Thursday, October 20, 2011

Climate Ride takeaways...

Alright, so a few weeks later I finally have my head screwed on straight about the whole experience. Here we go:

- It rocked. It rocked a lot.

- I do not like riding in the rain when it is more than something we would call "spitting" in Portland.

- If I'm going to do more hilly terrain, I need to ensure I have the proper gear ratios. What I had was great in straights and downhill, but was unnecessarily difficult when on an incline more than a rolling hill.

- Organized large trip pros:
   - Cool people to hang with
   - Mechanics who know a lot more than I do about what's going on with my bike
   - Van support
   - Someone else is cooking
   - Less gear to haul on the bike

- Organized large trip cons:
   - Zero mile days are not a real option
   - Being in the back of the pack is a mentally challenging place to be versus going your own pace (see Day 2)
   - Less control over stops and routing
   - Some rules I'd prefer to ignore
   - Menu was selected by other people who don't eat at all the way I do

More and more, I feel like this ride made a difference if only from the standpoint of the money raised. Figure the average per rider was about $2500. We had a 125(ish) riders, so that means climate change opposition was funded an additional $300,000 minus expenses. How about we say a quarter million dollars going towards the cause? Not bad.

I'm also happy to have taken on a pretty big challenge at my *cough cough* advanced age. Not that I feel old by any stretch, but having recently turned 40, it feels good to have pulled off a physical task that most wouldn't take on in their 20s or 30s. I think there's a big future in bike adventures for me, and I'm looking forward to some of the future challenges.

So... Climate Ridin'? Thumbs up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The video...

I know, I know... I still owe the wrap up. But in the meantime, here's the video I put together for

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Catching up: Day 5...

Camp on the final night had a sunny finish but we heard of the threat of rain overnight. That didn't happen.

It waited til 5:30am. Of course.

So, a cold, early,wet start on our last day got a lot of us motivated to get the hell to San Francisco.

And then the sun came out juuuuust in time for some uber climbs up and over Mt Tam and the Marin headlands to the bridge.

San Francisco from Sausilito

Crossing the bridge

SF side

Finish line at city hall!

More thoughts on the ride in the next post...

Catching up: Day 4...

I'm sitting on a park bench in Golden Gate Park not far from our pickup point... So, spoiler alert: I made it.

Day 4 was by far my favorite day of the ride. It was a rolling ride with no early hills of note (except one stupid one that was insanely steep but about 2 city blocks long). Most importantly we had no rain.

I'm a big proponent of getting out early, and I was one of the early departures on day 4. I got to the first "water" stop early and did some wine tasting at 9:30am. Hey, it's noon someplace, right?

Moshin Winery

The remainder of the ride through Sonoma County was beautiful but the hills kicked in. Lots of pot holes in the road... The C&O trail is smoother...

The stupid hill

Lunch featured fresh squeezed (pressed?) apple cider. Awesome. Then it rained. Less awesome (but brief).

Last water stop was in a cool town...

... But it was overshadowed by our rogue breakoff group who got oysters and beer:

Deck+oysters+beer+sun = epic.

9 miles later we were in our last camp of the trip!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gorgeous start...

The aftermath of the storm...

Much more like a December storm... Lots of tired wet riders but we're coping.

Wetness aside, the fog was pretty this morning and the lack of rain at dawn was as welcome as anything!

That's my blue tent on the left. No the tree cover didn't help...

The bikes got some cover last night but my saddle is assuredly wet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Brutal rain...

The rain is so bad tonight people can't sleep... Lots of wind and wet tents. A few looked at the nearby barn for shelter but it's locked. Bad night. Hope this lets up soon.

Biking this kind of distance is enough of a challenge without rain and lack of sleep thrown in! My tent's relatively dry inside but I've got some seepage or (more likely) condensation here and here.

In a word: "duuuuuuude."

Day 3 ending thoughts

Technology is odd... I'm in a tent with wifi access but no cell signal.

As predicted it's raining steadily right now. The structure situation seemed unresolved at best as the first drops came down so I quickly pitched the tent and got in while still dry. I had plenty of food left over from the ride so I'm sticking it out in here and skipping the evening events. Why bother getting wet?

The ride today was fun... Tomorrow, I'm not loving. The prospect of another icy wet day is not high on my list of to do's but there's not much in the way of options short of skipping and riding windy roads in support vans til I get motion sick. I know... Some choice, eh? I'll probably rock the ride ;)

SF is less than 100 miles away! Crazy!

Not a century kinda day...

Ended in Gualala today... Fun ride with lots of ups and downs. The mechanic Brian told me what I already knew... My rear cassette is not geared for these kinds of climbs. I always felt I was working so much harder than others on hills despite being in comparable shape. So, that explains it.

My expression here is comical and odd...

Gualala is awesome. Getting a grilled cheese because I can.

Getting shuttled to camp - rain is in the air. Definitely thinking shelter over tent tonight...


What a difference a day makes! Cool and dry conditions and I'm rolling about 35 milesinto a 65ish day. The coast has been stunning...

Looking forward to My favorite Mendocino County coastal town of Gualala in the early afternoon!

Rain likely tonight... Might try to sack out in a structure rather than tent it. We'll see...

Day 3...

Early start!

Should be dry until tonight, then more rain. I have one dry pair of shoes left. We'll see how dry they stay!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Much better

Had a great night and a good dinner... Tonight's speakers included the 1% for the Planet presentation, which is the group I'm biking with.

Goal is to do the century tomorrow. Bike will be fixed or hacked to work by the time we're out on the road eaaaaarly. 5am van to breakfast and bikes and on the road by 7. Sleep will be outrageously awesome.

Day 2... Welcome to hell

I have no pictures today, only bad, bad, cold memories...

