Monday, April 30, 2012

ALC-Day 115 (34 days to go)


I've reached 90% of my (new) goal and want to thank Alex Sanchez for his recent contribution to my ride and ALC.  If you are still interested in giving to ALC, ushers will be passing donation baskets up and down the pews.  Repent and please give what you can.  

And if you're sick of giving to me, consider throwing some bones to my teammates and training buddies Nick Weitzel and Justin Gesler.  We're all first-time riders and in 34 days we'll embark on the ride of our lives.  Help us sorry saps get to LA.   

Morgan Spurlock at The Greatest Movie Ever Sold junket.

Cycling wear, as far as I can tell, has come a long way and I've been thinking a lot about the cyclist look; streamline, tight and sporty.  While most jerseys today have a superior design that whisks away sweat, many of them are also covered with brand names and logos making the modern cyclist look like a billboard with thighs.  I'm sure someday I'd be happy to wear 'Jamba Juice' across my chest if the company donated $10,000 to my race.  But until I become a whore for corporate sponsorship, I don't want my side fat selling Merrill Lynch.

As I'm in need of jerseys for this ALC ride, I've decided to channel some Tour de France realness.  Well, maybe not realness, but what I could find on Ebay.  Thus far I've been training in T-shirts, cotton T-shirts, which any cyclist will tell you is all wrong.  Looking into what these Tour de France cyclists used to wear (or not wear) astounds me.  Woolly shirts, no clip shoes, no helmets and no Butt Budder (for chaffing).  Also, no corporate sponsors.  Just simple, classic athletic wear free of agenda.  Mostly.



This weekend's ride took me to Point Reyes Station, an 83 mile loop from San Francisco with lots of hills--but not those nasty 'seven sisters' from last week.  Needless to say, the route was chalk full of all those ghastly redwood groves and poetic pastures I've come to expect on these North Bay treks.  Bleeech!  Maybe this weekend is the weekend that I do my first century (100 miles) ride.  In the words of Stevie Wonder, "Feets don't fail me now."

This weekend's route.

 Chris and Nick and The Bomb Burrito at our rest stop.

 Big shout out to the runner in my life,
Mr. Jonathan Grantham, who ran a half marathon
in under 2 hours on Sunday.  I'm very proud of him and
all the ways he pushes himself.  Plus, it's also nice
to have someone with whom to swap stories of joint pain.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ALC-Day 109 (40 days to go)


In my best Telemundo sportscaster voice: "GOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!"  Yes, I've reached my goal of $3,000 and I feel just like a really clever redneck saying that starts with, "Happier than a...".  Happier than a pig in shit?  Happier than a tightwad at a firesale?  Happier than a bear face down in a pot of honey-glazed fish head soup?  No.  Happier.  

A big thank you to Edward Vicedo, Lauri Jones, Kimberly Taddei, and Peter Johns.  You've pushed me to my goal and beyond.  Truly, I'm happier than the only maggot at a gut farm to be on the other side of this fund raising goal.  Phew, 109 days ago I didn't think we would make it.  


Okay, I lied.  I haven't reached my current goal (now upped to $3,500) but I did reach my original goal of $3,000.  All ALC riders have to raise $3,000, though.  I upped my goal not because I'm taking a shine to this begging-for-money thing, but because I don't want someone who has been holding off to donate get to my ALC page and put their wallet away because they see I've crossed the 3-grand threshold.  Don't worry, this is not a bait and switch.  Raising my goal is just me setting up a peverbial fishing rod lakeside while I nap in the shade.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll snag a few more trout without really trying.  The (additional) funds will still be going to charity.

Alpine Dam/Seven Sister's bike route

Now a word about the insane ride I went on this weekend.  I think I've said I've been on an insane ride a few times and that's because I've never done the same route twice and they keep getting longer and more difficult.  

Saturday's trek to Alpine Dam and the Seven Sisters in 80+ degree heat was no exception.  Before I trash talk the route, let me first say that it was so beautiful; roads winding through patches of redwoods, ocean views, rolling grassy hills, a charming reservoir--it was like scenes from a romanticized car commercial: "There's no telling where the new Nissan Pathwander will take you!"  

