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I have been involved with the AidsLifecycle ride for 10 years, but last year after the ride I took the year off, the ride is over and I did manage not to get involved for the whole year.

I did host one of the riders who comes from out of town every Friday night, that was good. I will look forward to seeing her again this year.

My friend Greg died this year, I will miss him, he was one of those people who just gives and gives. I think he felt it kept him alive, he wasn’t one of the those people who just curls up and waits to die, he wants to be involved with managing his care, seeing his friends, and living his life as full as he can until, there is no more life to give. I loved him and will miss him. One of my great joys was making myself available to just walk with him twice a week to try to increase his strength, so that he could have the heart surgeries he needed. He did have them, but I think he was ready to go.

Life has big changes coming up soon, more about that  later.

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There is just so much to do after one is finished with an ALC Lifecycle ride, so many things that got put off because one was training or packing or all the many things one must do to get ready for  a ride.

So slowly our life gets back to normal, and all of those other things get done…

until next year.

We rode to Calistoga,

I was thinking what? That is one heck of a hill. And it was… but it wasn’t the hill I was thinking of, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it was still a climb and my legs are sore today.

We started out in Windsor, like usual, and went over Chalk Hill, I know that theoretically I supposed to be getting better at this, but my breathing practice still sucks and I’m out of breath when I get to the top. Maybe I need to Add more cycling to the equation, I didn’t do the Monday ride this week because I went to work instead, because we going to the City on Wed, Thu. & Friday to celebrate our 12th anniversary.

Maybe I really need to get that extra ride in, or add some spin classes. I must get better at this cycling stuff.

I do feel like I am getting better, as much as I am complaining right now, I am riding faster and I am riding up the hills a little faster though it is not by very much.

Anyway at the top of Chalk Hill, we all caught our breath and then we were off, instead of turning north to Alexander Valley and Geyersville, we went East on HIghway 128, and turned off on Franz Hill or something like that. We do that to get off the road that has the most cars, and so the Training Ride Leaders can torture us with more hills.

What sometimes seems like a nice quiet ride in the country, is really a climb of 2 to 3% percent, which is not much, but it sure makes you feel like you are being lazy, because you are not going very fast. Any way we got to a point where we all stopped and rested, and then Robert said “okay time to start climbing hills” (insert moans here). And then he left, we followed soon after.

Well we started, and we thought, oh this ain’t much, and then another hill, and we thought, this ain’t much, and then another hill, and we thought this ain’t much. Then we saw the hill and after we climbed that, we thought, whew, were glad that is over, then we looked around and I said,” I don’t think that was it” and we look ahead, and just around the curve one could see that the road continued up. well that was the beginning, and that was the hill, and it was a hill, it was a tough climb, and I have to admit I stopped a few times to catch my breath. But I RODE THE WHOLE WAY, NO WALKING.

But we were at the top, and it was all downhill into Calistoga now, and it was a nice lunch at the Palisades. and then north on 128 back to where we started.

By Selene Yeager – Bicycling Magazine

1. Have a plan.
You may be able to get pretty fit by winging it, but truly remarkable accomplishments, whether upgrading to Cat 3 or scoring a belt buckle in the Leadville 100, require careful execution of a training program.

2. Be prepared to scrap the plan.
You’re scheduled for 20 minutes of pyramid intervals, but your legs feel like you spent the last few days constructing a real pyramid. Spin today. Hit it hard tomorrow instead. Your plan should be etched in clay for molding to your needs, not in stone for beating yourself up.

3. Ride at the edges.
Once a week, go so hard your eyes hurt. Follow it with a ride so slow the snails yawn. The combination makes legs strong.

4. Be true to yourself.
Cyclists are pack animals. Enjoy the camaraderie, but don’t let your training goals get trashed by constant king-of-the-mountain contests, town-sign sprints or the all-hard, all-the-time mentality of the group. If you can’t trust yourself to go easy when you need to, ride alone.

