And I’m bound to keep on ridin’

I think that was the longest I’ve ever gone without writing.  I didn’t realize that I didn’t get anything up the week before I left until, like, ten minutes ago.  If you had seen this place that week you’d have run and hidden.  It was insane.

I hadn’t camped since 1974 when a bear came and swatted my sleeping bag.  I was way down in the bottom hiding when he looked down the bag at me.  My friend says “They can smell fear”.  Great.  It turned out to be a cub but that ended camping for me.  I still have that sleeping bag which has a tear in it, but technology has changed since then.  A lot.  I bought a new one, and a sleeping pad.  I had the bike tuned up and I have to give props to the boys at the Sports Basement bike shop in Walnut Creek.  A lot of people spent a lot of time at the Cannondale bike repair booth.  I never saw them.  I don’t even know what they looked like.  No flats.  No bike issues whatsoever.  None.  My little Specialized Roubaix just rolled.

The AIDS/Lifecycle has been going on in some form or another for a total of 18 years.  It’s been called the AIDS/Lifecycle for 10 years and this year was the 10 year anniversary.  It was the single largest fundraiser to fight AIDS ever.  We raised over $13 million.  There was a brouhaha when they fired their original producer.  It was because production costs kept going up.  This thing is put on for $.30 on the dollar.  The logistics were amazing.

We know why I rode, the December Project pretty much laid that out, but as the week progressed there became more reasons to ride.

  1. AIDS is the world’s number one infectious killer
  2. AIDS is the number one cause of death in sub-saharan Africa
  3. A gay man in San Francisco has a 60% chance of acquiring HIV before his 40th birthday.
  4. A gay man of color in San Francisco has an 85% chance of acquiring HIV before his 40th birthday.
  5. AIDS is the number one cause of death for African American women under the age of 40.

That last one blew me away.  Basically I thought of the young African American women I knew and the fact that if one were to die the chances of the AIDS virus being her killer was staggering.  The disease has changed.  Positive Pedalers, a team of HIV positive cyclists who road the ride had jerseys that said “If one of us has HIV, we all have HIV.”  They weren’t this year’s jersey, but I thought it was a great statement considering that HIV isn’t what it used to be.  It’s throughout society and it affects everybody.  Someone asked me about Magic Johnson the other day.  My answer was that he is and was stronger than most Americans and had access to the best health care in the world.  That is why he’s lived so long with the virus.  I know people who have been living with it for 25 years.  It’s why the ride will go on.

It’s hard to know where to start talking about this ride.  The logistics?  The ride itself?  The Rest Stops?  Red Dress Day?  Or the State of California?

I’m going to start with the State of California and come back to the other things later this week.  There are 96 photos for me to choose from and 529 miles to pick from.  The ride was actually 560 miles.  The medical staff advised me to come off the ride on Day 4.  I rode another 15 miles before I did what they told me to.  I must learn to ride faster.  Riding faster equals less time in the saddle.  And time in the saddle was the problem.

To the people of the State of California, I got to see what you were made of this week.  I am a proud Californian.  Although really, we need to fix our roads, they are crap.  My ass will tell you about that later.  California, you came out in the rain and the fog and the crappy weather and you rang cowbells and clapped and handed us strawberries and licorice.  You put on silly costumes, you played music for us as we went by, you waited for us at the top of the hills and some of you followed us all the way to Los Angeles.  There is the town of Bradley and Paradise Pit.  And the Cookie Lady.  Not to be confused with the Chicken Lady.

I missed the Cookie Lady.  She was at the Otter Pop Stop.  There was so much jackassery going on at the Otter Pop stop that I missed her completely.  The Otter Pop Stop was supposed to just be a Water Stop.  It went very wrong somewhere.

The guy with the mouse ears was really really sweet.  And I would really like to be a member of Team Popular because their jerseys were so awesome.

But I digress.  The unofficial stops were something.  The town of Bradley shuts down for the day the AIDS/Lifecycle comes through.  Everybody and I do mean everybody comes out and they put on a barbeque for the riders.  They offer massage, homemade brownies, and lunch that isn’t turkey.  I’d been hearing about Bradley both before and on the ride.  As we got off of the the 101 at the Bradley exit to ride through town we were met with red ribbons.

They were tied to every tree all the way into town.  Bradley, population 120.  They pay for all their extra curricular school needs with the proceeds from this barbeque.  He’s a little tiny town who has probably been crushed by budget cuts and they figure out a way to make it work.  And have for many years.  They were amazing.

