient with me and my dumb "which form do I use again" questions.  Don't even try to say her name.  You'll explode. 
  • Mark Kelleher: Co-worker who has come out to me as a Spinner (as in, he takes Spin classes 3 times a week!)  Maybe I can get him to do the ride next year? 
  • Teresa Ono: Co-worker and one of the straightest shooters around.  
  • Margaret O'Brien: Co-worker and knower of many things and has visited all 50 states!  Understandably mistakes my "game face" for an angry one when I'm concentrating.  Lovely lady. 
  • Ariella Granett: My former landlord, mother of two beautiful children and bike enthusiast. 
  • Thomas Mullaney: Co-worker and thoughtful writer.  Always has his tie flipped over his shoulder alla Dilbert. 
  • Laura Baber: Met Laura about 17 years ago in New York, spent a year with her in Latvia, lost touch and reconnected on Facebook.  Beautiful skin, that one.

Now for the not so fun news...I've completely slacked off this week with my training.  But, I (think) I have an excuse.  February is a big birthday month for me.  It's my birthday (yesterday, 35), my dad's, nephew and several friends...so I've been busy (read: eating lots).  

Last weekend my sisters and I threw a big joint party for my parents' 70th birthday with lots of out-of-town relatives visiting.  When I got home, the planning and executing of the planning became a huge monster and though I brought clothes to workout in for my visit, I never got around to sweating them up.  I did, however, go to Spinning class this morning and after exactly 1 week of not training, can feel that I've slipped back a little.  It's very easy for me to back down from physical challenges and I have to make sure that I'm following through with what I've set out to do.  I don't commit to something only to do it half-assed.  This is full-ass, baby!  I'm going FULL ASS!

Can't believe I still haven't posted photos of my new bike.  I've been accused of being a bad bike daddy.  I promise I will show it off and must blame birthday month (again) for that one.    
My parents at their birthday party.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ALC-Day 40 (109 to go)

I have been struggling not to be too lax on my training, though, in truth, this has been a challenging past week.  I was sick, we've had on/off rain and one other example.  I think when I began to train and write this blog I spoke about my trouble with stamina, keeping pace and, as of lately, enthusiasm to keep going.  I have to remind myself that I'm healthy and not dealing with any illnesses (save a sensitively to gluten), so really, I have no excuse to slack off.  

I wanted to do this ride to help people with life-threatening illnesses who perhaps can't help themselves.  If for no other reason and for one else, I need to do this ride and train regularly to prove to myself that I've got some follow-through when it comes to long and difficult physical challenges, always trying to keep focus on the bigger picture (which is not me and my whining).  

In my low moments I just remember all the people who have supported me so far and the people I hope to support with my efforts.  This year I'm doing the AIDS Ride and who knows, maybe next year the Cancer Climb or Jumping for Joint Health (not real events). 

Highlights this week:
  • I got my new bike and love it!  (pictures to come)
  • I went on a beautiful 30+ mile ride over GG Bridge with friends this past Sunday.
  • On that 30+ mile ride I did not stop once on my ascent of the Sausalito hill leading back to the GG Bridge.
  • My sister, Chrissy, started a "Ry-Cycling" campaign asking family and friends to donate recycling with proceeds going to my cycling (very clever and kind of her).
  • My friend Nick has joined the ALC ride.
  • Nick dedicated this weekend's ride to Whitney Huston who died on Saturday, February 11th (which felt more funny than sad and I think belongs on this list).
 Me at pit stop on the Whitney Memorial Ride with and without a mustache.

Tom and Nick at lunch after the Whitney Memorial Ride with and without a mustaches.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ALC-Day 32 (117 to go)

I had a particularly crap work day yesterday and woke up lamenting opening my email this morning.  When I did, I saw that a friend from high school, Brandi, had donated to my ride (and was instantly snapped out of my funk).  I remember Brandi being sweet, always reading in the halls and had a depth of character I don't think many people saw. 

I emailed Brandi to thank her for the kind donation and she replied to say, "Its not me, Ryan. It's Kitty [her toddler]. ... I decided when she was born to give $ in her name for every birthday and christmas. So she'll learn the importance of giving and that the world got better because she came into it.
"  I read Brandi's email to a new mother in my office and she teared up saying, "I'm going to have to do that for my Cole [her infant]."  Thank you Brandi and Kitty.  You're selfless and I'm touched by the bigger message of your gift.

