AIDS/LifeCycle benefits, and is jointly produced by, San Francisco AIDS Foundation (Tax ID # 94-2927405) and Los Angeles LGBT Center (Tax ID # 95-3567895), each of which is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation recognized as tax exempt under IRS Code Section 501(c)(3). Donations to AIDS/LifeCycle are deductible for income tax purposes, to the extent permitted by law.
Welcome to My Personal Page
|Join Robert's Team!|
|Castro Country Club|
We're on our way
Thanks to my generous sponsors
William Goldstein & Christopher Archuleta
Derek and Annie From the Cove
Dave in Northridge
Ms. Charlotte R. Katz
Mr. Thomas Michael Vitek
Edward Taggart M. D.
Mr. Stanley W. Toal
- Apple Matching Gift Program
Steve Kaye & Mitch LaPlante
Martin & Alex
H. David Watts
Ira Brandenburg & Anne Wolf
Steven R Penn
Mom & Dad Benbrook
Mr. Joshua Varon
Mr. Robert F. Cleveland Jr.
Mr. Alexandros 'Alexi' Kostibas
Mr. John G. Rodecker
Ms. Ingu Yun
Mr. Craig S. Souza
Julie White Eklund
Kris & Chuck
Ms. Kris DiGiovanni
I'm Riding to End AIDS
From June 1-7, 2014, I'm bicycling in AIDS/LifeCycle. This will be my fifteenth (yes 15th) time riding from San Francisco to LA to raise money to fight AIDS. I'm hoping to make this coming year's ride a success for the people who rely on us riders and roadies. I'd also like to make ALC 13 a successful ride for me personally. In the past I've come close to raising $7,500; I'd like 2014 to be the year I succeed. In the past I've ridden every "friendly" inch of the ride; the past few years have presented challenges of one sort or another, either because my body wasn't cooperating or the weather wasn't cooperating or because I just couldn't get my act together early enough in the morning. I would like to ride every mile once again in 2014.
Once again I will be serving the AIDS/LifeCycle community as a training ride leader. Once again I will be participating in the event as a proud member of Positive Pedalers. I have been HIV-positive since the very beginning of the pandemic. I sero-converted at the end of 1980, when nobody was aware that such a thing as AIDS even existed. I tested positive in 1985 and found out the approximate date I was infected two years later. By tracing my personal history I have been able to pinpoint with near certainty the exact date when I contracted HIV.
Over the past thirty-three years the world has lost countless amazing people to HIV and AIDS. I am fortunate to be alive and well thus far. To be honest I have no real idea why I have done well despite my status as a long-term survivor. Others worked just as hard as I did to stay healthy; others took their medications as diligently as I have done. And yet so many of them are no longer around. As someone who's been there from the beginning it seems as though the least I can do is to ride in memory of those who have been lost and to make sure, as much as I can, that everyone currently living with HIV is able to do so with a maximum of dignity. For that reason I have the privilege to raise money once again for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, an organization whose services go a long way to keeping people alive and well, housed and treated and educated about their illness.
Help me support AIDS/LifeCycle by giving what you can. We'll keep riding until AIDS and HIV are a thing of the past.
My Personal Web Log
Training is Finished; Fundraising is Not
Last Saturday's whopper of a ride has turned out to be the conclusion of my training for ALC 14. I was supposed to participate in the Jon Pon Two-Day ride tomorrow and Saturday but last Thursday (ironically it was on Bike-to-Work Day) I took a spill on my way home. While I wasn't seriously hurt it seems I strained my left rotator cuff. I don't think the injury is serious; unlike previous rotator cuff injuries I caught it pretty much right way. I was even able to ride two days after without any difficulty (apart of course from the awful headwinds). Still, it seems wisest to try and make sure I'm healed in time for Day 1 of ALC; sleeping on the ground in a tent is something which can wait a couple of weeks more. And really, if I wasn't ready for ALC a week ago, two more seventy-mile rides isn't going to change that.
So after all is said and done I did about 1500 miles of training. That's a bit on the low side but more than I did for my second AIDS Ride. The rest may do me a world of good.
Meanwhile, with a mere 15 days until Orientation I am at 88% of my fundraising goal. I can use my extra free time to send out more emails and ask for more donations. If you're reading this and you haven't yet made a donation, what's taking you so long? Click the button above and go from there.
Winds so Strong I Had to Shoot a Video of Them
Last Saturday's ride was the grand finale in the Saturday Sausalito Series. And it was INTENSE!
The ride was billed as 96-miles with an option to extend it to 102 so that those folks who really wanted to ride 100 miles could do so. Under other circumstances I might have taken that challenge.
The route covers many of the same roads we've ridden already this year, as well as some stretches I personally have not ridden in a very long time.
We began of course at Mike's Bikes in Sausalito, traveling north through the communities of Marin County, passing through Fairfax (ostensibly without stopping though some folks insisted on doing so anyway), up White's Hill and Nicasio Valley Road to our first official stop in Rancho Nicasio. I'd been experiencing some of the same mechanical difficulties as I'd had before; fortunately we intersected with the Saturday CAT 2 ride out of the city. Deyon and I put our collective heads together and managed to improve my shifting, but discovered that while I could now stay on the larger chainring, I couldn't shift onto the largest rear cog. The upshot was that I had to climb the biggest hills without it. This turned out not to be too horribly difficult though I'm sure I would have enjoyed the climbs more with it.
The route continued to the Cheese Factory for our second stop, tracking the other ride there as well, and then out Hicks Valley Road to Wilson Hill, which I've now climbed three times this season. At this point various people got confused. Some of our riders followed the route of the other ride into Petaluma; some of their riders followed us up Chilleno Valley Road. And a few never made it to Wilson Hill; they rode down Red Hill into downtown Petaluma and climbed back with the folks from the other ride. Didn't make that much difference; everyone was subjected to horrendous headwinds no matter what they did.
