Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day on the Ride + Friends of ALC

Hello Friends! Clay here.

You may (or may not have) noticed that we haven't posted in a while. That's because we've been too busy cycling! Seriously folks, we are not kidding. Since we last posted, we have started riding on both Saturdays and Sundays. It's officially that time to see what it feels like to ride two days in a row. We are also officially getting stronger. And that feels good.

We've been getting cozy with Marin County as of late. We've been up and around the towns of Mill Valley, Larkspur, Fairfax, Corte Madera, Point Reyes, Nicasio, Petaluma, Novato, San Rafael....well, the list goes on. Let's just say it's official: we love Marin (good thing we chose Mill Valley as our wedding location next year!).

This past weekend we had our best ride yet. AIDS/Lifecycle hosted a simulated "Day on the Ride" where 400 riders descended upon Mike's Bikes of San Rafael to meet up and ride together through Marin exactly as we might do this June for the real ride to Los Angeles. And it was great. Not only was it gorgeous and hot (we love the heat!), but it was extra fun because we got to ride with so many of our friends. So, this post is actually dedicated to "Friends of ALC".  And we don't have photos of all of them, but here are three of our favorite friends with a little story of each.

This is Kas Neteler with Lisa. We love Kas! She's been part of the ALC community for many, many years. I met Kas on an Orinda training ride 5 years ago (and we did the ride together in 2007 and have been friends since), and Lisa actually met Kas ages ago through friends. We love hanging out with Kas and her partner Joy and just talking for hours. Kas does great impressions and always makes us laugh. We are excited to tent next to her this year on the ride —it's her first ALC ride in 5 years, too. Oh, and she she was so generous to lend us her double sized Aerobed for the ride!

This is Bob Golden. Bob is our newest friend. We started training with him several months ago. Bob is a dentist living in Alameda. And he never exercised much at all until his 24-year old daughter (Eryn, on his right), introduced him to the AIDS/Lifecycle community. He did his first ALC ride ever last year, and tells us that his first training ride led to the longest incident report ALC ever had to fill out (flat tire, accident, getting lost....you name it!). Now, Bob is hands down one of the strongest riders in ALC. He is consistently one of the first riders to finish, and he's become Lisa's favorite training partner (besides me, of course). He is helpful, friendly, silly, and super fun to ride with.

This is Matty Millspaugh. We love Matty! I have been friends with Matty for years and it's so great to be able to ride with him again this year. Matty was the driving force behind my first triathlon (Wildflower) two years ago. What can I say? He inspires me. Matty has been riding AIDS/Lifecycle now for 11 years. He's a top fundraiser and at this stage, he's about to reach the $50,000 mark for all the fundraising he has done for the Foundation over 11 years. We're so impressed with all he does and we love riding with him, too (though, we really can't keep up anymore). And he's also one of the most generous and caring people we know.

Here are our other friends on the road -- we so love enjoy saying hello to the cows as we bike by.

Don’t forget to visit our official fundraising pages! We’ve both already reached our minimum goals, but it’s not too late to support us or check out how we are doing.
Clay’s ALC Page
Lisa’s ALC Page

As always, thanks for reading our blog and supporting us! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tour de Agriculture: Davis-Vacaville Loop

This past weekend took us up to Davis, CA, where we had a nice weekend planned with our dear friends, Maris and Sacha, who recently moved to the area to attend graduate school at UC Davis. They live in the cute little town of Woodland, where we got lots of R&R at their adorable house, complete with two cats and two ducks. Wilfredo joined us as and didn't know what to think of the ducks!

{OCD and Bumbles, the ducks}

We got lots of rest Friday night and rose early on Saturday to get this ride done so we could spend more time with Maris and Sacha. Thanks to the Davis Cycling Club website, we found a route very easily, printed it out, and were on our way. The ride kicked off in a medical center/strip mall parking lot near a Starbucks. One thing we’ve learned from all this training is that Starbucks is ACTUALLY your friend. They do not lock their restroom doors and they do not look twice when you clomp on in with your cycling shoes. And they always have water, bananas, bars, etc., so we were fine with this sterile location to start.

