Saturday, January 30, 2010
Today my body is saying to me "WTF? I thought we had a good thing going here. You sit around leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating 45,000 calories a day and I digest it really fast and then you eat some more. But now you have kicked me into overdrive and I will make you pay. Be ill, silly girl. Migraine for you." Enough said. So instead of a real post about my ride today, I will give you this. Thanks to Ivy: filmmaker extraordinaire, personal TRL for the day, and old-school-high-c-bff. DON'T HATE. I CAN RIDE A BIKE!
I. Rode. 33 miles. That's right, 33. Didn't give up; didn't take the short cut offered to me. I did it. And now I am in pain.
But its a good pain, you know? The kind you have when you have used every ounce of everything in your body. And then you treat yourself with a giant burger, some sweet potato fries, more water than a dog laps and peanut butter malt.
We started the training ride at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Climbed out of the area and then rode pretty flat for about 12 miles. Pit stop: Goldsteins Bagels...a little bit of heaven on earth. Even better when you know you actually NEED the calories. Then we started the hills. Oh, the hills of Pasadena/Monrovia/Arcadia/Sierra Madre. Oh how I hate you. Despite all of the pain and shortness of breath I was thoroughly enjoying meeting new people. And by new people, I mean that I have 4 training ride leaders (TRLs) to my self. 4 expert ALC's (AIDS/Lifecyclists). 4 people who were kind enough to impart all of the wisdom they could in a span of 4 hours.
First there were the Erics. Then there was Ed. And obviously, Kerry the Bike Whisperer was there. Eric #1, who we will forever "thank" for designing this training ride, will be called Fancy Eric from here on out. Fancy Eric, at the point in the ride where I was given the option of taking an easier, shorter and not uphill ride and I declined, said dramatically and with lots of love, I might add, "I love newbies." He also referred to me as the "token straighty." Love him.
Eric #2 will be called Safety Eric. At one point in the ride he berated two young gentlemen for skateboarding without their helmets. I mean, don't get me wrong, they deserved it (they were holding their helmets in their hand but not wearing them...umm, helpful). He also speaks Castilian (sp?) Spanish. These are the things you learn whilst on a bike.
Ed, who I will remember as The Yoga Instructor, decided to take a moment out of concentrating on a gradual uphill grade to inform me that I could really improve my back problems by "tightening my anal muscles, my sex muscles and my abdomen at the same time." Fancy Eric found that hilarious. That is why he is fancy. The Yoga Instructor was very patient and helpful today; I think I realized, through him, that this is genuinely not a race but an opportunity to see how strong I really am.
And finally, the Bike Whisperer, who you have met before, was there. All day. Riding my back wheel, teaching me about down shifting and upshifting and yelling, "how you doing girl?" when I started to slow and get quiet.
I felt privileged not only because I was new enough to, perhaps, require 4 TRLs, but also because I met 3 more people than I knew yesterday who laughed and encouraged and pushed me through 32 miles. They did this for a stranger. This is clearly one of the reasons that I ride.
Friday, January 29, 2010
I am totally a pro cyclist now, right? So, as such, I can say that as I delve deeper into this new culture I am finding garments that appall me to the very core. They hurt me on the inside and go against everything I stand for as a professional person of good taste. If you are someone who chooses to wear the following styles, I apologize, but this is my blog so I can speak the truth. Please enjoy part 1 in (another) ongoing series of terrifying cycling gear.
THE MANGY CHEETA
Autumn sent me these charming shorts. They are fabulous in case you have to roll up to your job as an exotic dancer after you finish your ride. Saves SO MUCH TIME!!!!
THE PARTY IN YOUR PANTS
First: these look like psychedelic vomit. Second: they are men’s pants.
I mean...I think Gem had these pants. And while she was fabulous, I don't think that means a grown man in 2010 should wear them.
I think this one goes out to my BIL, Chris. You would look stellar in this. But I would not speak to you in pulic if you wore it. Also: it's UNISEX!!!