5. Do what sucks.
You hate climbing because it’s hard for you. You should climb—because it’s hard for you.

6. Think improvement.
Do more than log miles. Intervals, cadence rides and other specific workouts are designed to progressively challenge your body in different ways from week to week. Give every ride a goal.

7. Maintain the human machine.
The gym is your body shop. Visit twice a week to strengthen your core and other stabilizing muscle groups. And don’t forget to stretch. By keeping your supporting muscles strong and joints flexible you can avoid an achy back, tight hip flexors and other overuse pains that can weaken even the strongest cyclist.

8. Train your brain.
Your body can do more than you think. Convince your brain through positive thinking and visualization. You’ll be surprised at what you accomplish when you say you can.

9. Eat.
Fuel your workouts with the food you eat on race day. You’ll ride faster in practice and digest better when it counts. Experiment: There are dozens of energy concoctions for a reason. No one thing works for everyone.

10. Enjoy the ride.
You already have a job. Work hard at cycling, but never make it work.

I am back from ALC9 signed up for ALC10; yes I’m going to do it again.

The most interesting thing to me about ALC, is that for 1 week it is a community that is community of people who put down their egos and just love each other.

That is what makes the ALC such a thing that one needs to do over and over. Yes, it is hard work for both Rider & Roadie, and I can tell you as a roadie this year that being a roadie is hard work. It is funny what people will say is too hard for them to do.

I worked the Positive Pedalers Tent & Dedication Tent this year, I was responsible for setting them up and coming up with a theme for Dedication Tent.

The Dedication Tent is mostly set up and tear down and then check once in awhile to make sure the wind hasn’t blown too much of the stuff around. There are banners that are for people to sign and make dedications to people that they have lost to AIDS.

The ones that touched me the most are from fathers to their sons, or sons to their fathers.

There are a few bitter ones as well, where someone was infected, because their partner did not tell them that they were infected. I suppose that years ago that might be true, but these days one must take responsibility for oneself.

I cried a few times, but I cried the most when some father came up to me and told me that we had saved his son’s life.

In the showers I was talking to another roadie who was working Moto (Motorcycles for directions and safety) this year, but had worked as truck & gear in years earlier, he said the only job that would be too hard for him was dedication tent. It was an interesting perspective to me.

Being in the Dedication Tent, one mostly leaves people to their own thoughts, but being in the Positive Pedaler’s Tent, that is where people come to share their stories, connect with other people, hang out, etc.

(Positive Pedaler’s Tent is set up to provide support to people who are positive, and people who are negative but supportive of the positive people, come by to lend an ear or show their support.)

So I tear down the tents each morning and set it back up at the new camp, and usually man it until 9 pm. The dedication tent I just check in on it once in awhile. I usually have to wait for my tents to be delivered so I help Info Service and the camp store get set up. That was my days at ALC9

Till I leave to do roadie duties (Fine Dining) on ALC 9!

I am excited, though I will not be riding this year, I am still happy to helping out.

Last year I missed going on the ride because, I agreed (with my partner) not ride every 4th year, and my partner’s step-mom was in a car accident and was in the hospital for 3 months.

I was very depressed for months afterwards, though I did not know the reason why at the time.

This year I wanted to ride, and I trained to ride, but during my last ninety mile ride, I noticed that I was having a problem, I have an enlarged lymph node, right where the bicycle seat meets the road, so to speak. After seeing the Doctor, they told me to stay off the bicycle for 1 month.

I was resigned to not being on the ride, when my friends suggested (if I was interested) that they could get me assigned to roadie duties, if they made some calls, normally roadie duties are closed already.

Though I am not that happy about being away from my cycling buddies, I’m glad that I am able to help out on the ride in some way.

Just got back from two day, 150 mile bike ride, and I am just tired. Not so tired from the bike ride, though my legs are a bit sore, I hate windy days.

I am more tired from my allergy medicine, I have to keep a certain amount in me, because I get all congested and cant breath, but then when I stop cycling, the medicine keeps me up all night.

Now if you add this to the fact that the day before a ride,  I don’t sleep, I get to be a sleep deprived cyclist.

