Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 17: A Couple's Massage

The Rocky Mountains are like that really attractive girl from junior high school: She is beautiful, she knows she’s beautiful, and, because of that, she is going to make the developmental stage in your life a living hell.

After a day duller than a 156 game Wimbledon match, today’s uphill ride proved to be a welcome relief from the absence of excitement. Although our team has handled days much more challenging than today’s 3000 ft climb/ill-designed shoulder treads/stand still traffic, the miniscule annoyances made today’s 80 mile journey a drawn out affair.

The morning began with a beat, as Shane’s tonsils clearly still felt the after-effects of his accident and his painkillers and kept the entire team awake with his snoring. Through Shane’s air horn, our tireless riders somehow managed to wake up at 6:00 AM to begin the day. Mike and Kirsten left first, continuing in their tradition of being perhaps the only riders who truly appreciate the scenery we pass by. It seems as though the two of them always manage to point out some important landmark missed by the fitness freaks that are Zane, Sanford, and Jason (ha ha, okay… you got me… Jason is still a wana-be fitness freak). As the sun rose higher, the rest of the group managed to navigate its way out of the Mesa State College campus, putting all five riders on the road at about 7:30 AM.

Smooth sailing carried our riders through to the fifty-mile marker and Zane’s wonderful turkey and mayonnaise sandwiches stripped the championship belt off of Claire’s waste and gave him the esteemed position of “best sandwich maker.” During lunch, each rider slowly began to realize that there were splendid hotel rooms awaiting them at the Glenwood Springs Hotel (courtesy of an anonymous and very generous alum), and we all chose to push hard to the spa, cutting lunch short. Despite the repaving of the roads, all five riders arrived in Glenwood by 2:00 PM, leaving just enough time for a dip in the Hot Springs next to the hotel.

Realizing that they would not be sharing beds for the first time in over a week, Shane and Jason chose to do whatever it took to continue their budding friendship. Due to Jason’s o-so-hilarious sense of humor, the answer to this was in a couples’ hot stone massage at the Glenwood Springs Spa –it should be noted that Jason made the reservation, while Shane had no idea it was a couples message until his name card read “Shane Lupatkin.” As Sanford, Zane, Claire and the gang laughed from the pool, the two Lupatkins enjoyed one another’s company and the finest touch Colorado has to offer.

Post rub down, the A-Team reassembled to head out for a large steak dinner at Juicy Lucy's, courtesy of another very generous alum. Today’s anonymous donations to our ride really hit home as our group dressed up, ate well, and enjoyed one another’s company at our family dinner. We each bike at least 4 hours a day, and have way to much time on our hands to think about the definition of service, but it truly has been the helping hands along the way that have taught us the most about giving back.

Tomorrow, we will pedal another 4,000 ft up the Rockies to Vail, CO to stay with the Garton Family. We have a tent, we have more than enough canned food, but because of the many acts of kindness we have received so far on our journey, none of the above have been needed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 16: A Sepia Day in "The Colorful State"

After more than two weeks of travel, it's funny how a 40 mile cycling day can seem like a simple ride through the neighborhood to a friend's house.

Opening our eyelids at separate times, the gang formerly known as Mystery Inc. had many different plans for the morning. Kirsten and Mike woke up at 7:30 am to roll into Arches National Park to capture some final pictures of the Delicate Arch. Sanford and Zane broke into the kitchen at an undisclosed time to read the New York Times and sip coffee before work, discussing whatever the two of them talk about. Claire jumped out of bed with her newfound energy to paint her nails a very awkward teal color. And, most importantly, Shane and Jason cuddled in bed until 11:30, when Momma' Claire rolled in to tell them that they had overslept the 11:00 AM checkout time.

By 12:30 our confused and discombobulated bunch had reassembled and arranged Jason’s Muscle Milk, Sanford’s Twilight books, and all of our bikes, suitcases, and sleeping bags into the car. With just enough room to pack in some of our limbs, our car departed Moab in pursuit of the point on I-70 where Jason and Zane ended their ride on Sunday.

As hard as we can try, there is no way to beautify today to make it sound interesting. We biked an up and down 40 miles, with the last 10 along the hardly impressive Colorado River. Jason and Zane both popped their tires and needed to be picked up by Claire. Perhaps the most exciting part of the day came at the City Market when Claire rode in the children’s shopping cart and Jason mistakenly purchased toilet paper instead of paper towels.

Arriving in Grand Junction, CO around 5, we set up camp at our spacious housing at Mesa State University (a big thank you to Chuck Thomas and Stuart Kuhn for getting us two huge dorm rooms with more than enough beds) and scavenged through the van to find a cheap dinner. The Carnies in Moab had conned us out of hundreds, and for some reason, it was nice to just sit back and crack open some free canned food.

