Monday, April 29, 2013

ALC 2013: 34 days to go

 

Money Raised:
$1650
Days to Go: 34
Mood Forecast: I'm feeling as sunny as the sky.
Special Thanks: Jonathan Grantham


The weather is so spectacular today and I'm feeling great.  Saturday was the ALC sponsored "Day on the Ride", which is actually just a mock day of riding with rest stops, safety speeches, and lots of having to stop at every stop sign and put your foot down.  It's good practice for all the Roadies and first-time riders.  And it doesn't hurt veteran riders to participate and get their heads in the game too.

The route was only 62 miles, which for me (adjusts tie and collar), ahem, was a piece of cake.  We started in the Presido, rode over the GGB, through all the little Marin towns, and on to Lucas Valley.  In fact, George Lucas was passing out coconut water as we breezed by Skywalker Ranch, shouting, "Maaahhhahahaha," which means "Party on, Wayne!" in Wookie.* 

When I got home Jon took me for ramen at Ramen Shop in Oakland, and we slurped up a huge bowl of savory awesome.  Jon had a crabby-pork mix and I had fern fiddles with mushrooms.  Everything is handmade/homegrown and, wow...just wow!  Then we went home and for hours talked about our feelings like all good couples do on Saturday nights. 

Now, something I need to talk about.  This past week, a thing happened.  On Friday, a group of us office folk were taking out a coworker for his birthday.  Without going into too much detail, this coworker had a seizure in a very public place.  The little I do know about seizures is that it is important to keep the person on their side so any fluids can flow out of their mouths and to keep them comfortable (something soft under head, loosen any ties, tight-fitting clothing around neck, etc.).  I've always been pretty calm under pressure (except during job interviews, oddly enough), but after the episode concluded I started to feel a sense of panic myself.

Before the rest of my story I should let you know that the coworker is fine and afterwards joked, "Worst birthday ever!

I didn't realize it before, or at least couldn't pin point it, but I have a near paralyzing fear of being unprepared.  I am not sure where this comes from but I think help explains why, when put to a test, I try my hardest to keep everything under control.  I can't say this was the case when I was younger as I never had a real sense of responsibly (youngest sibling syndrome), but as an adult have a tendency to over-prepare more often than not.  

The panic I was feeling following my coworker's seizure is that I didn't know CPR.  I wouldn't have needed CPR, but what if I had?  What if I had needed to know how to give the Heimlich maneuver, or administer an EpiPen?  A million things ran through my head of stuff I may have needed to know but didn't...and it scared me. 

At any rate, I don't want this blog to be a place for me to work out my crazies but thought this was something that tied a little into ALC and why I'm so serious business about my training.  I want to be prepared at all costs for June and follow through on this commitment I signed up for.  

I am embarrassed to admit...I don't now how to change a bike tire.  When I see someone with a flat tire on the ride (which happens a lot) I don't stop.  I give a hey-the-next-person-coming-along-will-know-the-answer wave.  I don't want to be the "next" person, I want to be "the" person to help.  I want to be dependable and I want to have the answers.  I also want to be a part of the change and not hope that others will take care of it.  So, besides the fundraising, I am going to commit to learn to change a bike tire because really, there is no reason for me not to know how.  And should someone have a seizure on the ride, I'm the guy that can care for them and look after their wheels.  Just one more thing I can mark of my list.

Thanks for listening (reading).        

*George Lucas was not passing out coconut water as we breezed by Skywalker Ranch, not shouting, "Maaahhhahahaha," which really means "Party on, Garth!" in Wookie.

Friday, April 26, 2013

ALC 2013: 37 days to go

 

Money Raised:
$1650
Days to Go: 37
Mood Forecast: Over the fund raising hump and feeling better.
Special Thanks: Sarita Cooper and Maggie O'Brien 


I'd like to bring the house lights down for a moment...

I got the warm and fuzzies when I read this article about Cameron Lyle, 24, a track athlete at the University of New Hampshire, who was a match for donation for an anonymous 28-year-old male suffering from leukemia.  Said Lyle in the article, “[The recipient of my donation is] not that much older than myself. I just can’t imagine what he’s going through.”  I love the maturity in this guy and the fact that he's giving selflessly to a stranger in need. 
  
Cameron Lyle, 24

I've been feeling down about my training and fundraising this year.  Some of my teammates have bailed on the ride (no judgement) and I feel I'm losing focus, forgetting why I committed to fundraising for ALC in the first place. 

