Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Only 5 months ago it was all full of unknowns."

Well guys...were almost there!

I don't know if you've checked the Firstgiving page lately but there has been a few changes. I've been chasing in some of the money from some of the last few events. I had a stack of cash from the party in LA, the party in SF, the bake sell and some other random stuff. Finally, Ive been able to make some updates. Were soooo close its not even funny. At this time we have almost $11,000 in for the school construction project in Guatemala. felt great to update those numbers.

I was just reading Mike's blog and I pulled a quote from it. "Only 5 months ago it was full of unknowns." When we take a step back and pause for a moment to look at what we have created we start to realize that this dream has become a reality. We realize that this idea of giving back to people, to children, in a place as far away as Guatemala is becoming a reality. When I first set out on this adventure I had never been on a road bike. I didn't even own a bike. I didn't know anything about the route from Panama City to San Francisco other than I had to go UP! Life was certainly full of the unknown.

Now...look what we have created. We've raised over $10,000 to build a school for kids in Guatemala that live on $1 a day. We've given them the chance to work towards a better future. Once this school is built it will show the moms and dads of this small community Near Jalapa that with hard work there children will be able to gain the education that they deserve.

When I started this adventure I had an idea and a dream, and I was alone. Looking back I was lucky enough to have Mike meet me for the first 300 miles in Panama. I also had some of my best friends meet me in Los Angeles and complete the ride. Along the way I stopped in Plan sponsored communities in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. There I met with Plan employees who took me in like family and showed me the workings of Plan. Friends from Santa Barbra to Chicago also joined the cause. By the time I got to San Francisco we had a full Board of Directors that were dedicated to hitting the goal.

We threw fundraisers in LA and San Francisco. We brought people together from all over the world to donate to this cause. And now....were almost to the goal.

I'm working on one last event in San Francisco. Today actually I'll be applying for a special event permit in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. With some hard work well be able to pull people together to make it to our goal of $15,000!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Rob and I are still trying to keep up with Scott

Rob, Scotty and I hit the road the other day. Scotty's been trying to get us to do his favorite ride...the Calavasass road. The route pretty much starts at Scotts house and goes for about 20 miles. The route is BEAUTIFUL. The winding road through the mountains makes anyone on 2 wheels feel like Lance Armstrong. The views of the mountains and resovior are perfect and there's even a Bald Eagle's nest along the way. We even go to see the amazing bird perched up on this huge nest! How amazing is that!

So we rode. It was totally strange being on the bike with those guys. Just a month before we were cruising up California's coast. Now, that section of this amazing journey is over, and the three of us are out for a day ride in Milpitas. Adjusting to the real life is still taking a bit of time.

I've been talking with the guys a lot about this one day ride in Golden Gate Park. Their perfect to bounce ideas off of. There's a ton of work to be done but its good to throw out ideas and do a bit of brainstorming. The whole idea is to raise the remaining funds for the school in Guatemala by throwing on a one day ride with a picnic at the end of it.

I think the highlght of the day was when we hit this 2 mile uphill secrtion on the way back home. Scott, an iron man, picked up the pace and started flying up the hill. Usually I would just sitt back on the bike and watch his cruise but this time I had no bags and a lighter biker...I was on equal ground. So I pushed hard and tried to catch him. I lost sight of him fopr a bit but decided to push harder. After a few minutes I caught a glimpse oh him as he was crusing up the hill. For a quick second I told myself that I was keeping up with an Iron Man...that was cool!

Peace, power and pedal


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A ride in the park

My buddy Blake and I decided to do a little ride in the city the other day. Blake lives in San Francisco, in the sunset, and we decided to meet at his place on a perfectly beautiful Saturday. The idea was to bike around Golden Gate park head out to the presidio, ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and dip into Sausilito for lunch and then head back. Blake got a bike a few months ago and so we were both excited to get some biking in on this perfect day.

Blake first came to The Last Hill Project a few months ago when I was cruising up the Mexican coast. He mentioned that he wanted to get a bike and ride with me part of the way. I told him that would be cool but I was doing about 80 miles a day in some tuff terrain. Blake wasn't quite up to that pace but he told me that we would ride when I got back to SF.

So here we are...crusing through Golden Gate park.

I told my buddy that we are about 4 or 5 thousand bucks short of hitting the $15,000 goal. As we were riding we were passing around ideas on how to reach our goal. One idea was to do a one day bike ride event where the participants pay a registration fee. The money of course would go through Plan USA and then go towards building the school in Guatemala. My intial though was to do a bike ride that started at the Golden Gate bridge and rode for about 7 miles in Sausilito and back. The terrain isn't to hard BUT it might scare some people off.

So Balke and I decided to change it up a bit. We came to the conclusion that we need to make this thing a total joy ride. We want to do a 10 mile ride around Golden Gate park and then ending at one of the popular picnic areas, Speedway Meadow. That way even people who haven't been on 2 wheels in years wouldn't be scarewd to come.

So were cruising along Golden Gate park and we stumble upon a huge festival, at Speedway Meadow, geard for kids. Wew stumbled upon a couple of really choice things. One, we noticed amongst the mahem of kids running around crazy, that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition was sponsoring a bike barn. So I rolled up to the guy and got a ton of info on the SFBC and some valuable contact info. Two, Cliff Bar was sponsoring the event and again Blake and I made an intro and got The Northern California Marketing Doirectors info. Shell also be a great contact if we decided to get some corpoprate spopnsors. And three, I was even able to reserve a spot for the picnic at San Francisco's Park and permit department which is located right indside the park. I guess you could saw were starting to make some moves for the event.