Tomorrow, with luck, will be some interesting riding as we take our first few pedals into the infamous Rocky Mountains. With 87 miles and 3000 ft uphill on the agenda, we are all hunkering down for a good nights rest before our 7:30am departure. Toodles.

*Jason insists that we start Trivia on the blog, so the 2010 FACE AIDS Ride Against Aids' first trivia question is: Name this man

Day 15: A Day of Rest?

With some of this country's most beautiful national parks in our backyard, Moab, Utah proved to be the perfect oasis. We had narrowly escaped the senile drivers of Nevada and sprinted through the state of Utah in a fashion second only to the great Usain Bolt; finally, our tenacious cycling had provided us with a beautiful summer day to waste away.

With our next stop within a stones throw, we arrived in Moab on Sunday with a childlike fervor. Even Zane’s goldilocks began to bounce in the wind as we drove into town and headed toward our beautiful 5-bedroom condo that we had been graciously given to us for two nights at a discounted price. Taking advantage of the close proximity of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, our group quickly divided for a couple hours to check out the tourism-centered town, reconvening later to watch the sunset on the enormous sandstone canyons surrounding us. Even the great Sanford Roberts felt small as our group hiked in, out, and around the towering rock structures. In true Peter Parker fashion, Jason decided that the 400 ft tall, free standing rock structures were nothing compared to his city skyscrapers, and a true Kodak moment was flashed as he ascended and perched himself high above the clouds to watch the sunset. After watching a sunset rivaled only in the Lion King, our group went to bed early in the hopes of waking up before the crack of dawn to see the sunrise. With a 4am wake up call planned, we all tucked in Saturday night looking more excited and much cuter than the kids in the Disney commercials.

As Shane took the motherly reigns from Claire, a 4am wake up call snoozed to a 4:45 breakfast bell and the smell of overcooked cinnamon rolls wafted from the kitchen, waking up Zane, Claire, and Jason. Jumping into the Mystery Machine, the group of four headed to Dead Horse Point to witness the widely acclaimed sunrise onto Canyonlands National Park. As the Stanford Rowing team knows, it takes a lot to silence Jason, and I am glad to say that the suns rays peaking over the canyons and across the Colorado River did just that.

Recovering from Shane's awful cooking (Note to group: Claire's sandwiches trump all), the riders all napped until their 9:30 death wish at Moab Skydiving. After signing away their lives, the Boys ft. Kirsten minus Mike, told each other their darkest secrets (Sanford loves Gossip Girl) and sent "I love you" texts to their mothers (Mrs.Silver: we know you did not receive one, but we did not want to ruin your birthday by telling you that your son was jumping 10,000 feet out of a airplane). Jason and Zane were the first to step up to the plane, as they felt their idolization of Vin Diesel aka XXX was enough to calm their nerves.

“You guys were up so high! You just looked like to white dots falling toward us!” exclaimed Sanford after the dynamic duo had successfully landed their parachutes.

“Well, if it makes you feel better, you and Shane looked like to little brown dots from up there?” replied an always witty Zane.

Next, Kirsten hopped into the plane and it was a true sight to see her ear-to-ear smile after she nailed a landing that would even impress Shawn Johnson. Last, but not least, Sanford and Shane strapped up for their dive. During the fall, Shane’s motion sickness got the best of him and he would proudly later place his name on the asphalt of shame with Jason for post-skydiving sickness.

Overall, the day was young and had already been quite a success as Claire and Mike had also triumphed in thrift shopping around town. After some more catnaps and a quick lunch, the A-team took off for one last hurrah at High Point Hummer, to off-road through the dunes of Moab, Utah. The ride took our team up and around rocky slopes and valleys, and, at times, only two wheels of our Costco sized vehicle were on the ground. The highlight of this tourist trap/gimmick/con came in a 45-degree ascent to the top of one of the dunes, where we parked and sat out to watch the sun go down across Arches National Park and the La Sal Mountains.

With a successful, rejuvenating rest day underneath our belts, tomorrow will bring a “short” 40-mile bike ride to Grand Junction – picking back up on the ride where Jason and Zane finished on Sunday. By Tuesday night the 2010 Face Aids Ride will have traveled across 3 states and is still awaiting its first presentation. It has been amazing to see the everyday American react to our journey, and we have been graced with many favors, beds, and meals as those we meet take hold of our mission. FACE AIDS began as a grassroots organization, and, likewise, our Ride Against Aids has taken root in our everyday interactions with the citizens of this amazing land.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 14: Jinkies!!

It’s difficult to distinguish what’s more difficult: falling asleep in a cramped Motel 6 bed or waking up to bike sixty miles after a 100+ day. On Sunday, clearly, the latter proved to be our greatest challenge. After Saturday’s extravagant dinner at Green River’s most prestigious eatery, Burger King, our riders comfortably passed out in the freshly washed and bacteria-free linens that have become the staple of motels everywhere. Finding a love for the texture of the sandpaper bed sheeting, it was only fitting that our riders would then choose to spend an extra hour in the proverbial hay, pushing Sunday morning’s departure to a late 9:15.

