Wednesday, March 28, 2007

First Foggy Training Ride

After being out on a film shoot until two in the morning, I did manage to crawl out of bed in time for the 11AM training ride scheduled for last Saturday. I am determined to make it to as many of them as possible, because my arse needs it.

I was glad I did, too! When first I left the apartment, the air was still pretty cool and damp. A dense fog had settled over Lake Monona, making it impossible to see out any further than about thirty feet. But it had a loveliness to it, or at least I thought so until I rode down into it and the temperature dropped by ten degrees. Wearing nothing but a jersey and my lovely spandex biking shorts, it was a bit of a shock to the system.

I made it to the agreed upon starting place at Olin Park and met up with a few of my fellow riders, all people I'd never met before, all of them very friendly. Jake, my assigned "mentor" for the ride, rolled up a few moments later and introductions were made all around. All told, there were eight of us--not a bad turn out for the first (and damp) ride of the year. Some had done the ride before, both as bikers and as crew, and a few of us were first-timers.

We set out heading south on the Capitol City Trail, to a section of it I'd never ridden. It loops under the Beltline Highway and snakes off into the farm land and countryside to the south of Madison, then heads west until it links back up with the Military Ridge Trail. We didn't go quite that far, instead jumping onto Seminole Highway and heading north into the UW Arboretum (always a pretty ride) and then back around to end where we'd started at Olin Park.

By about halfway into the ride, the sun came out and burned off most of the clouds. The temperature rose to about 70 and our outer jackets came off. All told, we did about 17 miles in just under two hours. Not bad for a first ride of the year. And I only died on one hill! OK, so it wasn't so much a hill as it was a slight but long incline. I blame my Midwestern upbringing for making me a complete wuss about hills, but it's something I'm determined to overcome. Eventually. After a lot of sweat and tears and not being able to breathe properly, anyway.

A few of us treated ourselves to lunch at The Great Dane afterwards (we mourned the loss of their delicious black bean burger, replaced by a decent but not nearly as good Morningstar veggie patty) and then went our seperate ways until the next ride.

In the meantime, the fundraising rolls on. I've raised the possibility of having my band, Aporia, play a show in the Mercury Players Theatre rehearsal warehouse as a fundraiser for my ride, which will hopefully happen sometime in May or June. We also have most of the parts for the bike we're building for my ride and are starting to piece things together. Challenge! Anyone know how to properly adjust brakes?

Monday, March 19, 2007


It's official, I will be fundraising for and then taking part in the ACT V ride in August of this year. Which means I will be documenting the whole crazy process here, for your reading and viewing pleasure (I hope). Hooray!

What's ACT V?

"ACT 5 is the fifth annual AIDS Network Cycles Together, the Wisconsin AIDS bike ride, to raise funds and awareness for AIDS Network. Our goals are to provide a ride that is a substantial challenge for all levels of riders, but is at the same time fun and safe. Educate the community, raise awareness, and teach tolerance about HIV/AIDS. And finally, raise the highest possible return to AIDS Network.

"ACT 5 covers four days and 300 miles on a bike. The riders are 100% supported before and during the ride."

I decided that it was high time that I put my money where my mouth is and do something good for someone else. AIDS Network is a great non-profit organization that works for people with HIV/AIDS and their families, providing health care support, counseling, legal representation, etc. And the great thing about the ACT Ride is that 89% of the funds raised go directly to the benefitting organization (AIDS Network). Most fundraising events have a return rate of something like 60%, so that's pretty awesome. They can do that because the whole event is almost completely volunteer-run. I'm really, really excited about doing the ride, though I admit it scares the crap out of me, too. And it's not just the prospect of fundraising (I'm not a fan of asking people for money, but I think this is well worthy cause). I'm pretty out of shape these days, and between that and my super fun knee problems, training and riding should be pretty damn hard. But I believe I can pull it off and whip myself back into shape in the process.

Even if you can't donate any money for my ride (but I hope you do), please consider giving either your time or money to similarly worthy organizations and causes. Every little bit counts. And wish me luck!

Friday, March 2, 2007

My Special Purpose!

I have found it. My special blogger purpose. Something that could, if I play my words right, elevate this place to something just barely above pure vanity/masturbation. Hoorah, I say, hoorah!

My mission, should I choose to accept it (and I do!): Spend every weekend from spring through fall of 2007 camping, hiking and biking at various locations all over Wisconsin and, sometimes, nearby states. Take pictures, take risks, learn things, have fun, and post about it!

Consider this my placeholder post until things get rolling. Plans need to be made, boots broken in, sasquatch repellent purchased, etc.

Gentlefolk, are you with me??!
The Lost Albatross