{Lisa ready to roll}

When we woke for the ride, it was 38 degrees. Above is Lisa at the start of the ride and it’s about 43 degrees. Ouch. When we got started, the ride took us out this very long road with a terrible headwind, so we were getting pummeled with what we call “the air conditioner” at 8:30am. Luckily over time we have gotten pretty tough and have also learned how to dress in layers. Soon enough we turned left on a county road and sailed along just wonderfully. Actually, at any point on this ride one turn could either mean super harsh and windy or super easy and flying. It was all flat at this stage so we were doing just fine. Some of our early morning views of miles of orchards were really surreal.

The area of Davis is a farming community and is mostly known for its contributions to agriculture and veterinary care. Davis is also known for its university, liberal politics, and cycling culture. So we were definitely feeling at home.  

At mile 28 we arrived at our first rest stop in the town of Vacaville. Neither of us had ever been to Vacaville in all of our years in California, and we really didn’t feel the need to stay too long. We found ourselves at another Starbucks and ate snacks before hitting the road. Luckily, it was starting to warm up quite a bit. A side note: we were riding on Historic Route 40 for a lot of the ride.

Heading out of Vacaville is actually when the fun began in my opinion. The hills finally showed up and we had some amazing scenery. We were out on a long windy road called “Pleasants Valley Road” and it was pleasant all right. Mind you, it wasn’t “Pleasant.” It was “Pleasants.”

And at this stage in the ride, we started seeing a lot more cyclists on the road and we were able to strip off some layers, relax into the ride, and enjoy some much-needed sun. And what would a bike ride be for us without the farm animals? In no particular order here are the animals we saw on this ride:

A Pig
(And a ladybug rode on Lisa’s shoulder)

 {Lisa stopping to take some photos of the miniature horses!}

The Putah Creek Road area was next and equally as gorgeous. We blew threw the town of Winters without stopping and really started picking up some speed. It may have been the tailwind, or it may have been our moods, but together we were some speeding bullets at this point, riding around 22mph. It was so fun!

Finally, about 7 miles out of the town of Davis, we jumped onto the coolest bike-only path ever, and it was just such a treat after riding alongside cars most of the day. We loved it (I think Lisa called it “good stuff”). Finally pulled into our end point and back to the Starbucks parking lot after 60 miles and 4 ½ hours of ride time and we were so happy to be done. As usual, we were ready to eat! This was definitely one of our “easier” rides so we just enjoyed it. We think we’ll tackle something harder next week.

Don’t forget to check out our official fundraising pages! Though we’ve both already reached our goals, it’s never too late to support us!

Clay’s ALC Page
Lisa’s ALC Page

As always, thanks for reading and supporting us!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tour de Marin

  {Lisa and her shadow before heading out + Clay posing at China Camp outside San Rafael}

Hello friends! 

Thank you AGAIN for visiting our fundraising and training blog! First things first: 

GOOD NEWS: Lisa has reached and exceeded her fundraising goal of $3000. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. It's not too late to donate, though. You can continue to donate to Lisa here.

Clay is getting closer and closer, but she still needs your support! She's got $460 left to raise (as of the time of this blog post!). You can help her get there by donating here.

Okay, so you may have noticed that it's been two weeks since we last wrote, and that's because we got rained out the weekend of March 24-25. So we decided to take the weekend off to recover. We pretty much laid around and watched movies that weekend and it was AWESOME.

But then it was back to reality yesterday when we decided to make up for lost time and ride 75 miles with our friend Matt. Two of his friends (and fellow ALC riders) also joined us for part of the ride. We were really nervous about going this distance when we a) hadn't ridden more than 20 miles in two weeks and b) the last distance we rode was 57 or so miles. But we decided to go for it, and we're really glad we did.