Besides the sleep-in, the morning ride was somewhat uneventful. Mike, eager to make it to our unknown destination before the local bookshops closed, left about thirty minutes before the rest of the riders. Zane, Sanford, and Jason decided to ride together but, instead of drafting, chose to ride side-by-side, accomplishing nearly nothing. With Kirsten behind the wheel, Claire on her deathbed, and Shane on his drugs, the Mystery Machine took off in hot pursuit, hoping to find monsters to be unmasked.

Those who grew up with the Hanna-Barbera toons of yesteryear are apt to remember that splitting up, even in big groups, never turns out well. Attempting to catch Mike, Zane and Jason spun their wheels a la frightened Scooby and Shaggy, while Sanford, in true Velma fashion, chose to investigate the inner workings of his tires. Upon finding his glasses on the shoulder with the help of two Hells Angels, Sanford discovered the nearly-unreparable damage to his bike and let out a shriek of “Jinkies!!” to alert the rest of the group.

A leader on the road, Mike, unfortunately, does not wear an ascot nor have the keen sense of danger possessed by the flirtatious Fred. Eventually, falling victim to the same villain that felled Sanford/Velma, Mike was plagued by tire problems in the desert heat. This strange coincidence lends credence to this particular writer’s ever-present-through-childhood theory that Fred and Velma carried on an affair behind the back of the bootylicious Daphne. Regardless, Zane and Jason soon outran all the David Bowie songs ever put in an episode of Scooby Doo, forcing the Mystery Machine to come retrieve them for the night’s job. Unbeknownst to our riders, Shane, Claire, and Kirsten had set up a job for our modern Mystery Inc.ers—in the beautiful town of Moab, set between Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, lies the spooky Bowen Inn.

With some smooth talking and Daphne-esque charm, our driving team found us a home to stay at in exchange for a promise to rid the motel of its paranormal activity. Ahead of schedule by a full day, the meddling kids known as the FACE AIDS team will hopefully solve this mystery in between skydiving, ATVing, and touring the beautiful landscape by Tuesday night, when they are due in Grand Junction, CO. We can only hope that they will be successful and this quaint town of 4000 can grow back to its once bustling 4321.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 13: Our A-Team

Today's journey was memorable for its stunning presentation of the many different hues and colors in the visible spectrum of light. Utah’s canyons provided an increasingly beautify scenery with each coming mile, and each butte and mesa contrasted wonderfully with Claire’s ever paler skin.

All was not lost, though, as the homely Miss Fisher was able to update her JDate profile with a picture of her making delicious matzoh sandwiches for her yeshiva bound boys. The day’s ride pushed our group 110 miles across Utah’s I-70 to the bustling city of Green River. Long in distance, the day was made more enjoyable by amazing acts of teamwork and unity by our FACE AIDS riders. From Claire’s cooking, to Zane’s backseat driving, and Mike’s sun-burns, we learned today that each of us possess a unique skill set which can prove useful towards maintaing our sanity throughout this summer. Today, we discovered that The 2010 FACE AIDS team is no hodge-podge of riders; rather, we are a highly selective unit, tearing our way across this land in A-team fashion.

With regard to today's biking, the climb was quite difficult as the group took on 6000 feet of elevation in the beating sun. Rewarded every so often with long, winding downhill passes through the stunning canyons of Utah, our riders felt that today was one of, if not the best days of riding. "The six miles of downhill with the perfect view of the sandstone canyons was the only thing that got me through the day," exclaimed rider Kirsten Pufahl. Originally planning to stop halfway to Green River, drive to the Grand Canyon, and drive back to our finishing point, the riders truly performed outside of themselves in making the journey a day's trek. Now a day ahead of schedule, our ambitious team considers, once more, meshing two days of riding into one as they head off for Grand Junction, CO tomorrow.

It will truly be with heavy hearts that we wave goodbye to the great state of Utah and its continuing power outtages as we enter the more difficult terrain of the Rockie Mountains and Colorado. We would like to thank our readers for giving us the motivation to write on, our supporters for fueling us mentally and emotionally each day, the Fisher family for both allowing us to mock Claire and for calling her regularly to remind her that she is loved, and the only supermarket in Salina, UT for giving us access to their large sink to fill the water cooler. Motel 6, you get no credit for your bland room designs and lack of wi-fi. Jerks.

Note: Some of you may have noticed that this blog post lacks both comedic energy and commentary about the World Cup, but after today's trials and tribulations we had no heart for either. On that note, we will now let you get back to realizing that you never cared about soccer, wondering why Furby didn't make it into Toy Story 3 (mine is still locked in my closet in hopes that he will shut up), and googling "yeshiva."

Waka Waka, this time for Africa.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 12: Mom, Please Bring Me Back to Salt Lake

It’s hard to slip out of the grip of a loving mother, only to jump into a van engulfed with the sweet aroma of Claire’s black plague and rotten fruit.