Actually I have no problem staying awake while riding, and I am pretty tired after a ride, so I have no problem sleeping if I go right to bed, it’s when I get time to rest after a ride, that is when I have trouble sleeping.

I am rambling and not making to much sense? Well more later then, after I get some sleep.

Copied from the Fat Cyclist

What bothers me is that my two favorite things — eating and biking — go so poorly together. I mean, I love food. When I’m not eating, I’m thinking about eating. And after I’ve eaten, I evaluate what I’ve just eaten, often considering how I might enhance a similar experience in the future (hint: it usually involves more salt or mayonnaise).

But I don’t enjoy eating when I ride.

Consider this for a moment. In order for me to remember to eat when I’m on a long ride, I’ve set up an alert on my Garmin 500 to go off every half hour.

Yes, that’s right: I’ve set up an artificial device to make me eat. I promise you that no such device is necessary in other parts of my life.

Which is too bad, really.

The Part of Lists (Or Actually, Just One List)

There are, of course, very good reasons why my life’s central preoccupation is suddenly so unappetizing (Oh boy, a pun!) when I’m on a bike.

I shall list them.

  • Sweet sweetness: I bet I’m the first person to ever notice that most every energy gel, bar, gummy chewy, and drink is sweet. And generally, I’m OK with sweet. For a while. But after six hours of washing down a sweet gel with a sweet drink, I’m ready for something less…sweet. And trying to disguise the sweetness with flavors doesn’t work. As an experiment, try this: eat (I don’t think that’s the right word) nothing but Gu for six hours, swapping out different flavors. After that six hours has passed, eat (slurp? consume?) another Gu without taking a look at the package. Ask yourself if you know what flavor it is. Take my word for it: you won’t be able to tell. I know, I know: carbohydrates are fuel, sugar is a carbohydrate, and so sugar is an effective fuel. But you know, bread’s a carbohydrate, too, and it’s not sweet. I would like a buttered toast-flavored energy bar.
  • Stuff sticking in teeth: Energy gels and bars are specially designed to get trapped in your mouth. Energy bars with little pieces of nuts are the worst offenders, because those nuts get lodged between teeth, between teeth and gums, and in your molars. And once it’s there, no amount of swishing will get it out. Nor will hours and hours of probing with your tongue, during which time you will stop noticing anything about your ride, because you are obsessed completely with getting that stupid piece of peanut out of your teeth. And it’s not like you can pick it out with a fingernail, because you’re wearing gloves. This will become distracting to the point that you will either go insane or make an emergency call to your dentist.
  • The weird coating on your teeth: You’re riding. You’re eating gels and energy bars. You’re drinking energy drinks. And after a while, your teeth feel almost exactly the same as they would if you had never brushed them even once in your life. This phenomenon is known, technically, as “disgusting.” I have, at times, nearly wept with joy when I could finally have a post-ride tooth brushing. OK, not “nearly.”
  • Texture: Think of your favorite food. Now think of your second, third, fourth, and fifth favorite foods. Do any of them have the texture of an extra-resilient gummy bear, or of an extremely gritty bar of soap? No? Gee, I wonder why not?
  • Breathing: When, someday, I make a list of all my superpowers, “being able to breathe during an aerobic effort” will not be on that list. However, “having extremely tiny, to the point of being basically useless, nasal passages: might be on that list. Which is not a very great superpower to have, by the way. My point is, if I’m riding, my mouth is open. And if I’m eating, that’s a problem for two reasons. First, it’s super gross-looking. Second, the food falls out as I chew it, producing a hilarious “cookie monster” effect. Sadly, at this time I do not have a video of this to share.
  • Spitting: Certain energy food combinations do not play well with each other. Suppose, for example, you eat a particular energy bar and wash it down with a particular energy drink. They — to your suprise and horror — chemically bond in the same way that epoxy glue does, except the result is extra-colorful-and-thick mucus. Which is awesome to spit. At first.
  • Bad combos: Thick mucus is really a pretty mild form of bad energy food combinations. Other foods might chemically interact in very bubbly ways, but only once swallowed. And shaken. At which time, a very serious case of the loud stinky farts is the best outcome you can hope for. And I probably don’t need to explain that the worse outcomes are much, much worse. And not just for you.

