Archive | May, 2010

Thank You

24 May

You know who you are 🙂 You’ve inspired me to push myself above and beyond what I thought was physically possible. When I was delirious on my way to Montauk thoughts of you gave me the strength to keep pedaling. Despite countless patches of grass that looked oh so wonderful to “accidentally” crash and fall and stop and just give up on everything – you kept me going. (I told you I got sappy didn’t I?)

You voted for the hair cut I got this Saturday. You supported me through and through, and now I’m at the edge. This is it. It’s jump time.

In a few days I’ll begin the trek across the Southern United States to build affordable housing. Thanks to you, I’m able to put in just about a month’s rent to cap off the $4000 goal 🙂

Cheers and thank you!!!

Las minute online donation? http://tinyurl.com/help-v
*****

Mail Drops have been posted on the Bike & Build site for the route:
Bike & Build groups will receive mail approximately once a week while on the road, and welcome letters and packages from friends, family, and supporters. Mail will be delivered through USPS General Delivery. Please be sure to send mail in ample time to arrive prior to the pick-up date and only through the United States Postal Service (The Post Office will not accept mail from any other carrier). Address mail to:

Bike & Build
Attn: CYCLIST NAME
General Delivery
STREET ADDRESS (if noted)
CITY, ST ZIP

Please mark the envelope or package with “Please hold for pick-up on DATE
Late mail will be forwarded to the mail drop two weeks ahead. Late mail from the last two mail drops will be returned to sender.

Southern U.S.
June 03
20 Ave. D #101
Apalachicola, FL 32320

June 10
104 Norton Ave
Saraland, AL 36571

June 17
New Orleans, LA 70140

June 24
Natchitoches, LA 71457

July 01
206 East Walnut St
Decatur, TX 76234

July 08
1 Walnut St.
Clayton, NM 88415

July 15
2301 E. 20th St.
Farmington, NM 87401

July 22
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

July 29
51 S. Main St.
Eureka, NV 89316

August 05
761 Plumas St.
Yuba City, CA 95991

Advertisements

LOL (Locks of Love) Weekend

24 May

This past weekend was bustling with activity, but thankfully grounded with teachings from the Dalai Lama at Radio City. Teachings in the morning and graduation at night kicked things off on Thursday. Friday was a calm day of Teachings, while Saturday completely rocked any and all expectations of awesome.. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my last weekend in NYC before Bike & Build.

Thursday was a first for me, on a few levels. I graduated. I went to the graduation ceremony. I walked. I received an outrageously large envelope containing a Xeroxed sheet of paper saying my diploma, if earned, would arrive in the mail. What a show to partake in, absolutely unnecessary, but I suppose after 2 years and countless sleepless nights, the envelope was worth it…

The divisional graduate ceremony took place at the First Presbyterian Church on 12th Street. Even with its close proximity to the New School campus, this was the first time I’d ever been inside of the church. It boasts Gothic Revival features (I marveled at the arched ceiling) and is apparently modeled after St. Saviour’s Church in Bath, England.

My roommates, Stephanie and Hans, came to my graduation and afterward we celebrated at The Outback Steakhouse. I ordered the “Victoria Filet” my favorite (regardless of the name) while Hans had the special and Stephanie chose the Ribeye. We played nicely, for the most part, and minded our manners, periodically, throughout the meal. I admit being slightly stir crazy after sitting for so long, and I’m sure Stephanie and Hans were too.

Friday was slightly more laid back. I skipped the main convocation and graduate ceremony to go to the Teachings at Radio City. I figured I didn’t miss much. Any time I can have some down time sounds like a good time to me.

Saturday was simply super. I started the day with morning Teachings and then met up with Stephanie to get my hair chopped off at Crops for Girls. During lunch we watched the Dance Parade and then counted up the Bike & Build change jar before making an epic journey through the South Bronx to find FedEx. By the end of the day, I felt like a year had gone by considering all the things accomplished.

I met up with Stephanie, walking down Orchard Street. I had walked from Radio City and planned to meet her at E Houston and Bowery, but when she didn’t show I figured I’d make my way to Crops for Girls on my own. What I didn’t realize is that she was running late and had taken a different train so she ended up ahead of me. I saw a woman walking with an MS shirt on and hoping it was Stephanie, I gave a friendly punch as I passed. Luckily, it was Stephanie (though I would’ve liked to have seen what would have transpired had it been someone else). We walked the rest of the way to Crops for Girls together as we chatted about our already eventful day.

