Monday, May 27, 2013

Honoring Donors

Thank you to each of my AIDS/LifeCycle 12, 2013 donors. With your support, I've raised $5,781.00 $5,931.00 $6,157.00 $6,484.00! An astounding figure and about 23% more than last year!
This picture embodies the ride for me. Friends working together,
Surrounded by support and love. Out in the dangerous world, thriving.
Here's my 2013 donor list. Many thanks to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart, from everyone participating in the AIDS/LifeCycle, and from the individuals who are living because of your donations and the organizations which exist because of your donations.

  • Lynn Green
  • Scott Jordan
  • Adam Howard
  • Mark Wilhelm
  • Robert Bequette
  • Justin Cullum
  • Barbara Baker
  • Jason Rosa
  • Mary Pat Hough
  • Richard Spinello
  • Davey Baker
  • Nicole Cotty
  • Claire Hulse
  • Paul Jermann
  • Philip Schaaf
  • Stephen Caan
  • Kenneth Chavez
  • Matthew Gardner
  • Steven Hinckley
  • Albert Lee
  • Christopher Lee
  • Jeffrey Lenox
  • Russell Marsh
  • David Norene
  • Jon Walker
  • Jose Hernandez
  • Benjamin Humphreys
  • Jason Lester
  • Vince Hutton
  • Matthew Bokach
  • Catherine and Ronald Boucher
  • Alex Fazekas-Paul
  • James Hirschinger
  • James Lengel
  • Hamilton Maldonado
  • Kevin Powell
  • Margo Rodriguez
  • Eric W.
  • Meg Wilson
  • Tracy Wilson
  • Brian Geary
  • Rick Horton
  • Jeffrey Bedell
  • Holly Boucher
  • Trena Gale
  • Wil Hall
  • Mark Pressler
  • Lisa Ryan
  • Clinton Vigen
  • Farid De La Ossa Arrieta
  • Linda Johnston
  • Richard Reeve
  • Tom Brink
Many thanks also to those supporters who couldn't donate this year, but sent messages of support. Your words were inspirational and helped more than you know. As I type this, I'm feeling the love for friends old and new who gave so generously. (Just a reminder, the AIDS/LifeCycle 13, 2014 is just 12 short months away. And I'd like to increase my total even more!)

Your Bear

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hail to the Chief

Rounding out this training season's blog posts with a shout out to all this year's awesome Training Ride Leaders in words and photos from this year!

Being an AIDS/LifeCycle TRL has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
Thanks, Jon and Matthew. This training season has been a joy because of you both. (Click images for a slide show.)
Training ride leaders are volunteers who give up their time for the ride, training, planning and practicing routes, preparing route sheets, answering questions, and leading you on the official training rides. It's no small commitment — Davey calls it my second full time job. So, thank you to all the TRLs without whose efforts this ride wouldn't be the success it is going to be!
Thanks to my friends in the South Bay: David, Ken, Bob, and Terri!

After you completed your first ALC and complete a training course, you can become a TRL. If you feel comfortable on and with your bike, with riding long distances, and can give up at least two weekend days per month, ask a TRL or contact your cycling rep for more information.

I'd like to make a personal thank you to the TRLs who have guided me on my journey during AIDS/LifeCycle 11 and 12:
  • Buz Miller 
  • Connie Sanchez 
  • Scott Jordan 
  • Jon Walker 
  • Matthew Bokach 
  • David Gaus 
  • Terri Meier 
  • Bob McDarmid 
  • Charles Fong 
  • Julie Brown 
Your advice and support has gotten me through so much. Thank you.

Thanks to Charles Fong for driving all the way to Sacramento to
rescue us from canceling a training ride!
Even though he wasn't a TRL, I'd like to give special thanks to Stephen Hatcher for all the support he gave to Team Sacramento last year.

Looking forward to training for the AIDS/LifeCycle 13 next year!

your Bear
Charles Fong, the Great!

Matthew and Jon enjoying a well-deserved libation and sporting ALC garb!

Jon and me.

Thanks for joining us all those months ago, Terri! It seems like another lifetime!

New friends on the ALC in Fairfax.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Low and Slow

Be patient and kind. Not everyone has the same skills as you when it comes to riding a bike.
These are the words that begin every AIDS/LifeCycle training ride and will begin the ALC itself (follow this link for information about Orientation Day). And for some of us, it may seem a cruel fact that even as we have been progressing on the training rides, so too have our friends, leaving us continually at the back. Here's some advice (after you've followed your physician's advice) to help you keep up with the pack.