At the top of Chilleno Valley Road where the Pos Peds ride turns left onto Tomales-Petaluma Road, we turned right, subjecting ourselves to even more headwinds for another five miles. This took us to Highway One where we first turned northbound and rode into Tomales, fortunately only a quarter mile up the road (into the wind and uphill) where we had lunch.
After lunch we turned around and headed south. Normally you'd expect nothing but tailwinds riding south on Highway One but there were crosswinds and the occasional gust in our faces even heading south; eventually we did pick up a tailwind which brought us to Point Reyes Station. At this point it was getting fairly late and rather cold. The most sensible thing to do (other than to call a cab) was to continue on, returning up Highway One briefly to Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, then onto Platform Bridge Road, into Samuel P Taylor Park and up Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to Lagunitas. Along this stretch at least we were away from the coast; it warmed up somewhat and we had tailwinds.
Once I'd made it over the top of White's Hill and back down to Fairfax I encountered Deyon once again. She and Dan and I took turns pushing ourselves to keep going, swapping horror stories about the headwinds along the way. Did I want to go for those "bonus miles?" No, I didn't. I arrived back at Mike's Bikes just a couple of minutes before they were due to close. They were nice enough to work on my bike once more. I didn't get home until nearly 7 p.m.
Ride time: 7:09:28
Average speed: 13.4 mph
Maximum speed: 40.8 mph
Pictures (and a video) are on Facebook and at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157644629230765/
This turned out to be my final training ride of the year. I had taken a spill on my way home from work last Thursday and apparently I strained my left rotator cuff. So rather than risk making it worse by sleeping on the ground during the Jon Pon Ride I have decided to rest up until Day One of ALC. I've totaled 1,495 miles of training since September. Whether that's enough or not I suppose I will find out come June 1st.
The Pos Peds Three-Day Ride
For me one of the most important training opportunities of the year is the three-day ride for Positive Pedalers (and the occasional friend). I've found that however little back-to-back riding I do, riding for three consecutive days makes up for that in a big way.
We meet behind Mike's Bikes in Sausalito on Friday (you can leave a car parked there for 72 hours), ride up to Guerneville, do a shorter loop to Healdsburg on Saturday and return via a slightly different route on Sunday.
This year's interesting weather feature consisted of the end of brief heatwave; the result was cooling temperatures and a returning sea breeze on Friday, breezy conditions on Saturday and cool, partly cloudy weather on Sunday. We didn't have the scorching heat or overwhelming headwinds we often experience on the ride up which is by far the most difficult day; on the other hand it was not really idea weather for lounging by a pool once we arrived.
My own challenges were mechanical and technological. I'd had my bike tuned up during the week prior; had replaced the rear cassette to give myself a more "mellow" climbing gear; the chain was new as well and so were the cables. Those can take time to settle in and I had some early aggravation with them, to the point that, during our Healdsburg trip I spent nearly an hour in the bike store there getting things readjusted. In addition we had concluded that the Garmin I'd originally bought was defective; it was replaced but I was still having some difficulty getting it to perform as it was supposed to. One of my fellow Pos Peds, it seems, writes software for Garmins; he was able to get things working, though not until I'd finished Friday's ride (I lost a few miles in the process). Things finally came together on Sunday. We had pleasantly cool weather and tailwinds all the way down Highway One. Who could ask for more than that? Besides, of course, the wonderful company of 26 fellow Positive Pedalers.
The "official" stats for the three days are as follows:
Ride time: 5:05:07
Mileage: 69.7 (should have been 75)
Average speed: 13.7 mph
Maximum speed: 37.4 mph
Total climbing: 5,241 feet
Ride time: 2:30:00
Average speed: 14.6 mph
Maximum speed: 28.2 mph
Total climbing: 2,093 feet
Ride time: 5:03:57
Average speed: 14.4 mph
Maximum speed: 39.8 mph
Total climbing: 4,765 feet
After last Sunday's extravaganza I really didn't take that many pictures over the weekend this time. They aren't yet on Facebook but soon will be; meanwhile they can be found at:
An 84-mile Ride, Followed By Day on the Ride
Last Saturday's was the longest for me thus far in the season--84 miles. The route was a mashup of some of our prior favorites, beginning with a reverse Tiburon Loop (skirting around Camino Alto), followed by China Camp, followed by Lucas Valley Road, followed by a Nicasio Loop (counter-clockwise) and then back through Samuel P Taylor Park, Lagunitas, Fairfax, and Camino Alto. It was a long day; we rode out at 8:15 and I didn't finish until 5:40 or so. The weather wasn't bad but we found ourselves fighting headwinds on the way towards Lucas Valley Road and up the hill and once again riding around the reservoir. Fortunately those winds turned into tailwinds for much of the return ride.
Stats of the day (according to Strava; the Garmin has now been officially declared bad and is being replaced):
Ride time: 6:10:43
Average speed: 13.7 mph
Maximum speed: 41.9 mph
Total climbing: That depends. Garmin says 2,955 feet; Strava says 5,241. I don't think either is correct. With the replacement Garmin perhaps I'll be able to get things straightened out for good.
The photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157644427465754/
The following day was Day on the Ride, an annual event which gives participants a taste of a typical day on ALC. The day started out interesting; It was rainy overnight and still drizzling when we gathered in downtown San Rafael. I had volunteered to take pictures instead of riding. I didn't and don't feel ready to do back-to-back long rides just yet. I took pictures; did I mention I took pictures? I took so many pictures...1,089 in total. After pulling out the rejects I was left with exactly 1,000.
Despite the questionable weather there was a good turnout, with about 400 riders in all. There were themed rest stops, an official lunch stop, dinner at the end, and of course there were porta-potties.