That is, it would have been like a romanticized car commercial except for the record scratch-of-a-cyclist (me) red-faced, panting and spewing expletives in each of those nature scenes: "There's no telling where the...F**K THIS HILL...will take you!"  I'm sad to say that the first time since I started this training, I had to get off my bike and walk.  The hills just didn't quit and proved to be too much for me.  Plus, you could have fried an egg on the road.  I mentioned that, right?  It was Bikram Cycling with all the heat and none of the humidity (or hippies).

Seven Sisters along the Marin Headlands

My pack of training buddies is growing

Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#4371

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ALC-Day 104 (45 days to go)--Final Push


Hello Friends,

The week of June 3-9th I will be cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles with AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC).  For the past three months I have been training hard; cycling up and down mountains, dead-lifting beer kegs, tanning, sporting spandex, eating raw and live meat, I even subscribed to the Tony Little fanclub and grew a ponytail...ROOOAAARR--all in preparation to ride 7-days, 545-miles to raise money, awareness and support for people living with HIV and AIDS.  Believe me, it's a tough job, but that money isn't going to raise itself.

As my first year participating, I have pledged to raise $3,000 for ALC and I am happy to say that I am just shy a measly $300 of that mark.  Some people have given because they know me and want to help, some because they want to support the cause.  And some have given because they want to see my quads will grow.  Whatever your reason, please consider supporting me by giving what you can and ridding us all of this disease. 

Click here to give what you can.
And, all donations are tax deductible. Tax ID#: 94-2927405
 
Thank you,

Ryan Jones
Participant #4371

Monday, April 16, 2012

ALC-Day 101 (48 days to go)

Thank you to the lovely and charming Jennifer Thompson for rounding out my earnings.  Someone had to do it.  Real talk: I'm only $300 away from my goal!  With only $300 more to raise, I wanted to put into perspective what 300 clams will get you nowadays: 
  • 75 pints of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food
  • 23 admission tickets to the re-release of Titanic in 3D on IMAX
  • a modest amount of groceries from Whole Foods 
  • 1 slightly used French Bulldog
  • almost 4 adult tickets to Disneyland
  • a prom dress with a 1 night stay at Red Roof Inn
  • bragging rights at parties: I pushed Ryan past his goal for ALC.
  •  

I rode 100 miles this weekend, broken up between two days.  Now I'm broken, or at least, my body is.  Friday, I took Jon on a 20 mile ride to help him cross train for an upcoming half marathon and Saturday, I rode 80 miles to The Cheese Factory, a roadside cheese store near Petaluma specializing in Brie.  

Let's do some math:
Friday's 20 mile ride + Saturday's 80 mile ride = Ryan's body laying tattered on the couch

I am having a great time with all this training but I don't know how I am going to ride 7 days consecutively without becoming a twisted mess of ache.  After each ride I need about a day to recoup.  Even though my first day was a breezy 20 miles, I still didn't start out fresh on the 80 mile trek and don't know why I'm in such a state pain today.  More water maybe?  Hmpf.   
 
In a very relevant story, my parents now have a chicken living in their home.  I was chatting with my mother the other day and she was telling me about this chicken saying, Zorro, my sister's dog, "...got ahold of that poor hen and tore it up.  Poor thing."

Me: Oh, no.  

Mom: Lauri [another sister] brought it in the house and has been nursing it back to health.

Me: It's living in the house?

Mom: Sure.  It just sits here by the fireplace.

Me: Is it in a cage?

Mom: No, it doesn't have a tail or anything.  Just sits there.  It's pretty used to us now.
  
In case you didn't get it earlier, here's some basic logic:  If Zorro is to a 100 mile ride as I am to a chicken, then Zorro tore my ass up.  Don't think too hard about this.  I didn't. 

(L to R) Chris, Justin, Tristan at our coffee break in Fairfax.

Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#4371

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Sold a Bag on Ebay

I (vandango23) recently sold a bag on Ebay and had a lengthy and long email exchange with the winner of the item.
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-01-12 03:43:48 PDT
Dear vandango23,

And how may bags do you have?


