Climate Ride California 2013:Day 0

Our journey began today as we met at awesome eco-conscious Sports Basement for registration near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I greeted many returning riders who I’ve met on my past two NYC-DC rides and made tons of new friends (some of which I “knew” from Facebook!). Hi to my teammate, Abe! :-)

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We meandered up the coast, with most riders in two charter buses. A couple of us rode with volunteers in vehicles due to space constraints. It was a fun afternoon filled with awesome conversation getting to know Andrew better (CR Ride Manager and Excel Wizard) and meeting a new ride leader volunteer, Michelle, who has had some amazing life experiences leading rides and training staff at Backroads. She just graduated grad school and had some down time and decided to volunteer for CR three days ago and here she is!

Our lunch stop was at the incredible Solar Living Institute which had hands-on displays of solar technologies, bicycle powered blenders, water conservation systems, and composting toilets. And this being wine country and all, there was an organic vineyard providing free wine tasting for climate riders!

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Once we arrived at camp, my mountainman of a brother and my sister-in-law arrived to spend some much-wanted family time together! It’s been 25 months since I’ve seen them!!!! We set up camp and then made our way to dinner at the first organic brewery in the US, The Eel River Brewing Company. All of the volunteer staff were introduced and cheered for the amazing support they will provide to us to keep us safe and our bikes functioning, and the two teams who raised the most were awarded CR pint glasses filled to the brim with organic brew. After a delicious meal, we made our way back to camp, Justin, Trish and I giggled in the tent about silly movies we enjoyed (Napoleon Dynamite being a Hunt family favorite) and now we are all snuggled up in our sleeping bags. I am so grateful to my siblings for making the looong trip down to see me off!

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It’s time to catch some Z’s before the totally epic portion of our ride begins tomorrow! As I lay here listening to the quiet night of Northern California, I’m thinking of the 75+ people who have made this 3rd Climate Ride possible for me. You know who you are, you generous donors! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me the honor of representing you on this ride. I am grateful for your support of the vital work of Citizens Climate Lobby and Renewable Energy Long Island. And if you’ve been meaning to donate, it’s not too late! http://bike.climateride.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=1992

Pedaling for Progress

I woke up this morning for my first day in California. The sun is shining and it’s 60*. What a welcome, San Francisco! :-)

A very gracious Climate Rider who lives here offered to host me tonight so that I don’t have to pay for a hotel. I made my way to Leslie’s place in downtown SF by cab. Naturally, the curious driver asked me “what’s in the box?” referring to my dissembled bike. After he helped me heave it into the backseat of the minivan, we talked about my upcoming adventure and why I would take on such a challenge. I asked him what he thought about climate change and what we need to do. His words struck me: “We need progress. We only have this one planet. We need new technologies that will keep our Earth clean and habitable for humans and we need to let scientists do their research to help us make more progress.”

I asked if he had a family and he said yes, 3 kids. It’s clear that he is worried about what they and their children might face if we maintain the status quo.

When we arrived at my host’s home, Jesse helped me unload my luggage and bike and shook my hand and wished me safe travels and to enjoy scenic Highway 1.

I spent the rest of the afternoon buying a few last minute necessities and reassembling my bike. I’m proud to say practice helped: I put my bike together at my fastest speed yet! And when I took it for a spin around these HILLY SF streets, everything seemed to be in order (except for maybe my legs which aren’t used to such hilly terrain!).

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In a few minutes I’ll go to dinner with Leslie and her friends to “carb up.” I don’t know how much sleep I will get tonight because I am filled with anticipatory excitement to see some old friends tomorrow and to start making some new ones!

But what has gotten me most excited today is my 20 minute discussion during my taxi ride with an average American who gets it. So Jesse, a friendly cab driver in San Francisco, on Sunday I begin pedaling my bike for you and your 3 children in the hopes that we will wake up to the reality of our climate, changed, and do some hard work to “make progress.”

California Dreamin’

Just landed in San Francisco! Let’s hope my luggage all arrived in one piece as well.

I’ve got to give it to JetBlue: there was free NY wine and hors d’oeurevs at the terminal. It was a nice send off and total strangers were laughing and making new friends at the airport!

Talulah and Gretta were sad to see me off and Little Kitty tried to stowaway. But alas, this trip is without animals and I was able to awkwardly maneuver both my duffle and the giant bike case all by myself.

Now it’s off to the hotel for some z’s….

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Checklists

Checklists are my friend. I would not be able to function without them. I’ve checked of quite a few things from my Climate Ride California to-do list, but I’ve still got a ways to go!

Bike is apart and packed.

Flight is confirmed.

Hotels are lined up.

Tent and air mattress have been tested (and the mattress *just barely* fits into my very small tent, whew!).

Plans are made to see my brother and sister-in-law the evening before the ride (woohoo!).

But I still have to pack all of my clothes, belongings, and camping gear. That’s going to happen soon. But first, I wanted to pump myself up by looking at Climate Ride California’s itinerary again. You could call it the checklist of FUN that I will be having in a few short days! How exciting is this?!

DAY 1

61 MILES

Climate Ride’s Pacific adventure begins in the heart of Northern California’s Redwood Empire. We pedal south from ‘The Friendly City’ Fortuna and turn our tires toward the towering redwoods along the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Once in the park, we ride past the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world, and eat a picnic lunch in their massive shadows. After lunch, we pass through several small northern California towns that once boomed in the heyday of the northwest’s logging era. Tonight we camp nestled under a soaring canopy of hundred-foot tall redwoods.

