Sunday, June 19, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
After the ride ended, I had second thoughts. I already reconsidered after my friend Jonathan expressed interest in doing it with me next year. I'm not sure how serious he is, but if he really did participate as a rider, I may actually do this all over again!
If I joined Aids Life Cycle 11, what would I do differently?
1. I'd start collecting donations sooner.
2. I'd contact corporate companies for donations.
3. Backup tires aren't needed. I'd leave both at home and rely on the tire boots for any repairs.
4. I'd bring 2 of each tube instead of 4. I didn't use any extra on the ride. No flat tires.
5. Gloves need to go into the sleeping bag with me to keep warm. They're slightly damp in the morning which isn't all that comfortable.
6. My energy gel can stay at home. Clif supplies their energy blocks which does the same thing but better.
7. I need to label my water bottle with my name and rider number in case I lose it. So many people lost their bottles on the ride. I saw at least 5 on the route.
8. I can't forget to bring my warm after riding clothes. I had nothing but my thicker riding jacket to wear at night and early morning. The hooded sweatshirt is coming with me next time.
9. More socks. Washing clothes and drying them on trees isn't fun. It also takes up too much time. I need a jersey for every day of the week, a new pair of pants and socks. I'd rather not have to do laundry in a camping setting.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Even though I covered the trike each day with a nylon cover, moisture managed to accumulate making the tie bar rusty. I'll have to attend to that tomorrow with a chrome buffing agent. I only had time today to give the trike's frame and components a good thorough clean. It's amazing how much dirt I've collected on the thing in the past 7 days.
I'll also need to pick up another flag since Mc. Collister's didn't allow me to transport mine on their truck. I'm not surprised though. The trike already takes up more space than a bike and I'm sure the company struggled to fit it in with the upright bikes. Adding a flag would have only made it more difficult. Here's my chance to look for another red flag. Amazon, here I come.
After getting back home with the trike, I decided to swap the super durable Schwalbe Marathon tire with the thinner Racer version I had sitting in the garage. Reducing rotational weight should help me pick up some acceleration on the trike during my next casual outing. While I was at it, I made some minor adjustments to the internal gear hub. It seems to be working better than it did on the ride.
When removing the rear wheel to replace the tire, I noticed that one end of the axle was loose! No wonder the trike's back end was making noise the last couple days. Looking back, it was a bit dangerous. I doubt the wheel would have fallen off, but the problem definitely didn't help the alignment.
During my ride on Friday, someone had mentioned to me that my rear tire was angled in one direction. After pulling over to the closest sidewalk, I had checked it and hadn't noticed anything loose. I should have looked harder. The bolt on the cable side of the hub was way loose. It's fixed now, so I'm definitely not so concerned now. Thinking what could have happened though, worries me a bit.
1. My horrible tan line is improving on my face. My wrist still has a very well defined line separating my white hands from my dark arms though. I won't mention details on the farmers' tan on my arms - it's worse. It's starting to peel.
2. Although I mentioned that I would never do the ALC ever again, I'm reconsidering. My buddy Jonathan mentioned he'd be interested in doing it with me another year. I'm not sure how serious he'd be but if I got the Catrike Speed trike I wanted, I'd strongly consider doing the ride all over again. I can't believe I just said that!
3. The pain in my knees are starting to go away. That's not unusual. It's usually the first day that I feel a bit of pain and it goes away the 2nd or 3rd day.
4. My quads burned every time I went up a flight of stairs at my friend Danny's house. I continue to feel it every time I climb stairs.
5. I didn't think I'd miss the ALC, but I honestly find myself wishing I was back there. It was great to be surrounded by people that treat each other so well. I know for sure I'll miss the costumes and outfits from each of the themed days.
Monday, June 13, 2011
I'll also be uploading my own additional photos of the ride to a Photobucket account shortly. Please look out for that to catch even more funny pictures and videos too!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
During the last few days my pant leg kept getting caught on my chain. Here it is rolled up at Rest Stop 1.
Here's Joe, whom I met on the ride! I mentioned him earlier. He's a Positive Pedaler. He's been really nice to me during the ride and would tell me what good and bad things to watch out for on the ride. He's done the ALC ride 3x before all on the trike! This photo was taken at the lunch stop at a ball park.
