Doing Double Duty

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When doing an event such as the NorCal AIDS Cycle there are two things that are happening simultaneously.  I am working my body physically to be ready for the challenge of riding 330 miles in 4 days, AND, I am working my social network for donations to help me meet my fundraising goal.  Both take time and commitment in order to be ready for the May 16th start of the ride.

I have been joining in on most of the organized NCAC training rides which have included many hills this year.  What we don’t do in distance, we do in climbing to make our legs strong.  However, doing a 4 day ride requires putting in time, LOTS of time, in the saddle to get those butt bones used to the long hours, and to notice and adjust for any problems such as numb hands, stiff neck, back pains that don’t really seem to show up on shorter rides.

This Saturday, April 20th,  several of my NCAC riding buddies and I will be riding the “Bike Around the Buttes” Century Ride.  Century meaning 100 miles.  One hundred miles of mostly flat terrain around the Sutter Buttes here in Northern California.  I have had a talk with the wind goddess already about taking a day off on Saturday after being so busy blowing and gusting over these last two weeks.  So far I think she is listening.  Strong tail winds on the flats are awesome!!  However, if one leg has a tail wind, there is bound to be a leg or two of the ride with headwinds, and they are not so nice.  I will let you know in my next blog how that ride goes!!

I  want to take this time to let you know that my birthday is this Monday April 22nd, and I would like nothing more than to meet my fundraising goal by then.  What a wonderful present that would be!!!  I have set my goal at $3,000.00 and am currently at $1,315.00 as of my last donation.  I will be riding 330 miles in 4 days, and I am no spring chicken anymore (at least by chronological age). Suffice it to say that 5 will be a dominate number in my age this year 🙂  Won’t you dig deep and go to my donation page today and make a donation to help make my birthday wish come true?  This is a very worthwhile cause and one near and dear to my heart.

For those who may be following me for the first time, the NorCal AIDS Cycle is the biggest fundraiser in Northern California for programs that support those living with HIV/AIDS.  Many of you may have loved ones or friends affected by this disease.  This ride is for them.

Thank you in advance for your generous support!!

 

Dare To Care

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In the fall of 2010 my whole family gathered to do the Capitol City Aids Walk in honor of one of my family members recently diagnosed HIV+.  Together, we raised over $800.00 for the Sacramento CARES clinic where my nephew was receiving care, and learning how to live with HIV.  Our team name was DARE TO CARE.

Since that time, I have made it my goal to help raise money to fight this disease.  We have come so far with treatment, and today it is possible to live a long healthy live with HIV.  In the early 1980’s, few who contracted AIDS survived.  New medicines came along and people with HIV/AIDS lived longer, though many still died.  Now in this era of HIV/AIDs, there are effective treatments that lower the individuals viral load and boost the immune system to keep the virus undetectable.  Babies whose mother’s are HIV+ are born virus free, and  their was one recently documented case in which a baby born HIV+ was “cured”.  With early detection and treatment, individuals are able to live long healthy lives.

Last year I got “back in the saddle again” and rode my bike 330 miles in 4 days on the NorCal AIDs Cycle. As a group, we raised over $300,000.  Seventy two percent of that money went back to those programs supporting individuals living with HIV/AIDs in the Sacramento Valley and surrounding areas in Northern California.   The NorCal AIDs Cycle is now the only big fundraising effort in this area to raise money for these programs vital to our communities.

I will be riding again this year to raise money to support individual living with HIV/AIDS, and to help fight this disease.   I will be posting blogs along the way if you would like to follow my training progress – the struggles and the joys.

If you DARE TO CARE and want to do something to help:  Follow my blog – your words of encouragement help to keep me going. Help me raise money by sending a donation to my fundraising website – I will do the work if you help me raise the money.  Get yourself and your loved ones tested and know your status – 1 in 5 people do not even know they are HIV+.  No amount of money is too small to help those in need.  Open your heart and as was said by Ghandi  “Be the change you wish to see in this world.”