The donations me and all the other ALC riders are raising are not going to any one person we know.  Rather, it is going to thousands and thousands of people we don't know.  I also want to remember that I am not raising money for HIV/AIDS.  I am raising money to help people, people with families and loved ones, by raising money for treatment, care, and education about HIV/AIDS.   

It doesn't matter if I know who I am helping.  It matters that I know I am helping.     

Thank you to all of my donors who have given to this ride.  I am officially over the halfway mark on my way to the minimum goal of $3000 and that knowledge has reaffirmed my commitment and confidence that I can do this.  We all can do this.  

Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#2421

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ALC 2013: 40 days to go...a short play

 


(Int. office, stuffy with no windows.  RYAN is working at computer furiously typing when CO-WORKER ENTERS.)

CO-WORKER: How is your training going?  The bike thing?

RYAN: Oh, good.  Keeping me very busy on the weekend.

CO-WORKER: Did you ride this weekend?  You look like you got a little sunburn.

RYAN: Yes, a little sun kissed on the forehead.  I guess I sweat off all my sunblock.   I rode 86 miles.

CO-WORKER: Wow, 86!  Did you chafe?  I think I would be so chafed after that.

RYAN: Not really.  I have stuff that keeps things, uh, greased and moving.  Except I need better socks.  I'm still cycling with cotton socks and they don't dry very well.  But otherwise no problems.

CO-WORKER: (whispering) If you get athlete's foot you should pee on toes.  I heard it's antiseptic and is great for stuff like that.  It works great.

RYAN: You know what also works great?  Tinactin.  And not peeing on yourself. 

BLACKOUT 


Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#2421

ALC 2013: 40 days to go

 

Money Raised:
$1450
Days to Go: 40
Mood Forecast: Good mood but a little worried about my fundraising capabilities.
Special Thanks: Matthew Laughlin


My mother recently asked me, "Why did [ALC] raise your goal from $3000 to $5000 this year?"  Let me be clear, I raised my goal from $3000 to $5000 this year.  And I'll let you in on a little secret...I only have to raise $3000.  Because I surpassed that mark last year, I thought I would set the bar a little higher for 2013.  But me thinks that has proven to be a little too high and I'm not sure if I'm even going to make half of that come ride time.  Eek!  When it comes to wrangling donations, do I need a new angle, am being too pushy, not pushy enough, or has the sheen of first-year-rider-luck flaked off?   

At any rate, I do need to raise at least $3000 and with Matthew Laughlin's recent donation I have raked in $1450 to date.  Let's call $3000 my internal goal.  That means I only need an additional $1550 which is the cost of a decent Apple computer or a haircut from a celebrity stylist.  Can you help?  Will you help?  Won't you be my neighbor? 

Moving on...do ya'll like maps?  Saturday I rode 86 miles from Oakland (then BART) to Point Reyes Station with team B-List.  If you were in the Bay Area this weekend and near a window then you know that it was gorgeous outside.  The kind of weather that makes me want to climb a hill and sing.  (belting opera)  LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  

 Point Reyes Station ride, 86 miles RT

There was a gaggle of us riding; Wolfgang, Triston, Kelly, Brian, Josh, Jeff, David, and me.  Then...DRAMA!  All was going well through the coastal towns, cow-y pastures, scenic reservoirs, and into Point Reyes Station with their BBQed oysters, until, on our way back, we reached the Samuel P. Taylor campground turnoff.  

There's a secret little path past Olema that winds through the redwoods and into Samuel P. Taylor that spits you out miles later near Lagunitas.  Triston and I were behind the pack (we both had super burritos for lunch), went down the secret path and never caught up with our group.  We rode all the way back to the north-side of the GGB when Triston thought to look at his phone.   

Real times and distance I took these photos.

Seems the front runners of our group missed the turn.  They had to double back and were actually behind us.  Meanwhile at the bridge, Triston and I had developed complexes, worried we'd been abandoned because we were hopelessly behind.   They we learned they'd called, texted, trolled the river for our bodies (not true), and called in the National Guard (also, not true).  "Where are they?!" I'm sure they all cried to the woods.  Kelly even had put up a call on FB saying, "...we're worried about you.  Please contact us!"  Anyone that was concerned, we're alive and well though I did suffer a little bit of a burnt forehead (magnified 5000x below).

 5000x magnification of my sunburnt forehead.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ALC 2013: 48 days to go

 

Money Raised:
$1400
Days to Go: 48
Mood Forecast: Still feeling gross.
Special Thanks: Potential donors...