The scene was the one road town of Nephi, Utah, and as Shane stepped out of his vehicle, he hoped that the land his mother had driven to was far away from the state of Arizona. Mike and Claire had parked just a few feet from his vehicle, but Shane quickly hobbled toward the vans protection in fear of an outsiders demand for his “card de verde.” You see, over the last few weeks, Shane’s face skipped the sights of a razor, and at first glace he looked like a mix between Zoro, Pedro, and Elian Gonzalez.

Anywho, as the story goes, with a wish of luck and a kiss goodbye, Mrs. Hegde drove away from the Mystery Machine unaware of the fate she had just left to her son. It had been just three days since Shane had left the group, but already the dynamic had corroded. Time seemed to tick slower than a commercial free episode of 24, and each group member was at the brink of hallucination from the nothingness of Nevada. Today’s ride, the first through Utah, provided some hope, but after looking at the following images Shane’s optimism receded faster than Sanford’s hairline.

***Viewer Discretion Advised***
While driving to the day’s destination of Salina, Utah, I flipped through Claire’s camera and came upon a grouping of 58 solo pictures taken by Zane and Jason. The following photography may be disturbing to the elderly and some small children. The pictures trace two men’s journey from normalcy, to the brink of humanity. Please use caution while scrolling through the below photo journal.









Jason and Zane begin to separate themselves from the group.














Zane sells his soul to the Sun God, Ra.











Jason can’t stand Zane having a cooler Facebook profile picture than he does.











Zane becomes Hindu









Jason’s inhumane consumption of Muscle Milk allows him to hang off the train with one arm










Zane models for Gap











Jason attempts to recreate his thug-life upbringing. And fails.











Seriously?







Pulling into Salina, the only chance Shane had to survive was to find a hotel room where he could save himself from camping with the wana-be Heath Ledger-Jake Gyllenhaal duo. And, lucky enough, the only motel in town was owned by fellow Indians who decided to give the group two rooms for free. Hours later, as the group rode into Salina, they recounted the day’s journey: Beautiful mountainsides, miserable headwinds, and constant waits for the mining towns “wide load” moving vehicles.

Now that Shane is done attempting to be a part of the ride from the comforts of the van and hotel room, we can move on to our story at hand. Although this writer is proud to have the sheer muscular strength and ability to hold himself as shown in the train photo above, serious matters must be addressed. First, we begin with a recap of today's ride: Beginning with our team's departure from Delta as a cohesive unit, we all knew that today would be a straightforward, fairly easy ride. Filled with spaced out climbing and long, enjoyable descents, today's scenic route introduced us to the scenic hills of Utah that will be our home for the next week. After splitting up for the first 40 miles of the ride, our four healthy riders (Zane, Sanford, Kirsten, and Jason) met up in the bustling town of Scipio for lunch. While Mike and an under-the-weather Claire dealt with the five year-old formerly known as Shane, our riders munched on Subway sandwiches prepared in a timely, efficient manner reminiscent of that of the Subway in Tressider Union at Stanford.

Mounting their bikes once more at approximately 2 pm, the riders spent the next two hours climbing against the wind. Finally the team reached the lovely city of Salina, truly a diamond in the rough that is Utah's open country.


Other than rest, recovery, and relaxation, the day’s highlight was a trip to Salina’s widely known and locally respected eatery: Mom’s CafĂ©. The environment of the dinner was everything homey, and the old woman that served us (Mom?) clearly drizzled some of TLC on our ribs. The restaurants scones, a local staple food, was to-die-for after submerged in “Honey Butter” (which we recommend you purchase at here).

Tomorrow’s schedule lists an 80-mile trek through southern Utah and an afternoon trip to the Grandest of all Canyons. Though it seems like rough sailing, we are all glad to have our group back on track and can’t wait to spend the next four days in the Land of Joseph Smith.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Days 9, 10, and 11: Utah, Finally.

Now that we are back in cellphone reception in Delta, UT, texts have been pouring in--except on Jason's phone, no one seems to care how he is faring. From the important (Parents wondering where we are), meaningful (Friends checking up on us), and plain dumb (Shane attempting to stay involved in the ride from the comforts of a bed in Salt Lake City where he didn't have to endure any hardship in the past two days), the flood of messages has run the gamut from necessary to useless.

Parents--we are fine.
Friends--we miss you too and will not be home at least until August 19th so stop asking us twelve times a day.
Shane--re-watch Slumdog, find some inspiration, and stop faking it.

Now, onto our story. After waving goodbye to Shane and his mother in Reno, our troop of six made the six hour drive to Ely, NV, to stay on on schedule. Already sick of casinos, brothels, and deserts, we arose early on Tuesday morning to make the 62 mile trek to Baker, NV. A word, for any of those interested in visiting Nevada: Don't do it. We have spent the last week as nomads along Highway 50, truly suffering on the road. Yes, Nevada Tourism Agency, we get it. It is the loneliest road in America. That fact is neither appealing nor romantic. Put simply, we are all extremely happy to have left the "Silver State" for the comfort of the "Beehive State."