- storkritov

                   
Moleskine Utility Bag, Black
Moleskine Utility Bag, Black
Item Id:150788417109
End time:Apr-05-12 14:20:23 PDT
Buyer:
storkritov (0)
0.0% Positive Feedback
Member since Apr-01-12 in Russian Federation
Listing Status:This message was sent while the listing was closed.

_____________________________________________________________________________ 
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-04-12 11:27:25 PDT

Dear storkritov,

I have only 1 bag. International shipping would be around $20.

- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-05-12 14:33:55 PDT

Dear vandango23,

So, I won and need International shipping to Russia. What info should I give you? And what is the algoritm of buying?

- storkritov
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-05-12 14:37:51 PDT

Dear storkritov,

I don't know that you will be needing any algorithms.  I just sent you an invoice including shipping costs, that will be easier.  Once that is paid I will ship out your bag.

- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-05-12 15:10:10 PDT

Dear vandango23,

Kollontay st, h. xx, f. xxx
Saint Petersburg 1xxxxx
Russian Federation

it is shipping address with numbers of house and flat (I didn't find it on order page, it's my mistake I think)

- storkritov
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-05-12 15:57:43 PDT

Dear storkritov,

Thank you. I will ship to:

Kollontay st, h. xx, f. xxx
Saint Petersburg 1xxxxx
Russian Federation


- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-11-12 02:18:11 PDT

Dear vandango23,

Hey, could you answer me about shipping time?

- storkritov
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-11-12 09:42:22 PDT

Dear storkritov,

Yes, your package was mailed First Class USPS and will take 7-9 days to reach your home.  In Russia.

- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-11-12 11:30:51 PDT

Dear vandango23,

If I'm not wrong you will sent me a code, which I should say in mail office?

- storkritov
_____________________________________________________________________________    
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-11-12 11:32:32 PDT

Dear storkritov,

There's no tracking for this package as you didn't request it. I sent it regular, First Class mail and you should have it by early next week.

- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-12-12 13:12:30 PDT

Dear vandango23,

Should I go in mail office in this case or what? How do I actually get the bag?

- storkritov
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-12-12 13:15:13 PDT

Dear storkritov,

Nyet, I mailed Bac пакет
to the address you provided me. It will take a few days to get to you.  To get to your house.  In Russia.  To the address you gave me.  If packages are not normally delivered to your building then maybe it will go to a nearby post office and they will alert you.

- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________
From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-12-12 14:10:19 PDT

Dear vandango23,


So I should wait it at home?

- storkritov
_____________________________________________________________________________    
From: vandango23
To: storkritov
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-12-12 14:28:26 PDT

Dear storkritov,

You can wait inside your house, outside of your of door or even on your roof. 
Wear a jacket.  The box isn't arriving for another week or so.  The bag is going to this address:

Kollontay st, h. xx, f. xxx
Saint Petersburg 1xxxxx
Russian Federation 


- vandango23
_____________________________________________________________________________ From: storkritov
To: vandango23
Subject: Re: Shipping: storkritov sent a message about Moleskine Utility Bag, Black #150788417109
Sent Date: Apr-12-12 14:42:15 PDT

 Dear vandango23,

Ok. Thanks. Sorry for unnecessary questions. Hope not annoy you.

- storkritov

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ALC-Day 96 (53 days to go)


Thank you Natalie McGrath and Ken Maeshiro for your recent donations.  I'm at 89% of my goal and am so far over the hump, I can see the end from my house! 


After last week's rear end soreness (do I need to show you the baboon ass photo again?) I decided to try some butt butter or "budder".  Chaffing is a common occurrence for many athletes and since I wouldn't count myself among them, lubricating before a long ride is a new concept for me.  It's a new frontier.  Basically you generously apply this thick foamy skin gel anywhere you think you might experience chaffing.  So.  Everywhere on my butt.  It's cooling and when you sit down on it, it feels like you've sat in a cream pie.  And I gotta say, it did the trick.  Moving forward, you can expect to find a 50 gallon drum of this in my condo in the days leading up the the big ride.  "Thanks Beljum Budder!"   