Another unofficial stop is Paradise Pit.  It’s a little triangle of residual land in Santa Barbara where East Cabrillo turns to Channel Drive in Santa Barbara.  There’s trees and grass and Paradise Pit.

It is a Powerade and Clif bar free zone.  McConnells fine ice cream of Santa Barbara provides the ice cream, the locals provide everything else.  Several ladies offered me fresh chocolate chip cookies, there was a bakery there, a booth for ice cream, another booth for toppings and no Powerade any where to be found.  Not only that, they had running water to wash up with.  It was packed with riders and locals.  There was an official Roadie there trying to get us to ride on, but it was a big party and no one was heading out too soon.  The lovely Ginger Brewlay was there as she was every step of the ride, in a different but equally tacky and fabulous ensemble.

Yep.  That’s bubble wrap.  Kind of like Joan Rivers gone really really wrong.  More wrong than usual.

Next up: Rest Stop jackassery.

Count your blessings to find what you look for

It’s almost the end of May and somehow I made it.  I don’t really know how.  And I don’t really know what I did this month besides ride my bike.  I know there were three major events I had to deal with but I can only remember the Doberman Specialty in Vallejo.  How cute is Ike with the puppy?

We didn’t raise a ton of money but certainly enough to buy a couple of weeks worth of dog food for the rescue.

I would like to take a moment to complain about the weather.  Mt. Diablo ride -terrible gusts of wind ruin the descent keeping us to 17mph.  Morgan Territory -terrible gusts of wind keep our descent to 11mph.  Riders are blown off the road at that speed.  Pinehurst on Saturday -descent is ruined because it freaking rains!  Uh, it’s May 30th.  Enough!

I rescheduled my broker’s exam.  I just didn’t feel confident that I was going to pass it.  The jackhole DRE charged me $20 to reschedule the test online.  Really?  Like that cost you $20?  I’m really getting tired of getting it up the ass from the state.  Jerry can you hear me?  I know that’s not his fault, it’s the Governators fault.  Just imagine if this state knew about his little indescretion.  Granted we might have been stuck with Gray Davis, but then again we probably wouldn’t have mortgaged the state to the hilt either.  Just keeping it random real.

What I realized was my head wasn’t into “fee simple absolute” and “ad valorum taxes”.  And if Brown lives in his home and trades it to Smith in exchange for a home that Smith is renting out, can Brown defer the capital gain?  Helefino isn’t an answer.  I was thinking about not getting saddle sores and how long will it take to set up a tent if you haven’t done that ever, and getting the house clean and the right laundry done and how to pack a bag that only weights 40lbs.  We’re allowed 70lbs but I don’t want to haul 70lbs if I don’t have to.

I did set up my return trip.  I waited way too long to do it but it turned out for the better.  The best available hotel the Ride offered us was $99 per night, which is kind of a deal in LA.  For that I got the Westin LAX.  Then I started looking for a car company to rent a car to drive back in.  The best I could do for that was $200.  Add gas to that and I’m probably paying around $275-$300 to get home.  On a whim I looked at Southwest’s site and they had a 9am flight home for $79.  Book it Dano.  The Ride offers bike transport home for $85.  You just have to go to the Cow Palace to pick it up on Monday or Tuesday after the ride.  Done.  Now I did the whole thing for less than the car rental and I don’t have to drive 400 miles.  And I should have my happy ass planted on my own couch by noon on Sunday.    Winning.

Packing is the art form.  They suggest getting these 2.5 gallon ziploc bags from Target and breaking out everything by ride day if possible.  So that’s my plan.  I now have six bags (because on Day one I’ll be wearing that day’s gear) with the day marked on them.  I have been following the weather and I know the climbing, terrain and distance for each day.  I’ve packed Clif Shot Bloks, Sports Beans and Hammergels to coincide with what I should need on each day.  Day 3 is the hottest day of the ride and it features Quadbuster.  I don’t know exactly the route this time, but it looks like we’re going up the Pinnacles?  It’s not a terrible elevation change and I’ve heard it’s a little better than a mile long.  Here’s one of the old routes, they change it slightly every year.  Click that elevation button for some laughs.