I should, I think, point out a couple of very important energy food exceptions. The first is that a couple of the new Clif Bar flavors are really, really good. In particular, the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bar is delicious enough that I recently caught The Runner eating one recreationally.

The other exception is what I think may be the most perfect on-bike energy food ever created: The Salted Nut Roll. They don’t melt or get squashed in your jersey. They aren’t just pure sweetness, thanks to the brilliantly complementary taste of the marshmallowy stuff (”nougat,” I believe they call it) and the peanuts. They’re carbs and protein. And you can find them in every convenience store I’ve ever been to.

And when — inevitably — half of it falls out of your mouth as you try to open-mouth-chew it, well, some squirrel out there is going to think that’s just awesome.

In order to treat my depression, I have found that giving to others is the best cure for me,  so on June 6th 2010, I’m off on another bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

I do this to raise money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the leading provider of AIDS services in the Bay Area. The money we raise will allow the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to continue to provide vital AIDS services and support needle exchange programs though out the Bay to help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Proceeds will also fund the Pangaea Fund, a new initiative to support vaccine preparedness and HIV Treatment access in the developing world.

Although a lot of progress has been made, the AIDS epidemic is far from over. I wish with all my heart that there were a cure.

Until there is a cure we must keep looking and help protect those who are at risk for getting HIV. And the people at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation are just the people to do that. I am asking for your support. Any donation you can make to help me meet my goal would be most appreciated.

To to make a donation on my behalf, you can visit my AIDS Lifecycle web site at;
http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/1346

As you can imagine, I’m spending my evenings nursing my sore legs and downing my ibuprofen. But I’m also thanking my lucky stars for being blessed with supportive family and friends such as you.

Sincerely, Matthew

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So this weekend, I went on the Jonathan Pon 2 day Ride.

I called My friend Beau who is in charge of the ride and asked if it was going to be canceled because I heard it was going to rain. He assured me that it was just going to rain a little bit, just while we were riding and maybe some during the night while we were safely in our tents. I assured him that I would be there on time, with my tent (it sleeps six), ready to go.

So off to my house to pack, did I mention that I have been moving? Well I have not moved the bike or the tent yet, so I had to go to the condo to get those, and the Internet, cable and Telephone were being installed that night as well.

“That Night” you said, in as at nighttime after dinner? Well, it was day three of Telephone Installation.

Tuesday, for which I took off from work to be there, they lost our order, no they didn’t lose our order, it wasn’t released to the technicians. So they reschedule us for Thursday instead, same time slot, 12-2 pm. They then showed up at 3:30, did something up the street for an hour, then came back to the house and said we had no signal, and then left.

Friday they came back at 4:30, and the poor man had to install all the wires, etc in the rain. he was there until 11:20, his wife brought him something to eat, and Cowboy went out and grabbed us stuff to eat from Safeway.

I was trying to pack, and pay attention to the Technician, I forgot somethings like a jacket for wearing at the campsite, and I should have packed everything in a plastic baggie.

So I popped out of bed at 4:30 ate something then left for the city, I had to go back to the condo, because I could not find my tire irons, yes there are somewhere in the house, but I had taken them off the bike, I put them in a small container that I take on ride with me, but I forgot where I put that. and You cannot go on a ride without tire irons.

I arrived in the City, about 20 minutes late, but it was in plenty of time because we allow ourselves 45 minutes to chat, check out bikes over, do a safety meeting, eat etc.

Well, it was drizzly on the way down but it was not raining when I got to Mill Valley.

So we were off, and well to make a long story short, it rained, not that hard but constantly. The worst part was right after lunch, but thankfully I had Sweep duties from Petaluma to Vally Ford, and I was waiting under an awning for the riders to come in eat their lunch, and for us to head out again. It had calmed down to a slight drizzle, when it was time for us to ride out again.

More later