Sanford for the second time on our trip was almost bitten by a snake. After attempting to do push-ups in the Nevada desert he was unpleasantly surprised by an unhappy rattle snake about 6in from his head. Words for the wise: save the push-ups for the hotel room.

Our night in Baker was anything but fun. Due to illness, most notably migraines, our numbers on the road were small yesterday, allowing those in the support vehicle to make the decision to spend the night at the Border Inn, quite literally on the border of Utah and Nevada. Although this was an amazing experience because we were given the opportunity to experience true silence, we wonder why anybody would be interested in taking an off day there. While Mike and Kirsten went to explore the nearby Lehman Caves, Sanford read Twilight shamelessly (if that's even possible), Zane and Jason tended to a wounded Claire, who apparently reminded the aggressive ranchers of Kate Barfield from Holes fame. Little did these men know that Kate Barfield and Stanley Yelnats are mere characters of fiction--nonetheless, Claire was left maimed, resting in a random motel room with the company of seven stallions (bikes).

Today, our numbers were once more whittled away by disease (Read: You have died of dysentery a la Oregon Trail), leaving only a few to make the 80 mile journey to Delta, UT. Upon arrival in this quaint town, our riders were met with the present surprise of a community center, containing showers and gymnasium as lodgings. Jason, immediately in touch with his street basketball roots, proceeded to talk up a show. Causing spectators to watch in laughter when he suggested that he should be chosen first in today's NBA Draft. Meanwhile, Claire made sandwiches and Zane purchased an authentic cowboy hat. Now, as the group prepares for dinner and MIKE'S 21st BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (I hope you all RSVPed on Facebook), we are reflecting on the past three days, deciding on these three simple truths:

1) We never want to visit Nevada again.
2) Lynne Davis and her daughter Jazz are incredible people for providing us with food and amazing quarters for the night
3) Zane actually looks good in a cowboy hat. Impressive.

We look forward tomorrow to the return of Mr. Hegde and recovery of Mr. Stewart.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Days 7-8: And Then There Were Six...

Mothers please hang up on John Walsh, and could someone please let the University of California Rowing team know that the celebration is over? We are all alive and kicking.

The last two days have flown by, and I would like to first apologize to all of our daily readers (all 2 of you) for leaving you alone throughout these unbearable 48 hours of suspense.

Sunday began with a lot of promise. Our team of bikers left the holy land in Fallon around o’dark thirty with a determination to complete the 111-mile trip before lunch. Along our route, we came across “Push America,” a group traveling from San Francisco to Washington to raise money for the American Disabilities Association. This slightly larger and less attractive group of riders (just kidding, we have Claire), had some great advice for us, and we learned a lot from their route planning and daily-ride structure.

From sand dunes to a shoe-tree, the day’s journey took us through the diverse landscape of deserts, deserts, and more deserts that is the state of Nevada. Ten miles out of the city, however, this shroud of monotony broke, and highway 50 opened up to reveal a valley bordered by snow dipped mountains and the vivacious city of Austin, Nevada. Jason led the charge into Austin, while Shane and Claire battled for the “who's the stronger girl” award, and Mike and Kirsten rode miles back continuing on their sightseeing tour. Beating Momma’ Fish to the site, Shane was just feet from the finish line when there was an accident.

Riding in the right biking lane, Shane was uprooted from his cycle when a driver crossed into the biking lane and hit him. To spare you from the heart attack, Shane is okay and, thankfully, is receiving wonderful treatment for his injuries. After being hit, he was life-flighted to Reno, Nevada so that he could visit someone who had a more official degree than the local medicine man in Austin.

Due to all of this drama, our entire group has relocated in Reno, Nevada and took a day of rest today with the Monga family, Shane’s family friends. Continuing our hospitality luck, we were taken aback by the selflessness, caring, and overall loving attitude of the Mongas--without their help and generosity, we really don't know where we would be today. As Shane recuperated, we were lucky enough to have visits from Johnny Dorsey, co-founder of Face Aids, Brenda Freiberg, the Chairman of the Board of Face Aids, and Su Hegde, esteemed mother figure of the legend that is Shane Hegde. The surprise company assisted us in hammering out the final details for our new route and helped us rediscover the motivations for our commitment to the ride.

Tomorrow, Shane will fly to Salt Lake City to stay with his grandmother and take a few days of rest while our group goes on, easily, without him. We will continue the ride on Wednesday, and tomorrow the six remaining members of the group will drive to Ely, Nevada – where we would have been if it weren’t for the Golden Girl. The plan is for Shane to meet up with the group again in Utah, and we wish him the best of luck in his recovery process.