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake

Well, I’m still here.  Guess that rapture gig didn’t work out so good for Mr. Camping.  You gots a lot of splaining to do Lucy.  Let’s start with a few random Bible quotes.  Matthew 7:15. I don’t know what this New International Version is…let’s go with King James.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Now a little twist to the New International Version:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

It’s those damned evildoers again.  Hmmm.  Wonder why GWB got that shit? Checking in with 1 Thessalonians 5:2

1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Harold, let me help you out on this one.  It means when the Lord comes back, he’s not getting some poor shmuck to spend his $140,000 retirement to put up billboards for you.  There were an unbelievable 5500 billboards around the world proclaiming yesterday Judgment Day.  God doesn’t care about all your billboards along the I-80.  He does care about all of his creatures and killing them because you drank Harold’s Kool-Aid.  Bill, that’s a good way to get turned away, if you really read the good book and knew what it said.

Frankly the whole thing reminded me of Jonestown, home of the original Kool-Aid.  Jim Jones had the date wrong too and while his followers were true believers, when a charleton’s world come crashing down on them, deperate things happen.  Has anybody heard from Harold?  I mean the guy is 89 years old, that much stress and he might have met his maker last night at 6pm.  His own personal rapture.  The website has been crashed out for a couple of days.  Maybe that’s what he meant.  Lucky we have Cultwatch to help us out.  Here is their advice to Harold’s now left behind followers:

  1. Be prepared to accept that you are wrong. Many others have claimed to know the end of the world before now, and obviously they were wrong. They too misinterpreted Scripture, so if the rapture does not occur on the 21st of May 2011 then you will have joined their ranks. This will be a blow to your ego and some will find this failure very emotional. The best course of action is to prepare to be humble.
  2. Don’t let this failure destroy your faith. The Bible was not wrong, you just interpreted it incorrectly. Harold Camping and his complex string of assumptions and fact fiddling has failed you, God’s Word has not failed you.
  3. If you are not raptured on the 21st of May 2011, don’t panic. It is not because you are a bad Christian, it is because the date is wrong. You’ll find it hard to believe that something you held with such ardor and faith is erroneous, and so you will be prone to blame yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of self condemnation, read Romans 8:1. Remember also that it will be extremely obvious when Jesus Christ returns, like lightning across the whole sky, there is no chance that anybody will miss it, Luke 17:24.
  4. Before the 21st of May 2011 do not do any of these things: do not sell your house and give the money away, do not stop paying bills, do not say anything you will regret to friends and family, don’t quit your job, don’t leave your loved ones. Don’t do anything that will damage your life if the 21st of May 2011 proves not to be rapture day.
  5. Don’t harm yourself or others. Some people who were convinced the end was coming have committed suicide or even hurt or killed others. We at Cultwatch don’t believe any of Harold Camping’s followers would do this. But understand that this sort of thing has happened before, and so it is prudent to talk about this unlikely possibility. If you think you might react in this way to the failure of the 21st of May 2011 date, then you need to let people know now. Do not be alone on the 21st and 22nd of May 2011. If you think there is any risk of you harming yourself or others, then be bold enough to speak out now.

Yep.  Epic fail.

Well while the rapture was not occurring yesterday I was out turning a century on my trusted steed. I didn’t notice an earthquake or a lightening flash in the sky.


Yep. That’s 100. And then a little bit more. It was a pretty nice ride all and all. I had enough food with me and the SAG guys provided enough water. I had some problems with my feet and I’m going to reassess the settings on the new cleats to be sure they’re set properly on my shoes. My last set simply blew up. Apparently they’re only good for 5000 miles and I think mine did at least that. I’ve been riding on those for three years. They wouldn’t even go back together there were pieces missing.

One of the SAG guys gave me a banana and a ride leader gave me some cramping pills and my feet settled down to finish the ride. The lunch stop was the Jelly Belly Factory. Amazingly I’ve never been there. They were selling unbranded sports beans for 50 cents per bag. I think they helped the cramping in my feet too.

I keep my phone turned off when I’m riding because these smart phones will keep looking for towers while you’re riding. You can never look at a thing, never take a call and be out of power when you get back. I leave it off. Yesterday I fired it up to find I had an “urgent” message. When you have an 83yo mother, urgent messages send a shock through your heart when you see them. I frantically went through all the machinations that Verizon has you do to get your voice mail messages only to find out some bitch that speaks english with a mouth full of marbles was calling on one of my listings. Really? You ignorant slut. That house has been on the market for 280 days. There isn’t a goddamned thing urgent about that house, unless you thought yesterday was Judgment Day.

