Friday, May 29, 2009

And the winners are...

... for the $5 thousand in 5 weeks for 5 years raffle:
  • Stephanie B - One (1) night stay in a Deluxe Room at the John Muir Inn, Napa* (minimum value $115)
  • Julia J - Three (3) $25 "Do The Red Thing" iTunes gift cards (your choice)
  • Anne H - Mumm Napa 2000 DVX sparkling wine ($65 value)
  • John C - Starbucks $25 gift card (or Peets, your choice)
  • Liz A - In-N-Out Burger $25 gift card (or your choice, for you out of state donors)
And we went right on past the $5,000 markl, I raised the goal twice, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is the real winner! $ 7134+ raise for AIDS/LifeCycle 8.

And so I am packed (or 99% packed) and tomorrow is Day 0 (Orientation, covering tent assignments, safety, check in), and then we will go to Fresh Choice for lunch. Bill and I will overnight, since Opening Ceremonies are at 6am, and we ride out from the Cow Palace at 6:30am.

Our journey this year is a bit longer, 560 miles. Our Day 5, Dress In Red or Red Dress Day from Santa Maria to Lompoc will go thru Solvang this year. So our 45 mile day became a 66 mile day, no rest for the weary.

You can follow along (if you can figure out Twitter, I am dagaus190) or go to AIDS/LifeCycle's Experience the Event page.

Our itinerary is:

  • Orientation Day and Opening Ceremonies
    Cow Palace
    2600 Geneva Ave, Main entrance, Daly City, CA 94014
  • Day One: San Francisco to Santa Cruz (79.3 miles)
    Harvey West Park
    326 Evergreen Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • Day Two: Santa Cruz to King City (107.6 miles)
    San Lorenzo County Park
    1160 Broadway, King City, CA 93930
  • Day Three: King City to Paso Robles (66.7 miles)
    Mid State Fairgrounds
    2198 Riverside Avenue, Paso Robles, CA 93446
  • Day Four: Paso Robles to Santa Maria (94.1 miles)
    Preisker Park
    2301 Preisker Lane, Santa Maria, CA 93458
  • Day Five: Santa Maria to Lompoc (66.8 miles)
    River Park
    Sweeney Road & Hwy 246, Lompoc, CA 93436
  • Day Six: Lompoc to Ventura(85.5 miles)
    San Buenaventura State Beach
    901 San Pedro Street, Ventura, CA 93001
  • Day Seven: Ventura to Los Angeles (61.5 miles)
  • Closing Ceremonies
    VA Center
    11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • Thank you everyone, your ongoing support means the world to me.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Announcing the $5k in 5 weeks for 5 years raffle

    In just two weeks since (finally) sending out my first fundraising email for AIDS/LifeCycle, we are 52% of the way to my $5,000 goal.  I cannot even begin to thank those who have jumped in and donated again (and again, yes most of you are repeat donors!)

    And so... as thanks and an additional incentive...

    Announcing the $5,000 in 5 weeks for 5 years raffle with the following prizes:
    • One (1) night stay in a Deluxe Room at the John Muir Inn, Napa* (minimum value $115)
    • Apple 4GB iPod Shuffle (value $79) or,
    • Three (3) $25 "Do The Red Thing" iTunes gift cards (your choice)
    • Mumm Napa 2000 DVX sparkling wine ($65 value) 
    • Starbucks $25 gift card (or Peets, your choice)
    • In-N-Out Burger $25 gift card (or your choice, for you out of state donors)
    How does it work? Well, if you have already donated, you are already entered. 

    What, you haven't donated? 

    Just make a donation and you will also be entered to win.

    Want more chances? 

    Forward on my fundraising email about the raffle to your friends, family, coworkers, school mates, whomever (and cc or bcc  dagaus at charter dot net, so I know who was referred by who) and when they donate, they are entered and you get an extra chance for each one!!

    The drawing will be Monday, May 25th, so don't wait!