In training news, one month down and I'm still keeping up with my training.  Although, with each approaching month I really should start saying amping up my training, and then assess whether or not I'm actually keeping up with it.  Semantics. 

So here are my personal training goals for each week in February:
  • attend two spinning classes
  • attend one yoga class
  • go on a minimum of 30-50 mile
  • no sugar or alcohol except on weekends (after ride
I've not really thought too much about a diet for my training, which seems like an oversight.  On Sunday, however, I was watching a program about the Paleo Diet, a.k.a. the "caveman" diet, which sounded not so challenging and along the lines of my already no or low processed food mentality of eating. 

In truth, I was wanting to research the diet for my father after hearing of its positive effects against diabetes (from which he is afflicted).  But what I found is that it's a relatively reasonable diet to follow and good for athletes and everyday folks (or me).  Here's what the diet is about:

The Paleo Diet mimics the types of foods every single person on the planet ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution (a mere 500 generations ago). These foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood) are high in the beneficial nutrients (soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates) that promote good health.  The Paleo Diet is low in the foods and nutrients (refined sugars and grains, dairy, trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods) that frequently may cause weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and numerous other health problems. The Paleo Diet encourages dieters to replace dairy and grain products with fresh fruits and vegetables — foods that are more nutritious than whole grains or dairy products.* 

At any rate, I'm thinking of giving Paleo a go or at the very least, incorporating more of its dogma into my daily diet.  Of course, there is an exercise program that goes along with Paleo; flipping heavy tires the length of a football field, throwing medicine balls against walls, snapping the neck of an elk and eating its liver--you know, like the cavemen did.  I need to look into the workouts  more but for now, I've got enough on my plate with all this cycling!

*From Dr. Loren Cordain’s website, thepaleodiet.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

ALC-Day 28 (121 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've raised $625.00 of $3,000.00, which astounds me!  I'm very humbled by the people who have donated to this ride.  Thank you everyone; Chole, Forest Family, Trish and Bob, Nancy and Clayton, Marti and MOM!  

In other good news, I've zeroed in on a road bike!  More specifically, I'm having one custom built by an Oakland artist who is also a bike enthusiast and one with a great eye for ascetics.

I'm picky and don't tend to make brash purchases, especially when I've got time and choice on my side (in that order).  I've been known to walk away from a great deal just to see if the item in question speaks to me when I turn my back.  "Stop!!  You can't live without me."   

So, over the past couple of weeks, I have been to most every bike shop in Oakland and San Francisco, both with new and used offerings, to see if I could find something to fit my build and budget (not in that order).  My favorites shops being Pedal Revolution, Recycle Bicycle, Tip Top Bikes, Mike's Bikes,  Pioneer Bikeshop, Refried Cycles, and Valencia Cyclery--all great places with excellent customer support and from what I can tell, skilled mechanics.  But, the one that won me over was by far Brazen Bicycles.

Being the difficult sell that I am, I emailed the owner of Brazen Bicycles asking him all kinds of important (read: annoying) questions about what he does, knowledge and background, etc.  What I found is that this guy is just starting this bike business, selling custom builds from parts that he has carefully scoured off the internet and obscure bike outlets--all done out of his work/loft space in West Oakland.

On the "About" page of his site he says: 

Brazen Bicycles is small bicycle workshop founded and run by...an Oakland-based artist and cyclist. Inspired by a love of classic bicycle style and function, the workshop was started as an investigation into the re-cycling of used bicycles, frames, and parts. The investigation has blossomed into a small business that offers something not found elsewhere in the Bay Area: affordable, fully customized bicycles with an acute sense of style.    

I've already met with the owner David, a cute, earnest, baritone-voiced guy, who measured my arms and legs and showed me pictures of sexy bike parts he's trying to procure for the build.   The wheels are in motion.  Even though I don't have the bike yet or have any idea what it will look like, I've seen what David can do and trust his knowledge and vision.  If you're looking for a new bike, I highly recommend looking Brazen Bicyles up.   Tell 'em Ryan set ya!

Here's some of his other rebuilt bikes:

Originally written 1/31/12

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ALC-Day 26 (123 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.)

After a particularly grueling cycling workout, this is me the morning after.  Jon thought I looked funny under the comforter and snapped this picture.  Trust, I'm only slightly less obese.