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The Green Jersey

May 18, 2013
Green jersey courtesy of 99 awesome donors!

Green jersey courtesy of 99 awesome donors!

I just checked in for Climate Ride, and soon, Team Tracey will hit the road.

At registration, I picked up my official jersey as well as another exciting item of apparel: a green jersey for being one of the top ten fundraisers overall.  Check it out!

While I knew my fundraising goal was ambitious, I never expected that it was enough to rank #9.  I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who’s donated and helped me raise over $5,700 thus far.  And if you’ve been meaning to give – or you’re freaked out by the recent news from Maona Loa – or you want to provide a little extra motivation as I tackle those crazy California hills – it’s not too late.  I’d love to break $6,000.  Click here to donate now.

Otherwise, final preparations for the adventure are almost complete.

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Peak training: 68 miles

May 10, 2013
Getting a different view of Mt. Diablo, from the east side.

Getting a different view of Mt. Diablo, from the east side.

About a month after the organized training rides visited the Morgan Territory, I set out to try this ride myself.  I would have liked to have gone earlier, to see wildflowers and green hills, but my restrictions – start at 6:00 a.m. before BART is running, minimize travel time to/from ride – meant that for me, it was a 60+ mile ride.  So I saved it for my peak training ride last Saturday and planned to head for the east side of Mt. Diablo starting from home.

While I was eating breakfast, my phone buzzed.  I get a text message every time someone donates, so at 5:30 a.m. I was hoping that it was an east coast online supporter – and it was!  My cousin Kevin got the day started right, putting me within a few dollars of my fundraising goal.  Loaded with lots of water and snacks, I headed out a few minutes past six.

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Taking it up a notch

April 29, 2013
Usually Peter gets to text me beautiful photos during the work day.  My turn!

Usually Peter gets to text me beautiful photos during the work day. My turn!

After a couple of crazy weeks at work with back-to-back events, I took a mental health day on Friday. I deposited A at day care and headed out for a mid-morning pedal.  Up to Inspiration Point, back over the top of Grizzly Peak, and finally down Tunnel Road for a total of 23 miles.  It was a glorious day (for which I paid dearly this morning at work) although I definitely remembered why I hate descending on Tunnel.  Awful visibility, slow, not that fun.  Much better to drop down Claremont and try to break my speed record until some driver cuts me off and forces me to go 20 mph on the curvy, steep road.

I guess I shouldn’t complain about people driving slowly.  I complain daily about people driving too fast on other roads.

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Training ride catch-up: Puppies and more!

April 23, 2013
Coffee break in Orinda after the first 32 miles of my ride.

Coffee break in Orinda after the first 32 miles of my ride.

Here’s a catch-up post on my last two training rides.  This is going up later than I had hoped, because I forgot the power supply for my computer on my trip to Sacramento…a theme perhaps?

Sunday, April 14: Animals and Pinehurst

I set out a little later than the week before – 6:30 a.m. – to combine Three Bears with Pinehurst and do another 50 miles.  It was still pretty darn cold rolling down Wildcat Canyon at 7:40 a.m. or so, and then I decided to roll the opposite direction around Three Bears, so I got some chilly fingers and toes before more climbing could warm me up.  But I was rewarded with some great animal views – a deer along the ridgetop crossed right in front of me, a few small groups of turkeys, and even a little bunny hopped along the shoulder while I was on Bear Creek Road!

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I Love My Legs

April 21, 2013
An attempt to get a photo of legs while biking.

An attempt to get a photo of legs while biking.

That’s not something I would have said 15 years ago.  Or even probably 5 years ago.  But I’m still trying to come to grips with what happened at the Boston Marathon.

As a woman – heck, even as a girl – growing up in the good ole suburban USA, I hated my legs.  I thought I was fat, even when I would lose my menstrual cycles every fall during swim season (which is a sign that one does not have enough body fat to bear a child).  I knew I wasn’t skinny, which would have been find had there not been plenty of feedback around me to suggest that I should be.  And my legs were the worst part.

I also know I wasn’t the only one.  I remember a rowing teammate – on Radcliffe Crew, a pretty high-level program – talking about how she got through an erg test.  “I just looked down at my thighs and said ‘I hate you! I hate you!’ on every stroke.”  This was a top athlete (I was a walk-on, she was a recruit) whose thighs were keeping her in the first boat while I struggled to hold my seat in the third.  Seriously?  Those thighs could get you a gold medal if you work hard enough.  Mine, not so much.