Mr. Monga, a mechanical engineer, framed it best at dinner tonight in his final words to us, “I know you are all thankful for being in this home, but I want to thank you. You have brought life to this house. And I want you all to remember that it is the people, the humans, that matter in this world.”

(ps. Mrs. Fisher, I know that you are the real, amazingly wonderful Momma‘ Fish, but your daughter is giving you a run for your money – she even made us all sandwiches! And included a slice of love underneath the cheese)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 6: Egg Rolls & Google Maps

Before you watch TMZ tonight, we want to set the rumors straight: Yes, the seven of us did in fact change the route for the 2010 Ride Against Aids.

Salivating for a different taste of America than last year’s riders, we chose to push the route a bit north because we felt that it would allow us to see a more diverse landscape and it would offer us more opportunities to spread the message of Face AIDS. Please click the link to the left to see our route!

As you can already tell, most of our time during this rest day in the metropolis of Fallon, Nevada was spent planning the next two months of travel. We spent over 15 hours today (and many hours over the last five days) hammering out each day of our trip and so we missed some the highlights on Fallon’s extensive wikipedia page. By far, the highlight of the day came in Claire’s duel with the Church showers to see if she could make it out of Fallon without submitting to the cleansing nature of the holy water. Sadly for our group, Claire won (Just kidding, after reading this post, Claire scurried to the sink). Other accomplishment were found academically today, as the frugal and intellectual Jason Lupatkin taught Zane about sales taxes (not every state is as asinine as California and charges 9%) and how to respond to an incompetent worker at a fast food restaurant who charges you $3.50 for some egg rolls that you did not order.

Today helped us establish a tangible goal for our summer. We can now visualize our journey ahead, and we hope to set up more presentations along our new route. If you have any contacts in the cities listed or could help us in finding a presentation in a given state, please contact us at clfisher@stanford.edu.

Well with 111 miles straight into the desert tomorrow, we have to go pack up our camelbacks, fill our water bottle, and hope that Shane can do a rain dance (all Indians can do rain dances right?). Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 5: An Oasis in Nevada


Apparently, the best way to overcome claustrophobia is by biking 62 miles into the empty desert commonly known as the state of Nevada.

Our $35.99 Motel 6 room was packed to the brim with bikes and limbs as we arose this morning to attempt a stretch. Two riders had chosen to sleep in the car, but with five college students, seven bikes, and seven suitcases, the room was a tad cozier than most comfort levels. Momma’ Fish was too tired to wake everyone up with a breakfast bell this morning, so each of us woke up at separate times to contort our ways out of the room to grab a bagel from the van.

By 9:30 we were all dressed and preparing to begin the days ride to Fallon, Nevada, but drama began earlier than in an episode of Lost, when an unnamed rider from NYC lost the keys to the van. Due to this, the ride was started in waves, with Mike, Shane and Sanford leaving early, and Claire, Jason, and Zane sifting through the van to look for the keys – which obviously wound up being found in the Jason’s pants.

Throughout the day’s ride the team put miles of asphalt in-between one another, making the 62 mile trek a mostly solitary one. Thankfully, however, our riders were able to find some companionship (or relief from boredom) in their iPods. Shane, listening to Rascal Flatts, missed the irony of the situation and could not fathom why anybody would consider life a highway. Jason, the hardcore, raw, lyricist from the mean streets of the Upper East Side decided to spice up his ride with the thus far underplayed catchy jingles of Shakira. And, Sanford, the Texan who claims bird listening as one of his activities on Facebook, decided that the desert was his second home and chose to bike Route 50 in silence (Let it be noted that his decision not to use his iPod was tremendously regretted).

Fallon was the roadrunner today, and each of us was a Wiley Coyote aimlessly pedaling again and again to hunt the down the city, only to be fouled by the tricks of the sun. Each turn laid out miles of road to be covered. At times, the sun shone so bright that it was nearly impossible to tell where the road ended and the sky began. Although the trip required less than 4 hours of travel, this desert could outfox Erwin Rommel himself, and made the journey seem exponentially longer.

Once in Fallon, we refreshed ourselves with some Sonic and were taken in by the lovely staff at Epworth Methodist Church who provided us with lodging, dinner, and a warm shower. The traditional post ride group nap was longer than usual today and Shane’s pleas to go to Karaoke night at the local Saloon was democratically vetoed. Who knows though, with 5 nights left in Nevada, and Vegas only 390 miles away, anything is possible.

Parental units: be ready to check the credit card statements.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 4: Is This Seriously a Capital City?