Although there was still some mist at ride-out time, things improved after the first hour, leaving a very nice day. The ride involved portions of the route we'd done as a regular training ride a couple of weeks ago (referenced below as the "ride that would not end"). Up and over Wilson Hill, which makes White's Hill seem easy. And then back out of Petaluma on Red Hill, though this time a portion of the climb was done on "I" Street, which is a bit easier, though far more bumpy.
There are no stats of course but there are pictures. Since I was serving as one of two official photographers I have not yet posted them to Facebook; they'll get there in a few days. Meanwhile they are available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157644384868016/
Marshall Wall--With a Time Limit
Last Saturday I was NOT scheduled to lead a training ride and I had a commitment to be in El Cerrito not later than 6 p.m. So I optimistically RSVP'd for my normal ride out of Sausalito, even though it would involve climbing the infamous Marshall Wall. I figured I'd either do the whole ride or not (and turn back early if necessary) depending on how I was doing for time. It actually was a good exercise in time management.
The route to Marshall Wall is the same as the route to Wilson Hill Road, involving Camino Alto, Fairfax, White's Hill, Nicasio and the Cheese Factory and then to the end of Hicks Valley Road. A right turn puts you on Wilson Hill Road; a left turn puts you on Marshall-Petaluma Road. But that's where the similarity ends. Wilson Hill is a tough climb but it begins immediately after the turn. You go; you climb for a mile and then it's over. Marshall Wall involves a several-mile-long lead-up (with lovely scenery I hasten to add). And then there is the Wall itself. The entire climb is close to three miles long and the first part is steep. And it's ALWAYS windy there. Last year the crosswind was terrifying and I felt justified in walking part of the way just to avoid being blown off of my bike. This year it was merely...windy. Also 20 degrees warmer and I wasn't sweeping anyone. So it was just me against the hill and the ride. I figured I'd be able to continue riding if I got out of the Cheese Factory by 10:45, which I did. Once at the top the descent is pretty quick. Anyway despite the better weather I will licked anyway. I was watching my heart rate as it increased; I was listening to my legs complain. I made it about 2/3 of the way to the top of the initial incline and then I gave up. You win again Marshall Wall! After a walk of perhaps a half mile I got back on my bike; from there on to the summit it was merely steep.
The descent takes you to Highway One and then there is a tailwind down all the way to Point Reyes Station. I managed to keep my stops brief (even at lunch). As usual we intersected with another ALC training ride along the way, providing opportunities to take more pictures.
After lunch the route continues south on Highway One, over Olema Hill and down Sir Francis Drake Blvd to the Cross-Marin Bike Path in Samuel P Taylor Park. The final official stop is in Lagunitas. I just kept hammering away. I knew I needed to be back at Mike's Bikes by 4 pm and I made it with ten minutes to spare. Of course there was a price to be paid. I drove home and could barely get stand up once I got out of the car! Still I did it and that's what counts.
I continued having issues with the Garmin and had to get those sorted out the following day. I am definitely getting used to it though. The latest issue was one I should have been able to deal with myself if I had been thinking. Hopefully I will have it down by tomorrow's ride.
Ride time: 6:10:19
Average speed: 12.9 mph
Maximum speed: 41.4 mph
Photos as usual are on Facebook and at https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157644206979813/
A Long, Long Ride to Petaluma
According to one of yesterday's riders, our ride to Petaluma included no less than eleven hills. I'm not going to dispute that count in any way. To top it off, one of those climbs was very steep and another was very long. Overall it was probably a good thing that yesterday's weather was relatively cool.
We began as usual in Sausalito; we climbed Camino Alto, continued north to Fairfax, then on westward up White's Hill and Nicasio Valley Road to Rancho Nicasio. After a second stop to refuel we continued along the side of Nicasio Reservoir. The last time we were here we turned left and continued around it to Point Reyes Station; this time we turned the other way, and climbed another hill, stopping again at the Marin Cheese Factory. Then we were off to climb yet another hill - Wilson Hill. This one is tough; it's not that long but the steepest part is at the beginning. I was the designated sweep for this portion of the route so I was the last one up the hill. From that point we continued along rolling hills before descending into Petaluma, where our lunch stop was adjacent to the Petaluma River. And then the real climbing began. From downtown Petaluma we started up D Street, which becomes Red Hill Road, which becomes Point Reyes Petaluma Road. Collectively this one is known as Red Hill. While it's not uphill the entire time and the total climb is about eight miles long. To make it more interesting, the only steep sections are right near the top.
Once over the hill we stopped briefly again at the Cheese Factory, up a smaller hill before descending again, back down the other side to Rancho Nicasio again, up another climb and down to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, over White's Hill and down to Fairfax and then finally back, climbing Camino Alto once again. Most of us didn't finish until almost 5:30. Some riders who had ridden to the start from the city asked for lifts across the bridge; I was happy to do my part.
Ride time: 5:54:16
Average speed: 13.1 mph
Maximum speed: 39.4 mph
Total climb: 5,091 feet
Photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157643910520375/
First Weekend of Back-to-Back Rides
Last weekend I finally managed to get on my bike both days. I normally would have already been at this point but circumstances like weather seemed to get in the way.
Another milestone of sorts: I got to try out the Garmin Edge 510 I'd bought last Sunday. It was a success.
Saturday's ride was the major one: Mike's Bikes to Camino Alto and then to China Camp, then up and over Lucas Valley Road. Climbing that hill for the second time in two weeks made it seem easier somehow. Unlike last Sunday's ride which turned south at Nicasio Valley Road, we turned north instead, continuing to Rancho Nicasio for a refueling stop (and intersecting with another training ride) and then heading on past the reservoir to Point Reyes Station, where we stopped for lunch. The return leg of the ride was by way of Olema Hill and Samuel P Taylor Park and then (of course) Lagunitas, White's Hill and Camino Alto. There was a good bit of climbing on this ride. Thanks to the Garmin I can now track feet of climbing and calories burned. More statistics! Yay!
