Really Any Angel Will Do

It’s difficult to get me out of bed early on a weekend especially if it’s threatening rain and I have a long ride ahead of me. Despite that I hit the “off” button on the alarm, shambled over to the window, checked the skies, and decided they didn’t look too bad. I was in for that day’s ALC training ride. Arriving at Sports Basement I was happy to see a big turnout of ALC riders was willing to take on a morning of cold, breezy cycling. The enthusiastic TRLs led us through the routine of stretches, route guidance, and the Safety Speech, and then we were off.

I’m a bit of a cold wimp, and the wind whipping across Crissy Field as we rode out had me wishing I hadn’t left my warm bed. But a quick climb and spin across the bridge quickly warmed me up. On the Marin side we took the usual route to get up and over Camino Alto before heading through the quaint towns of Ross and San Anselmo on our way to the turn-around point in Fairfax. And these little towns are serious about keeping their drivers moving slowly with stop signs placed every few hundred yards. I know as a good ALC rider the ALC stop is mandatory, but with all of the unclipping and clipping I wished I could engage in a gold old Idaho stoop once in a while.

The group converged on the Coffee Roastery and Fat Angel Bakery in Fairfax and refueled for the trip back to the City via Tiburon. Not only did I have one of the best pecan buns I’ve ever had at Fat Angel I got a chance to meet and chat with a lot of fellow riders and TRLs. Lots of good-natured ribbing, a couple of pieces of advice and stories from the ride passed the time before we got back on the road and headed home.

Grey skies gave way to sunshine as we navigated through Sausalito and up the Lateral (which has gotten easier to climb), and, as I rolled back into Sports Basement, I was glad I hadn’t let my cozy bed get the better of me. I hope that spirit stays with me next weekend as we tack on more mileage and take on some hill experienced riders keep talking about for some reason.

Postscript: Although it didn’t rain during the ride, it had rained the day before which made for some sloppy road conditions in places. When I got back home my ride was filthy. I ended up spending a long time giving the bike a proper bath to remove all that grit and grime, and now it looks like new.


Ups and Downs

The bike in the foreground. Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco in the background.

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.

It’s Official

AIDS/LifeCycle t-shirt
Now I guess I'm committed.

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.

Midlife Hobbies

photo by Dripps
photo by Dripps

I thought picking up running and deciding to run a marathon within one year was a laudable goal. But check out what Robert Mackey of the New York Times is attempting. He’s signed on to ride a stage of this year’s Tour de France. And not just any stage. This year’s L’Etape du Tour covers, “…the summit of the Col du Tourmalet, the highest pass in the Pyrenees, [it] is the hardest part of stage 10 of this year’s Tour de France…” Click here for the article.

Go Robert!