Grimacing from sore quads and night terrors of the Sierra Mountains, our team sleep-crawled onto our bikes and rolled out of South Lake Tahoe around 9:30 this morning - much later than Moma' Claire's breakfast bell at 6:30. We took off with the expectation that today's 30-mile ride to Carson City, Nevada would be a short trek, and from our gathered topographical readings (yes, I did just say topographical in context) we surmised that the brute of it would be downhill. With Shane ahead in the Mystery Machine, the delicate view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains was soon washed away by a beautiful gift from Mother nature: 1000 more feet of climbing spread out over 10 miles. Pushing ourselves to scale the mountain after nearly 12 hours of climbing yesterday, the only thing ameliorating the inclines was our newly purchased "Butt Cream." Add that one to the shopping list. Seriously...

Anyway, as the story goes, the indomitable Zane was the first to claw his way up the mountain, and, surrounded by unadulterated evergreens on either side, our group pulled it together and made the climb. As amends for her punishments, Lady Luck graciously gave us downhill, no-pedal riding for the last 15 miles to Carson City. Leading the charge down the Nevada side of the Sierras was Sanford with a group all time high of 44mph. However, knowing Jason and Zane's competitive nature, someone will be injured in the near future trying to break that record, and we can only hope that Shane's Indian genes will kick in to action to aid them in a quick recovery. Jai Ho!

For those of you who have been to Carson City, which I pray is very few of you, why did you come here? This bustling capital city is home to an overpopulated 50,000 people and its virtuous, historic, capital building is a few blocks down from "Casino Fandango." Seriously Carson City? Seriously? Casino Fandango? In disbelief, our group set off to find lunch and a place to stay for the night. The New Yorker managed to use his street sense and bartering skills to get us a discounted hotel room, but the Man of the Match was given to the small (not in stature) businessman from rural Toledo, Ohio who convinced the lovely staff at The Firkin & Fox Pub to give the entire team a free meal. No alcoholic drinks we're served.

After lunch our group collapsed on top of each other and took naps in the van and on our hotel beds. The day ended with a clutch purchase of a massager at Costco (from Shane to Mom: Ok, I know it is a ridiculous purchase for the credit card, but at least I was being cost effective) and a team dinner at "The Naked Fish," a sushi restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. It is rumored that Claire Fisher purchased a "Naked Fish" sweatshirt, but there has been no confirmation on that as of yet.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 3: US Route 50



Before beginning today's blog, we would like to first thank Marty Clevenger who wasn't mentioned in last night's post. Marty offered us invaluable advice on planning today's route and provided us with much needed supplies. Additionally, Al Snowdon, another friend of the Garton family, helped us find a place to stay for our night in South Lake Tahoe, and after warm showers and cozying up into our own beds we must say that we are forever grateful. Thanks!

And on to our story...

We set off this morning from the Garton household trying to think of excuses to just turn around: We were unconditionally treated like family for a night, and saying goodbye so soon made Shane reminisce on his hundreds of past relationship failures. As we left Folsom Lake, our first major stretch of biking took us bobble heading up and down Green Valley Road, parallel to US 50. A scenic and yet extremely challenge ride, Green Valley provided our rested legs with a much-needed warmup.

A challenging, yet doable climb, Green Valley Road eventually led us to the historic Pony Express Trail. With Buffalo Bill on our minds, we trekked along, sans mail bags, down the path. Pony Express was perhaps the last true fun of the day, as we were forced to carrying our bikes uphill to Route 50 and prepare, 40 miles into the day, for the toughest portion of the ride we have yet encountered. In preparation for the climb, we stopped at a rest stop along 50 for lunch and advice.

Finally, we were ready for the 50 mile trek into South Lake Tahoe. Shane and Kirsten led the climb for the first leg, a la Tour de France, but Shane was soon distracted by the awe-inspiring scenery offer from mountain men to fill his camelback with moonshine. Jason took the yellow jersey for the rest of the day, leading the pack by 20 minutes--move over Lance! Meanwhile, Zane and Claire took the time to get to know one another as they critiqued different energy products and drinks. Eventually, the entire group reached the final peak, albeit with frozen toes and nearly useless Oakleys, unable to stop the reflective glare from the sun off of the snow. Sanford, tired of the particularly un-Texan cold at the 7000ft elevation, began to descend down the beautiful but potentially dangerous path to South Lake Tahoe.

Eventually, the group reunited at the base of the mountains at a McDonald's, where Maria the Manager was surprised by the sight of seven weary bikers using the front lawn as a bed. The team soon made its way to the house, only to find Mike relaxing comfortably after his day of rest. Overall, the team cycled 94.93 miles from Folsom to South Lake Tahoe--a fine effort indeed!


Once again, special thanks to Al, Marty, the Gartons, and a wish of good health to Mike's Uncle!

Good night moon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 2: Margarita Shots and Cornhole

Waking up to the tantalizing shrieks of a crow outside our tent may have been the best way to put our trip in perspective: After twelve hours of biking and a seemingly impossible 100 miles completed, we still had 4347 to go.