I still got it!  And by still got it I mean an evil snot bug that renders me a disgusting mess of hacking and coughing.  Since I can't beat this on my own and have been stubborn about going to the doctor, I've decided to make an appointment--something I should have done three weeks back.  The worst part is it's been hard to keep up with ALC training, but somehow I have.  


I've also still got it because I did the Alpine Dam ride this weekend and nailed it.  This is the last time I will pat myself on the back for doing this ride but last year this route nearly destroyed me.  It is not a particularly long ride (approx 70 miles) but has a lot of climbing through Mount Tamalpais, a 4,738 foot elevation gain.  Last year, I think I walked most of the climb part after Alpine Dam because I was so over-heated (around 95 degrees that day) and literally couldn't keep enough momentum on the some of the hills to stay upright.  No day on the actually ALC ride is as difficult as this route and I'm impressed with anyone that attempts it.  The next monster to conquer: Marshall Wall.
 Alpine Dam, 4,738 elevation gain

I almost didn't go on the Alpine Dam damn ride until Jon called me a pussy.  I woke up at 2 a.m. the night before coughing and hacking and couldn't get back to sleep.  Then my throat hurt.  Then my alarm went off.  Then I told a sleepy Jon, "I'm not going on the ride," to which he said, "Don't be a pussy. Get on that bike."  I appreciated the push as I had a lot to prove (and improve upon).  

I want to send some love to my riding buddies; Chris, Nick, Big Banana, Wolfie, Wookie, Kelly, David, and Brian--just some of the B-Listers (or Blisters as Jon calls us) who made the day that much more fun.  Thank you for the fun and sorry for all the expectorating.  

On a givememoney note, I haven't gotten a donation in about 2 weeks and am getting worried I won't reach my goal.  Did I set it too high?  Will I even reach the $3000 minimum?  If you are following my training and are thinking about donating, I hope you will seriously consider helping me and this great cause.  Every little bit counts and you can write off your gift for next year's taxes.  Isn't that a great thing to know on tax day (which is today, if you haven't filed yet).

Now for some pictures!!

 View from the ride.

 (L to R) David, Wolfie, Nick, Chris, Wookie

(L to R) Kelly, David, Wolfie

(L to R) Big Banana and ME

(L to R) Chris, Wookie, Wolfie, eating tacos after a long climb

Jasper is getting tired of all the ALC talk. 
It's hard to keep him engaged.

 Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#2421

Friday, April 12, 2013

Strange Object in the Bushes

The following is an HOA email exchange started by Biteface, a very weird woman who sits on the Board with me, gets along with no one, and seems to live in constant fear of being raped.  She lives on the 3rd floor of my building.

To: Board (Ryan, Dog Lady, etc.), Property Management
From: Biteface

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Subject: strange object in the bushes

hi,

It looks like someone dumped a large item- looks like a table top but could be something else. Anyway, it's outside my window. I 'm concerned someone could try to use it as a ladder and try to get into my apartment or worse. Can someone come and pick it up? 

thanks, 

Biteface

To: Ryan
From: Property Management

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Subject: strange object in the bushes
Hi Ryan,

Can you check on the size of what is in the bushes so I know who I will need to send to get it picked up.  Please let me know if you can do this.  Biteface is worried about it.
Property Management

To: Property Management
From: Ryan

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 
Subject: strange object in the bushes
Hi Property Management,

I'm at work at the moment but can look into what debris lurks in Biteface's bushes when I get home.  If it looks like it could be a safety issue I'll just remove it myself, or worse!  First, I'll be sure to climb up and rap loudly on Biteface's window to let her know all is well (haha!).

Ryan

To: Ryan
From: Property Management

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 
Subject: strange object in the bushes
Please don't.  Just let me know where you put it and the size.  I just don’t want to send someone and they can’t take it away.

Property Management

To:
Board (Ryan, Biteface, etc.), Property Management
 From: Dog Lady
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Subject: strange object in the bushes

Hi:

The city will come out and pick-up dumped items but it have to be on the curb. They will not come on the property to remove items.  Even if they are in the bushes.

Dog Lady

To: Board (Ryan, Biteface, Dog Lady, etc.)
From: Property Management

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes

Dear Board,

Is the item by the street for pick up?  Should I call the City of Oakland to remove?  Please advise.

Property Management
 
To: Board (Biteface, Dog Lady, etc.), Property Management
From: Ryan

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes

I was looking at the bushes in question this morning and didn't see anything but a palm frond.  Do you think we should be concerned that someone might use that frond to reach up to Biteface's window and scratch on the pane?  Is it possible for Biteface to take a picture of what's in her bushes?  I don't want to climb in there if I don't have to.

