Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Final Post

So the ride is over and the fundraising results are in: I raised a total of $3,265! The ride was even more challenging and tiring than I had expected, but I met lots of wonderful people and saw some amazing sights along the way, including a giant wedding cake in the middle of the desert (but maybe that was because I was getting low on water). Thank you to everyone who supported me this year!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Leaving soon!

So I not only met my fundraising goal, but surpassed it--I'm at somewhere around $3200.

Leaving at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. When I return I'll post pictures.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Good News and Bad News

First, the bad news: I got in a bike crash on my way home from work the other day. One of my wheels slipped into a MUNI streetcar track and down I went. Luckily my bike is fine (a Jamis Aurora, which is made out of steel, so very tough!). And I'm more or less intact as well (some scrapes and soreness).

The good news is that, when I got home, I found out that I had gotten a personal note and donation from Fritz Maytag, the former owner of Anchor Brewing (he just sold the company this month to two local investors who seem to want to keep it pretty much the same, which is great to hear). Mr. Maytag is really the godparent of modern craft brewing in America, and is one of the major reasons we have good micro-brewed beer in this country, after Coors, Miller, and Bud pretty much took over the industry during the 1970s and 80s. Anchor's beers are still some of the best around--Anchor Steam is absolutely unique, and Anchor Porter is one of my absolute favorite dark beers of all time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

80 mile ride to Point Reyes Station

Last weekend I joined up with a group training for AIDS/LifeCycle and we rode to Point Reyes Station (80 miles round trip). We left at 7:00 a.m. and got back around 3:00. It wasn't too bad, considering that it was the longest ride I've ever done.

I didn't take any pictures of my fellow riders, but here are a couple of random images from the day:

A chicken running around in Pt. Reyes Station

Some signs

A road and some hills

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Sponsor: Castle Rock Winery

A big thank you to Gregory Popovich at Castle Rock Winery for their recent contribution!

Castle Rock is a really interesting wine company. They don't make any wine themselves, but rather purchase wine from makers across the West Coast and then market the wine under the umbrella of their Castle Rock brand. As a result of their low overhead, they're able to market solid Pinot Noirs and other wines at unbelievable prices. Pinot is a notoriously difficult grape, and most people who sell Pinot Noir for under $10 are just ripping you off (and, according to recent news, might not even be selling actual Pinot Noir).

Castle Rock, on the other hand, produces really nice Pinots for around $10. My favorite is their Mendocino County Pinot Noir. The 2008 iteration has a fragrant nose of cherries and peony, and flavors of cherries, raspberries, a little smoke, and just the right touch of oak, with sweet fruit and tart acidity following through to a finish that brings an interesting hint of mint/eucalyptus.

(Okay, so I'm a bit of a wine nerd...)

If you want to learn more about Castle Rock and the economics of California Pinot, a good start is this 2004 Los Angeles Times article.

Do yourself a favor and crack a bottle of their Mendocino Pinot with some sauteed mushrooms, pan-fried trout, and some French bread and butter. Castle Rock distributes all over the place, so their wines shouldn't be too hard to find.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Corporate Sponsor: K & L Wine Merchants

Good news! K & L Wine Merchants has agreed to be my first corporate sponsor.

They have a location right around the block from where I work, so I visit them a lot. They also have a very comprehensive online store, so check them out! Great buys right now include:

2007 Corte Giara Ripasso Valpolicella

2001 Campo Viejo Gran Reserva Rioja ($14.99)

2008 Lucien Albrecht "Balthazar" Pinot Blanc Reserve ($12.99)

I'm going to print the names of all businesses that give over $100 on the jersey I wear during the ride. I'm right about at the $1,000 mark right now, so I still need to raise $2,000 more. On Sunday, I'm going on my longest ride ever: 80 miles to Point Reyes, with a stop at a cheese factory.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Energy Bar Recipe

Mix the dry ingredients together:

One package dried bananas, chopped (use flour while chopping to keep from sticking).
1/2 c. toasted oat bran (or whatever...)
1 package soy protein powder
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. oats
2 rice cakes, crumpled
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. golden raisins

In a separate bowl, mix:

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. greek yoghurt
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter

Mix everything together.
Pour into an oiled, lightly floured 9 x 13 pan.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until edges are dark brown.

Unsurprisingly, they taste like Clif Bars meets banana bread. Not bad!

New Gear: Pearl Izumi Optik Jacket

It was windy, cloudy, and sometimes misting on my 40-mile ride today. Good thing I bought a cycling jacket yesterday:

After trying on about 15 jackets, I settled on the sleek $75 Pearl Izumi Optik. The main drawback is that it doesn't have any pockets, but I figured I could just reach under the jacket into my jersey's pockets, which turned out not to be a problem.

Riding over Golden Gate Bridge this morning, I started to worry that the jacket was going to trap in too much sweat, but once the wind really started to pick up, I was glad that the fabric is pretty impermeable.

Bob Dylan was really obsessed with wind in the 70s. There's that song "Idiot Wind" on Blood on the Tracks, and then that line from "Isis": "As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold," which implies a heavy wind, even if it doesn't say it outright. I think about that a lot when I'm on the road and I run out of other things to think about...

Bob Dylan is pretty impermeable.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Trouble in Sausalito

My four-hour bike ride to Muir Beach and back was going well until I ran over a rusty nail. I fixed my flat with the spare tube I brought along, stopped at Mike's Bikes to give it a little extra air, and managed to not only explode the tube, but warp the tire. I didn't have enough cash along to buy a new tire, so I basically had to wait for rescue by car.

Lesson: Always bike with a credit card.

I found a coffee shop and had a beer and a glass of wine and a cup of coffee while I waited. See pictures from the ride below.

Pacific Ocean

Muir Beach Overlook

A Purple Flower

A Common Egret Flying Over Salt Marsh

Sausalito House Boats

Waiting for Rescue

The Drive Home

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Gear

I've never been a serious cyclist before. I used to just roll up my jeans, put on a helmet, and slip my street shoes into some toe clips. But now it's time to get serious. New gear:

Clipless pedals: Shimano PD-M520
Shoes: Shimano SPD MD86
Cycling shorts: Pearl Izumi Attack
Jersey: Gore Motion

The pedals are very basic but they seem to work fine so far. The shoes are comfortable, but the mesh in the front is very breathable, so my toes tend to go numb on cold days. The shorts and jersey are great--Pearl Izumi's stuff is always comfortable (I also use their gloves). Gore is the company that invented Gore-Tex.

Today I went for a 40-mile training ride through Marin County--it's like a cross between the suburbs and the Garden of Eden. Big recessed houses with long driveways, light purple wild irises, Ferraris and Porches, wild oak, sailboats, and cyclists everywhere.

I tried Gu for the first time--it's an energy gel made of sugar and electrolytes and other helpful chemicals. I think I much prefer Sports Beans, because they're not sugar paste, they're candy! I'm going to be perfecting a homemade energy bar recipe soon--stay tuned.