Information about the ride, and my donation page can be reached using the links on the right side of my openhearted.me webpage.  If you have any question or problems let me know and I will help you to help me 🙂

Thank you from the bottom of my heart………………..Janet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 of the NCAC — On to the Capitol

Day 4 of the NCAC at the Capitol

I can’t start this off without a recap of the night’s activities.  I left you with the vision of weary riders and crew heading bleary eyed to bed – which was true.  Lines formed for teeth brushing and last minute potty stops before tucking in for a restful night.  Before I had finished, it became apparent that there was something a buzz in the gym.  The lights in the gym could not be turned off.  People were called in from the school district to help out since the principal was not available, and the issue became bigger.  The lights wouldn’t turn off, AND an alarm kept going off!  Looked like a long night ahead for the gym rats!!!

For me sleeping outside, I was glad that lighting wasn’t my issue, and I drifted off to blissful slumber rather quickly.  The events outside unfolded at about 0330 when the sprinklers came on and totally soaked about a third of the tents.   Lucky for me and the rest of us outside, we were aroused by the screaming and carrying on with enough time to drag our tents and bags onto the cement before the sprinklers in our area came on.  We helped each other out and within 10 mins I was back inside my tent, on the cement, and drifting off.

So a restful night was NOT had by all that last night. Come to find out, though the lights did get turned off in the gym, an alarm continued to go off every hour throughout the night!  Even with the best intentions and planning ahead there can be snafus.  Looking back on it now it is pretty funny.

The planners wanted to be sure everyone arrived to the Capitol in time for closing ceremonies and a mass entrance to the Capitol.  They suggested that the slower riders start at 0615 and the faster riders could sleep in a bit later and leave around 0700.  All of us were to meet at Crocker Park to get lined up for the entrance into the closing ceremonies at 1200.

I took off with the early group so as not to feel pressured on the last day.  I rode with my mate and caught up with Dr Flynn.  Dr. Flynn is the the founder of the CARES clinic in Sacramento and probably the most senior rider on the trip.  He was pulled off to the side of the road with a flat  so we stopped to help him out.  Within what seemed like only a few seconds, a motocrew arrived and she got out and changed the tire in no time and we were on our way.

The last rest stop before the final stretch into Sacramento was at the UC Davis Fire Department on campus.  The Captain of the fire dept was one of our riders, and he and his crew had graciously offered up their facility for a bunch of sweaty, thirsty riders to refuel.

The group all arrived at the Crocker Park as planned and team pictures were taken. Those not in NCAC Jerseys were given jerseys to wear and we rode into the Capitol two by two lead by our wonderful women’s (and Rick) motorcycle crew.  The Capital Mall was lined with cheering and clapping people and the Capitol steps were decorated to receive the mass of cyclist walking in as a unified group.  Speeches and thanks to all our supporters were made, and the announcement that as a group, we had raised somewhere in the vicinity of $305,000 for programs supporting those living with HIV/AIDS was released to the crowd.  My emotions ran high and it became even clearer to me why I had done this ride for my nephew, for my fellow riders and crew, my patients, all those affected by this disease, and why I will do it again.  Together, we WILL make a difference.

Thank you to all who supported me financially, and with your encouragement and moral support.  Let’s do this together again next year 🙂

 

Day 3 of the NCAC – RED Day

NCAC Day 3 Pam and I jpg

Another restful night and early morning start.  I woke up bright eyed and in the words of James Brown thought…………”I feel good na na na na na na – I knew that I would……”.  I was stoked and ready for day 3.  Bring on the “HILL”!!!!! Though I still hadn’t found my flashlight, I was better organized to find my “Day 3” bag with my shorts, jersey, socks, and the “lubrication” I alluded to in the Day 1 posting – “Let the Good Times Roll”.