Yeah, that was a softball.

Just have your party on TV

Let the jackassery begin!

First up, last week’s training ride.

Don’t forget to click the “view elevation” button for more entertainment. How much did this suck? Well, it shouldn’t have. I really enjoy Morgan Territory for some sick reason. Good climbing, but the descent is a big sloppy reward with a cherry on top. It’s smooth, scenic if you look up, well banked and a lot of fun. Unless the wind is gusting freaking 40mph and you have to grab the brakes all the way down. The second hard climb in as many weeks where the descent was ruined by wind. I would like to file a complaint. Yes I would. Yeah, there’s a Cat 5 hill in there. I’m getting so those are the only ones I notice. At one point the grade is 17%, according to my pals with altimeters. That’s wicked steep. The other annoying thing about this ride was that there was some sort of dedication for a park supervisor who had passed away a few years ago. They were shuttling people to the service or dedication or whatever the event was in big East Bay Park vans on this little one lane road we were trying to climb. I googled the guy, he was a friend to Mt. Diablo and deserved to be honored for sure. I could have done without the Ford Econolines on that little road. With the 17% grade. Just saying.

That being said, I’m about $260 bucks away from my goal. (I have some checks that I’ve sent in that don’t show up on the page.) How about just a little tiny bit more to kick this over the top. Like $10? Anyone got $10? Thanks!

And the AIDS ride is why PBE has been so sporadic as of late. Nine hours in the saddle on Saturday, another two on Sunday, two today and two on Thursday. There just isn’t enough hours in the day. I should be getting in the shower right now for a marketing meeting but I decided that I didn’t need to attend the meeting. I’ll go preview properties later on today. They’ll be open whether I go to the meeting or not. Because all of you gentle PBE readers deserve some jackassery this morning.

So on the subject of jackassery, I give you the Governator. At least he wasn’t sitting in Sacramento telling everyone else what to do while he was banging the maid a staffer. He’s always been good about staying out of personal liberties. Are you there? Boehner?

Speaking of lunkheads and looney tunes, you know I can’t leave this one alone. May 21st we will be heading out for the last training ride for the AIDS Lifecycle, it will be 100 miles. It seems to be fitting to me since May 21st is apparently Judgement Day. Who knew? Why Harold Camping did. Harold has clearly been sipping on the Jonestown Kool-Aid, which has brought him to believe that on Saturday there will be a horrific earthquake that will shake the whole earth and then comes the Rapture.

Fab Five Freddy and all. (Watch me resist temptation to run off on a tangent right here.) I wonder what old Harold is going to do on May 22 when he’s still there and so are all the idiots who gave him money to put up the billboards all over Oakland. And CNN and everything else. Harold is the founder of Family Radio, a Christian radio network. People listen to this idiot. It may be Harold’s personal Judgement Day, he’s 89 years old. At that age you pretty much have one foot on a banana peel anyway. Every where else when an old guy blathers on they call this dementia. Be the president of Family Radio and it’s an end times prediction. No disrespect to normal old people who wish somebody would get Truman out of the White House. This jackassery has spawned more jackassery. There are now Facebook Rapture After Parties and the latest Post Rapture Looting Party. OK I can’t resist, that Blondie video features cameos by Fab Five Freddy and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Which gets us back to my tangent.

I’ve been on a documentary kick. The latest have included Radiant Child and The Universe of Keith Haring. And a few others about street art jumping off of the buildings and into art galleries. They all knew each other back then, along with Deborah Harry and Madonna and Grace Jones, it must have been amazing to be in New York then. If you were one of the cool kids. The Keith Haring documentary talked about his involvement in ACT-UP. I always hated ACT-UP, I thought they were way too “in your face” and they made me uncomfortable. Well, the reality of the situation was that no real research was being funded, people were dying and our President hadn’t uttered the word “AIDS” in public. Radical action was needed. I wonder where we would be if Reagan had understood what AIDS was and what it meant to the world. Would it be a pandemic today? I kind of think they are going to ultimately find out that the virus has existed since the beginning of time and a combination of antibiotics and evolution mutated it to what it is today. Unless Saturday is Judgement Day in which case all bets are off. There’s my tin foil cap theory of the day. Anyway, if the world didn’t have a massive earthquake and shake our asses off it back then, I really doubt we’re doomed this Saturday. I’ll be at the after party.