This last day of ALC was fairly fun! I was on the road by 7am or so and traveled about 80 miles to get to LA! One tough part of the route required me to get off my trike, carry the 43 lbs down one long flights of stairs, bring it through an underground pedestrian tunnel and bring it back up two flights of stairs! I managed though and from there on out, it was just a matter of continuously dodging cars and other pedestrian traffic.
It's a miracle none of us got hit by car doors of careless drivers opening them from their parked car. No casualties to account for either.
We had a huge welcoming as we entered the destination spot in LA. Hundreds of people lined up being the gates and cheered us as we entered with their claps, bells and whistles. It was quite an experience!
Luckily, Closing Ceremonies didn't start until 4pm. I believed I arrived at around 1:45pm or so. Upon getting to the finish line, I met a few other trike riders who weren't in the ALC ride. They were fanatics who had ridden their recumbent casually and wanted to get a good look at a few that completed the 7 days. The tandem trike guys had already arrived drinking their beer as they handed me a can.
It was time to celebrate. 7 long 9-12 hour/day rides came to a close.
I arrived at Mc Collister's bike shipping and they were not able to take my flag so off and to the garbage it went (it doesn't fit in the luggage either)! Too bad I couldn't take it with me. It was a brand new flag I got just the day before the ride started a week ago!
My buddy Danny from USC School of Architecture was nice enough to pick me up from the closing ceremonies. He got pretty excited about the trike too and before riding it around took a shot at lifting it above his head - and he did it! That's pretty insane. It's an awkward shaped object of 43 lbs. A typical road bike is in the low 20's. One with a full carbon frame? 17lbs.
TOP 5 THINGS I'M NOW GRATEFUL FOR:
1. Toilet paper that isn't see-through.
2. Not having to line up for the restroom.
3. Not having to wake up at 4:45am every morning.
4. Feeling enough energy to eat.
5. Being able to eat something other than the snacks that have become mundane of the 7 days.
Do you know what happens when you've ridden 540.7 miles over 7 days without ever having looked into a mirror up close?
After I arrived at my friend's house, I looked at my reflection and saw in front of me a panda - a reverse panda. What's a reverse panda? Black skin and white eyes. That's exactly what I looked like plus blotches on my forehead from the opening in my helmet where the sun shown through. Pictures to be posted.
Friday, June 10, 2011
85 miles today, but it didn't feel like it. Although Day 1 and Day 3 made me think twice about participating in the ALC, today wasn't too bad. Even though I covered 85 miles today, I felt like I could keep going.
Only one more day left! I'm not sure this is the reason why my ride went so well today or if it's one of these:
1. Hopeful that I'll actually finish!
2. Can't wait to go home and sleep in a real bed!
3. I'm actually getting used to this.
4. The refreshing Steak Picado and Horchata drink I had last night.
5, 7+ hours of sleep despite being awaken by my aunt's text last night on my cell phone in the middle of my sleep. My rest hours are between 9pm-5:00am.
Even after today's 83 miles, I feel like I could easily ride another 60. My feet weren't hurting me. I didn't get tired. It seems like T-mobile's connection is much better in a bigger city like Ventura close to LA. I can upload pictures 10x as fast, so here's some to share!
At one of the rest stops, I took a photo with one my my trike buddies. He rides a higher end Catrike Expedition. These are the trikes people use to ride across the country. It's very well built and equipped. Joe here is part of the Pos Peds (HIV Positive Peddlers) group. He's the reason we ride.
Angela and I finally got a chance to take a picture together! She's usually working at the medical tent either on one of the rest stops or back at camp. We actually only get to see each other for maybe 3 hrs/day.
Can you beelieve this team rides with these outfits on? They did a little dance at rest stop 4. It was hilarious!
One of the rest stops had a zombie theme! Here's one of the lady's trying to kill me, as if the ride isn't doing that already.
The last person I thought I'd see on the road is my friend Jesus. Here he is posing at the porto potties. This is so not PC, but it was so hilarious.
1. Anything can be accomplished with the right combination of environment, support, hope, purpose and encouragement. It makes a big difference that people are cheering us on as we're passing their neighborhood or when we're approaching the base camp. People even cheer as we climb big hills!
2. If you eat the same thing over and over again, you won't want it anymore. The thought of peanut butter and jelly gram crackers makes me want to hurl.