This week's big ride was a 70 mile jaunt to quaint little Nacasio, California.  Friends; Nick, Chris, Matt, Hung and newcomer, other Chris, were all along for the ride.  Other Chris is a friend of Matt's and is also into racing his bike on the weekends.  Serious business, that one.  "I just wanted a slow, leisurely ride today," he said after 8 hours of physical exertion from the rest of us.

Nick and me in Nicaso

While on the ride, other Chris tried to teach us how to draft, where, like geese, one rider leads the pack, breaking the wind and lessening the resistance for all in tow.  Then you swap out leaders as the rest of the cyclists ride in a chain about 1-2 feet from the person in front of them.  It is in this formation that your ride is suppose to be more efficient.  I'm no tailgater and I personally found drafting terrifying.  You will typically find me 5-6 bike-lengths behind the person in front of me.  What can I say?  I like a lot of time to react and get out of the way of someone should they fall.  I'll break my own wind, thank you very much.
 


Oh, one cool thing is that we rode past Skywalker Ranch.  You really couldn't see much other than a stone gate which tourists happily posed alongside.  


Monday, April 2, 2012

ALC-Day 87 (62 days to go)


This morning my legs were creaking like an old barn door.  Why, you ask?  I conquered Devil Mountain (Mt. Diablo) yesterday and it might have been more than I was ready for.  But before all that bizz-nass, thank you to Dora Leonard and Grand Master Funk General, Jonathan Grantham, for giving to ALC and helping to inspire me to ruin my joints for this righteous cause.  Today, I am just two months out from the ride and at 86% of my goal, need to raise another $416.34!   


Question: Based on the reading above, creeeaaak is the sound made by
          A. an old barn door.
          B. you opening your wallet to donate to Ryan's ALC ride.
          C. Ryan's legs when he got out of bed this morning.

If you live in the Bay Area you know the weather has not been behaving these past two weekends.  But with a break in the clouds yesterday, I hopped on my bike and hooked up with a group of riders in the East Bay for much needed training.  We met in Orinda and rode to Mt. Diablo and back for a total of 70.8 miles.  That distance actually doesn't sound intimidating to me anymore, but when I saw the route sheet for Sunday's ride, I almost crapped a baby.  Almost.

Remember several posts back when I spoke of the SF "wiggle", the route that snakes through the city to avoid all the hills before finally dumping you out onto the Golden Gate Bridge?  Well, no such "wiggle" exists for these East Bay cycling packs.  They actually seek out the hills.  And, I'm convinced, the hilly-er, the better.  There was one part in particular up Happy Valley Road that looked like the evil way to Grandma's house.  Old, dead oak trees lining the dark and wet crumbling roads...and it went up up up!  If you happen to drive along Happy Valley Road, just know, it's false advertising.  It's not happy and I saw no such valley.  Meh.

Good news is that I've gotten much smarter about riding up tough inclines thanks to Chris Streeter (2nd year rider) who has encouraged me to stand up and think of myself slowly walking.  Your body weight propels you forward rather than just your legs.  It works! 
(You might have to try riding uphill sometime to get this notion.)

Long shot of route

Overall, per usual, the ride was beautiful (not looking at you Happy Valley Road).  We went through inspiring settings, wealthy neighborhoods with stunning homes and I saw all kinds of animals; a fox, toad, turkey, deer, birds, and squirrels squirrels squirrels--all of them flattened and roadside, cheering us on as we sped by.

Closer look at Mt. Diablo climb, up up up!

This entire time I've been training there have been challenges.  First it was trying to raise money, then it was finding a bike, finding cycling equipment, training, learning to train better, diet, learning to breathe deeply, and now, sore ass.  Sorry to be so crass but lordalmighty, by mile 60 yesterday, I could hardly sit down and I'm still hurting.  Need to look into a new seat or maybe thicker padded shorts.  Oww-weee.
    


Below are some photos from my ride.

Near top of Mt. Diablo

Close up, near top of Mt. Diablo

Shot from base of Mt. Diablo