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?

The transmissions will resume

OK, I would say I suck, but I don’t.  I rock.  Here’s the last two days.

Friday I got up early because there was a little red boy that was ready to head up to the rescue.  I hadn’t been up there since I picked up Rita in January 2008 so I thought I’d take a ride.  What I was thinking at $4.07 a gallon is another whole story.  Round trip 354 miles.  I’ve got to say that Toyota just builds a tough truck.  I’ve owned that thing since December 31, 1993 and it’s still rolling along.  Which is why I want to shoot the guy who stole the cat in the face.  Anywho, we got out of here around 8am.  He spent the night here and was quite a nice boy.  He was about Rita’s size and played well with her.  We loaded up and made it to Red Bluff in two and a half hours, staying within CHP tolerances of the speed limit.

He got to play with Pretty Girl when he got there and they did really well together.  We were sitting inside chatting and all of the sudden we heard this screaming outside.  He’d pinned her down.  I don’t know what she did but he just schooled her.  Not a cut on her and they played the rest of the day.

Then another rescue friend had invited me down the Thunderhill Raceway for “a ride”.  I had no idea that she was a coach for a performance driving school.  Arguably the last thing on the planet that I need to know about.  My friend is easily in her 60’s possibly 70’s.  She what?  I’m still working that one out in my head, but she’s been doing it for about 10 years and is quite well respected.   When I got there she said “I’m going to ask Don to take you out.  What would you like to ride in?”  I don’t know.  “You can ride in anything you see here.  How about the ZR1?”  Right there the Queen of Bad Decisionmaking stepped up to the plate.  My little brain was whizzing.  ZR1, the fastest production automobile made in the USA.   For the record it has a top speed of 205.  If I struck lightening and made $10 million in the next three years I still couldn’t own that vehicle because I couldn’t act right and would lose my license.  Yes.  The ZR1.

I felt a little like Cameron describing the Ferrari.

Cameron: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.
Ferris: It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.

There’s a reason I love that movie.  I want to be Ferris.

Don is a big powerful looking man.  Easily 6’2″+.  Shaved head, probably in his 50’s.  Confident.  Yeah, the guy you want to go fast with.  We have to wait, he needs to coach somebody in a Lotus and then ride a couple of laps with another guy, then it’s my turn.  I put on my helmet certain that it’s so tight it’s going to crack my jaw, but it’s point is to not crack my jaw or my noodle.  We walk up to a shiny new, so new you can smell the new outside of the vehicle new silver ZR1.  It’s show time.  Ann leans into the car and points to the handle on the armrest.  Grab that.  It’s the “Oh Jesus” bar.  It’ll help.  It gave me something to hold on to, but by the second lap I knew that wouldn’t matter.

Turn 1 was no big deal the first time around, then we came to Turn 2.  Adventuresome but fun.  The map doesn’t show that between 4 and 5 you come up a rise and dive into the cyclone.  The tires were chattering and there was a little separation from the road there which he corrected by accelerating.  Why wouldn’t you?    By the second lap, I’d figured out that the helmet was for show only.  This car was fiberglass.  We missed one of these turns at 140mph and we were going to vaporize.

That did not give me solace.  I figured if we got airborne and then didn’t come down properly I would be blowing into a straw once to say yes and twice to say no, but Don was an amazing driver.  He’d accerate into turn 2 then jam on the brakes while staying on the gas for the first part, get off of the brakes and we’d shoot out of the turn.  Big fun.  Satiated my need for speed for a while.  Now I want to learn performance driving.

Yesterday was A Day On The Ride.  It’s an event to give the riders for the Lifecycle an idea of how the ride works.  They start with check in, a safety meeting and everybody holds hands and asks their God, higher power, universe whatever for a safe ride.  They word it really nicely.  Not with irreverance like I just did.  And then we hit the road.  There are rest stops just like the ride, lunch just like the ride and dinner when you get in just like the ride.  Only there’s a little something they don’t tell you about this ride.  It’s designed to separate the riders from the pretenders.  My cycling rep told me afterwards that there is nothing this hard on the Ride itself.  If you can do this ride, you can do the Lifecycle.