    * Thank you to Liz Accardo/John Muir Inn for arranging donation of this raffle prize.
    Valid May 2009 to May 2010. 2 night minimum stay (Friday & Saturday) on weekends during the summer season. Taxes and incidentals additional.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    $5k in 5 weeks for 5 years!

    That's the "theme" of my late but  not forgotten start to fundraising for AIDS/LifeCycle 8. In a moment of panic (I've been meaning to get started for months), I took last Tuesday off and spent the entire day updating my email list spreadsheet with all past donors who were not in my Mail export, then worked on importing it to the Participant Center address book. So while it took a lot of work, it does make sending emails, thank you emails and follow-up emails.

    And in one week, my fundraising total has gone from barely over $200, to $1845 today. Past the half way point to the minimum $3,000 required, but 37% of the entire $5,000 I would like to raise. Well, I would always like to raise as much as possible, but with this late start, the economy and all, I dont think it would be realistic to have much more than that as a goal.
    I would still like to earn the special $5k incentive jersey: while it's not as
     nice as previous years, it would be nice to earn one for the fifth year in a row.

    And, if you donate from the box at the top right here, the fundraising thermometer, will actually go up! (What kind of widget only registers donations thru one point of entry?)

    Thank you, thank you to all who jumped right in. Can you afford $25? Can you afford $25 a month for 4 months? That would contribute $100 to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.  How about $25 for 10 months? That would contribute $250! Any amount is greatly appreciated. 

    Saturday, February 7, 2009

    Fremont Peak out & back (or up & down?)

    It started as an email exchange with Jerome, he shared a Google Doc of Bay Area climbs he had transcribed from the Western Wheelers and Fremont Peak was one listed with a difficulty rating of 1.77. The formula used put this climb harder than climbs I have done including: Eureka Canyon, the lower section of Mt. Hamilton (from last weekend), Tunitas Creek, Metcalf, Alpine, and Old La Honda, while Henry Coe and Mt. Hamilton upper (also from last weekend) being the only two listed as harder that I have done.

    When I told Jerome I had done Fremont Peak once three of four years prior, he wanted to know why I hadn't listed it as a ride previously. So I suggested a date and posted it to the Ride Calendar. 

    As part of the post, I had a reference to Almaden Cycling Touring Club's Profile Viewer; where you can choose a road or set of roads and compare the climbs. Because I associate Fremont Peak with the Hollister Death Ride, iw as comparing it to Quien Sabe and Lone Tree Roads, the two (of three) climbs that I include in the Mini-Death Ride. Jerome pointed out the similarity with Henry Coe (from last years Tierra Bella), and I began to wonder "What was I thinking?" by posting this?

    The weather forecast leading up to the weekend was iffy, Weather Underground was forecasting a 30% chance of light showers. Fortunately that provide to be incorrect.

    Jerome and Will both came down Friday night to spend the night, they both already had plans Saturday evening and would not be able to do a post-ride potluck. Doug and Larry also RSVPed, so a nice size group (although from the make-up of the group, I would be sweep again for sure.) Larry and Doug both reported some heavy fog near Gilroy on the way down, it looked like it would clear up here, and by the time we rode out, we did have blue skies mixed with clouds.

    It's a fairly quick ride out Union Road and across the valley to San Juan Bautista, and then the 11 mile climb begins up Fremont Peak at San Juan Canyon Road (heading to the right goes around the west side of the mountain and on to Salinas). The first 5 miles are a gentler climb, compared to the second half of the clim.) A group of 4 cyclists arrive at the corner we were regrouped, asked if we were the Santa Cruz group, and then three of them headed up, only intent on doing that first 5 miles and then turning around. I lost track of the fourth.

    Along the way up, we passed llamas, several horse ranches, some long driveways with expensive looking gates, and some incredible views. As we chatted at the parking lot before heading down, another cyclist arrived. He asked if we had already done the upper portion, 
    which of course we had not, but off he went for the "extra credit" none of us were interested in.