Crops for Girls is an interesting place. It’s been over a decade since I’ve last had a professional haircut, so I really didn’t know what to expect- and it seemed like my hairdresser didn’t either. Thankfully, steadfast Stephanie provided moral support. All awkwardness aside, it was a great experience-my hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love! LOL! By midafternoon I was sporting a faux-hawk.

After the cut, we stopped by a nearby TD Bank to count up the Bike & Build change jar. I’d been carrying it around all day… so I was especially eager to get to the nearest bank and lighten my pack. The TD Bank’s have a machine called the Penny Arcade that counts change for free and it even has a built-in guessing game: if you guess within a certain amount of the total change, you win a prize! So, super Stephanie guessed $54 (typed in $54.89) and what do you know- the total amount was $54.11. Pretty awesome.

While we waited in line to receive the bills we guessed at what prize we had won. A savings account that required a deposit of all $54.11? A bank loan? An all-inclusive trip to the Bahamas? More money? We were way off. The teller greeted us with a smile and congratulated us on winning, handing over the $54.11 and a pack of TD Bank playing cards as our prize. Guessing what the prize would be was far more fulfilling than actuality, but at least we can say for certain that we are winners!

Winning can take a lot out of you, so we decided to stop and have a bite to eat. Meandering up Broadway we ran into the Dance Parade, so we chose a place to sit down and eat that had a view of the event. I’ve never been so awed and inspired by rollerblading dancers or U-haul trucks and loudspeakers than I was on Saturday. For better or worse, the parade altered my concept of “dance”, taking it to a whole new level.

After the Pacha float danced by, Stephanie and I made our way to FedEx to pickup a package. FedEx is located in the middle of nowhere. The journey there was not the most pedestrian friendly, but we were intent on discovering what the package was and who it was for- we just hoped that it wasn’t for Hans, since neither Stephanie or I had an ID with our current address. Luckily the package was for Stephanie so the trek was not in vain.

Ecstatic that we made it and perhaps a bit tired from the day’s activity, we decided to have a little photo shoot outside of FedEx. It’s a great location. It has character… Unfortunately, one of our location shoots was interrupted by a guard, so we were unable to capture the true essence of the South Bronx FedEx and self-titled “World Shipping Center”- but don’t worry, one day, we will get that shot. (Yes, that’s a barbed wire fence and a construction yard in the background.)

Stephanie and I capped the day off by walking the stunning Bronx “Walk of Fame” home and stopped by the Home Depot for Spring flowers and assorted gardening goodness. It was a fitting end to an awesome day.

So much to do

19 May

Wednesday- a week from today, I’ll be in Jacksonville, Florida. Kind of incredible and really insane when I think about all the things I need to do between now and then- and considering all the things I have already put on the shelf for after the summer.

Top priority is shipping Tank! Luckily, I’ve some spare time tomorrow after the Dalai Lama teachings and before graduation. I’m hoping to squeeze a trip to Sid’s in between the two. If that doesn’t pan out as I hope; I’ll try for Friday after work. However, considering shipping time and all that jazz, I’d feel a bit more assured if I manage to make it to the bike shop Thursday.

Next thing is, I’ve got to wrap up work- which is a really tidy way to package up such a ridiculous hodgepodge of tasks and projects I’ve got up in the air. The tricky part will be discerning which ones will break and shatter, catching those items, and letting other tasks hit the ground where I can pick them up (or leave them altogether…) in the future. There will be a lot of last minute, crunch time miracles that’s for certain.

145 Miles to Montauk

18 May

This past weekend was something of an odyssey; from California to New York on Saturday and New York City to Montauk on Sunday, I was truly all over the place. Saturday’s journey was defined by overhead monotone announcements informing half-awake travelers of delayed flights. While Sunday’s adventure was an amazing trek that challenged me both mentally and physically. It was definitely a weekend like no other.

Having arrived in New York about 4 hours after the scheduled time, I was slightly frazzled and out of sorts upon landing. Thankfully I hadn’t checked any baggage so I went straight to the AirTrain, eventually deciding upon spending the extra $5 to take the Long Island Rail Road as opposed to the Subway back into NYC. Despite my mental decision, I took the AirTrain to Howard Beach rather than Jamaica so I ended up saving a few bucks and losing some more time by taking the Subway.

I didn’t arrive home until about 11pm or so, and I didn’t start packing for the ride to Montauk until midnight… I finally fell asleep around 2am which only allowed for about an hour of sleep before I had to wake for the Montauk Century– granted, had I arrived home “on time” I would have had about 5 hours of sleep. In any case, I was in complete denial of the day ahead.

