Thank You Ride #20: the Hills

Thank you ride #20! Do you know what this means? That there have been at least twenty people there who contributed to the fundraising campaign in support of my participation for AIDS LifeCycle, a 545 mile bike ride from SF to LA June 2-8 2019.

In fact, there have been more people than that! And not only those who contributed, but also those who listened to me talk about AIDS LifeCycle, gone on training rides with me, and, of course read my posts here! Thank you: this really helps, because don’t we all forget that what we do matters?

Now that the weather is drier and the Big Ride is approaching, I spend more “free” time riding than writing, so there is a bit of wait between the rides dedicated to my sponsors and the posts about those rides.

This time, I am writing about an official AIDS LifeCycle training ride I went to four weeks ago, and it is dedicated to my tango friend Jeff. Thank you, Jeff! All the years I’ve known you, you always have kind words for the people around you; your support and friendship mean a lot to me! I hope we dance soon. Once I slow down a bit that is.

On this day I am writing about, the route took us toward and around Nicasio Valley Reservoir, deep into Marin County. The ride was a few miles longer than the first official training ride I went to, but it seemed easier in some ways. First of all, I figured out how to download the same app and app that the organizers use and how to make it work, so I didn’t worry much about being lost. Secondly, the route was much more straightforward, with long stretches without any turns, so I didn’t worry about missing turns. Finally, in general, I had a better idea about how this group works, so I didn’t worry about that. Yet again, turns out, I spend much more energy from worrying about things than from being affected by the things.

As the week prior, we started at Chrissy field, headed toward the Golden Gate bridge and then due North through Sausalito, Mill Valley, and Larkspur. Our first rest stop was at Fairfax Coffee Roastery. As before, I was fretting and warming up through the first stop, but then got into the groove. And I was also slower than many people which bothered me at first and then it didn’t.

OK, I’m going to stop writing about all my fretting and being slow: how about everybody just take for granted that I am slow and fret a lot. Here is a map of our route.

Nicasio Loop Ride Map

After Fairfax, the roadside became more rustic and peaceful. At some point, I spotted the sign for “Spirit Rock Meditation Center” and was surprised: that’s supposed to be far and yet I got there by bike and I am still pedaling! The road became more hilly, too! Good thing I do hills on the way to and from work. Another great thing about those hills was that I got to chat with somebody from our training group even while riding. You can see her as a little spot on the left hand side picture below. She was faster than I going downhill, but uphill, I was riding right behind her, and it was so slow, we could talk comfortably.

Our next rest stop was at Rancho Nicasio. Here is the view from it.

After that, going past the Nicasio Reservoir, through the woods, and then turning onto a dedicated bike trail for a while, I felt so immensely grateful! If I hadn’t signed up for AIDS LifeCycle, I probably would never have made it so far by bike, and here I am, exploring all the beautiful places, and going strong! What a great fortune and privilege to be doing this, and doing this for a great cause! Just look at this:

Our late lunch stop was at Lagunitas Deli. I’ve heard of Lagunitas Brewing Company, because they sponsor “This American Life”. Turns out, Lagunitas is an actual place and our organizers kindly identified a place for us to eat at there! What a great day! Then a few miles back to Fairfax, and almost retrace the steps to get back.

Sausalito in the late afternoon, on the way back. Not like this is a competition, but I think I’ve had better meals all day than these people here – to my taste anyway

This time, I knew my way onto the bridge from Sausalito, so that was easier, too. All in all, I rode just over 80 miles that day, setting another personal record.

Thank you, Jeff for your support! Thank you my readers for joining me on this ride. If any of my readers fell compelled to sponsor my participation in AIDS LifeCycle, a 545 mile ride from SF to LA, June 2-8, 2019 you can do that here. You can read more about the Thank You Rides here.

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