    The descent was similar to last weekend's Mt. Hamilton, there was sand in the road and portions of the road were still damp from the rains overnight, but once we got to the lower section, the road was clear. The descent was quite chilly too, so it was nice to arrive in San Juan Bautista for our lunch stop at JJ's Homemade Burgers and have a seat outdoors in the sun. After lunch we rode over to check out the Mission where Vertigo was filmed in 1957.

    The optional loop out Southside to Tres Pinos and up the lower section of Quien Sabe was optioned out, Jerome, Will and Larry all had plans in the City and so we hightailed it back across the San Juan Highway to Union retracing the route back home. Bill as just getting up from his nap and shower as we arrive at 3pm and he pointed out to Jerome that as he promised in the morning, he had ordered up a dry day for us for the ride, but only until 3pm. Such a kidder! :-)

    Saturday, January 31, 2009

    What was I thinking... Mt. Hamiton in the Winter?

    I was glad to see Larry's post for climbing Mount Hamilton (elevation 4,380') in the winter; since Bill and I were on our cruise in October, so I missed Sharon's Mt. Hamilton in the Fall ride (she had to cancel for personal reasons.) Except trying to climb it with extra cruise/holiday poundage and not many miles on the bike in January had me thinking twice the morning of. But I tend to do that, question myself or my abilities and then negative self-talk usually does a number on me. I started questioning this even more on the drive up as it got foggy in Gilroy (vs. the clear sunny day in Hollister) and the temperature in the 40s at 8am still.

    Jerome, Cameron and I joined Larry at the Sunnyvale CalTrain station for the 15 mile jaunt across the valley to Alum Rock where Highway 130 starts. Fortunately the fog had cleared by the time we reached this point. We were joined there by a new Different Spokes member, David Eaton, for the 18 mile climb to Lick Observatory. As we got ready to head up, I told them that I would volunteery to be sweep for the day; they laughed. Little did they know what a 20# gain can do, not that I was a fast climber before.

    We regrouped at the Joseph D. Grant County Park. I watched the others disappear up the mountain, and I was passed by a fwe other riders on the way up (but no where near as many who passed me several years ago while on the Mt. Hamilton Ascent Tour.)

    Someone coming down hollered my name, but they went by sooo quickly, I had no idea who it was. Thanks to Facebook (I found out Sunday) and my status updates for Friday and this morning, Taryl mentioned to Matt that I would be on the mountain too. I stopped a few times to let my heart rate drop (memories of the PSVT incidents were in the back of my mind also. As I got closer to that point where at every turn you can see the observatory (and it never seems to get any closer) I could see tiny figures at the railing, guessing it was the others. I was right, Cameron let out a "GO DAVID!" that must have been heard at Grant Park. The best I could do was a "hey or yay" between breathes.

    At the top, Larry was staged to catch my photo, I think I was able to smile ;-)

    The descent is technical, with sand in the road (leftover from the recent snows) and gravel and rocks that fall into the road, cars and trucks coming down behind you wanting to pass, and it's looong; I felt it more in my triceps than in my hands from braking.) A short regroup again at Grants Park and then the last of the descent (with a few short climbs), this lower section had a nice smooth pavement. I only hit 34mph though. I was out of water though (having emptied the 100 oz. Camelback, but I still had half a water bottle of Mountain Berry Accelerade.

    The route back to the finish took us past San Jose Airport, then up Central Expressway. We finished just after sunset. We were comparing GPS data (Jerome and I both have the Edge 305, while Larry and Cam have the Edge 705), and Jerome and I had within 20 feet of each other for the days ascent: 5386 feet.
    As I loaded the bike on the rack, I got a text message, a status update from Bill via Facebook: "Bill is home cooking dinner.....david where are you??? still riding that bike."

    I didn't get home until 7:20, between an accident or something on Highway 25 (so I turned around to take Shore Road to Fairview) and a non-functioning stop light at Highway 156, it was a challenge.

