Today I checked an item off my Bay Area Bucket List – kayak in the bay. I had previously been kayaking in lakes, quiet little inlets and even down rivers with a little white water. But never, had I until today, hopped in a wobbly watercraft and paddled around in the intimidating waters of the mighty San Francisco Bay.
on the bay, passing the Ferry building on our way to Aquatic Park
Intimidating? Yes. There is serious traffic out there, ferries, cruise ships, sailboats and massive cargo ships. The tides are significant and the weather can be impossibly windy. But my 7.5 mile trip from City Kayak (near AT&T Park) to Aquatic Park and back, was fun, breezy, a little wet and rewarding. It was amazing paddling under the suspension spans of the Bay Bridge and alongside sea lions and wet loons.
highlight of the day, going under the Bay Bridge, a unique and humbling perspective
all photos credit to Nicolas Smith!
It was an awesome day, a legit workout and a great way to cap off a great return from CES weekend.
In less than two weeks I will embark on what is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime — the 10th annual AIDS Lifecycle, a 550 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. While the AIDS Lifecycle a physical challenge and social activity, it is most importantly a fundraiser and awareness-raiser for the SF AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. This year, the Lifecycle predicts that the 3,000 participants will break the event’s fundraising record of $12 million, set in 2008. I’ve been doing my part and have raised $3,163.50 from more than 50 generous donors. (There’s still time to donate to support me!)
Katie and Derek being happy on their bikes
When I ride out next Sunday from the Cow Palace on the first of 7 straight days on the bike, it will be hard to not reflect on how much life has changed since (my now roommate) Katie and I signed up for the ride back in November, before I even had my first marathon under my belt. At the time, I saw doing the ALC with Katie as a way to strengthen our friendship and as an appropriate and logical next physical adventure (we both quietly aspire to do a triathlon at some point). Now as roommates the ride has become a part of our daily life — planning rides together, buying gear and encouraging each other with fundraising.
I was not a cyclist what. so. ever. prior to signing up for the ride. Neither of us were. Slowly but surely over the last 4 months we’ve earned legit status. This weekend I did back-to-back rides totaling more than 140 miles and I can finally say that I think my butt is ready to spend a week in the saddle. (I even earned some scars from my first crash.)
In addition to signing up for the ALC for the physical challenge, I did it because I wanted to forge a stronger connection with the gay community in San Francisco, and give back in some way. I spent more than 5 years isolated in North Beach, living my life without any appreciation for how hard the gay community has fought here, not only for things like equal rights, but for acceptance and tolerance. Surely the blood, sweat and tears that have been shed in SF over the years have made my life a lot easier today. And while I have to admit I haven’t been as affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a lot of people that participate in the ride, I want nothing more than to help find a cure for this disease, which I plainly and clearly remember hearing referred to as a “gay disease” as a young, confused boy growing up in rural Michigan.
While the last four months have not been a particularly easy time in my life (and while the ride is yet to actually even begin!) I am grateful to have had the ALC as a way to give back, meet new and inspiring people, and enjoy the Bay Area in a completely new way.
The countdown is on!
The view from the top of Wilson Hill (which kicks my ass every time) in west Marin on one of my main amazing training rides
I ran my first 5k about a year and a half ago. Since then I’ve continued to train and gotten quite ambitious. Today I ran my first half marathon. My goal was to finish in under 2 hours which obviously means anything under 2:00:00. For example, 1:59:59 would be fine.
I paced myself the whole race, wound up a minute or two ahead of pace a few times, but in the end had my worst fears realized… see finish time below:
Alas, the world is not over. I’m disappointed but also pleased that I beat more people than beat me, and fired up to tackle another half in the near future to try again.
On Thanksgiving this week, Dave and I started a potential new tradition with a 5k turkey trot in Pinole. It was a small but really fun race in which Dave won (woohoo!) and I almost broke the top 3 in my age group (yes it was really small). Regardless, it’s fun to see our names in the same window (and not because Dave slowed down to run my pace).
As I attempt to expand the content on my blog, I’m planning to introduce a few new “pages” (see tabs on top of the blog). First up is a hiking log. I have set a new goal in life of hiking what would be the equivalency of the circumference of the moon. So this log will keep me on my toes in terms of keeping track (over the next 30 years). And given the fact that it’s going to probably take me 20-30 years to achieve the goal, keeping track for that long will increase the chance that my blog survives more than a few months.
I’ve got another small page planned for later this month – it’s slightly less exciting than the hiking log, so standby in suspense!