From Portland to Boise, aka Follow that Cyclist

Kevin and Sunyoung and me doing one of the things we do best!

Kevin and Sunyoung and me doing one of the things we do best!

You’ll have to forgive me, I think this post is going to seem a little vague. The last week of cycling went by in a blur, and honestly I rarely knew exactly where I was. For what is probably a more accurate account of what happened, visit Kevin’s Basses Bikes and Boise!

Anyway, I spent a glorious couple of days relaxing in Portland with wonderful hosts. Despite all the help I got from Sue and Be the Match, Portland CrossFitters did not respond to my requests to hold donor drives at their boxes. Which was a little disappointing, but also kind of nice, since that meant more domestic time under a roof for me. I baked cookies for the family, went on grocery shopping trips, got a little massage, did my laundry, and all those little things were very soothing. Friday May 8th rolled around very quickly, though, and it was time to meet Kevin and Sunyoung at the train station.

Linda calls up the different Be the Match reps in the northwest district and introduces me as a

Linda calls up the different Be the Match reps in the northwest district and introduces me as a “celebrity.” Ha!

I cheated and got a ride into downtown Portland so that I could have time to poke around a bit before the train came in. I dropped in at a CrossFit box to make sure they knew what they were missing out on by not hosting me (just kidding, I’m sure they’re doing their own wonderful things!) and then swung by the Be the Match office unannounced. Linda Alexander, manager of the northwest district, was engaged in an absolute flurry of activity, but once she realized who I was, she squealed and enveloped me in her tornado of energy. Almost immediately she plunked me into a conference call with the other Be the Match contacts in the northwest district. It was great to hear Frances’ voice again and to get to talk to John, whose email I had recently blown up with plans for Boise. Continue reading

From Eureka to Portland, aka You’re Going the Wrong Way

He learnt to communicate with birds and discovered that their conversation was fantastically boring. It was all to do with wind speed, wing spans, power-to-weight ratios and a fair bit about berries. Unfortunately, he discovered, once you have learnt birdspeak you quickly come to realize that the air is full of it the whole time, just inane bird chatter. There is no getting away from it.  – Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

At the risk of having you all experience what Arthur Dent went through when he learnt birdspeak, I’m going to talk a lot about what it’s like to pedal north, or as I like to call it, The Wrong Way, along the Pacific coast. You’ve been warned.

So last I left off, I was sitting in Eureka, trying to get people registered as potential new bone marrow donors. The people at Cal Courts were amazingly friendly, and we got over a dozen people to register! I tried to get a wod in, but people kept wanting to swab, so I very happily did that instead. The next morning, Tuesday April 28th, I dropped in on Humboldt CrossFit and got a few more people after they completed their wod. I was sad to leave Eureka, but it was time to ship the swab kits back to San Francisco and get back on the bike.

As I was leaving my Motel 6, a lady in the parking lot told me to take lots of pictures. I was heading for some incredibly picturesque places! I was a little behind schedule, and I wondered if I would be able to visit Patrick’s Point as originally planned. But I figured that I would regret it if I didn’t spend time there, so I made camp early at Patrick’s Point and took myself for a nice hike. And I’m so very glad I did. If you’ve never been to Patrick’s Point and are able to, you must go.

A panoramic shot of some of the beauty found at Patrick's Point.

A panoramic shot of some of the beauty found at Patrick’s Point.

There are all kinds of interesting rock formations, sea stacks, secret little beaches, and incredibly varied and super dense forest. The trails are clearly marked, but also rugged enough to give you the feeling that you’re off on a wilderness adventure. I took a small bottle of wine with me and found a little outcrop to sit and reflect. Continue reading

From Sunnyvale to Eureka

It is surreal to think that I am currently fulfilling one of my childhood dreams while tragedy has struck Nepal. Events like this make me realize just how small we are and how brief our time here is. So grab your opportunities when they come! If anyone hasn’t made their donation yet to help, I am a big fan of Foundation Beyond Belief.

So today I am at Cal Courts in Eureka to meet the CrossFitters there and hopefully inspire them to join the Be the Match registry! I’ve been talking to people on the road about Be the Match and everyone has been incredibly supportive, but this is my first arranged meeting! Frances sent swab kits up, and I’m super excited to get them distributed to new potential marrow donors. Wish me luck!

But I suppose I should do a summary of the first week on the road. It has been such an incredible week.

Erik, Lori, and Sue accompanied me for the start of my journey.

Erik, Lori, and Sue accompanied me for the start of my journey.

Continue reading

The First Three Days

Well, I need a new post up here, that’s obvious. But I’m really exhausted.

So the short story is: I’ve cycled from Sunnyvale to Anchor Bay, California. That’s 176 miles. I’ve slept very little, because I’m not good at sleeping in new places. It’s one thing I knew would be a challenge, but something I figure my body will just have to learn.

It’s been gorgeous, it’s been challenging, there have been headwinds, I’m not as far along as I’d like to be, and I stupidly climbed Mt. Tam my first day. My bike weighs more than 80 pounds.

And now I’m getting into my hammock to see if I can actually sleep. More later!