This week's ride was in Marin County (instead of the Easy Bay where we have been riding a lot lately). We started and ended in Sausalito. And here's how it went:

Sausalito --> Mill Valley --> Corte Madera --> San Rafael --> China Camp --> Lucas Valley --> Nicasio --> Pt. Reyes Station --> Olema --> Samuel P. Taylor --> Lagunitas --> San Geronimo --> Fairfax --> San Anselmo --> Ross --> Larkspur --> Corte Madera --> Mill Valley --> Sausalito

We left the car at about 9:15 am and got back to the car at about 4:30 pm. We spent over 8 hours out there, and just shy of 6 hours on our bikes for the 75 mile trek.

It should be noted that the weather yesterday was spectacular in West Marin, which is where we spent most of the day. It was indeed windy (and thus cold), so it wasn't the easiest ride, but the scenery was beautiful and the sun was shining brightly.

{Cows in Nicasio + Lisa riding on the bike path in Samuel P. Taylor Park}

As many of you know (especially if you read this blog), one of the things we both love so much about riding is seeing all of the animals as we go. Yesterday was no exception. We entertain ourselves as we ride by discussing what the cows are talking about as they graze or why some horses wear coats when it's cold and others go naked. 

Yesterday's ride included several tough climbs including Camino Alto, Lucas Valley Road into Nicasio, Sir Francis Drake out of Olema, Whites Hill and Camino Alto (again). So we were pretty spent when we got back to the car, but we were also really happy.

For one thing, we did it. This was the furthest Lisa has ridden her bike since 1999. And the furthest Clay has ridden in 5 years. And it was actually fun. And we didn't feel like we were going to die afterwards. Guess that's why you train, because after awhile (even though it's always a little bit painful) it does get easier.

{After the ride}

Oh yah, and we each burned over 3000 calories, so we had a big dinner when we got home!

This coming weekend we are going to visit our dear friends Maris and Sacha in Davis. We'll do a ride out there and we are really looking forward to it. We'll be sure to report back afterward.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It was a Cold and Windy Day!

Ahhhh... hello friends! If you've actually clicked on whatever link led you here, we really appreciate your visiting! And, we appreciate your interest in our ALC training... Because, let me tell you: it's VERY EXCITING!

 So, what to say about yesterday's training ride? Let's begin at the start of the day.

First things first: it was COLD yesterday. Yes, that's me up there on the left, in about 12 layers of spandex (why my legs look so "thick.") On the right? That's Greg Sroda, the Director of AIDS Life Cycle giving our training group a little pep talk before we headed out. This was at like 8:15 am and it with wind chill factor was about 38 degrees. (But seriously, we love Greg and all he does!)

Anyhow, yesterday was all about hill climbing (it seems that is true every week, but yesterday was no exception). In this order, yesterday we climbed:
+Wildcat Canyon
+Grizzly Peak
+Skyline Blvd.
+Pinehurst Road
+Canyon Road
+Moraga Way
+Castro Ranch
+The Three Bears (Bear Creek Road)

All of that was 57 miles and several thousand feet of elevation. And there was an incredibly strong headwind for much of the ride. Clay even got blown OFF HER BIKE descending Castro Ranch Road! But she is okay. Whew.

Anyhow, back to the day. 

Here's Clay, posing for a photo at the top of Grizzly Peak (which, for those of you who don't know is in the Berkeley Hills. We say "Hills" lightly. This is a mountain).

The views that day really were stunning. Which, sort of, half way made up for the fact that it was so cold and windy. There was some steep climbing that day, but the worst thing was the wind. Even descending down a hill on a windy day can feel like climbing up hill. 

The ride was a "figure 8"...which means we started in Orinda, rode 30ish miles, stopped back in Orinda for lunch (at a Hofbrau, so you can imagine what was on the menu the day after Saint Patrick's Day), and then back out for a loop in the other direction for another 26.

Both Clay and I actually love hill climbing for some twisted reason, so we loved most everything about the ride yesterday. But it was exceptionally cold and windy (did I say that already?), so it was definitely a challenging day. 

