Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bicycle Diaries 3/13

What were you doing on the icy-cold Sunday morning? How cold was it? Well, it depends on where you were, for me, it was in the upper 30s, and I was preparing for my weekend training ride.

Because of the rain (also thank to it) I didn’t ride on Saturday. I was planning to do the 8.15am spinning class at the Y, however I was too tire (and lazy) and having hard time to leave my just-started-became-warm bed. Besides that, I start to experience some knee pains/sores, so I thought it would be a good excuse for not doing any heavy duty on this day, sort of giving my legs a chance to rest. So, I end up sleeping till 11.30am (just keep it between us ok? hehehe). I had been a long time since I last had such a ‘beauty sleep.’

In fact, I did feel a little guilty for not riding on Saturday. As a result, I told myself, I had to do something on Sunday. I joined the Different Spokes group on Sunday, even thought the temperature was low, but the weather was nice. I didn’t think twice to leave my bed this time, it was 7am.

This was a 54 miles ride called “Three County Tour” created by our ride leader Steve; it covered LA, Orange and San Bernardino counties. We met at the San Gabriel River Trail in Duarte; however we didn’t ride on the trail (which goes down all the way to Seal Beach), in stead, we rode down Irwindale Blvd., passing through West Covina and Hacienda Heights. (Hey, for those of you who live in the East SGV, now I’m riding in your community!!)

For the first 13 miles, it was a pretty flat road with some rolling hills. The first challenge of the day was on Hacienda Blvd., for those of you who know the area, after crossing Colima Road, it becomes a hill (starting from the Hsi Lai Temple) and all the way up for about 1.5 miles. I didn’t know why, I wasn’t feeling good at all, it was so ‘not me’ but I had to listen to my body. As soon as we got to our first stop for the day (at mile-17), I ate a banana and it helped! Otherwise I didn’t know how I could finish the rest of the ride. (By the way, we’re in OC!!)

After catching our breathes, we continue our ride on Whittier Blvd., followed by Lambert which later becomes Carbon Canyon. The scenery in this area is awesome! We pass through some ranches, and saw some cows and horses, it was so relaxing. Because of the rain before, air quality was good at that point and we could smell the grass and the spirit of countryside. I was so happy to see the “San Bernardino County Border” sign, as we made it to the third county in this ride.
We made our second stop at a plaza at Chino Hills Pkwy (mile-34). After that, we continued north on Chino Hills Pkwy, and let me tell you, that was our second major climb for the day, by looking at the steepness of the hill, I wasn’t sure I could make it. Once I climbed to the top of the hill, the view was really good.

After touring some part of Diamond Bar and Walnut, we came to the third and most difficult hill – Grand Ave. I remembered when I first moved to LA, I bought this lemon car, every time I was sent to cover news in the Diamond Bar/Walnut area, my car always had hard time climbing up the hills, including Grand Ave. which connects the 10 and 60 freeways. The more I thought of the past, the more difficult it became, I was telling myself, if the car had a hard time to get through this hill, how am I going to climb it with my bike? But then, nothing but to challenge myself, I know I can make it and I did. It wasn’t an easy job at all, my butt and legs were soared!

The rain started to come down again while we were climbing. Luckily it wasn’t too bad, just some shower. It made me paddle faster, so I could get back to the parking lot before getting all soaked. We finished the 54 miles trip in about 4 hours. It was my all time longest ride so far, narrowly beat last week’s 52 miles.

Oh yea, I forgot to mention that, at one point, there was a dog came out from no way barking at us, I was so scared that he was going to bite me as I rode at the end. Luckily he didn’t keep going (phew).

In the evening, I went to the premier of “The Ride: Seven Days to End AIDS,” a Logo Television special series about AIDS/LifeCycle. Logo TV is the new cable station operated by MTV that launched the first all-gay network this past June. They sent a production team along with the ALC 4 riders to shoot a documentary that showcases the exciting bicycle journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Highlighting several participants, the special give viewers the opportunity to share in the passion and diversity that makes up the dedication to ride a bicycle for seven days to raise money and awareness for the AIDS services of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

I had mix feeling after watching the documentary, it was sad to know that HIV/AIDS affected and still affecting so many people, but I was glad that some of us doing the least that we could to help end this disease. Of course, we cannot achieve the goal without your generous support.

OK, I’ve been writing so much and it is 2.30am now. I have to wrap up, but before I do, I just want to thank those of you who respond to my updates, by telling me how much you enjoy reading or checking this email has become part of your “Monday-morning-must-do-thing” or “you’re crazy, yet you’re funny” or “hey, I know who to look for when I get a flat.” I just want to say (from the bottom of my heart) thank you for all your support and encouragement. As a result, I decided to change the subject of this email from ‘training progresses to ‘bicycle diaries.’

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