At 3am, I woke to my alarm, floundered about my room in darkness and donned my bike gear that I had laid out just an hour ago. My brain was still sleeping even though the alarm jump started my body into motion. Had I not carefully laid out my clothes and backpack I definitely would have had trouble finding and sorting gear for the day.

I checked in to the event at Penn Station among a handful of avid cyclists, some in groups with matching jerseys, while other solo cyclists like myself lingered on the outskirts of the activity. I received my cue sheet; and after giving it a quick glance, I took off down 8th Avenue just after 5am.

It was surreal crossing the East River into Brooklyn. The sun rose as I made my way across the Williamsburg Bridge, pacing myself behind someone far more awesome than I could ever imagine: a young woman who was completing the 145 miles in flip flops. Her amazing-ness coupled with the beautiful sunrise and my adrenaline set the day off on a wonderful note.

The first rest stop was in Queens, though I didn’t tarry long nor did I stock up on foodstuffs (I regretted this trend later on). The second stop was in Babylon where I stopped long enough to snap a photo. Unfortunately, I lost the cue sheet while riding from the finish line, so I can’t quite recall the remaining rest stops other than the very last one, at Water Mill, where I actually stopped to eat 2 bananas and an apple as I’m quite certain I had depleted all glucose stores in my muscles. Had I actually utilized the rest stops to rest and replenish sugar levels and whatnot, maybe the ride wouldn’t have been as… interesting.

I discovered my physical threshold around 90 miles into the ride. That’s when all sorts of interesting things happened. My leg muscles began to feel like they were constantly contracted, as if at any moment they’d implode. My lungs had that same sensation as I would have had after the last 100 meters of running a mile- except instead of being sharp and lasting a minute or so, the feeling was somewhat subdued and lasted for the remaining hours of the ride. To keep myself going, I remembered the people who believed in me and donated to the Bike & Build Fund as well as thinking of all the pain that people go through who can’t afford housing. It was an excruciating mental and physical exercise.

Thankfully, I found a friend to pace to, or rather, he found me- thanks to my Bike & Build jersey. Matt noticed my super snazzy gear as he was passing by and cycled alongside me for a good amount of the second half of the trek. I did my best to keep pace with him, which ironically increased my average speed for the last bit of the journey. Matt also gave me invaluable tips on shifting gears and tackling hills, which completely altered my hill strategy- okay fine! I didn’t have any strategy for hills before Sunday. Needless to say, Matt was a lifesaver.

I rolled through the finish line around 4pm – 11 hours after starting and completely spent. It was incredible. After parking my bike on the lawn, I took a shower and sat in the shade of a truck to munch on some turkey jerky and reflect on the journey. Everything was great. The shower, the jerky, the lawn… I was riding a wave of endorphins. It was a beautiful experience on so many levels; it was an incredible journey in so many ways. A perfect primer for the awesomeness that is Bike & Build.

NYC to Montauk

NYC to Montauk

Reasons To Give Whether You Love/Hate/Don’t Care

13 May

With less than 2 weeks before the start of Bike & Build, I admit I’m more than just slightly concerned over the fact that I’ve got over $1000 left to fundraise- no, let me rephrase that, it’s not how much I need to raise that keeps me up all night, it’s how many people have yet to respond-positive or negative- to my call for help and support. I don’t quite understand it- I feel low down. If I dwell on it, I feel my heart sink.

So before I lose any more time being sad, let’s get happy with all the reasons why you should support my endeavor to bike across the country and build affordable housing:

IF YOU LOVE ME:
I LOVE YOU, TOO! Donate a dollar to boost my spirit and morale- You are my a reason to keep on keeping on. Believe me, when I’m riding out there for +100 miles, your good energy and support is my life line. For serious.

IF YOU HATE ME:
Donate a dollar to ensure a long, hot, and grueling summer. Force me to devote my summer months to physical labor, building houses, and cycling all day in hot and humid Southern US weather.

IF YOU COULDN’T CARE LESS:
Then you wouldn’t care donating a dollar. I mean honestly, $1. I know it’s rough out there, a lot of people are pinching pennies – but that’s why I’m doing this! Housing is a huge and necessary cost burden. Your dollar will be funding an effort to help alleviate this issue by supporting my cross-country ride and the houses I build along the way- oh… you don’t care? My bad… I get all riled up about this. Any who, donate a dollar, consider it your good deed of the day/week/what-have-you. Peace.

IF YOU ALREADY DONATED:
You are amazing. Truly, honestly, amazing. When my muscles start to give out, thoughts of you renew my energy and sustain me to the end. It’s sappy, but believe me, after +100 miles everything is.