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So sad. So inspired.

April 16, 2013
Assam Alwash, Goldman Prize winner from Iraq.

Assam Alwash, Goldman Prize winner from Iraq.

Yesterday was some day, huh?  I had been planning to write about my last training ride but other stuff seemed more pressing.

Around noon, I got the news about the Boston Marathon explosions and went through an emotional process that has become far too routine of late.

  1. Check Facebook and Twitter for breaking news to get a sense of what’s up.  See photos I wish I hadn’t seen.
  2. Think of all the people I know who might be there, or have family there.  Ping them to ask whether they/their families are okay.
  3. While waiting for confirmation of folks’ safety, freak out with my coworkers.
  4. Go back on Facebook and Twitter until another photo-I-wish-I-hadn’t-seen makes me stop.
  5. Try, distractedly, to resume work, but fail.

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50 miles, uncaffeinated, before 10am

April 7, 2013
The TransForm Carbon Crushers in action.

The TransForm Carbon Crushers in action.

Okay, almost.  I was at about 47 miles at 10:20am when I arrived at Wheels of Justice Cyclery for a team fundraiser – bike-powered smoothies for sale at the Farmers Market – but by the end of the day, I made it to 60 miles.  Wow!

Today’s training started before dawn because of the fundraiser.  Sundays are my training day, so I had to figure out how to fit in a 50-mile ride around our 10am-2pm event…not so easy!  I was on the bike at 6:05 a.m., five minutes later than planned, but for a Sunday morning I think that’s pretty darn good.  I got a little caught up in the New York Times over breakfast but that gave me something to think about as I rolled solo for 4+ hours.  No time for coffee, though – eesh.

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Rain, schmain.

April 2, 2013
Pre-bike Easter pancakes.

Pre-bike Easter pancakes.

Easter Sunday’s forecast was 70% chance of showers with thunderstorms.  Thunderstorms!  One of the things I miss most about my east coast roots is thunder.  Normally, this would be a happy weather report for me.

But Sundays are my training day.  Biking in the rain is kinda cold.  Going over hills during thunderstorms is not always safe.  I told Peter I’d try to leave by 9 or 10am because I knew it was going to be hard to get out the door in the rain.

Of course, when your child wakes you up by 6:30am each morning, that leaves lots of time to motivate.  By 8am, we had completed our celebratory egg hunt and pancake breakfast.  And…I saw blue skies!  So by 8:30am I was out the door to ride Three Bears.
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Lost, sunburned, and in need of a chai latte

March 25, 2013

arlington el cerritoSo, yesterday I went on my first group training ride with the excellent folks from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.  35 miles seemed like a realistic next step up from 25 miles, even if it was three weeks ago.  The ride description seemed very comprehensive, and promised that if I got to the top of Grizzly Peak, I’d be ready for the biggest hill on Climate Ride.  Peter gave me the go-ahead for a few hours off and I projected that I might be home by 1pm.

At 9am, I met about 20 riders (whoa!) at Rockridge BART, signed a liability waiver, got a cue sheet, and off we went.  Up up up on Tunnel Road like my normal little ride, but this one would continue much farther.  I relaxed my normal pace – since I usually have about an hour to bust out the 11 miles of Tunnel-Claremont before resuming parent duties – and chatted with a few different people on the way up.  It was gorgeous and I even put sunscreen on…my legs. Read more…


March 16, 2013

We’re almost at the end of our Alaska adventure, and I think it’s been an almost complete success.  A few highlights:

Who says you can't bike commute in the snow?

Who says you can’t bike commute in the snow?

1. Winter training, Alaska style.  Our friends in Anchorage tracked down a fat bike for Peter’s long legs and on our first full day in the far north we all enjoyed riding through fresh, falling snow.  Probably about 5 inches came down over the course of the day, making the conditions especially forgiving for us outsiders.  How’s that for keeping up with my training routine while on the go?

Fat biking was just becoming a thing 5 years ago when we last visited and now it’s become a critical component of winter happiness.  We can’t imagine getting sick of skiing, but I guess if you live in Alaska, it can happen.  (Arctic first world torture??) Read more…