Pace yourself for me

I know, I still suck.  It takes a lot of time to train for the AIDS ride.  Trust me on that.  I was in the saddle from 6:30am until 5pm on Saturday.  And I’d like to take a minute to bitch about that ride.


There’s a Cat 5 and a Cat 2 climb in there. The Cat 5 I didn’t even notice. I assume it’s the one on San Pablo Road before it turned into or maybe just after it turned into Carquinez Scenic Road. It wasn’t that bad. We road through Orinda, El Sobrante, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, Crockett, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Danville, Alamo, Lafayette and back to Orinda. We had several scheduled stops; a place called Flippy’s was the first stop, then Peet’s in the shopping center next to Heather Farms where everybody got lunch from Kinder’s, and finally the Lunardi’s in Danville, where everybody looked a lot like meat on a slab and then back to Orinda BART.

Mt Diablo has never been so unkind. The ascent always sucks, but the reward is the decent. I’ve learned that it takes a lot longer for a Clydesdale to get up a mountain so it’s important to be a skilled descender to make up for the plodding up a hill. I’ve also learned that some of the skill set used in performance driving, like staying on the gas and the brake going into a curve, pays off descending. I also went to a descending clinic so I know where the line is for me and am careful to not cross it.

I’ve never climbed Mt. Diablo going from North Gate to South Gate, I always go South Gate to North Gate. Climbing North Gate looked a lot differently going up than it does going down. I guess 4mph you see a lot more than you do at 40mph. I knew the South Gate side had few rises going down because going up there were few breaks. I was excited to leave the junction only to find out that the 20mph wind that we fought all the way up was gusting every different direction on the South side of the mountain and it was scary as hell. And I had to break and descend at around 17mph just to keep it safe. Crashing on Mt. Diablo can be very bad. Like dead bad. I’ve learned over the years to always be ready to meet your maker and don’t leave things unraveled, but I wasn’t ready for the meeting on Saturday. By the time we were at the bottom my hands were cramped from braking all the way down. But it was better than dying. On Saturday.

What amazes me is that the training program I’m doing requires you to get back out and do two hours the very next day after a ride like that. Yesterday, just like the previous three Sundays I got back out on my bike and did my two hours. Yesterday I thought about how labored my pedal stroke was and how tired I was and wondered what I could do in the next 28 days to get past that. I guess the answer is ride harder. 545 miles is a long freaking way and I’m starting to get a little scared. I also realized that I’m going to need a little equipment that I don’t own. Like a sleeping bag. And a pad of sorts. Hello Ebay.

I just finally read through the AIDS/Lifecycle website too. 28 days out and I’m just now figuring out what this all entails beyond putting my ass on a bike and riding to LA. Little things like getting home from LA. How much shit actually adds up to 70lbs, which is my allowable amount of gear. Do I really want to hump 70lbs of gear after riding 116 miles to my campsite? Why didn’t I make enough money this year so I could do the Princess version. While it’s not mentioned on the website, many riders don’t actually camp. They know all the hotels next to the campsites and stay there. I can’t afford to do that and I suspect I’m going to be pretty pissed at myself by Day 3. There are probably more than a few guys like Aaron. He is this ridiculously handsome man who has been doing the same team training rides as I have. He is probably in his 40’s. He looks Creole to me, really too handsome for words. And one of the nicest most supportive people I’ve met on this adventure and that’s saying alot because everybody is really nice and supportive. Oh yeah and a really good cyclist. His partner follows the ride with an RV. Not quite Princess but definitely building a better widget. He’s got some itty bitty solar panels so he can track his ride on his smartphone while he rides. Or at least that’s his current plan. Cool dude. I’ll be happy if I have clean underwear when I get into camp. And a sleeping pad. And my bag only weighs 35lbs. That would be cool.

My fundraising is getting close. I need another $935 and I’m done. The emails will be going out hopefully today. I really appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten from PBE readers, and the fact that you bear with me when I’ve been too busy and tired to write. If you can spare another $10 or $20 or if you’ve been meaning to donate and just haven’t had the time, how about now? Is now good?

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