    (Sunday) While writing this, I found the HamCams, and possibly this photo is me as it was near 3pm when I arrive at the top.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009


    No, really!

    I haven't really (totally) abandoned my blog, but I have been away for a very long time.

    I do promise to work on catching up on old entries:
    • New Year Day Hollister to  Monterey one way bike ride and more
    • Silverado Trail in the fall, 56 mile out and back in early December
    • the arrival of the iPhone
    • the rest of our New Zealand-Australia cruise
    • Jim's 70th birthday party
    • Tahoe Sierra metric century with Cameron & Chris in September
    • the new MacBook Pro and the switch
    • Tour de Heat (South Bay Reservoirs loop)
    • Hollister Mini Death Ride on Labor Day weekend
    • Tour of Napa Valley century in August
    • Mt. Tam Century
    • Russian River Weekend in July
    • My 50th birthday and party
    Lot's going on. As usual, I have taken on too much and am trying to prioritize and still at least get small updates done.

    Saturday, January 17, 2009

    Sunnyvale South Bay Explorer

    Two of my favorite South Bay rides are the South Bay Reservoirs loop and any ride into Stevens Canyon and up Mt. Eden and Pierce Roads. The first time into Stevens Canyon was back in the summer of 2006, Julie was working Campbell and she inquired if any south bay ALC riders were interested in riding after work. Our first Campbell midweek ride included Quito Road and the Shannon/Road climbs, the second included Stevens Canyon. So in thinking of a new ride that took in some of these unique areas in the South Bay while minimizing some of urban riding, I put this ride together.

    Larry, Steph, Jerome, Dave and Jon joined me for another gorgeous January day as we headed up Fremont Avenue to Foothill Expressway for the jaunt out to Stevens Canyon. At the Mt. Eden turn, Jerome and Larry opted to head further into Stevens Canyon for the optional Redwood Gulch climb. Mt. Eden Road has "mount" in it, but any road with "Gulch" in this area sounds nasty. We met up on the downhill side of Highway 9 at Pierce Road; Jerome was pleased (test#2 on his new Specialized Roubaix Comp) while Larry's recently vacation followed by the flu, had him walking a portion of the road.

    Continuing down Big Basin Way Highway 9 to Saratoga, we headed over to Quito Road, with it's unusual mph signs at turns to keep the speeding down. At the top of Quito we headed out to Los Gatos continuing on Highway 9. This part of the route I came up with trying to avoid the busy section crossing over Highway 17, my planned left turn onto University proved to be nearly impossible, we used the crosswalk instead.

    Our first rest stop was the Peet's Coffee on Blossom Hill Road. Continuing out Blossom Hill, we headed for Shannon Road, a nice climb followed by the downhill and the (easy to miss right) turn onto Kennedy. When creating the route sheet I remembered my friend admonishing us 3 years earlier about this turn and positioning himself at the turn. So I had put on the route sheet (EASY TO MISS ON DOWNHILL). Being the slowest climber, I had no hope of being the first one down to repeat this. Steph and I got there, nearly missing it, and no one was there. I called Jerome not knowing how far down they had gotten, they got to Hicks Road when the realized they missed the turn and were heading back.

    Then I missed the turn off Kennedy to continue on South Kennedy and around Phillips, Cypress and Loma Alta, but headed into Los Gatos and our second rest stop, which was meant to be fairly quick, as the plan (which I had not communicated clearly enough at the beginning of the ride, as it was last minute) was to go to In-N-Out at the end of the ride.

    Leaving Los Gatos, we headed back Highway 9, and in Saratoga after we crossed Saratoga Avenue I noticed that Dave and Jon still had not appeared behind, so I stopped to wait. After 5 minutes, I turned around and went to the intersection at Highway 9 and Saratoga where there was another cyclist waiting for somone. I asked if he had come from Los Gatos and if he had seen two riders. At first he didn't recall seeing anyone, and then he did remember two guys working on a flat. So I called Dave; he wasn't sure if they were having problems with the pump or the tube, so I headed back.

