Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 4 Remembered

Sitting now at gate 14, National Airport, waiting for my flight home. Directly in my window view is the US Capitol, gleaming against dark, storm-threatening skies. Yesterday at this time, I was coastng past its steps on my bicycle, near our 4-day cycling journey's end.
We began our final day donning jackets as we boarded the Captain Buddy and jetted across the Chesapeake Bay where bikes awaited, along with a drenching rain.
Temps had cooled 30 degrees from Day 3 and not a soul complained as we pedaled to Upper Marlboro for lunch. Afterward, rain was replaced by a constant breeze drying out layers as we put them away for another rainy day.
A new bike bridge trail offered a new, far more scenic route into DC this year. Sadly, rain knocked out my phone, and my camera didn't make it past Day 2, so I'll rely on fellow riders and crew to add pics at a later date. Trust me, the Woodrow Wilson bridge bicycle view joins my short list of spectacular city bridge entrances - the Golden Gate, the GW, the I-90. We completed the day's 60 miles with a spin past the monuments before heading to the finish line, rooftop party at the Post Massachusetts, greeted by family friends and several riders from year's past.
Thank you speeches were made, but held a different tone. Dr. Wu couldn't hide the excitement in wanting to reach his finish line goal of ending AIDS, especially for the benefit of his new ride family who he's witnessed for 3 years now, giving their all to prove the first 330miles are only the start of this journey of hope.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 3 Haiku

12 hour day of heat.
Teamed against the wind - spray me!
Many smiles per hour.

-this haiku jointly drafted in massage room 302 by Liz, Annie and me.

94mi - 6hrs 21min (12hrs. w/ferry time) - 93 degrees

Day 2 - Cape May

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 2 Defies Reputation

Or lives up to it, depending on your take. Search the archives for the back story behind the infamous Day 2 and you'll find an unexplained history of extreme ride weather. In my 12 "day 2"s there has been snow, torrential downpours, freezing rain, tornado watches and temp swings from below freezing to fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot.
We left camp this AM in a marine layer - like Seattle's misty mornings yet warm enough to ride without layers. Soon, 7 of the 10 female riders were keeping perfect pace at a steady clip of 16-18mph. It was exhilirating!
A lesson in flat tire repair ensued before the AM stop and I assisted with another before lunch yet still was eating a sandwich before 11am. Then the sun came out.
Did I say with a vengence?! Accompanied by some rough roads and a headwind of varying speeds, the 95 degree day zapped energy away in no time. Our road crew was amazing - there when you needed that added boost of cold water, chocolate, an ice collar or, my personal favorite, a cold misting from the spray gun.
Eventually all descended on Cape May and straight into the Atlantic. Perfection!
A quick stop at the Ugly Mug, then just a few miles further to camp and a well-earned shower.
Day 2 - 82 miles - done.

Day 2 - PM stop

92 degrees, sunny and hot, but the Atlantic is only 22miles away. Iced down and ready to go!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 1

Atlantic Highlands to Chatsworth, NJ
85.55 miles in 5hrs 55min

Pretty amazing how a route can change by removing only one small thing - drenching rain. The 3rd time must have been the charm as not a single drop fell this year, the day was warm but high cloud cover kept the sun from scorching and the breeze held the crispness of fall in place of summer's exhale. What a difference.
Everyone rode strong, making good time to camp, but arrived spent. The dining hall sounded like summer camp, alive with hungry riders and crew. Then, because it's there in all its nostalgic 50s glory, we played 3 rounds of old-fashioned BINGO. Dr. Wu and a couple of his reseachers had to be taught how to play and, in his very first game, Dr. Wu was the winner!
Along the last few miles into camp, my teammate, Jon, reminded us we'd probably have to get up and ride tomorrow, a reference to last year's bus ride past the first, flooded 50 miles. Since he's right, I'll say good night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There's Your Sign

For the record, I already climbed THE hill of this ride. I happened to be wearing my route-marking hat at the time, 2pm and about 85degrees, but I posted route signs for the first 5.6miles of our ride and got to test my bike assembly to make adjustments before tomorrow.
The good news about taking the big hill on Day 0 is you get to ride back DOWN on your return. Half way down I met Grace, the school crossing guard who didn't miss a beat before offering to help us in the morning. She'd be on duty at 7:30 and would happily stop traffic for us as we climbed the hill, turned left, then right and kept climbing.
I'm fed by that kind of humble support - the kind that doesn't hesitate to lend the gift you've got. It's the very best kind of sign. I can't wait to see Grace in the morning!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So that's how you do it!

One of the first questions asked about multi-day rides is if we have to haul our own gear. If I'm pedaling, the answer is an emphatic, "no." Sometimes I help pack the gear from storage but am then happy to turn the heavy hauling over to our quite capable camp crew volunteers.

Loaded truck (with me in it) is now headed to the official ride start point.

This post dedicated to my kids, Caitlin and Kyle, who've often worked as hard at setting up, taking down and moving camp as I have riding a bike.

Good Morning Sunshine

40 minutes in a morning garden; she's back together and ready to ride.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

For all the packing fuss, one might think I didn't travel much. Alas, Alaska Air seat 7C was my twice weekly commuter seat for nearly 5yrs, though packing for a work week is a far cry from the prep involved in hauling a bike and camp gear on today's friendly skies.
It's been 4months since I last boarded a plane but little has changed. Security lines are longer once you've lost your "gold" status but I still have the rhythm down - slip on shoes, no belt, in and out in seconds. Alaska Air's staff is still the role model of pleasant and professional, and here is seat 7C, waiting to carry me on to Newark and the start of my 12th AIDS ride. Though there'll be no laptop business on this journey, the next 5+hrs will indeed feel like home.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Done and Done

In record time - 3.5hrs. Now what have I forgotten?

Time to Go!

Giving myself 6hrs to break it all down - ziplock and bubble wrap, weighed and measured. Ready, set...