So what’s this about lubrication, and what’s the big deal?   For those of you who have never spent 8-10 hours on the road you probably haven’t experienced “saddle sores” that can arise from friction between the saddle, shorts and tender skin.  Though I have done a lot of riding in the past, I had not experienced this phenomena before.  In the old days, biking shorts had real chamois lining in the crotch area. Today, many shorts have a synthetic lining with some sort of gel type padding for comfort.  I learned that how the padding is sewn in, and where the seams hit on my anatomy made a huge difference in the comfort level.  While I tried first this saddle than that one, I kept getting rubbed in the same spot under my butt cheeks.  It finally dawned on me that the common denominator was the shorts! Sure enough, the seam hit me right in that fold that was getting rubbed.  Bummer thing about it was that ALL my shorts and knickers were the same brand so ALL of them had to go.

So what about the lubrication you ask?  They make stuff called “chamois cream”, “chamois butter”,  “Hu Ha Cream” all basically the same stuff under various names. Amongst the cyclist it is usually just referred to as “butt butter”.  You apply it generously to those areas prone to rub – women know those areas that are troublesome, and men have their own “set” of problems to deal with.  If applied generously at the start of the day and as needed along the way,  usually no worries about the dreaded saddle sores.  As team HULA believes – Hydrate, Urinate, Lubricate Always……………….

So onward with the ride……….Day 3 is RED day.  All the cyclist and crew wear red to honor those living with HIV/AIDS.  One would think that a simple red jersey would suffice but NOOOOOOOO! These are people who like to have fun! There was a red sequined dress, red balloon figures attached to bikes, red streamers you name it.  I  wore my red jersey that said “Ride Like a Girl” and that I did!!  This actually turned out to be my best riding day!

The notorious hill was early on in the day – around mile 10 it started and went on for 7 miles.  The motocrew cheered us on and kept us motivated with their smiles and waves, silly dances and songs.  Before I knew it I was at the top. I can’t say that folks had made a “mountain out of a molehill”.  Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised at my effort up the hill 🙂

The next part was the most beautiful part of the whole ride.  We rode down into the Capay Valley along Cache creek through little towns like Rumsey. We had a nice rest stop in a grassy shaded park near the creek after several miles of rolling down the valley. Surprise beverages here were Starbuck’s Double Shot drinks!!  Not the best drinks for one attempting to keep hydrated, though tasty and provided a little “kick” to just us on into the next stop for lunch.

All of the food for meals was catered.  Lunches were sandwiches and chips or salad, drinks and usually cookies and fruit.  These were not your basic sandwiches – portabello mushroom and roasted red pepper, roasted chicken with bacon and feta cheese.  Yummy stuff!  Tables were set up in the shade when possible for us riders to sit down and eat, and ice chests were full of ice cold drinks to rehydrate our bodies while we fueled them with food.  Crew members filled our bottles with ice and water and never missed reminding us to wash our hands before we did anything near the food.

Our destination for Day three was Woodland High School and I arrived with my riding “mate” and Aussie friend Shannon, with ample time to get signed up for massages and chiropractic.  The school was nice and new, and the locker rooms and showers were way above the previous nights accommodations!

I grabbed some water for rehydration and set up my REI Half Dome tent on the grass in close proximity to at least 3 others just like it.  Peter who was crewing, showed up and drove Shannon and I to the market to get a nice cold one.  Since we were on a school campus there was to be no alcohol allowed and a cold brewski sounded oh so refreshing!!

We had a nice dinner with lots of carbs once again. Some of the riders and crew had family and friends came to join them for dinner and the evening show.  It was fun to see the children and spouses of the people I had been getting to know over the last 3 days.  It added a new and deeper level of “knowing” who they were.

The evening speaker was a young man who was born HIV +.  He spoke about what it was like to feel different and alone, and what it was like to sit in school and listen to what other kids said about people with HIV and listen to what was being taught about HIV and AIDS and how wrong the information was.  He lost his mother to AIDS when he was a young teen, and he talked about what it was like to lose the one person he was closest to, could talk openly with, and who understood what he was going through. Listening to him speak was both touching and humbling, and reaffirmed my reason for riding – to support programs like Sunburst Projects which provides support services to families affected by HIV/AIDS.  Each year they hold a camp for kids, and this young man had gone to that camp. “Camp Sunburst provides coping skills and support for youth as they face the challenges of growing up with HIV/AIDS.”