DAY 2

66 MILES

This morning brings more redwoods and stunning vistas of the surrounding Northern California countryside before we tackle the famous Leggett Hill, with a stout climb of 1400 feet.  Once at the top, we catch the views before descending through manzanitas and moss-covered oaks to the spectacular coastline, dotted with sea stacks and sparkling azure lagoons.  We continue along the rugged ribbon of Highway 1 to the coastal town of Ft. Bragg, where an afternoon beverage and tasty treats await. A few more quick miles and we arrive at our campsite for the evening, still within earshot of crashing waves.

DAY 3

65 OR 100 MILES

All day today, we wind along one of the most remote stretches of seaside highway in California. Small twists and turns in the road give way to dramatic vistas of the seemingly endless Pacific, with windswept beaches and twisted Cypress trees. We pedal past the scenic lighthouse at Point Arena and historic Fort Ross, through tiny seacoast villages, before turning inland at the mouth of the mighty Russian River where our camp for the night awaits.

If 65 miles is enough for you, you can hop in our shuttle at Stewarts Point, and get a lift to camp. Or if 100 miles is more your style, this is your day to go for a century!

DAY 4

60 MILES

After two days along the coast, we head east to enjoy a taste of California’s world renowned wine country. We depart Duncans Mills and ride inland as the redwoods thin out and wineries become more plentiful. Stop in for a tasting, or visit the charming, quaint town of Guerneville and with its boutiques and cafes. In the afternoon, we head back toward the coast over rolling hills to Tomales Bay, where quiet roads wind along the idyllic bay past oyster beds and seafood shacks. Our day ends at our campground home for the night, near Point Reyes Station.

DAY 5

40 MILES

We begin our last day with a hearty camp breakfast before making our way back to civilization. We pedal along the coast through the seaside town of Stinson Beach, before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. Here we will celebrate our successful ride, and our contribution in helping our beneficiaries work toward sustainability, green innovation, and renewable energy.

T-Minus 6 Days to Climate Ride California!

By this time next week, I will have completed Days 1 and 2 of Climate Ride California! I’ll have pedaled about 125 miles so far and I’m sure my legs will be burning.

In the past week I’ve done a lot of things to prepare physically and mentally for this epic challenge.

Yesterday I did my last training ride before California with alum from Climate Ride NYC-DC 2012. Thanks to Abe, Alix, Brendan, Julie, and Mikelle for joining me from the 79th St Boat Basin up to Nyack to get in one last ride! We had a delicious brunch/lunch at the ever-popular Runcible Spoon.

The gang after brunch at "The Spoon"

The gang after brunch at “The Spoon”

Somewhere south of Piermont...

Somewhere south of Piermont…

Elevation gain of over 9,000 feet!

Elevation gain of over 9,000 feet!

I have also spent several hours over the past few weeks learning how to disassemble and pack my bike (and put it back together!) so that I can take it as checked luggage on my flight. I’ve practiced the process three times, so I hope I’m able to do this all independently in CA!

Ruby, deconstructed.

Ruby, deconstructed.

Packing my bike

Packing my bike

There’s still a lot to do before I fly out on Thursday, but yesterday’s training ride made me even more excited for Climate Ride California to start! I guess you could say that I’m California Dreamin’ and I think my teammate Abe is too!

Team reLI on our last training ride before heading to Cali

Team reLI on our last training ride before heading to Cali! The GWB is in the background. We’ll attempt a similar photo on the west coast with the Golden Gate Bridge!

If you’ve been meaning to contribute to my fundraising to support the work of Citizens Climate Lobby and Renewable Energy Long Island, you can still do so here: http://bike.climateride.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=1992

A NY Times, 104 mile, glorious weekend

Overall, I had a pretty great weekend! On Friday, as part of my volunteer work with Citizens Climate Lobby (which is one of my beneficiary organizations!), I had a letter to the editor of the NY Times published! Read the original article I am responding to here and my LTE here.
I was so surprised and excited I went to Starbucks and bought a print copy!

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On Saturday I did a sixty mile ride with the SBRA Century newbies who I had been helping to train before the car accident. It was so great seeing their progress! Many of them are now faster than me! Oh, how the teacher becomes the student! We stopped at Iron Pier beach and then the famous Brieremere for pie.

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I bought some local asparagus and cilantro but didn’t have my bike bag with me. So I zipped it up in my windbreaker and looked like a pregnant lady riding!

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On Sunday I volunteered for the Cops Who Care charity ride as an SBRA Ride Marshal. It was only 25 miles so I wanted to get in additional training so I rode from home to Port Jeff to the ride start and then rode home afterwards. It was a fun and gorgeous day and ended up being about 44 miles round trip.

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But BOY did my legs hurt! I learned why when I fired up my MapMyRide app: I had an elevation gain of over 6000 feet! Who knew you could get that gain on LI?! Apparently on the north shore you can!

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I still have some training and logistical work (figuring out how to take apart and reassemble my bike for travel!) to do in preparation for Climate Ride. I’m totally on that. Can you help with the fundraising bit? I am $556 away from my goal of $3,000. Here’s my link: http://bike.climateride.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=1992

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