So with heavy hearts and the thoughts of a warm breakfast cooked by mom on our minds, we saddled up and began our day’s journey to Folsom, California (45 miles away from camp). The route took us through downtown Sacramento and we crossed the Tower Bridge, taking a nice group photo while waiting for the drawbridge to fall. After enjoying a great view of the palace of efficiency that is the Capitol Building of California, we made a left turn on Front Street, passed through Old Sacramento, and found ourselves on the scenic American River Bike Path that would prove to be our home for the next 30 miles.

Following the river up through Lake Natoma, we found ourselves cruising along winding pathways and gazing into the natural American beauty that Jason only dreamed about from his bedroom window in Manhattan. The trail picked us up in Sacramento, teased us alongside happy-go-lucky teenagers rafting down the river, and spit us out just 3 miles from our day's rest stop at the Garton residence.

From 3:00pm until 6:30am, Michael & Donna Garton gave us a home -- not just a shelter, but a family. From the minute they met our team of seven strangers, we were embraced with food, our own beds, and the warm hug of a loving mother. Mr. Garton went as far as to call a friend at Bicycles Plus where we received friendly, all-encompassing service on our bruised egos and beat up bikes. Going again above and beyond, Mrs. Garton cooked the perfect dinner with enough food to outlast even Zane's appetite. Cornhole (a backyard bean bag tossing game of sorts) is the family sport of the Garton's, and even after a day of gratitude, the two Midwestern riders, Kristen and Shane, felt no shame in showing the Californian's how to really play the game. A night of laughs quickly wound down to birthday pie for Kristen (yes, we checked her birth certificate to make sure she was actually 22), magic tricks by Mike, and the dismay of the gathered family and friends in realizing that the "Margarita Shots" we packed we're simply Clif Energy Gummies and had a Tequilla content of 0%.

"We brought you into this home and love helping you all along your journey because we believe in what you are doing." As the day started with perspectives, the day ended the same. We we're just two days into our excursion, but somehow we had already taken a snapshot of the pure, innate love and beauty that resounds through this land and the citizens that call it home.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 1: The Garden of Eden

100 miles down...4347 to go...


Travel:What a day! After dipping our tires into the Pacific Ocean, the seven of us tore off along the Pacific Coastline for an unpredictably eventful day. With family watching and Romy fretting, we biked along the scenic coast under overcast skies for a a few hours, attempted to follow scribbled directions provided to us by the ever-selfless Austin Keeley. When it became apparent that the directions were faulty (not to mention illegible) our team moved to a more modern innovation for navigational support: the iPhone. Despite an unlucky first hour that included four punctured tires (known as tubes) and a few wrong turns, the 2010 FACE AIDS Bike Team fought their way to the outskirts of downtown San Francisco by 12:00PM, and rode as fast as they could to Pier 41 to board the 12:45 ferry that would take them to Vallejo.

In the rush, however, our energetic team was accidentally split into three groups, one of four riders, a pair, and a lone wolf, all attempting to make the departure time. Granting new meaning to the seemingly archaic "trolley dodger" description from the Brooklyn of yore, Shane, Claire, Sanford, and Jason led the charge down Mission Street. Meanwhile, Kirsten and Mike chose to take a more scenic route of San Francisco, touring the city that our Stanford representatives have become familiar with in the past year. On his own was the indomitable Zane, who blazed his own path to the ferry via alleyways and rooftops. In the end, our heroes made it to the ferry with moments to spare, all reuniting on the gangway. Zane volunteered to be the afternoon's driver and he sped off in our white van known as the Mystery Machine.

After a relaxing ferry ride, we chose to bike 20 miles to Fairfield before breaking for lunch. With cows roadside and an awe-inspiring landscape to distract team navigators, we took a somewhat circuitous route to lunch, stopping on W. Texas road in Fairfield and chatting with extremely friendly locals enjoying cool refreshments. During lunch our adventurers ambitiously decided to bike all the way to their campsite in West Sacramento, a journey of 75 miles in the afternoon. Watching Zane drive away from the lunch break in the van was both sombering and exciting as we clipped in (or tried to) for the long journey ahead.

While extremely difficult and long, the afternoon ride proved to be the most rewarding of the day. Filled with intellectual discussion with the law enforcement and long, flat roads through the scenic California countryside, our team was able to take in the breathtaking beauty of the state Woody Guthrie dubbed the "Garden of Eden." Finally, with tired quads and without water, our team arrived at its campsite outside of Sacramento to the pleasing view of Zane preparing a burger dinner only fit for the likes of our Face Aids Team leader Dave Evans.

"Wait... we leave tomorrow?"


At 6:45 tomorrow morning the seven of us will depart the breathtaking country club known as Stanford University and embark on our 67 day quest across the country. To be honest, we are a bit nervous and had to scramble to try to finish up the final preparations, but the car is loaded, the gas tank is full, and tomorrow our childlike excitement will force out any last jitters.

The blog will be inundated with pictures and videos to check up on over the next couple days so keep a look out!

Tomorrow is starting now....