Ryan

To: Board (Ryan, Biteface, etc.), Property Management
From: Dog Lady

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes

Thanks Ryan. Biteface could you possibly furnish more inforation as to where the item is?  It would be greatly appreciated.

Dog Lady

To: Board (Ryan, Dog Lady, etc.), Property Management
From: Biteface

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes
Yes I noticed it was gone. I thought one if you grabbed it.

Biteface
Sent from my iPhone

To: Board (Ryan, Biteface, etc.), Property Management
From: Dog Lady

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes
Hello Again Grace:

I went down and there was nothing there and as Ryan stated that there are a few Palm Fronds and one hanging of the roof. Since the weather is better we need to get the roofers out to check the roof because of the cut that I found when we called for the gutters to be cleaned.
Dog Lady

To: Board (Ryan, Biteface, Dog Lady, etc.)
From: Property Management

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes

Dear Board,

Thank you for the update.  Please let me know if there is anything I need to do.

Property Management

To: Board (Biteface, Dog Lady, etc.), Property Management
From: Ryan

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013 
Subject: RE: strange object in the bushes
Yes, thank you everyone.  So glad we were able to come together and solve this.

Ryan   


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ALC 2013: 54 days to go




Money Raised: $1400
Days to Go: 54
Mood Forecast: Cough, cough, hack, hack.
Special Thanks: Alu, Teresa, and Ceil!


I'm fast approaching the $2000 mark and still have a long way to go!  Thank you donors, you're generosity is staggering. 

It's been a cold couple of weeks that has resulted in a bad cough and has left me producing lots of gack for the 2014 Kid's Choice Awards.  It's awful not my favorite, zaps my energy, and sadly, has kept me off my bike. To be honest, the thought of cycling right now pains me.  So tonight I'm forcing myself, gack or no gack, to go to Spinning--anything to keep up with some resemblance of training.   Also, there is threat of a huge ride this weekend and I don't want to/can't miss it.

   Halle Berry at Kid's Choice Awards

So, I'm sorry I don't have any riding or training stories this week but can say that with less than 2 months to go until the ride, I am going to ramp-up my efforts.
I told man-friend, Jon, that I was going to try to take advantage of this time and see how far I can push myself.  That means more workouts and regular running on top of all the needed ALC training.   

Part of this ramp-up of my training also means diet.  But because I don't eat much if any meat and shy away from designer protein mixes, I'm needing to eat more and more protein.  And if I can be completely honest, though I don't consider myself vegan, most of last year's training I was eating a vegan diet, save an egg here and there.  Don't worry, I binge on ice cream every couple of weeks to balance out my plant-based intake and to keep a healthy American glow.  

I've discovered a tasty little recipe call a Nut Loaf (with my own ingredient substitutions).  It has lots of protein and 4 out of 5 kale-eating hippies agree that it tastes amazing.  It's also fun to tell people at work what you're eating:

Coworker: (disgusted) What is that?

Me: Nut loaf.

Coworker: Excuse me?

Me: It's called a nut loaf and it has mushrooms and--

Coworker: Gross.

BLACKOUT--Seriously though, it's good.

Julia has now learned to text me and seeing me lie around the house for the past couple of weeks sent me the following message.
 

 Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#2421

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ALC 2013: 61 days to go



Money Raised: $1150
Days to Go: 61
Mood Forecast: Trying to keep my head in the game.
Special Thanks: Krista Hixon and Jonathan Grantham


This week is awesome because I'm close to the two month ride out date and just surpassed the $1000 mark thanks to Krista Hixon and Jonathan Grantham.  I'm finally making fundraising headway and I celebrated by going on a big ride on Sunday, but then not really going on that ride because of the rain and instead went to dim sum.  Did you look out your window (Bay Area folks)?  Not such good weather conditions for the cyclist.

I'm at that point in my training where if I miss out even one day of cycling I notice and hurt a little the following week.  I thought this weekend might have been a bust and went to an extra Spin class as a precaution.  And I'm glad I did.  I got to meet a new instructor who was tough as a lesbian gold digger and didn't let any of us slag off.  "Okay folks, Kelly [Clarkson] is going to take us up the hill, Britney will test our speed and Beyonce will bring us on home.  Then we rest and not before.  Here we go...".  An hour later my quads were singing and I was a sweaty mess. 

Jasper, having seen me lying around the house when I'm normally out riding up a beast of a hill sent me another text.  He keeps me so grounded.

 
 Click here to donate to my ride and ALC.
#2421