What makes us smile on even the most treacherous days is the sight of cows or sheep or goats or even turkeys.  We saw plenty of all four yesterday, and I was so grateful that Clay had the sense to stop and snap some photos of the beauty around us.

We are known to shout to each other: "Wait, look at the COWS!!! They are so CUUUUUUTTTTE" ... as our fellow riders look at us like we are crazy. Oh well, at least we have each other!

Thank you to all of you who have supported in various ways us as we train. We are especially indebted to our donors. I am nearly at my fundraising goal of $3000 and Clay is almost there!! Donate to Clay here to help her reach $3000!!

Again, thank you for visiting our blog. We ❤ you.

-Lisa (and Clay)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


{We saw cows on our ride!!}

Today Lisa and I headed out to the East Bay again for another Sunday ALC training ride. This training ride group has some of the nicest people we've ever met; they always help out, make us laugh, and bring batches of cookies! We've been really into the training rides over there, despite the extra drive over the Bay Bridge. There are fewer cars and riders than on the Marin training rides, so we love it. The rides have been increasing by 10% each week, so this week the mileage was up to 53 (Lisa did 56 miles, but we'll get to that in a moment!)

The weather today wasn't the best. It was 50's and brisk most of the day, with a threat of rain that luckily never came. The winds were quite hellish for the last 75% of the ride. It was daylight savings time too, so our meet time was 7:45 am which was actually 6:45 am. All in all, not the best conditions for riding.

Right at the start, we headed out from Orinda and north via San Pablo Dam Road and Castro Valley Ranch towards the infamous "Pig Farm Hill," which I have tackled in the past, but this was Lisa's first time up this climb. I think I really built up this monster in her head to be much worse than it actually is. She flew right up it and said she thought it was pretty easy! I trailed slightly behind, but I actually felt fine about it, too. It's really, really steep, but it was early so our legs were fresh.

{Riders ascending Pig Farm Hill}

After climbing Pig Farm Hill, Lisa went ahead and ended up going a bit too far by 1.5 miles. She became lost and couldn't find the rest stop! Luckily we were able to text back and forth and she finally found us. We were way out in the middle of nowhere with poor cell phone reception.

The ride then moved on to the town of Martinez, which is a place I've had trouble before. Five years ago while training for ALC, I ended up lost and alone myself in downtown Martinez (near the train tracks). I rode up to a man to ask him directions and he looked at me up and down and shouted "Niiiice!" I made sure to stick with a group this time around, needless to say!

As we continued through questionable territory known as the Carquinez Scenic Loop (this is what I would call semi-urban; semi-country off road style cycling) we wondered when we would ever reach our lunch spot. My legs were killing me and I was starting to fade a bit.

Lisa and I ate a quick bite, chatting with fellow female riders over lunch. We didn't want to get too cold, so we moved on quickly, but the weather turned for the worse. The headwinds were brutal, and it was an unending climb out of Crockett and through Rodeo, Hercules, and finally, to Pinole. Lisa shared with me later that she was miserable through that part of the ride, and that she felt like quitting ALC and never coming back.

I was also hurting all over at this point, and was not feeling as strong as last week. And then the next thing you know....a flat tire. I shouted ahead for Lisa to stop and at the same moment found that my friends Mark and Mo were right behind me! They stopped and changed my flat tire! I am so grateful for this moment, because I think if I had to change my tire at that low point I would probably have broken down crying.

After this short rest, Lisa caught a second wind, and I wasn't feeling so bad myself. It took us about another hour to get back to our car. What a workout. Totally spent, we headed right home and then out to chow down on the yummiest Vietnamese vermicelli bowls we've ever tasted. Needless to say, we'll be back out riding next week, but this is not getting any easier!

We are each getting closer to our fundraising goals but we each have a long way to go. Our hope is to be at well over 2/3 of our goal by the end of this week. Will you help us? Donate to Clay here and donate to Lisa here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

90 days to go!

Hello friends!
Thank you for visiting our ALC fundraising and training blog.