That’s good news.  7939 feet of climbing yesterday.  Soul crushing.  But I finished it.  My legs were completely blown up by the end.  But I must be in good enough shape because I feel fine today.  I’m tired after two days of big adventures, but I’m not crippled.  Not cripped by going through hairpin turns at 140mph and not crippled by climbing 7939 feet yesterday.  Life is good.  A friend once asked me what I think about when I ride.  Generally I sing to myself.  Yesterday’s song:

I still have $1200 to go.  If you can, please sponsor my ride, every little bit helps.

I see the raven’s made her nest in your eyes

Is it time for the New Year’s post?  Oh hell yeah.  I like to review the previous years goals normally.  I don’t really want to do that because I missed every single one of them.  Actually not quite.  I missed 12 out of 13.

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Get marketing plan running and keep it running
  4. Close a deal a minimum of every 3 weeks consistently
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete
    1. At least one metric event
    2. At least two Century event
  9. Raise $2500 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through Team Fatty (new button to be there soon)
    1. pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  10. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by June 1 so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  11. Finish a writing project
  12. Get broker’s license
  13. Buy a new vehicle for business

I have a marketing plan.  And I do ride faster.  And I’m halfway through my broker’s license.  I had fits and starts of closing three deals per month.  Unfortunately the fits almost buried me.  I still own my house.  Who knew that would be a goal at the beginning of the year.

I saved several dogs this year.  That wasn’t on the agenda, but it needed to happen.  They pretty much owe their lives to me.  Sherman had PTS on his chart.  He’s living the vida loca in Oregon.  Little Sister had 45 minutes to live.  She’s giving a very nice woman agida in Oakland. I think she’s going to end up staying there..I hope.  Of course Ike belongs on this list.  I rode a bunch of souls to safety.  Angus and Juno, Buzz, Aylo, Xena, Bill the Dog, Casey, Splash and currently Hannibal, who is overnighting at the Farm until he gets his ride to the Motor City.

This dog is a big fat slice of awesome pie.  Another fine save by the ladies at Oakland Animal Services.

My cycling took a back seat this year to trying to save the house, which so far I have done, with help.  My golf game took a back backseat.  I’m supposed to place Blackhawk on January 10th and that’s going to be ugly on a stick if I can’t at least pound a bucket or two of balls before then.

We lost my Dad this year.  That’s one of those things that just sucks.  I know he’s not suffering any more, and I know he was just done with Parkinson’s, but it still sucks.  I find myself in his old stomping grounds thinking “I’ve got to tell the Old Man about that” and then I remember that I can’t.  And that really sucks.  There is an upside, for what it’s worth, I’ve been able to take my mother places and have some fun with her.  I’m sure the Old Man smiles down on those adventures.

So without further ado, the goals for 2011.

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds (I figured out that if I don’t I will be essentially riding an extra 350 pounds to LA for the Lifecycle.  Not cute)
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Keep marketing plan on target
  4. Close three deals a month, every month
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete AIDS Lifecycle
  9. Rock the Lifecycle
  10. Pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  11. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by May so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  12. Finish a writing project
  13. Finish broker’s license
  14. Buy a new vehicle for business
  15. Get the dog initative rolling

Dog initative you say?  Well yes.  I’ve got a plan.  It seems to me if one woman can change the way we look at spay neuter, another can change the way we look at pet ownership.  It’s a big project, but I think with help from the right people I can really change the way this country thinks, starting locally and working outward.  Remember this?

Everyone remembers that because of how powerful it was.  How about this one?

Yeah, that’s where I’m heading with this project.  My goal is to change the way this country thinks about pet ownership.  Not the way the wingnuts at PETA want to change the way we think, it’s ok to own companion animals.  It’s our responsiblity to do the right thing.  Our behavior has been changed by many before me.  Here’s where I change the country.  With a little help from my friends.  In the interim…

And don’t forget, if I can drag my fat ass to LA on a bicycle, you can sponsor me and enjoy the ride vicariously.

On your marks get set go

Today is day 31 in a series of 31 posts about how AIDS has affected my life.  On June 5, 2011 I will embark on the SF AIDS Lifecycle.  It is a seven day 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to support the services provided to those affected by the disease in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Every day a different story about why I will be riding this ride.  Please click here to support my ride.  I have a $3000 fundraising minimum.  Every little bit helps.  If every PBE reader clicked through that link and donated just $10, I would be done fundraising by the end of this month.  I’ve got a long way to go, but not as far as anyone who is fighting this disease.