Hammock Test in Big Basin

My friends Kat and Hai-Yue are the cutest. They have been wanting to go camping for a while, and after several weeks of conflicting schedules, we finally made it! Unfortunately, it had to be a short trip, but still totally fun!

I was originally planning on cycling to the campsite, but lack of time made that impractical. Instead, my focus was to just have a good time and to try out the camping hammock that Ed and Lauren had given me for my birthday.

Lauren told me that she had gotten in contact with this guy who helped start the non-profit Bike the US for MS. She asked him what was one piece of equipment that he found invaluable, and he told her his hammock. So she and Ed got me a hammock! The idea is that with this hammock, I could leave the tent at home.

Well, I’m a bit a skeptical. I’ve dealt with hammocks a lot in the past. And I have to say that falling out of hammocks is a thing. Continue reading

To Folsom!

It was time to do a longer solo trip to really work out the kinks of bicycle travel, so I decided to go to Folsom.

Yup, that Folsom.

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since, I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

– Johnny Cash

Why Folsom? Back in my student teaching days, I made a friend in Felton named Molly. She just recently started a teaching job at a continuation school in Rancho Cordova and moved into a house in Folsom. I really wanted to see her classroom and hang out with her a bit and just get to know what her new life is all about. She’s gone through some difficult times, to put it mildly, and I’m just happy that things are going so well for her now.

Of course, I wouldn't be starting in San Francisco.

Just a small section of the Western Express Route. Of course, I wouldn’t be starting in San Francisco.

Fortunately, the Western Express Route, a quicker route across the US than the TransAmerica Route, goes right through Folsom, and I just happen to have those maps! It was too perfect: a fantastic opportunity to explore an Adventure Cycling route, and a route that went along the American River Trail, no less! I love the American River. I used to go whitewater kayaking on the American River quite a lot, so that river is filled with precious memories for me. Continue reading

Barbells Bikes Bones and Boards

The training plan calls for long rides on Saturdays, so last Saturday I figured I would take off on my bike and not worry about anything else. I didn’t bother to badger anyone into joining me, because if I’m not okay with riding by myself for hours and hours, then I have a serious problem.

But it was my birthday on Sunday (and my Dad’s), and since the gym is closed on Sunday, we were doing my birthday WOD on Saturday. I couldn’t skip that!

Amy’s Birthday WOD
21 – 15 – 9
Deadlifts
Lateral bar hop burpees

We take our deadlifts seriously at Prometheus CrossFit. The fact that this picture was taken during the Open 15.2 has nothing to do with the intent coaching gaze. Well... maybe it has a little something to do with it.

We take our deadlifts seriously at Prometheus CrossFit. The fact that this picture was taken during the Open 15.2 has nothing to do with the intent coaching gaze. Well… maybe it has a little something to do with it.

Last year Ben set the Rx weight for the deadlifts at 1.5x bodyweight. That’s a lot of weight. I showed up to the gym and figured that I would scale it down, especially considering that I was slightly hungover. Hey, it was my birthday, and we’d started celebrating early. And I put myself in the second heat cuz, again, it was my birthday and I was slightly hungover. But you know how it is when you show up at a CrossFit gym. The enthusiasm is infectious, and suddenly you start thinking that it’s your birthday WOD, you should do it Rx! Continue reading

Competition and Blindness

The CrossFit Open is here! The CrossFit Open is here!

Does Annie Thorsdottir also have to trick herself into working out most days of the week, do you think?

Does Annie Thorisdottir also have to trick herself into working out most days of the week?

Oh, who cares? I’m on a pretty strict cycling schedule, and pushing myself in the Open is just too risky. I can’t afford to be too exhausted or injured to put in the miles on my bike.

Unless…. Continue reading

Whiskey and Hills

Before we get into stuff about cycling, there is something of utmost importance that needs addressing.

The whiskey situation in my cabinet is dire.

Travesty.

Travesty.

No self-respecting whiskey lover can call this a whiskey collection. I’ve had many of these bottles for a very long time. Apparently I haven’t kept up with restocking. And apparently I also have some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder where I need my bottles to clear out all at the same time. That’s weird, I wouldn’t have guessed that. It took a few years for this compulsion to manifest itself, but there it is. Continue reading

Hello Kitty Envy and 12% +

The quest to keep my bike mine continues, as my friends are still bringing in stickers for Lutz and signing their names. It’s also become somewhat of a thing to write some kind of chemistry or physics equation on Lutz, such as the ideal gas law PV = nRT.

He’s looking pretty good now, as you can see here as he hangs out on the weightlifting platform.

Lutz spends a whole lot of time in this room.

Lutz spends a whole lot of time in this room.

I’m loving the reactions I get from people when they see my bike. When I’m waiting at a stop light and there are other cyclists there, they look sideways at it and can’t help but comment. Usually they’re surprised that I’m willing to do this to my bike, but they agree that it probably will keep thieves away. One group of lycra-clad cyclists with super skinny tires on their bikes turned to peer at me after I’d ridden alongside them for several miles, complete with non-lycra attire, panniers, and non-clip-in shoes, and asked how I’d managed to keep up. They guessed that the secret was in the Hello Kitty stickers and promised me they’d get some for their own bikes. Continue reading