Ride time: 5:30:47
Average speed: 13.4 mph
Maximum speed: 40.9 mph
Total climbing: 3,690 feet
Calories burned: 4,103
For pictures go to Facebook or to http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157643620815675/
For my Sunday ride I wasn't going to be carried away; I'm just not there yet. Instead I took a quick spin through Golden Gate Park, out to the ocean, down to Lake Merced and back. Weather was especially lovely; it was pleasantly mild even at the beach.
Ride time: 1:43:04
Average speed: 13.2 mph
Maximum speed: 23.9 mph
Total climbing: 791 feet
There are some pictures to, on Facebook and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157643621033185/
Some Rides Don't Turn Out as Planned
Last Saturday's CAT 2 ride was greeted with a heavy downpour. I showed up; Clark showed up; James showed up. We canceled the ride. I went back and forth about which ride to undertake on Sunday morning. And then, at Safeway, I ran into Joseph Collins and his husband. They were doing the weekly grocery shopping, just like we were. John pleaded with me to help out as a training ride leader on the Sunday ride out of the Castro. And finally, despite my dislike of riding across the Golden Gate Bridge in the afternoon, I agreed to show up.
First, I overslept...not too badly (set the alarm for 6 p.m. instead of 6 a.m. but I awoke only five minutes late). I showed up more or less on time, having out-waited sunrise. The moment we set out I knew I really needed a rest room break. Unfortunately the first opportunity was not until the Sausalito Bike Path. I will spare my readers the details.
Once that was over and done and I was back en route, I was assured that the sweeps weren't ahead of me. We headed on towards China Camp. Our first official stop was at Andy's Market, and then on, around China Camp and north to Lucas Valley Road. Our next stop was at Big Rock Deli, just before the climb. I was feeling questionable at this point. Andrew observed that I was probably dehydrated as a result of what had happened earlier and in his best "Mother Hen" kind of way he ordered me to drink as much water as I could. Problem solved and things went reasonably well. There were some photo opportunities at the summit, as well as along Nicasio Valley Road afterwards. Down the hill, up and over White's Hill and into Fairfax for our final stop. I noticed on the route sheet that our official route included Paradise Drive as far as Trestle Glenn. This was news to...certain people. Joseph assured me it would be okay if I skipped it. I almost made the left turn towards Paradise but decided, last minute, to just climb Camino Alto instead. As I approached the bottom I saw two of our riders, one of whom was clearly not doing well. He'd taken a spill (no broken bones but plenty of scrapes and some bike damage). We called for the sweep vehicle which had one space available, for the fallen rider. As luck would have it, the other Sunday ride also had a sweep vehicle with plenty of room left, so the injured guy's partner and I took the vehicular route back to the city instead of riding. I didn't get the 85 miles I had expected and somewhat feared (a big jump up from 59 after all) but I still increased my mileage. And I didn't have to deal with the Bridge.
Jen and Alvin dropped me off near Mike's Bikes on Howard Street; now I have a brand new Garmin which I need to learn how to use.
Ride time: 5:16:08
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Maximum speed: 39.4 mph
Photos as usual are on Facebook and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157643242415895/
No Ride is More Fun Than the Nicasio Loop
Of all the training routes in Bay Area, my absolute favorite is the Nicasio Loop which goes around Nicasio Reservoir in West Marin County (either clockwise or counterclockwise; usually the latter).
Last weekend's Sausalito Saturday ride was the Nicasio Loop; so not only was it my favorite training ride, we also had absolutely perfect weather--mild temperatures, not a great deal of wind in any direction. The route takes us over Camino Alto, along the Marin bike route to Fairfax, and up White's Hill and the Nicasio Valley Road climb to Rancho Nicasio, with a couple of stops along the way. And then from Rancho Nicasio we continue north to the end of Nicasio Valley Road where we turn left onto Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. All the while, Nicasio Reservoir is on left with hills in the background. Despite the drought, on this day the hills were green (and water levels in the reservoir were shockingly low for March). We continue forward onto Platform Bridge Road and then onto the Cross Marin Bike Path, entering Samuel P Taylor Park and exiting onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Imagine my joy when I discovered that the entire length Sir Francis Drake through the park had now been repaved! The horrible rattling ride along this section is now just a bad memory.
Lunch was in Lagunitas, where, as to be expected on such a lovely day, we encountered other ALC riders out on their own rides. Then finally back along Sir Francis Drake, down White's Hill and back to Sausalito.
This being my longest ride of the year so far I have to admit to being a bit wiped out at the end but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Ride time: 3:58:37
Average speed: 13.3 mph
Maximum speed: 39.9 mph
Photos of course went on Facebook and are also at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157642457395565/
Mike's Bikes-China Camp-Woodacre-and back
Last Saturday's ride was just total fun. For a change we weren't racing the rain. It was sunny (okay a bit cloudy in the afternoon but nothing to worry about), the temperature was mild, there weren't any strong winds. We had a great turn-out too.
The route took us from Sausalito, up and over Camino Alto and along the usual route until we reached downtown San Anselmo, where we veered off towards San Rafael. Our first stop was at Andy's Market on the east side of town; then we entered China Camp State Park--this time in the counterclockwise direction. And then back to San Anselmo to pick up the route to Fairfax and beyond. At this time a few people got confused. So they got to ride bonus miles and have an adventure!
After a brief stop in Fairfax we were up and over White's Hill for the second week in a row; a left turn past the downhill took us into Woodacre where we stopped for lunch, and then it was directly back, once again climbing Camino Alto. On the return portion of the trip we intersected with the back end of the CAT 1 ride. Apart from a couple flat tires, minor mechanical issues (and a few people getting a wee bit lost) there weren't any incidents, and everyone made it back safely.