Day 31:

It’s finished.  This is the 31st post.  I still have a bunch of people to write about.  There’s Spencer.  His funeral was the first open casket funeral I’d ever been too.  He was such a beautiful man.  I watched him lying there in that casket and thought “this is what it all comes down to”.   He was already very sick when I met him.  And all the make-up in the world can’t make that look go away.

There’s Paul.  He worked with us at Old Repulsive.  He had a bad limp that I think was from polio but I don’t remember.  I didn’t know for a long time that he was positive.  He worked as hard and as long as he could.  And then he couldn’t.  And then he died.

I wonder about a group of guys we used to refer to as “The Founder’s Queens”.  They were a group of young men back in 1984 that worked for Founder’s Title on Polk Street in San Francisco.  I know their recording clerk is gone.  I saw him about two years ago and he didn’t recognize me.  I didn’t change that much.  I have always thought that those boys didn’t make it.  They were young and fabulous and going out to the clubs every night.  Guys like that didn’t make it.

And there’s some famous people I left off.  Most notably Tony Richardson, Anthony Perkens and Isaac Asimov.  And Willi Smith and Tina Chow.  Brad Davis, Howard Rollins, Christian Haren, Peter Allen, Liberace,  Roy Cohn, Tom Waddell, Robert Wagenhoffer, Alan Wiggins, Perry Ellis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Randy Shilts.  This list goes on and on.

AIDS is now a pandemic affecting 33 million people worldwide.  It’s believed that the first diagnosed case of AIDS in the United States occured on 1969.  A 16 year old teenager who they refer to as Robert R died on May 16, 1969.  He had strange symptoms that no one understood.  His Dr. was wise enough to save tissue samples.  In 1984 Robert R was diagnosed with AIDS.

I’ve been on the field at Candlestick Park a couple of times.  I was part of the first “Until there’s a Cure” day.  We made a big AIDS ribbon on the field.  I remember back then a couple of the Giants were popping off about it, but today I can’t remember exactly who.  I know it was the so-called God squad.  I always thought those guys were missing the point, if that’s what they got out of their bible study, the time could have been better spent taking extra BP.

Today I ride, because the Ride ends when AIDS ends.

If everyone who came to PBE donated $10 towards my ride, I would be the top fundraiser for San Franscisco.  That’s how many folks come here.  I ask you all to look back on the last 31 posts.  I know at least one of them spoke to every single person in some way.  If you haven’t already, (or found more money) please sponsor my ride.  Thank you.

Satisfaction came in a chain reaction

Today is day 30 in a series of 31 posts about how AIDS has affected my life.  On June 5, 2011 I will embark on the SF AIDS Lifecycle.  It is a seven day 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to support the services provided to those affected by the disease in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Every day a different story about why I will be riding this ride.  Please click here to support my ride.  I have a $3000 fundraising minimum.  Every little bit helps.  If every PBE reader clicked through that link and donated just $10, I would be done fundraising by the end of this month.  I’ve got a long way to go, but not as far as anyone who is fighting this disease.

Day 30:

Steve Rubell had a Master’s in finance.  On some levels he should have known better.  He originally worked on Wall Street, but quickly started to branch out.  He bought a couple of restaurants and then partnered with one of his college buddies to buy a chain called the Steak Loft.  He was very successful with his restaurants and decided to branch out into nightclubs.  He bought one in Boston and another in Queens.  He couldn’t lose.  In 1976 he and his partner bought a property at 254 54th Street in New York.  Begin Studio 54.

Rubell had a knack for promotion and sent private invitations and gifts to celebrities.  Then he stood out front and chose who got to come in.  It worked.  Through the late 70’s Studio 54 was the place to see and be seen.  The club was the benchmark for excess.  I couldn’t find a picture of the dance floor with the man in the moon snorting coke, but this’ll work.

That’s Bianca Jagger wearing Halston.  The horse is being led onto the dance floor by a painted albeit naked man.  No excess there.

Rampant drug use, sex and just plain hedonism was the order of the day at Studio 54.  The who’s who that passed through those doors included Cher, Salvador Dali, Brooke Shields, Michael Jackson, Debbie Harry, Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Liza Minelli, Halston, Donald Trump, Gina Lollobrigida, Madonna, the list was ridiculous.