I KNEW I could contribute something to the world of cycling other than making everyone feel better about their own skills!
I am scared of many things: heights, fish, crustations, polyester...the list goes on. I am, however, probably the most scared of sports and sports related injuries, such as losing balance and veering into oncoming traffic. But today we rode to the beach down San Vicente and I did not get hit by a car once! Hooray! Also, let me tell you, there are SO many people on fancy bikes in Brentwood. I am pretty sure they are all laughing at me as I teeter down the street with my ridiculous looking "gear", but I guess that's karma for just weeks ago wondering why any sane person would voluntarily ride a bike...ever. Anyway, I was excited to see the ocean this morning and am thrilled that I still have all my limbs!
And we're back. We survived the first week of early morning rides, crotch guard shorts/pants (I'm telling you, padded shorts are a life saver but perhaps the most ridiculous feeling thing ever. Ever.) and overcoming fears. I am afraid that getting up in the morning is going to kill me while Caitlin is afraid that (i) the bruises on her legs are going to make people think she's being abused and (ii) that her hair doesn't look perfect in a helmet. We're a good pair. Here are some other ways that we compliment each other in our quest to become pro-kit-wearing-cyclists:
I wear my helmet and gloves into Noah's to buy bagels because I want everyone to know how athletic I am; Caitlin removes hers promptly and uses the windows to fix her hair.
I am scared of the buses and trucks flying by (I grew up in Iowa; we don't have freeways or busy streets); Caitlin is scared that we will not finish in time to get bagels.
I refuse to ride in the dark because we don't have flashing lights for our bikes yet and I CANNOT break the law; Caitlin prefers riding in the dark because then people can't see her and therefore can't judge her.
The world could not handle two of either of us.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
It has been only about 10 days since I first even thought about doing the AIDS/LifeCycle, and already I think I'm addicted. It doesn't really bother me, but my friends and family seem a little bit concerned, skeptical and surprised. I don't blame them. I actually have to stop and analyze myself a little to not join that bandwagon.
Here's the thing: the opportunity was presented to me on a day and at a time when I could not say "no." Some might call it "convenient," I call it timing. Why was it perfect timing? Well, because I had just returned home from a trip to visit my uncle, Art. I did not know Uncle Art, nor did I even like him, until about 4 years ago. He's been in prison for the past 25 years. I've seen him 5 times in my entire life, and 4 of those "sightings" have been at the Correctional Training Facility in central California.
The first time, I'll be honest, my dad made me go. The last 3 visits have been my own choice. Without getting into pages and pages of the reasons and the whys or the why nots and the ethical and legal discussions about a life sentence, let's just say that when you know and love someone who has no freedom, has no "tomorrow" to really look forward to and spends every day the same as the one before, it makes you think. It makes you think about how life can change in an instant. It makes you think about the choices that you make everyday. It makes you think that our days are precious and indisposable.
So when you walk out of the visiting room, and bars separate you and your 75ish year old uncle as you wave to each other, you realize that you had better go and do something worth while. You had better not take that walking away for granted. And you had better not bet on tomorrow.
36 hours after I walked out of that prison, Caitlin asked me if I wanted to ride 545 miles in the AIDS/LifeCycle. Did I want to give up my 30th birthday vacation extravaganza to be sore and in pain and raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Did I want to do something for myself and for the millions of people suffering in this world from a disease that can and will be cured.
I did. So I am. Its as simple as that. And I'm sure that after the "newness" rubs off I'll complain about the early mornings (I HATE mornings), and I'll complain about the money I've spent (law school creates a lot of debt), but I'm not going to give up and I didn't join this ride and cause lightly. Trust me.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
As you may know I am not what you would call an "athlete." Up until this point my favorite sporting event was anything I did not have to participate in. So, in order to document my trasformation into "athlete" I will be comparing elements of my life: then vs. now. Please enjoy part 1 in an ongoing series.