Ride time: 3:46:39
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Maximum speed: 40.8 mph
As usual, pictures are on Facebook and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157642134333123/
A Fundraising Milestone and A Couple More Rides
Somehow I never got around to blogging about my past two weekends of riding, in between which I hit the $4,000 milestone in fundraising (thanks, Tom!)
Two weekends ago I found myself, for the last time until April, not scheduled to lead a training ride. What ride should I do? Where should I go? When should I do it? I decided to go for distance. There were two 50-mile rides on the weekend schedule; I decided to opt for the one in the South Bay on Sunday--another in the Awesome Ahead series. My previous Awesome Ahead ride was back in December on that cold, cold day when a small group of us met outside of Napa (after which I came down with a nasty cold) and did a rather formidable amount of climbing over forty miles. This one was quite the opposite. Mild weather and barely 500 feet of climbing. These rides had previously been relatively small but last Sunday's ride was humongous--over fifty people showed up. We rode from Sunnyvale, across the Dumbarton Bridge, through Newark and Fremont and then around the bottom of the bay before returning. Apart from the bridge, which hardly counted, almost all of the riding with near the end and it was all gradual. I wondered why I was slowing down! Got to ride with some folks I don't often get to share the road with. It was fun!
Ride time: 3:17:11
Mileage: 50.07 (I had to ride around the parking lot to break 50)
Average speed: 15.2 mph
Maximum speed: 25.5 mph
Pictures on Facebook and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157641735653843/
Last Saturday marked the first of five consecutive rides out of Sausalito on which I will be a ride leader. The mileage was shorter but there was a good deal more climbing, including my first time riding up White's Hill this year. I always find that one challenging, though no more so this time than usual (much to my relief). From Sausalito, to Fairfax, then into West Marin, then up to Rancho Nicasio. That's where we turned around and followed the same route back. As with the previous Saturday ride we crossed paths with another training ride. Also as with the previous Saturday ride, we spent the day hoping it wouldn't rain. The forecast meant we were quite an intimate group: only twelve in all (half ride leaders, half not). And we got lucky once again. Rain started as I was loading my bike back into the car! Also there was wildlife-sighting on Camino Alto in both directions. A complete Marin County riding experience all the way around. (Plus since the roads were dry I got my speed cranked way up descending White's Hill.)
Stats for the day:
Ride time: 3:15:57
Average speed: 12.5 mph
Maximum speed: 41.0 mph (!!!)
Photos: Facebook and http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157641737279504/
On the Road to China Camp After Two Weeks of Rain
The day following the Expo was the start of a brief period of rain that ran through the following weekend, meaning I wasn't able to ride for two weeks in a row.
While last Saturday wasn't the nicest riding day ever, it stayed dry long enough for a bunch of us to do a very pleasant 35-miler from Sausalito, through San Rafael, with a stop opposite the world-famous Marin Civic Center (Frank Lloyd Wright's final project) and then through China Camp State Park, clockwise this time--which I had not done previously, with climbs up and over Camino Alto in both directions. There were no serious mishaps though a couple of riders managed multiple flat tires. And a rider from a different training ride got confused and followed us (I think he got extra miles). He was worried about finding his way back to Sports Basement in the Presidio but of course one of the leaders from HIS ride was waiting at Mike's Bikes when we returned, to show him the way back.
Ride Time: 2:37:26
Average speed: 13.1 mph
Maximum speed: 32.4 mph
As usual there are pictures on Facebook and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157641078785395/
And yesterday I not only scored the coveted cycling cap incentive, I also passed the 50% mark in my fundraising. Life is good all around (even if I still feeling like I need to be riding more miles).
Sausalito Saturday Tiburon Mini Loop-de-Loop
After last Saturday's ride, I definitely needed something a bit more mellow and this one was just about perfect. Nearly as much mileage, not nearly as much climbing and nothing horrendously steep.
We had a good turnout--about 30 or so. The weather was spectacular once again. And as with all the rides in this series thus far there were interesting little quirks.
From Mike's Bikes we headed, as usual, up the bike path to East Blithesdale. This time we continued across on the path that parallels Lomita Drive and then up Horse Hill in the direction opposite the one we normally do. This would not be the first time in the day for taking a familiar hill in an unfamiliar direction.
Once up and over there was a nice descent along the road we're cautioned not to go down when we go the other way. This took us past the Peets adjacent to Tamalpais Drive and from there we made a u-turn and did the Paradise Loop into Tiburon. While we were gathered at Sharks Deli we were met by people from not just one but two other ALC rides, so it was a very social moment. We headed out as usual for having already completed Paradise but instead of turning back onto bike path at the intersection with Tiburon Blvd we entered the main road and continued on to Trestle Glenn Drive, another road we've mainly ridden in the opposite direction. True confession time: it's easier the normal way; the climb is certainly not overwhelming but it's definitely there. At the end of Trestle Glenn we turned left and covered a portion of Paradise in the opposite direction, then skirted around Corte Madera's malls, looping back to Tamalpais Drive once again, headed up and over Camino Alto and then back to Sausalito. Best part of the day: finishing at 12:15.
Ride time: 2:05:04
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Maximum speed: 31.2 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157640184849535/
Another milestone reached
Thanks to my awesome MOM I met the minimum fundraising pledge today. I'm now at $3,225. That's really good for this time of year but it's only 43% of my goal. So I'll continue...
Two Easy Rides and a Toughie
I thought I'd been pretty good at updating my admittedly modest training blog but apparently I've been somewhat distracted. So I'll cover the first three REAL rides of the year together.
First ride was in the East Bay--a CAT 1 ride with the East Bay Wildcats from Orinda to Hercules and back. As a non-ride-leader all I had to do was show up and have fun, which is what I proceeded to do. It was a bit brisk starting out but the temperature soon climbed. This was not a pushover ride; generally speaking any ride out of Orinda is going to have some climbing. The route took us up San Pablo Dam Road to Castro Ranch Road (a couple of gradual climbs, then a significant but brief one) and then up Pinole Valley Road all the way to San Pablo and then Hercules. We snacked and headed back. I was finished at noon which was quite nice.