  1. You can do it. Individuals with your skills have done nearly every training ride on the agenda; you can too.
  2. Stay hydrated and fed. So often cycling performance is a matter of nutrition — this goes for new riders and experienced riders. I give this advice from personal knowledge!
  3. Get a route sheet and learn how to read it. Timidity in the route and relying on training ride leaders for direction will slow you down unnecessarily.
  4. Be the first out. Pair yourself up with a fast rider who knows the route. You'll find that person not diddling with their gloves at t-minus 5 minutes, but helmet on and ready to go. Get on the road before that person.
  5. Pass other riders. Unless they need assistance (ask), don't slow down because a group of riders is in front of you. Go ahead and pass them (safely).
  6. Be comfortable in groups. The rules say, "one bike length between the rider in front of you." Try to make that a maximum, not just a minimum.
  7. Miss the stop lights. Lagging behind to avoid the melee will make you hit stop lights you might otherwise have missed. This artificially makes you feel slower.
  8. Keep up at the beginning of the ride. You're still fresh, try to minimize the distance between you and the riders in front of you.
  9. Know your gearing. Make sure you're in the right gear at the right time to avoid slow starts.
  10. Rest quickly at rest stops. And avoid stopping between rest stops. Staying at a rest stop for too long will only tire you out. When you're exercising, your body is burning calories even at rest. Use those calories to your benefit and be the first out of the rest stop. Plus, in hot weather you sweat more when you stop than while cycling.
  11. You're closer than you think. Often (not always), you're not as far behind the rider in front as you think. If you'd been behind them for a while, they're probably wondering where you are. Try to catch them; they might be waiting for you!
I have lots more advice — get a riding buddy, avoid stopping on hills, know your strengths and use them to catch up, ask for advice, read up on cycling, if pain is a problem then seek a bike fit — and I've blogged on most of these topics. But the last secret is:
Everyone is tired by the end of a long ride. You can use that to your advantage if you stay on track, regroup with your mates at rest stops and regroup points, and stay hydrated!
Everyone on the ALC and other riders want to see you succeed. Even when it seems they don't. Remember, everyone is battling their own dragons, too!

Your Bear

PS: As my friend Terri Meier says:
As someone who hears "on your left" far more than she says it, my bit of advice is to push yourself where the going is easy, and be gentle with yourself when the terrain gets tough. Going all out on the uphills can burn you out fast, but when the road is flat, put a little extra heat on, and work to increase your comfort and skill with faster speeds on the downhills. But ultimately, don't try to "keep up" at the expense of your body, mind and spirit. There is joy to be found in meeting new friends, and even solitary meditation while on the road.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May is Bike Month

My new tattoo! Unaffiliated with MiBM.
I just wanted to give a plug to a local organization doing good by promoting cycling in the Sacramento region: May is Bike Month. (Like the page on Facebook.) The promoters say:

May is Bike Month is a campaign that takes place in the six-county Sacramento Region each year.  The focus of our campaign is to promote bicycle use as a mode of transportation whether for running errands, commuting, riding recreationally, or working.  We encourage people to get out of their cars and on their bikes year-round, but we make it a big deal every May so that as more people become energized and comfortable on their bicycles they will be more likely to replace a car trip with a bicycle trip year round.  Fewer cars on the road improves air quality and reduce traffic congestion; and as more bike trips replace car trips, we expect to see a greater demand for investment in bicycling infrastructure and facilities.  

Cyclists register for the month-long event, log miles ridden each day, and join teams (workplace related or otherwise) to compete for honors. Cyclists are awarded with regular badges (riding one day, riding in the rain, riding in the wind, riding more than 100 miles, riding all week, and the like) and with actual prizes:

Weekly Prizes:
  • 25 cyclists will win May is Bike Month socks.
  • Twenty-five $20 gift certificates to a bike shop. (The Transportation Management Organization in your area will contact you about bike shop selection).

Grand Prizes:
Cyclists that log miles (commute, errand, recreation) all 5 weeks are entered to win.
  • 2 cyclists will be randomly selected to win a 3 day bike vacation on Sept 6-8 2013, on the Emigrant Trails Bike Trek in Emigrant Trails Bike Trek in South Lake Tahoe, valued at $450, sponsored by Breathe California of Sacramento. For more info, see
  • 2 cyclists will be randomly selected to win $100 gift certificates to area bike shops
  • 100 cyclists will be randomly selected to win May is Bike Month socks.
Two years ago, I won a pair of socks!

So, if you ride in the area, its not too late to register, help the environment, and win! If you live elsewhere, this is a program to emulate.

Your Bear

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Perfect Ride

A friend called cycling "a cult" today on Facebook. I said, "no, no, its not a cult, its a drug!" And its like a drug in that its addictive, you want to sell it to your friends, and if you miss a day you totally feel it. The difference, of course, is that cycling can do little but improve your life. This weekend many of my friends were out riding for fun or commuting, training for the AIDS/LifeCycle and just riding in events and on their own for fun and recreation.

For instance: my boyfriend rode 7 miles to a party from our house; another friend rode 30 miles on the American River Bike Trail; my training buddies and I rode 100 miles in the Wine Country Century — after a two hour car commute; other ALC mates rode 125 miles on Saturday near their hometown; and the luckiest rode 200+ miles for a full weekend of cycling in totally different counties. The thing about it is, they all report the same thing: "that was the perfect ride."

Not to say that there aren't problems. From time to time, all cyclists have troubles and doubts. But few committed cyclists fail to solve them and move on. I've blogged about these in the past:
Image from

  1. Mechanical issues. If you want a great ride, you have to learn to change a flat and when to take your bike in for service. (Or when to learn how to service it yourself!)
  2. Safety issues. Riding without a helmet, in the wrong lane, and disobeying traffic laws is a sure path toward organ donor-ship.
  3. Skill issues. "Am I doing this right?" "Can my bike handle that descent?" "Can my body handle that climb?"
  4. Time issues. Distance riding takes a big bite out of every weekend.
  5. Self-consiciousness issues. There are always riders better than you.
Oh, and weather! Saturday the temperature averaged 90º under the hot sun in most of Northern California. But on Sunday, the temperature plummeted and it rained in the coastal counties. A smart cyclist is prepared for these things!

Cycling is one of the few sports you can accomplish despite the weather, leaving from your front door or starting hundreds of miles away, alone or with friends, recreationally or with a purpose. Every mile ridden is a mile you weren't driving! And because you're not in a car, every ride is a perfect ride! So keep up the good work and don't let the doubts be a barrier!

Your Bear