This is my bike. Upon initial purchase I was pretty sure it hated me and was trying to kill me. It kept giving me the evil eye. However, I think this morning bike and I had a break through and I realized that maybe it was evil, but we could possibly be friends anyway. I have named her (obviously a girl) the Skinny Bitch and for reasons unfathomable to me, Autumn has decided we are perfect for each other. I am, however, still not convinced she is not trying to render my reproductive organs useless.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Back from our very first morning ride. It was, well, chilly and a little intimidating riding next to big blue buses. I also encountered what I would consider a Road Block -- a little man on some type of lift thingy using up the entire road. But, I maneuvered like an expert (haha) and made it safely home. I thought about several things on my morning ride: First, I thought about how today exercise has become more meaningful. I started reflecting on those that are so sick and weak that they cannot get up in the morning, swing their leg over a Specialized and hit the road. And then I pedaled harder. Second, I thought about how good I feel to be up early (shocker), breathing fresh air and getting to know my bike. I think its a "she," and She has a very hard seat. Finally, I thought about how I couldn't wait to blog about this ride and let you in on my excitement.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Last weekend Kerry, the bike whisperer, took us to Cynergy in Santa Monica (shout out to Mike & Jim) to purchase spandex (and bikes). Hilarity ensued. There were gnomes, there was crotch guard, there was the tiniest dressing room in the history of mankind. All in all a totally awesome day. In the end we came back with fabulous new bikes, fabulous fingerless gloves and some...fabulous kits. Or something. (Kit? We think this is the correct term.)
Caitlin plus new clothes, normally equals super excited. However, Caitlin plus small box/so-called "dressing room" plus 3 articles of spandex equals unintelligible noises.
Lifecycle gnome. We love Cynergy. They didn't even ask.
The bike whisperer leaned to her and asked "are you one with your
bike?" and she replied "sign me up."
Thrilled. Flame head.
Not thrilled. Flat head.
Gangly Caitlin attempts to pedal backwards. Gangly Caitlin has to buy the biggest bike ever due to aforementioned gangly-ness.
Learning about "kits" this is possibly the only clothing term on earth Caitlin did not already know. She did not know it for a reason.
On June 6th 2010 2,500 cyclists from all over the country will be riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles to benefit AIDS research and those living with the disease.
Autumn and Caitlin are two of these people. They are obviously insane. They are obviously going to have to wear a lot of spandex and those wrap around sunglasses from hell. They are writing a blog about it.
They will probably blog about it a lot, focusing on crotch guard padding, being up too early and their team of Cray Crays.
Let's meet our bloggers and novice cyclists. Wait, is there a word for less than novice? Whatever that is, that is what they are.
Caitlin: Hi, I don't often do anything that requires sweating or not wearing make up. I blow dry my hair every day. People don't believe I am doing this. They also don't believe that I was the one to make Autumn (blogger partner) join up.
I somehow decided this was a good idea about a week ago and have been having a very long manageable anxiety attack ever since. Real excited! Real nervous about spontaneously ejecting from my new (pink) bike and breaking my face! Real happy to help such wonderful people. Really thinking I need to learn to ride a bike.
Autumn: So, I am really excited to be blogging. Always thought that I should have a blog, but could never figure out why anyone would want to read about my life....you know, until about 5 min. ago my life consisted of work, work, more work, dinner and work. Super fun first year attorney stuff. And then, Caitlin decided she was athletic, asked me to join and I (apparently) couldn't say no. Thus, I now get to blog!! (my blogging partner just called me the "blog police") Anyway....I'm excited to say the least. I feel as if tomorrow is a big day. Bigger perhaps than next Saturday (our first training ride) and last Sunday (the day I held onto a gnome because I was scared to spend so much cash on this rode bike thing). Tomorrow we ride. Tomorrow we wear spandex. Tomorrow is the beginning....ooh, and we get to wear fingerless gloves!!!