As of today we have 90 days until the AIDS LifeCycle takes off from Fort Mason in San Francisco!

Yesterday we rode 52 miles, which is half a century ride. 100 miles (give or take a few) is the longest distance we'll ride on any given day on the 7-day ride from SF to LA. So, in a sense, we are "half way" done with our training.

Our training ride yesterday was spectacular.

The weather was gorgeous from start to finish (it even warmed up to over 70 degrees by the time we finished!). We started in Orinda, headed to Danville and then out to Bollinger Canyon Road in San Ramon. We turned around at the Las Trampas Open Space and rode back to Orinda via El Nido Ranch Road.

Bollinger Canyon is a treat. Clay saw an Ostrich and sometimes you can see a zebra (no such luck yesterday)!

Sometimes when we are out riding, even on such a beautiful day, we think "WHAT ARE WE DOING?" because climbing hills and riding such long distances can feel so painful. But it's all worth it when you are finished. Yesterday we enjoyed a beer and veggie burgers after our ride with friends Christopher and Stephen.

Clay and I are getting closer and closer to our fundraising goals. If you haven't donated, we'd love your help today! You can donate to Clay here and Lisa here. We appreciate every donation large or small!

Thank you again!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Help Us Get to $2000 each by March 15!!

Hello friends!

Thank you for visiting our training and fundraising blog! We both must reach 2/3 of our $3000 goal ($2000) by March 15th. PLEASE HELP US GET THERE!

Donate to Clay

Donate to Lisa

This weekend Lisa and I rode our first official AIDS/Lifecycle training ride together, and it was great. We joined about 50 other riders in the Marina District in San Francisco at the brisk hour of 8:30am on Saturday. We were as rested as we could be and ready to take to the roads of Marin County. As we kicked off the ride, we immediately hit the Golden Gate Bridge to lead us up a steep climb to the top of the Marin Headlands. For those of you who aren't from the Bay Area, the Marin Headlands are the hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County as it meets the Golden Gate Bridge (which leads to San Francisco). It's an absolutely gorgeous spot that looks down over the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

We both made it to the top and managed to smile for this photo, but I can't say this climb was an easy feat by any stretch! It's a pretty tough way to start your day!

After our rest at the top, we descended down and through the Headlands hills, down to Rodeo Beach, then out through Sausalito, and from there, we rode to Tiburon. Lisa says she's done this "Tiburon Loop" ride about 25 times in the past (but not anytime recently), but I had only done it once and had no idea where we were going. At one point we got a little lost. Luckily a really nice ALC rider named Brian helped us find our way. Thank you, Brian!

We briefly took a break, meeting some nice fellow riders over a "mini lunch," and quickly set off to finish this ride as quickly as possible.

The Golden Gate bridge is under construction so only one side of the bridge is open. Normally cyclists take one side and pedestrians the other. Currently pedestrians and cyclists share one side together, so crossing the bridge during the middle of of a weekend day was pretty crowded and stressful. Thankfully we made it, and both made it back to the car in around 4 hours. We rode 46 miles! That's our longest ride yet this training season. This ride was a reminder about how physically and emotioally challenging training can be. Today I am pretty sore and Lisa is suffering from a cough that started as she climbed the Headlands.

It's easy to feel like you just want to throw in the towel when you feel so exhausted. But we are resolved! We are going to just keep at it and we'll be increasing our mileage each week. We can do this!

We need your help! We're not training for ALC  just for the love of cycling. We're doing this to raise funds and awareness for the SF AIDS Foundation, to reduce new HIV infections, and reduce the stigma of the HIV virus. We are doing it in memory of our friends who've died of AIDS and in honor of our friends who live with HIV everyday. We're very commited to this cause and can't do it without you!

There are less than 100 days left until our bicycles depart San Francisco and head to Los Angeles. We ask you donate to us today. We both must reach 2/3 of our $3000 goal by March 15th. We dare you to donate $1 for every mile we rode this weekend. That'd be $46!

Donate to Clay
Donate to Lisa

Thank you, friends and family!