Ride time 2:08:09
Average speed: 13.9 mph
Maximum speed: 36.1 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157639500374444/
The next ride was the second in the series out of Mikes Bikes in Sausalito. I'd volunteered to be a training ride leader every other week so there I was...on the only rainy day thus far this year. It really wasn't bad; mostly it was misty until the final few miles. We took yet another way to Tiburon, stopped at Sharks Deli, rode Paradise and then past the mall, doubled back, stopped at Peets, which is where the rain began (not hard and no wind) and finished by way of Horse Hill. Done by noon again!
Ride time: 1:57:43
Average speed: 13.2 mph
Maximum speed: 24.1 mph
Photos on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157639881587115/
Last weekend being an "off week" for me I pondered where to ride. Should I go back to the East Bay and do the Three Bears or should I head south? The former Distance Training Ride series has been changed this year into what facilitator Chris refers to as "Quadrophenia." I had a different name for it. Much of the out was flat, but the parts that weren't were heinous. There were four climbs, the steepest of them at a 19.3% grade. Yes. I walked at least a part of each climb. Until last year I'd have been terribly upset but at this point I suppose I don't have anything to prove. Not easy, and I had some mechanical issues (all dealt with) and I still had a good time anyway. I wasn't supposed to be a training ride leader but I'd let Chris know I'd be available if necessary and one of the scheduled leaders turned up sick.
Ride time: 2:43:30
Mileage: 32.93 (a couple of bonus miles; I missed a turn)
Average speed: 12.0 mph
Maximum speed: 30.5 mph
Photos on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157640068029324/
Some fundraising stats
As of today (1/3/14), I've raised $2,125 for ALC 13. Since my first ride in 1999 I've raised $82,997.03. My most successful ride was ALC 7 when I raised $7,361.05; last year was my second best--$7,103.01. My poorest fundraising year was CAR 8 in 2001. That year the fundraising minimum increased from $2,500 to $2,700 (ALC went back to $2,500 for the first few years and then increased to $3,000 where it remains today) and that year I raised $3,607. ALC 3 in 2004 was the first year I broke the $5,000 mark. I've done it every year since then.
So despite my fundraising anxieties I've exceeded the minimum pledge by $900 or more every year. And I've raised $5,000 or more each of the past ten years.
None of this means I get to be complacent. Gotta get the 2014 fundraising effort in gear!
Last Ride of 2013
I waited a bit before posting this entry, just in case I decided to do a ride this coming weekend. But there's lots to do around the house and elsewhere so I guess last Sunday's ride was it. And was that ride ever fun!
One plus: the ride started at Embarcadero and Folsom so getting there took me only as long, by bike, as it takes me to get from home to work. Another plus: we didn't cross the Golden Gate Bridge. The third plus: We rode around the edges of San Francisco and got to admire the views in all directions. But the fourth and biggest plus was the great company.
The ride itself was not that long or challenging and definitely easier than my previous ride. Still, riding around San Francisco you're bound to find some climbs and those were definitely there. First the easy part though. We rode south along the waterfront, past AT&T Park, across Lefty O'Doul Bridge and then through the industrial areas until we hit the Bay Trail. Some of that trail was unpaved, which makes me anxious but those stretches were brief. We made multiple turnarounds at small, mostly unknown little parks along the water. And then we paid a farewell visit to Candlestick Park.
The next portion of the ride took us along pieces of the Day One route, past the Cow Palace and up Geneva Avenue; we took Alemany instead of Mission Street but still included the downhill on Brotherhood Way. Things are different when you're passing through mid-day, not protected by the Moto Safety Crew; still we got by. Our lunch stop was at Java Beach off of the Great Highway. And THEN we hit the difficult part.
I'm quite used to riding downhill past the Cliff House; this time we went uphill instead. WAY tougher. There was one brief final detour at the Sutro Park Overlook where you can see all the way down the coast. And then...MORE climbing. Seal Rock Avenue. Three blocks long. Once again, now I know why we more often ride this stretch the other direction. And then into Lincoln Park, UP the hill past the golf course, then down the hill into Seacliff and finally, up one last hill on Lincoln Boulevard past Baker Beach. Again; much more fun to go to the other direction. With the hills behind us we descended to Crissy Field and rode along the Marina and past the Aquatic Park, finally looping back to our starting point by way of the Embarcadero. And then home, once again pretty much the way I get home from work each afternoon. Overall, a fun way to wrap up the year. Next ride? New Year's Day.
Ride time: 3:22:50
Average speed: 11.6 mph
Maximum speed: 33.4 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157638969902173/
A Difficult and Chilly Ride
Up to this point in the training year my rides had been easy and had pretty much all been on nice mild, early-fall-like days. Since the only alternatives for the weekend involved early start times and/or a crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge (which I prefer to avoid if possible), I decided to do something different. There was an official ride starting northeast of Napa and making a loop along the western side of Lake Berryessa. All territory I hadn't ridden previously. It sounded like fun, plus a bit more mileage and LOTS more climbing. To make things more interesting, fall ended and winter definitely started. It was COLD. There'd been snow on some of the local peaks the night before and temperatures in many spots were barely above freezing. There was actually black ice on portions of our route. So I threw on every bit of cold weather gear at my disposal before heading out for Napa with my friend Andrew.
There were fifteen of us...fifteen gay men. I can honestly say it was the gayest thing I've ever done on a bicycle. Fortunately the company was great because the terrain and the the temperature made the ride quite challenging. In my estimate, in the course of about 45 miles I did more climbing than I'd done cumulatively on all of my rides since the end of ALC. With one notable exception the climbs were gradual but they were very definitely long. Our lunch stop was in the village of Spanish Flat. It was a relief just to get in from the cold.