But like other powerful men, Rubell thought he was above the law.  He boasted that Studio 54 made $7,000,000 in it’s first year and that only the mafia made more money.  It didn’t take long for the IRS to raid the club.  They found garbage bags of cash both hidden and laying around.   Cash and cocaine were found in the walls of the club once it closed.  His partner had kept meticulous records of every gift given out at the nightclub.  That did not help their case.  They were sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.  They cut a deal with the prosecutor reducing the sentence to 13 months.  They had one final party called “The end of Modern day Gomorrah”.    I don’t think that anyone has created anything like Studio 54 since.  It was one of those moments in time you just can’t duplicate.  Check out Life’s photos.

Rubell and his partner Schager went on to buy a couple of hotels and make them fabulous.  Studio 54 was sold to a partnership that included Rubell, but it was never the same.  It finally closed in 1986.  It’s been sold and reanimated, but it’s just not the same.

Rubell was supposedly closeted, but I really don’t know how that could have been.  I think it was more the press didn’t talk about it, but everyone knew.  In that era of extreme excess, he was doing a ton of drugs, I can’t believe he remained discretionate.  He was diagnosed in 1985 but did not curtail his partying.  He died in 1989 of complications of AIDS, hepititus and really generally being a very bad boy.  He might have made it if he just laid off.

Today, because nothing in this life is free, I ride for Steve Rubell and everything that is fabulous.

You can shoot me straight to the top

Today is day 29 in a series of 31 posts about how AIDS has affected my life.  On June 5, 2011 I will embark on the SF AIDS Lifecycle.  It is a seven day 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to support the services provided to those affected by the disease in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Every day a different story about why I will be riding this ride.  Please click here to support my ride.  I have a $3000 fundraising minimum.  Every little bit helps.  If every PBE reader clicked through that link and donated just $10, I would be done fundraising by the end of this month.  I’ve got a long way to go, but not as far as anyone who is fighting this disease.

Day 29:

You know how they say if you remember the 60’s you weren’t there?  If you were in San Francisco in the 80’s and you don’t have a photograph of a dinner party where you’re the only survivor, you probably weren’t there.

I didn’t know Paul, he died before my time, but I knew his sister.  She lived in his apartment in a fabulous Art Deco building in Pacific Heights.  It was rent controlled  and her rent was dirt cheap.  And the apartment was fabulous.  She was paying about half of what it would rent for at the time.

The family was from New York, a large Italian family.  The father owned a trucking company.  There were two sons and I believe three sisters, possibly a fourth I can’t remember.  The eldest son, Stevie went to Vietnam and while he came home, a big piece of his soul was left on the battlefield.  My favorite Stevie story was him driving one of the company 18-wheelers up 5th Avenue.   She was walking down the street one day and heard this diesel coming up 5th Avenue.  She thought (because she was from a trucking family) what kind of jackass would roll up 5th Avenue?  As she looks up there goes the truck with the family name emblazoned on the cab and Stevie.  For those who don’t know, trucks aren’t allowed on 5th Avenue.  Stevie was afraid of Doctors, it was part of his battlefield damage.  He did not go to the Doctor with excruciating stomach pain.  He was found dead by his Mother, succumbed to an untreated bleeding ulcer.  The second son Paul, was gay.

Paul was ridiculously handsome.  He was Baccarat crystal, fabulous dinner parties, and all the excesses that were the 80’s.  It didn’t take long for those excesses to catch up to him.  He was one of the early cases of AIDS in San Francisco.  They didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to treat it.  His mother and sister flew out from New York to care for him.  They had to wear gowns and masks when they came into his room and everything in the apartment had to be scrubbed down with bleach.  They had no idea what was the proper handling of his affliction back then.  They called it gay cancer.  Paul died in 1984.

In her apartment hung a painting of Paul sitting with two other men.  The other two were drag queens.  It looked like they were sitting and chatting at a party.  I loved the painting, at the time it was unframed.  One afternoon the wood that the canvas was stretched on cracked.  She rolled it up and put it in a closet.  I stole it briefly and had it framed for her as a gift.  But the truly amazing part of the painting is the story.  She was trained at the La Guardia Arts in New York.  The one that Fame is about.  Beyond the entertainment programs they have programs for all of the arts and she got classic training in painting, sculpture and all sorts of cool stuff.  After Paul died she found the picture of Paul and the two drag queens and began to paint it as she worked through her grief.  Later she found a letter to her from Paul that he had stashed away.  It was instructions for her to paint that picture.

Because AIDS devastates those left behind, today I ride for Paul.

Yeah, I just did that.