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!