Passed a big milestone today with my first ever group ride training with other cyclists taking part in AIDS/LifeCycle 11. While I’ve ridden the majority of today’s route before, the ride was a great opportunity to learn the dynamics of a large-scale group ride and meet some of the folks with whom I’ll be pedaling to Los Angeles. So, I woke up early to get myself across the City to the Presidio Sports Basement. I skipped the warm up exercises, but listened intently to the all-important safety speech which contained at least one important revelation. The ALC folks don’t believe in rolling, Idaho stops, and when you’re participating in one of their events at all red stop lights and signs you’re to stop forward momentum and place one foot on the ground. I ride like that for the most part anyway with a lapse here and there, but I still wish there was a little flexibility.
After leaving the parking lot we headed out to climb up to the western sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of trying to speed across, I fell in behind a rider and let her pace pull me along while I got a chance to look out over the calm, grey Pacific streaching out to the far horizon. Across the bridge we blazed downhill for the drop into Sausalito. We rolled through town, along Richardson Bay, and before I knew it we reached the turnaround point at the Depot Cafe at the end of Miller Avenue in Mill Valley. As other cyclists arrived groups of riders would gather and fall into conversation, grab a bite to eat, and most importantly for some, fuel up with coffee.
Returning to Sports Basement was a little more DIY; there was no ride out, and instead cyclists would trickle out singly or in small groups. I had a nice ride back on my own mostly which included a strong ride up the Sausalito Lateral, and only one “biker moment” when a couple of time-trialers passed me while going around one of the bridge towers. Nice job fellers; enjoy the yellow jersey.
Today was all about climbing, and what a perfect day for it.
I was meeting a friend across the bay in Oakland, so I roused myself out of bed early to get ready and head out to catch the train to the East Bay. We met up without incident, made a few last minute adjustments, and then were off.
The ride started out in the Temescal and Rockridge neighborhoods, but soon we were climbing alongside the freeway toward the Caldecott Tunnel. After cycling for a bit, we stopped for a moment at an art installation commemorating the tragic Oakland Hills Fire before taking on Skyline Boulevard with its gradual curves and generally easy climb. At Grizzly Peak we decided to press onward and upward in order to take in the view. Eventually the road flattened out, and we found a turnout which overlooked a stunning view of the Bay Area sweeping from Alameda to Berkeley with San Francisco in the distance still wrapped in fog.
Well rested and hydrated we hopped back on for the ride back to my friend’s place which involved an exhilarating, slightly scary decent. A terrific payoff for all the climbing, but on my list of things involving cycling competence, properly negotiating decents is high. I held my own on today’s big plunge and didn’t ride the brakes too much, but I know I’ve got to learn technique which will in turn feed my confidence.
I don’t have much to add or anything profound to say about Steve Jobs and his untimely death. Even though it was obvious his cancer was quickly advancing, when I read the news I still couldn’t help but feel shocked. Suddenly a spouse, a father, a good friend was gone. Now I imagine, if we care, it’s up to us to honor his legacy by using his gizmos and gadgets to bring a little bit of light, levity, and love into the world.
Oh, and the tribute pictured above has to be the most ordered one I’ve ever seen consisting of personal messages scribbled on colored Post-It notes affixed in ordered rows and columns on the window of the Apple store. And, as a bonus, along with flowers, folks left apples behind!
So excited to have just received my AIDS/LifeCycle 11 t-shirt in the mail. It’s a wearable reminder that next June I’ll be taking part in the 7-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to help fight AIDS. Looking forward to putting in the training miles and the ride itself, but I’m going to need lots of support and motivation to see me through. Please visit, my AIDS/LifeCycle homepage, where you can find out more about the ride and can make a donation to help me reach my fundraising goal for this cause.