    Turned out they were not that much further back, but as we tried to figure things out, it turned into a comedy of errors. I had not used my new Topeak Morph G mini pump and it was not taking the presta valve stem. Then I had difficulty with the CO2 inflator. But in our trials, we checked the tube and found there was a puncture, comparing it to the tire we found the glass imbedded in it. I demonstrated my Crank Brothers Speed Lever and how it makes putting the tire back on (or taking one off). A woman driving an SUV and wearing a kit pulled over asking if we could use a floor pump, what timing!

    So off we we headed, I texted Jerome to let him know we were on the way. Using the route cards in the Bay Area Bike Rides deck I had planned a small diversion off of Saratoga Avenue, up Pierce and winding around a residential area taking us to Prospect Road. Rather than go direct, my route also headed up McClellan Road back up to Foothill Expressway. As we crossed under 280, Jon slowed, his front tube was getting low again. At this point, just a few miles from the end, he opted to add air and see if we could make it back, which did work.

    Steph and Jerome were waiting for us back at the ride start, at Starbucks; Larry had ridden on to catch the CalTrain back to the City. Steph headed back for home and the four of us headed to In-N-Out for post-ride nourishment.

    I wonder if Jon got new tires? or other gadgets?

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Day -1 - Auckland, New Zealand

    Arriving at the Auckland airport, we easily navigated the New Zealand immigration and customs lines with no problems, our luggage arrived quickly and we exited the Arrivals terminal to find our driver for our transfer to the Auckland Langley Hotel. We were the only cruise passengers arriving at that time, so our transfer was by car, Robert loaded our luggage, including the case of wine and champagne, in the car, for the quick 30 minute drive to the hotel. He gave us an overview of New Zealand's population, a bit of history on the area and the two islands that make up New Zealand.

    We were greeted at the hotel by the Holland America representative, Kay, and given information about the transfer to the ship on Friday, along with a tour available on Thursday. Early check-in allowed us to go directly to the room with our luggage. While a nap was very appealing, Bill's plan was that we shower and go out for the afternoon and find a spot for early dinner, and then bed time. This, along with the meal times staged throughout both flights, we decided, contributed to no jet lag to speak of.

    Showered and changed, we got some information about the shopping and eating available heading down Queen Street to the harbour. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the walk down to the harbour area was not far. We checked out a few of the side street shopping areas and at the foot of Queen Street was the Ferry Building, quite similar in style to the San Francisco Ferry Building.

    The New Zealand Maritime Museum was nearby, Bill thought this would be a good diversion for the next day, when Pat and Norma arrived to keep them up, (I think he referred to it as "torture.") We checked out several restaurants along the harbour and settled on one called
    Euro, which faced the Maritime Museum, and the outdoor seating was protected from the wind by clear blinds.

    We had a nice early dinner, and then walked back to the Langley, undressed and went to bed, finally.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Cathay Pacific Flight 107 HKG-AKL

    After a short walk thru the Hong Kong terminal we were at our gate for then next leg of our journey to Auckland, we originally only had a three hour layover, and with the late arrival on the SFO-HKG flight, we didn't have long to wait, just long enough to check email and then board leisurely.

    The Airbus had the traditional business class seating and interestingly, we both felt the wider seat had a slight advantage over the narrower herringbone configuration, but since the seats did not recline down to a bed, it's still a toss up over which was better.

    Dinner was seared tuna with green beans, semi sun-dried tomato, chat potatoes, olives and wasabi mayonnaise, seasonal salad with balsamic vinegar dressing, I chose the Garganelli with artichoke and mushrooms in tomato basil sauce and Bill had the braised lamb shoulder with kipfler potatoes and roasted mixed vegetables, dessert cheese (Bavarian Blue, Gruyere, Arenenberger) followed by an orange chocolate mousse cake served with a vanilla sauce and the port, of course.