3. Endurance is competition to speed. During the last leg of today's ride, I knew I was behind. I had already arrived to the last rest stop late and got away with not having to SAG to base camp. Although I was riding slower than other riders, I kept going as they began to slow down. A few of them had dropped to the side to repair tires while others simply got tired and pedaled slower. I kept going at my consistent pace. By the time I reached camp, at least 50 other people have followed whereas I thought I'd be dead last.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
If you've never heard of Lompoc, it's b/c it's a tiny city. Ever heard of one with only 3 taxi cabs? That's Lompoc!
When you tell ALC riders to dress in red, they don't just dress in red. It eventually became "Red Dress Day," meaning everyone where's a red dress!
There are a ton of pictures, but I couldn't resist posting this one. This guy was a Roadie (volunteer) helping out at one of the rest stops. He was passing out the paper bags that we use to hold our lunch goodies.
Today we had turkey sandwich, chips and a nectarine. A lot of people wore equally silly outfits and road on their bicycles with them! It was a pretty impressive display of cycling ability.
Since it was a short day and we covered only 47 miles (as opposed to 107 miles on our longest day), I arrived at camp at just before 2:00pm. I'm usually at camp btw 6-7pm.
I got a chance to leave the camp to visit the city of Lompoc. After waiting in the shuttle line for 45 minutes, I found out Angela could not come with me b/c her dinner break was only 1 hr and it would take us at least that long to get into the city, have dinner and come back.
I left myself and headed to Vons where they had a Starbucks! I was craving for a Frapachino! Upon arriving though, I decided to grab dinner instead and found a Mexican place just across the street. Eagerly, I asked the waitress,
"Do you have Horchata?"
She confirmed they did and brought me a Texas sized glass. Needless to say, I swallowed it down practically before my Steak Picado arrived and ordered another. After getting my bill, I found out it was a free refill! Maybe I should have gotten another. I love that stuff! There's a single Califoods grocery market on California street at the top of the hill that sells that stuff. It's made by Kerns. Other than that, it's only sold at restaurants as far as I know.
So how is my camera powered? I got this solar powered battery pack from Amazon for only $17 and it works great! It sits in the sun for the day while I'm riding and I can charge my camera or any other USB device (except my cell phone for some reason).
Day 4 was super exhausting - so much that I didn't blog. I didn't even feel like eating and for those who know me, something must seriously be wrong. ALC was serving Mexican food and I could barely take 5 bites of it before calling it quits and heading to bed.
We got some pretty cool statistics in the newspaper this morning. Can you guess how many eggs we make for 3,000 participants? 44,600! Click on the photo to the left to see more interesting stats.
There were some incredible views along the way! I actually made a u-turn to get this shot! How would you like living on that block?
Last year, the line for taking a photo with this sign was 2 hrs! The crew finally decided to make more than one line and the line was cut much shorter. I only waited about 30 minutes before taking this shot. Other riders would lift their bikes up above their heads and stand on the rock! I wasn't about to attempt it with the 43lb monster, so here I am on the ground.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
King City to Paso Robles.
This day like all the rest had some cool photo opportunities. Here's one of a riding team. Yes, they actually wear that stuff while riding!
Today's ride got tiring at the 2nd rest stop and moreso during lunch. I think it may be the lack of sleep, but I promised I'd update this blog daily, so I'm doing my best to keep my word.
The big thing today was the Quad Buster! it was a huge hill that everyone dreaded. It was the one thing that I was pretty much preparing my trike to overcome. I did it! Not only did I climb up the huge infamous hill, but I did it twice! I came rolling back down at 40 + mph like an insane man and went up it all over again!
It was soooo hot today. I got sunburn and in a little while Angela said she'd help me put on some Aloe on my sunburns. I'm sort of ignoring her as I'm typing this. She's in the tent with me now and just finished washing up.
I did my laundry today - the old fashioned way with a bucket, soap and a hose. The stuff's still drying in the tent hung up with binder clips.
Once getting into camp, I saw lots of people with ice cream! Where'd they get that? It turns out that our camp is located in some sort of entertainment area, It looks to be the park of an outdoor mall of some sort. There's restaurants (though not open today) and the Gellato place which was! I had something called the Italian Ice. Think of a healthy form of a slushy - strawberry flavored.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Today's the longest day, 107.3 miles! Ouch! The route is from Santa Cruz to King City.