After the speaker there were awards and thank you’s to the people who planned and organized the ride and then a Drag Queen Show.  It was a later night for us, and lots of sleepy eyes as the events wound down, and one by one we all disappeared into our nylon cocoons outside, or onto mats on the gym floor.

Another satisfying day………How quickly the time has gone!  Tomorrow we ride into the Capital for the closing ceremonies.

ALOHA!!! – Day 2 of the NCAC

 

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Camping out after riding 100 miles wasn’t so bad.  I slept great and woke up feeling good and ready to take on another 100 mile day!  My alarm went off and I groped around the tent for the bag with my clothes for “Day 2”.  Though I had packed a flashlight, I could not find it so I had carefully placed things where I thought I could find them in the dark of the early morning.  I didn’t hear anyone stirring so I quietly got dressed and looked at the time and it was just after 0430.  Darn! I had forgotten to reset my alarm clock to 0530 instead of my usual work day time of 0430.  So I crawled back under my sleeping bag to catch a few more zzzz’s.  As I lay there in my bleary half sleep I heard a beautiful song.  One of the organizers was wandering through the sea of nylon tents singing – a much more gentle alarm for wake up than I had experienced an hour earlier.  I got up and packed up my gear and headed to the gym for coffee and breakfast.

Breakfast in the morning was as hearty or as light as I wanted it to be.  There were eggs, bacon and sausage, potatoes, oatmeal with various things to top it off with, fruit, yogurt, breads, juice and of course coffee.  It was a time to socialize, talk about the day ahead and read the morning news sheet.

It is tradition that Day 2 is dedicated in memory of those who have died of AIDS, or complications from AIDS and we wore Aloha shirts for the ride in their honor.  Riders dressed in bright colored aloha shirts, plastic leis, grass shirts and coconut bra tops gathered at the start and we were off out of the Gridley Fairgrounds by 0700 for the next 100 miles ahead.

Our destination for the day was Williams High School.  The school would not be available for us until 1600 (4:00PM), so the fastest riders were encouraged to slow down and smell the roses and mingle with us mere mortals so as not to get there too early.

At the last stop of the day I learned about a great new replacement drink – chocolate milk! Who would have known!  It was a pleasant surprise along with the fruit pie and as always, the warm welcome of the crew staffing the rest stop.  We dallied a bit as had been suggested all day and headed out for the home stretch on a long, flat, hot and dry segment of road paralleling Interstate 5.

With less than 10 miles to go we were told that we had been on the road too long and that we would have to be sagged in – our bikes loaded on the back of a vehicle and us loaded into the van for the ride of shame into camp for not finishing in the allocated time frame set for the day.  I was with 3 others and we begged them to let us go on, and with the blessing of the head of the medical crew we took off at a much brisker pace determined to get to the school under our own power!!!

Less than 2-3 miles from the school we were “forced” to stop and they loaded our bikes, and us, and we rode into camp in the truck.  We were told it was a safety issue and that after that long on the road we couldn’t possibly be making sound choices, so I swallowed hard, sucked it up and moved on.

The showers in the locker rooms were nothing like the ones the day before.  The water was tepid at best and it came out of about 1/2 of the holes on the shower heads.  It was however a shower, and the salt washed off just as well in the cool water as it did in the hot, and it felt good to be clean again.

I took advantage of the massage therapist to rub out some of the knots and tension in my neck and shoulders, and to stretch and massage the legs and glutes. We had a wonderful chiropractor along, and I had her do some adjustments to my neck and upper back and she worked on my arm and hand that had developed some nerve weakness from my training rides before my bike was fully adjusted.  Firm foam rolls were laid out and I moaned and groaned along with others as we rolled over them to further rub out the tension in our legs and hips.