The rain began last night at 11pm and is... Wait let me check... Yep, still going. Everything got wet, although my tent handled the night ok.

The ride was a brutally wet and windy day hovering around 55. The biggest obstacle was Leggett Hill, a monster between the redwood region and the coast of Mendocino County. I made it up the 6 miles then down the looping, winding 12 miles gaining a new appreciation of wind chill factor. As I approached the final hill before the coast (shorter but steeper) my saddle came half unattached... I lost a bolt someplace on Leggett Hill. So, I vanned the rest of the way to Fort Bragg with a bunch of grumpy Climate Riders.

Turns out everyone had a rough day. So much so, we are now taking over the Fort Bragg Quality Inn tonight. Let me tell you: that hot shower was worth everything.

Weather is supposed to improve tomorrow then degrade Wednesday. The bike needs some TLC but I'll deal with it mañana - tonight is about warm food and a warm bed. I'll return to my (hopefully dry) tent tomorrow night.

When it will rain again.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Your bike is busted...

That's not what the mechanic told me, but it's practically true.

But first... The rest of the ride. My blogging went downhill for two reasons: (a) no signal - I expect that to be an issue for much of the ride and (b) the dynamo? Mmm, yeah not so much. I need to start with lots of juice and not draw do much. That means no streaming football games and even more sadly, no more tracking my ride with the gps. Total bummer.

The bike. Yeah, so the bearings in my rear wheel are shot. It rides, but when I coast downhill my chain loses tension, and it's a bit of an issue. Next bike shop is at water break 2. That's good. Bad? I have a 12 mile decent tomorrow. Rather than coast it I might have to pedal. I'm prepared to hate tomorrow, but we'll see. The upside is we bike to the coast.

Did I mention it's likely to rain all day? Yeah. Awesome.

Yoga tomorrow at 7... off to sleep. Here's some more cool pics through the Avenue of the Giants today. Simply awesome.

Redwoods ...

8 miles, first break?


And PS I'll be damned if I don't have my Bills on if "we" have a shot at 4-0. Thank you Internet, cell phone streaming and 97 Rock...

We're off!

This is a goofy self portrait pre ride...

Day 1...

I've never been a morning person. Then I started biking. I'm still not a morning person but the morning of a big trip I'm up and at em. I promised myself I'd wait til sunrise before I got really going.

Yeah that didn't happen. I took this shot after a shower and a cup of coffee and... Well it was pitch black when I was rockin it all out. The crazy breakfast setup for all 120 of us is getting up to speed so I'll stop writing and get me some calories. I'll need them!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The longest ride of my life...

Yes, the bike ride starting tomorrow is the longest of my life. The bus ride up here felt like the longest bus ride ever, but I'll leave that part out. I'm here... Tent's up. It's all good.

The redwoods were RIDICULOUS, but since I'm riding through them tomorrow I'll save the exposition for then.

I'm hoping this is one of my few times seeking outlets to charge my gear... The dynamo has me so hopeful for me-generated juice. Hopefully (a) it works, and (b) does not shred my tire. The bike mechanic seems skeptical of anything good happening if there's anything other than road touching tire. I'm thinking it's gotta work, mainly for my pedal power fantasy of only needing to hunt for outlets tonight, pre ride. So there's that.

Songs of note on the ride up:

Undertow, Ivy
So Little to Give, Creeper Lagoon
Hard to Explain, The Strokes

I expect slightly higher tempo songs mañana - wish me luck.

But first - beer. And dinner. Probably in that order...

Location:Kenmar Rd,Fortuna,United States

Solar Living Institute

We've stopped for our scheduled lunch at the Solar Living Institute about 2 hours north of SF in 101.

It's cloudy.

Is that ironic, or is that Alanis Morrissette ironic? I think it's true irony... but it might be more black fly in your Chardonnay-like. Hm.

Off to the lecture. Maybe the solar dude knows.

View from the Golden Gate

Next time will be from a bike next Thursday!

About that bus...

Are you superstitious? I'm not, and I'm kind of glad for that. Apparently our original bus from SF to Arcata is blown up, broken down, unable to move... Something. It's "berry berry mysterious" but I'm happy to take the word of the Climate Ride folks... I'm on a need to know basis and it's fine by me.

So with some time to kill and my Orange playing New Jersey Community College* I'm across the street at the Kezar Pub enjoying some local beer. It's noon on the east coast: no judgment, right?

*sorry Rutgers fans... Too easy.

Day 0

We're loading up and getting ready to drive up to Arcata. A lot of diversity in terms of bike styles - should be fun to see everyone set up to roll tomorrow morning!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Free day in SF

Not to go all Hemingway with a dearth of details but it is what it is:

I drank coffee and walked around a bunch. The sun was warm. And I ran with the bulls down Market Street.*

*no, I didn't.

I will not be crossing this bridge* on a bike. I just don't have a good view of the Golden Gate from here... Pretend it's orangey red and we'll call it even?

*the Bay Bridge for the uninitiated.

BART with bike!

Paying for a cab powered by fossil fuels strikes me as anti-anti-climate change. (nevermind i went to IAD by car... Shhh!) Mass transit from SFO via BART is 8 bucks(ish) and gets me needed weight training exercise.

No, I haven't convinced myself this is a good idea either...

Update... Looks good, except it's pretty obvious it was on the bottom. Exhibit A:

Thats my rear cassette poking through protective layer 3... Thank you cardboard!

Made it to Dulles...

You know what's a bit terrifying? Handing your bike to someone who doesn't particularly give a damn about it...

Said au revoir to Kimberly and Louis out front... I'll see them in a week in SF!

Oh goodie... Security at IAD. My favorite...

See ya in CA...