I'm having a hard time loading the pics. This T-mobile internet thing is lagging big time. It's been almost 10 minutes and it's still uploading one photo! Sorry, we'll have to try and load pics again tomorrow. I really need my sleep for the big day head of us. We're conquering the Quad Buster hill. It's supposed to be a big one!
I tried uploading pics again and it's lagging way too much. Sorry to disappoint, but I need my sleep!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Everyone gets a newspaper every morning which covers the details for that day. We covered 82.5 miles today. What a rush! The first 16 miles was a breeze and it didn’t really get tiring until about mile 50. At mile 61 I was pretty much cursing and hoping this would end, I finally arrived to rest stop 3 when I contemplated whether or not to continue.
The moment I got up off the trike, I started getting light headed. Not a good sign. That mixed with cold fingers and toes didn’t sound like a healthy situation. I sat back down on the trike, took a few minutes to reset and then went to the food line to collect something to eat.
I walked my handful of stuff to the picnic able and began munching. Slowly I was starting to feel better. That’s when I went back in line to grab even more food. Gold fish! My favorite! The bag was too big so I didn’t finish it all. They ALC staff also called out that there was only 12 minutes left before they close the rest stop. That means if I don’t leave soon, I might not make it to rest stop 4 in time.
I made it! Rest stop 4 was only 10-13 miles away. After that, camp was only 5 miles away! What a beautiful way to end the ride for the day!
Then rumors spread that it was going to rain. As I’m typing this, I hear dripping outside. In a few moments anything outside will definitely be wet,, I’m glad I finished my shower and ate my dinner already. It’s 9:08 and I’m heading off to bed soon, We’re waking up at 5am tomorrow to get ready. We need to break down our own tents and start out at 6:30am, I can use all the time I can get, so I’d like to leave by then. Tomorrow is one of the longer days. I think it’s over 100 miles!
I’m here alone in the tent b/c Angela’s still working the medical tent. She has a meeting that started just a few minutes ago. I imagine she won’t be back here to the tent until about 10pm. I’ll try to get some rest soon.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
The ride would've been a death trap on the one lane (in each direction) on a foggy day at 8am. Luckily it's Friday in the middle of the afternoon and no fog in sight.
No pictures to prove I fulfilled the trek, but what can I say?
Along the way just before Corte Madera, the drivetrain started getting really stiff. I stopped, turned back and found that the cable came off the rear internal gear hub! Uh oh. Last time I tried putting the cable back on, I had to use tools that I didn't bring with me on this ride. Prepared to sit there for 30 minutes to fix this, I took a deep breath and began the repair. Maybe it was my patience or maybe it was practice from last time, but I was able to fix it in just a few minutes and I was on my way.
I found a new bike path that literally runs alongside the 101 freeway. If it wasn't for the fence dividing the path from the cars, I wouldn't have dared to go on this path. Mid way through, I decided to look back to see if my flag was still there.
Slowing down and looking back towards the sky, I saw a white pole half as short as the one I had installed this morning.
No one would have stolen it this time, so I figured the red flag I lost a couple weeks before just fell off during my ride. This has never happened before. It's odd that the flag is falling off. That's two flags now! At least I can feel better knowing that the Bay to Breaker's folks weren't the thieves I thought they were. It was my fault both times. I need to tape this thing together next time.
Off to the bike shop I go tomorrow. Now do I want yellow or orange?
The Schwalbe Marathon tire weighs 440g. The Racer version is only 290g. That's a 0.11lb difference.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
I've opened the box of course but have not installed it yet. I'm waiting for Angela to finish her dinner before she goes off to work. I love the trike, but my wifey comes first. That doesn't mean my eyes aren't wide open and my body isn't jittery with excitement.
Let's start with an evaluation of the seat. The major differences are:
1. The weight (although not by much)
3. Mesh cover straps on differently
4. Horizontal back bar has been removed and replaced with a tie strap.
5. I later found that the side bars are angled differently.
This is the weight of the stock seat w/o the foam and mesh.
As for the new seat? 4.4lbs. The difference is only 6.2-4.4= 1.8lbs!!!!
I literally put each of the seats on the scale about 7 different times using the same scale to check the accuracy of my weights. I couldn't believe the difference wasn't more extreme. $250 for a measly 1.8lbs?? Really? We'll do another weigh-in later.