Evening activities are a blur to me now, and I do remember an early night to bed – 200 miles down and 130 miles to go.  Though I was feeling tired, my heart was smiling as I drifted off to sleep for Day Three and the “hill”………………..

 

 

Let The Good Times Roll!

NCAC Day 1 Janet riding

For those that have followed by blog, you may recall that I had been gearing up (pun intended) for a 4 day 330 mile bike ride to raise money for programs supporting those living with HIV/AIDS.  Well the ride happened, I happily finished, and now a month later I am finally blogging about the “Adventure With A Cause” – the NorCal Aids Cycle (NCAC).

Day 1 – May 17, 2012  My bags were packed the night before for the early morning start  in Folsom at Beal’s Point.  The morning was sunny and crisp.  Well, actually it was COLD!  The parking lot was a buzz with riders and crew members, family and friends, and all the local TV stations.  Folks were milling around sipping on coffee and last minute carb loading with donuts and bagels.  Others were getting their bikes ready and shoes on. Tents and duffles were being loaded by crew in UHaul trucks to carry our stuff to our destination for the day – the Gridley Fairgrounds.

Opening ceremonies included a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and group photos. There was a  short talk on safety, and a review of biking signals and etiquette, and we were off.

We had been told that “Day 1 and 2 are flat 100 mile days”, though it became clear very early on that that wasn’t entirely true.  I buddied up with two guys at the start who were also first time riders, and we stuck together for much of the day.  The women on motorcycles (and Rick) stopped the traffic at intersections and drove up and down the course giving us thumbs up and other signs of encouragement.  In fact, the support crew was noted all along the route the entire day with smiles and clapping, signs with encouraging words and music and dance!

Rest stops were spread out about every 20 miles which allowed for input and output, time to re-lube (more on that later), and most importantly just to get off the bike and shake out the legs and booty.  Crew members greeted each rider with smiles and the words that became like a mantra “take your gloves off and wash your hands”.  There were plenty of snacks to refuel and drinks for rehydration, and always words of encouragement.

We traveled through some beautiful countryside, and 103 miles later landed at the Gridley Fairgrounds for the night.  The portable shower trailer was a hit with clean showers and endless hot water to wash away the salt and road grit.  Meals were catered and heavy on the carbs.  Dinner was a time to sit down and talk with new people and recount the day.  The evenings activities included one of the riders talking about what it was like to be told she was HIV+ and the thoughts and feelings that went along with the diagnosis.  I was riding for people like her, my nephew, and many of the riders who were riding for themselves and others like them living with HIV.  It was nice to be amongst a group of like minded people all in this together for a common cause.

 

 

Physics for the Cyclist

Paceline

Why do geese fly in the “V” formation that we are used to seeing?  It is said that a flock of geese can increase their efficiency by as much as 71% by flying in this formation using the concept of drafting. According to Wikipedia: “Drafting or slipstreaming is a technique where two vehicles or other moving objects are caused to align in a close group reducing the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead object’s slipstream. Especially when high speeds are involved, as in motor racing and cycling, drafting can significantly reduce the paceline‘s average energy expenditure required to maintain a certain speed and can also slightly reduce the energy expenditure of the lead vehicle or object.”

Geese inherently know about drafting.  For cyclist, drafting can be a very daunting activity especially when first new to riding.  Cyclist draft in what is often called a pace line.  Riders line up just off the back wheel of the person in front of them.  When obstacle appear in the road such as gravel or potholes, it is the responsibility of the person in front of you to point out the obstacle which you are unable to see due to the tightness of the group.   Each rider takes her turn in the front working the hardest and pulling the group along.  When she tires she drops back and someone else assumes the lead.  All in all the group can move along at a faster pace with less effort by all.

We can learn a lot from our friends the birds.  The professional racers will ride almost on top of each other when drafting, whereas those of use who are neophytes to cycling or unfamiliar with pace lines, will leave more room between the front wheel of one bike and the back wheel of the one in front as pictured above. The effect remains the same………………..working together and sharing the lead makes it easier for all involved.  A true example of teamwork!