We continued, after lunch, up the west side of Lake Berryessa before turning west again towards Pope Valley. Shortly after the turn was the toughest climb of the day; one of our training riders had described it as "nice;" I had a different estimation of it.
Once more after our final stop there was significant, though gradual climb, but the route concluded with a downhill several miles in length.
I celebrated the completion of the ride by coming down with a cold but it was definitely worth it. The pictures give only a hint of the beauty of the scenery and of the hilarity of the company.
Ride time: 3:17:59
Averages speed: 13.3 mph
Maximum speed: 34.3 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at:
There are two videos I meant to add to the Flickr photo set; they're already on my Facebook page.
World AIDS Day
Unlike the past several World AIDS Days, our ride in honor of the day was very brief. Previously we'd done a mile for every year of the epidemic, though last year's ride was rained out. This year the event was "official" and involved ALC staff. The route took us (on a beautiful, sunny day) from Sports Basement, through the Presidio and into Golden Gate Park, to the National AIDS Memorial Grove, where the city's official observance of World AIDS Day took place. We had the opportunity to spend some time in the Grove, and in particular at the memorial itself, and then to watch the official program, which was quite moving.
Following the official program and a light meal riders were allowed to either return to Sports Basement or head directly home; some chose to add miles to their day.
Stats for the day:
Ride time: 1:18:24
Average speed: 10.5 mph
Maximum speed: 25.0 mph
Photos from the ride and the memorial event are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157638305411293/
Some Easy Rides, With a Gap
Following the third trip around Lake Merced it was time for a change. The weekend following, I headed to Pleasant Hill for a 30-mile ride back towards Moraga. Our route took us through Walnut Creek (where we passed the ride out of Orinda going the opposite direction) and then along Highway 24, into Orinda and south to Moraga for a brief stop and then back along the Saint Mary's Bike Trail, where we ran into the Orinda group once again.
Ride Time: 2:45:01
Average speed: 10.9 mph
Maximum speed: 26.4 mph
Photos on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157637028251183/
Then began a series of "Newbie Rides" from Mikes Bikes in Sausalito, one of which I had to skip because of a pulled muscle in my back.
Ride #1 was a very simple, very quick out-and-back to Tiburon by way of Strawberry. No significant climbs and a fairly small group. It was one of those magnificent fall days and the relaxed pace meant there was plenty of time for pictures.
Ride Time: 1:16:05
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Maximum speed: 24.6 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157637276796454/
Ride #3 was a bit more ambitious: a reverse Tiburon Loop, again by way of Strawberry. Instead of returning on Camino Alto we came back by way of Horse Hill. Another very nice day for a ride.
Ride Time: 2:00:10
Average speed: 12.9 mph
Maximum speed: 26.9 mph
Photos on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157637828508125/
The final ride in the series took us to San Rafael by way of the Cal-Park Tunnel. This time we climbed Camino Alto in both directions. I had heard the rumors but didn't believe they were true until I saw it--the Corte Madera side of Camino Alto has been repaved and it was awesome! Once again the group grew larger; this time we were up to 20.
I haven't edited the pictures yet but here are the stats:
Ride Time: 2:11:12
Average speed: 12.8 mph
Maximum speed: 33.1 mph
Update, 11/28: The pictures are now on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157638130598405/
And Back to Official Training Rides
Casual rides are nice but it's good to ride in a group, particularly at this time of the year, when there are lots of first-timers anxious to get started. Add to that the fact that my commitment as a Training Ride Leader is to lead an average of two rides per month--and I had led only one.
The temptation of an easily accessible ride (avoiding the Golden Gate Bridge on one hand and traffic generated by the BART strike on the other) was too much to resist. The Fall Crawl Series begins at Peet's Coffee in the Castro, not even two miles from home. So even though the route was basically the same as my prior two casual rides, I went for it. I wasn't originally supposed to be a ride leader but the facilitator asked me for help leading stretching. I figured I'd earned the credits. The route was simple of course (since I'd done it twice in the past ten days)--from the Castro to the Panhandle, through the Park to the beach, around Lake Merced and then back. There were some changes; weather had begun to cool and it was foggy along the coast. Also the Nike Womens' Marathon had closed part of the Great Highway. So we instead rode the lower Great Highway (the residential street). I did forget where we were going on the way back and led some folks to make the turn off of Skyline Drive onto the Great Highway but we got back on track. And there was a coffee stop. And I still got home before 1 p.m. There was a nice turnout too. There's lots to be said for riding with a group--more opportunities to have fun.
Plus I got to do two ride in four days and I got to ride with another friend who's a first-time rider. What could beat that?
Ride time: 2:00:50
Average speed: 11.6 mph
Maximum speed: 28.5 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157636738304033/
A Training Gap and Two Unofficial Rides
After the Kickoff Ride, I somewhat unintentionally took a few weekends off. Weekend One was the weekend of the Folsom Street Fair, which meant getting all of the weekend errands done on Saturday. With my partner's dad and stepmom coming to visit over Columbus Day weekend, we decided to devote the subsequent weekend to housecleaning and the weekend of the visit to being good hosts.
And then there was the government shutdown which left me with my weekdays free. With that in mind I scheduled a mid-week ride that was supposed to include a couple of friends; one of whom however was called in for jury duty. So it was just myself and Eddie, a a first-time rider who, when I met up with him at Church and Market, told me that the ride over from his place in the Mission was his longest ride on a road bike ever. And then we did about 20 miles--on a spectacular warm and sunny day. We headed out through Golden Gate Park to the Great Highway, looped around Lake Merced and then headed back. Eddie managed to keep up with me quite well, though rumor has it he was sore the following day.