The left side is the stock seat and the right side is the new seat. The new one is wider. I guess this was a response to all the people complaining that their butts didn't fit into the seat comfortably. I had no such complaints. I actually prefer the narrower seat. It's more snug.
I don't have a picture, but the mesh cover is now attached by Velcro straps rather than a backpack style plastic snap. I suppose this is easier to put on and off. Maybe this cuts on a bit of weight too. Negligible though. The few grams won't make a difference.
Another big complaint about the old seat is that the horizontal bar can be felt through the foam after long rides. I got used to it before replacing the foam, but I'm still constantly reminded of the slight discomfort. I'm glad KMX addressed this in the new model.
The thin bars that run along the side of the seat.
This shot is from the Venom. The seat I ordered is supposedly this one, but it looks nothing like it. Notice how the angled bar is straight compared to....
....the Typhoon's. This one is clearly angled. Mine came angled and I had a difficult time making it fit. It didn't even look like the pieces from the seat fit together.
See how one side is perfectly aligned? This looks correct, doesn't it?
This is how the other end of the side bars looks like. It's way off!
In order to get it to fit, I had to completely remove the plastic seat backing exposing only the frame. This enabled me to get all the pieces in. The angle of the screw was still a problem, but I just muscled it in.
The parts looked like they were built in a garage rather than a factory. The fitment is horrible.
The minimal weight reduction isn't worth the money nor the trouble. The only reason I'm keeping this is b/c I'm using it for an extensive long distance ride. If I were riding the Tornado casually in the City, I definitely would not want this "upgraded" seat. The regular one is fine. I'm not sure what scale Utah Trikes used to weigh the seat, but it's definitely not 4lbs 1oz as they claimed.
I feel a bit ripped off, but there's nothing I can do right now. I don't want to waste all the work I put in this evening installing this thing. Plus, I'd have to fight Utah Trikes to pay for return shipping. I guess that would be worth it assuming I'd get at least a majority of my $250 back.
I show up and they have trouble finding it. After 15 minutes, they find an orange flag that was transferred from another store. After a week and a half the flag was never even ordered! Why'd they tell me it was special ordered if all they did was transfer one from a different store? I could have gone to that store and gotten it sooner if I wanted an orange one!
They apparently "ordered" the flag last week and when I call today to get status, guess what? They got my order, never even bothered to call me and guess what? Another orange flag. I'm looking for red folks. Red! Fire engine red. I came to Sports Basement b/c that's where I got my last one before the mean drunks snatched it.
No luck. It looks like I may have to make one. But even the two fabric stores I went to don't have the vinyl I need. I'll head to another one tomorrow to see if they have what I'm looking for.
If and when my KMX seat finally arrives in the mail today and if I have extra time, I'll head over to Home Depot to see if they have a red flag. At this point I'd pay $20 for this $7 thing. Can't believe no one has a red safety flag. I called up all the San Francisco bike shops and even a few in San Mateo - nothing.
In researching various chains priced from $8-80, I found there are weight differences btw different types. Chains differ in flexibility to accommodate various speeds. A 10-speed chain needs to flex more than a 7-speed one since the chain moves left and right across the cassette at various distances.
I stuck with the reliable SRAM brand. 310 grams each. Being that the trike is so long, it requires about 2.75 lengths of chain compared to an upright bicycle that only needs one.
The chain is already lubed. I'm glad I used gloves for this one! Those two silver things in the middle are the SRAM Powerlinks. They enable the chain to be taken apart easily by hand w/o the use of tools.
To replace the chain, I simply put the new one alongside the old one to get a match in exact length.
I took this and a few other pics to remind myself exactly how the chain is routed through the trike. I remember messing up one time and had a hard time figuring out exactly how it's all supposed to come together.
While I was at this, I made some rear brake adjustments. I removed two of the washers so that the brake pads would hug the rotor a bit more closely. The distance the rotor is from the brake was changed ever so slightly when I replaced the hub.
I was surprised to find that while testing out the brakes, the rear wheel would shake. The axle was moving up and down! Not good. I removed the outer bolt, repositioned the wheel and tightened it back. It's in good shape now. I'm glad I caught that one!
I suppose I should be happy compared to how I'd feel about maintenance components for cars. At least the trike doesn't have a $100 O2 sensor to replace.