    Being exhausted must have helped, because I did feel like I got a couple hours nap, off and on, here and there as we flew across the Philippines, but I finally gave up and turned on a movie, watching Get Smart which kept me occupied for a while longer, and then I tried napping a bit more till they started serving breakfast.

    Breakfast included your choice of juices, yogurt, cereals, followed by a frittata with asparagus and pancetta, pan-fried Cumberland sausage, back bacon and potatoes, or poached eggs with spinach and Hollandaise sauce, pan-fried chicken sausages with Roma tomato.

    We finally finished passing over Australia and landed in Auckland. Passing through New Zealand immigration and customs was fairly painless, we retrieved our luggage and the precious case of wine and champagne and found the driver for our transfer to the Langley Auckland.

    Whew, traveling stress over! At least for now, the important part, getting to New Zealand.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Cathay Pacific Flight 879 SFO-HKG

    As far as getting ready for an overseas flight goes, this was an easy one, with us having Saturday and Sunday to get organized and packed. And with a 1:35 pm departure time, it meant we did not have to get up at zero-dark-thirty to get to the airport.

    Things went equally smoothly at SFO, with check in of our four bags (all under the 70 pound limit), plus the case of wine and champagne that Bill had attempted to ship direct to Auckland to the hotel for holding. It turns out that you have to have a liquor license, and a license to drink does not count. The excess bag charge was only $86.

    We took our traditional departure photo at the arrival/departure screen, said goodbye to Carol (who will be housesitting, taking care of of Tadd and Merlin, spoiling them no doubt), and went on thru security.
    With having business class seats, that gained us entrance to the British Airways lounge, where we had a snacks and relaxed pre-boarding.
    Our seats on this flight on the 747 were the new herringbone configuration, all seats at an angle next to each other. While we sat next to each other, it wasn't convenient for talking to one another, nor for looking out the window, but they did recline all the way down to make a fully extended bed, which was nice.

    We took off about 30 minutes late, and the captain announced that he planned a more southerly route to try and avoid some nasty headwinds, flight time was estimated at about 14.5 hours to Honk Kong. So our route (like going to Auckland via Hong Kong isn't circuitous enough) took a more southerly route over Hawaii with a flight time of nearly 15 hours.

    Our first meal service, lunch, included Gravlax
     salmon with mustard dill sauce, mixed salad with portobello mushrooms and grilled chicken served with sesame ginger vinaigrette, I had the penne pasta with creamy pesto sauce and tomato sauce, Bill had the grilled beef tenderloin with lemon thyme jus wax beans, green beans, roasted pepper and carrots, followed by the cheese plate (Cambozola, cheddar and Muenster) and a Mango cheesecake served with berry compote.

    After lunch I settled in and watched Sex In The City, each seat has it's own 15' flat screen. I caught up on some reading then tried to sleep, unsuccessfully, so I got out the book I've been reading (from the last trip, back east in the spring), Wicked.

    We had a few rough spots across the Pacific, our altitude varied between 31,000 and 39,000 feet as the captain moved to keep us out of the rough stuff. Somewhere around midnight I had some Hagen Dazs chocolate ice cream, Bill was already having a smoked chicken panini.

    I tried sleeping (the 3 glasses of Champagne Deutze, Brut Classic before and during dinner, followed by Dows Late Bottled Vintage Port may have contributed to the restless sleep, although Sunday night's sleep was equally restless.

    Dinner, a few hours before landing in Hong Kong included a fresh seasonal fruit starter, I had the pan-roasted chicken brest with tomato basil sauce, pearl cous cous, asparagus and baby carrots while Bill had the stir-fried egg noodle with shredded pork and and choy sum, and dessert was a pear frangipane.

    We arrived about 40 minutes late, not enough for us to worry about, but we did skip our stop at the Cathay Pacific lounge.