Mileage: 23.01 (including to and from home)
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Maximum speed: 34.9 mph
Photos--both of them--are on Facebook and on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157636369242995/
I did ride two with my friend Andrew, like me off from his job, the following Wednesday. To make things interesting--and because he's not a newbie--we decided to add some hills. He suggested the Marin Headlands; I didn't want to have to deal with the Golden Gate Bridge. So instead we did the same ride as the previous week but first rode through the Presidio, past Baker Beach, through Sea Cliff and up to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, which probably gave us as much climbing as the Headlands would have. Once again the weather was terrific. And we stopped briefly at Sloat Boulevard, where I was able to get some nice pictures of the beach and the surf, as well as some of the lovely plants in front of Andrew's house.
Ride time: 2:13:38
Average speed: 11.9 mph
Maximum speed: 31.8 mph
Photos are on Facebook and at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157636705920024/
And then it was back to work.
The Kickoff Ride
So now things are serious. No more casual renegade rides (okay perhaps I'll do a few). Things got off to the "official" start with last Sunday's Kickoff Ride(s). There was a Paradise Loop of 38 miles, a Mill Valley ride of 20 and a beginner's clinic. Being the go-getter I'd like to think I am, I volunteered to help lead the longer ride. With all of the activity around the Marina I decided to bike to Sports Basement instead of driving there; I really should have driven. Once again, I got a glimpse of why it's important to keep on riding during the summer, at least occasionally.
That did not, however, prevent me from having a good time. There were about 75 riders on the long ride and at least ten training ride leaders. The weather was wonderful, there were lots of veterans and lots of eager first-timers. There was the usual heavy traffic returning across the Golden Gate Bridge (it raises my blood pressure) and more than a bit of fog, but things were otherwise pleasant.
I was quite tired by the time I returned to Sports Basement (for food and for a drawing which of course I did not win) and fortunately one of my friends was willing to drive me home, where I promptly conked out on the sofa.
Ride time: 3:20:20
Average speed: 12.8 mph
Maximum speed: 34.9 mph
I took some very nice pictures which I actually dealt with promptly by way of Facebook and Flickr. The Flickr link for the day's photos is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157635780758045/
After a summer off I didn't want to knock myself out. And I didn't want to ride on my own. AND I still don't want to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge any more often than I need to. Luckily the South Bay Blaze folks, who'll be leading a series of rides out of Sunnyvale beginning in January, have started testing out some new routes in a set of unofficial rides they refer to as the Guinea Pig Rides. I missed the first two but jumped in for the next three.
Ride #1 (technically number 3, I think), took us from Sunnyvale into Palo Alto and through one side of the Stanford University campus, past the fountains. We got a bit confused--hence the "guinea pig" nature of these rides--but stayed pretty much on track for a pleasant jaunt of just under 26 miles. And when we were finished we all adjourned to lunch.
Ride time: 1:52:33
Average speed: 13.7 mph
Maximum speed: 29.0 mph
Ride #2 (or four) was a bit more ambitious and a few miles longer. Once again we headed into Palo Alto, exploring a different portion of the Stanford campus. Once again we got a bit sidetracked; there were some confusing turns, a bit of the Bryant Bike Boulevard, an unintended underpass, a bit of doubling back, and just a shade more climbing. We returned by way of the Arastradero Preserve, the easy way, with a water and bathroom break. I don't recall having ridden all the way down Arastradero Road to Foothill before, so there was some novelty. And once again there was lunch. There were some new faces too; none of them available in pictures because--silly me--I forgot to bring my camera.
Ride time: 2:09:44
Average speed: 14.5 mph
Maximum speed: 33.3 mph
Ride #3 (or five if you will) greeted us with one of the hottest days of the year. The route this time was a bit more ambitious but was so incredibly straightforward that there really weren't any opportunities for going astray. Well not in any meaningful way at least. The previous routes had called for us to take Fremont Avenue all the way to its merge with Foothill. This time there as a jog to the left, intended for variety and to give us just a shade more mileage. Not everyone bothered to make the extra turn but they still ended up in the same place.
THIS time we rode Elena, Purissima and Arastradero, again stopping in the Preserve, and then turned up Alpine Road, which we took all the way to the top. I'd been up that way only twice previously, most recently on a rather infamous Chris Thomas specialty that involved a left turn and a horrendous climb that I wasn't able to complete. This time was simpler; we just rode to the end of Alpine and turned around. The descent is tricky because the road is narrow (less than two full lanes) with lots of blind turns. One of our riders didn't quite make a turn and ran off the road. He wasn't hurt but his front wheel was knocked out of line. We did have a second stop on this ride, at Roberts Market, where I grabbed a fairly substantial snack. The remainder of the ride was very straightforward, down Alpine to Foothill and back by way of Fremont. I decided to skip lunch and headed home. The car thermometer read 93 degrees when I loaded the bike up, which made the a/c even more inviting.
Ride time: 2:32:24
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Maximum speed: 27.6 mph
I didn't take many photos on the days when I DID remember to bring my camera and I haven't even posted them to Flickr or Facebook yet. That'll happen at some point.
One thing that's pretty obvious: not riding all summer definitely took a toll on my endurance. It's not as though I didn't manage to ride or have fun, but I'm pretty sure these ride would have seemed easier had I been riding all summer long. Lesson learned.
9/25/13 update: I did, just before the Kickoff Ride, finally get it together to upload pictures from this set of rides to Facebook and Flickr. The Flickr link is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsridepics/sets/72157635710251483/
and I'm taking a few weeks off from riding. It's nice, really, to have a bit of free time on the weekends but that will be changing very soon. Training Ride Leader Recertification is August 17th and I expect to begin training for ALC 13 right after that.
Meanwhile, thanks to Dino for giving me my first ALC 13 donation and thanks to Mike Schmitt for the wonderful cover photo.