The ride with Blake was super cool. We hit up a cool cafe in Sauslitio. Grabbed a beer and talked about the usual. Blakes a super cool and chill guy. Blake and his lovely irlfriend Krystal are moving to a new apartment near the feerry building. It was great to see his eyes light up when he was talking about getting his own place with his girlfriend. We also talked about South America and travelling. He's always toying with the idea of taking his business and moving to Santiago de Chile. was a great day. Its great to be back!

Peace, Power and Pedal


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The Year of The Bicycle"

I'm sitting here in my new favorite cafe, Ritual Coffee Roasters, in one of San Francisco's coolest neighborhoods...The Mission. My triple cappuccino has just arrived. This place sure does know how to serve the best looking drinks in town. This place is one of those coffee shops where everyone has an IBook (there probably all blogging right now) and everyone is probably a bike messenger. God...I love San Francisco's style.

I just picked up one of San Francisco's free publications, The San Francisco Bay Guardian. The cover picture is a group of eccentric cyclists biking through one of the city's streets. Its kind of ironic that the title of this particular paper is "The year of the Bicycle" because I actually got the paper to get some ideas about a fundraising event.

Its kind of a big day today because I put into motion the last (hopefully) fundraiser for The Last Hill Before Home project. The plan is to do a one day bike ride to raise the remaining $4,000 for the school construction project in Jalapa, Guatemala. The idea is to get around 50 or 60 people to register for a leisure one day bike ride in the San Francisco Bay Area. It will probably cost around 75 bucks to register. Were going to try to get some sponsors for this as well. On top of that we hope to get some media coverage. Hopefully, if all goes well, we will be able to raise the remaining funds for the school.

There is a ton of work to do but its all very exciting.

I called Rob, Scott and of course my main man Mike about the project. All the guys are super pumped and we even came up with a tentative route for the event and a date. I got a ton of ideas for this thing and I want to make sure it goes well. Its all very exciting!

Save the date...Saturday, July 25th. Gets those bikes tuned up people. Let's build a school!

More info to follow!

Peace, Power and Pedal


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A New Begining

With every death there is a rebirth.

So, Ceasar is on a UPS truck somewhere on the East Coast. Dropping off the bike that courageously took me from Panama City to San Francisco was a bit hard. To tell you the truth I almost broke up in tears on my way to cycle sports in Oakland when I had an appointment to drop it off. But...with every death there is rebirth. With the end o one chapter there is a begining to another.

When I got back to San Francisco I knew that I had to send the bike back to Jeff on the East Coast. So my scramble for a new bike started off imediatly. Luckily, I was having a conversation with my dad about options to get a new bike. He mentioned that he bought a good Specialized road bike a few years back and only put 5 miles on it. He said the he was dating a woman who competed in triathalons at the time. So...of course he went out and got a bike in hopes to keep up. For whatever reason the relationship ended and the brand new specialized bike has been sitting in my dads storage unit in Berkeley for the past 4 years.

He told me I could have it if I wanted it. "Of course", I told him. So last week he brough over his brand new Specialized road bike. The only hitch was that my dad at 6 foot 3 is a bit bigger than me. I stand at 5 foot 11 and it was a possibilty the bike was going to be a bit to big. But when I saw the bike I knew right away that I would fit on it. And guess works perfectly.

Before I shipped off the last bike I put the two together. They are about the exast same size. I got a road bike. Perfect. I was getting a bit worried because I got bck into town on April 25th and I hadnt been on the bike in the past 2 weeks. My body was going through some changes and I was feeling sluggish because of all the toxins building up. When I got to LA on April 18th I stepped on a scale and it came out to 145 lbs. That was after 13 days of riding in a 14 day time frame where I covered about 1,000 miles. 2 weeks later when I stepped on the scale, after not biking at all, it came out to 161 lbs. My moms cooking was seriously taking its toll!

The picture above is of the bike at Lawerence Hall of Science in Berkeley. There are some amazing rides in the East Bay with some killer views of San Francisco and the bay. The trail that Ive been doing is a 30 mile trail with some super steep hills that go all through the Oakland and Berkeley Hills. Aside from the amazing views the trail takes me into a redwood forrest. One second Im in an urban sprawl in Oakland and the next Im pedaling away in a green foresst. Not bad.

So...This week Ill be working on the next Last Hill Event. We hope to do a one day bike ride somewhere in the bay area. The goal is to raise the remaining $4,000 for the school in Guatemala. Hopefully e can get around 50 people to ride with a registration fee of about $75. Thats the general idea right about now. More details to come on this soon.

Peace, Power and Pedal


Thursday, May 7, 2009

This sucks!

Today has been a rough day to say the least.

I've been seriously depressed today. Why? Because today I dropped Caesar off at the bike shop. From there the guys at Cycle Sport in Oakland are going to box up the bike and ship it off to Jeff...the real owner.

For those of you who don't is the story of the best bike in the world. A bike that laughs at Costa Rican jungle covered mountains...a bike that could run over any Honduran pothole no matter how toothy...a bike that could take any beating and push on threw.

I got to Panama 2 weeks before the ride started because I needed to do a few things, including getting a bike. I got to Panama on January 2nd. The first 10 days I ran all over the city looking for a perfect option for the 5,000 kilometer ride. Luckily, Panama had a few shops. Using my broke Spanish I was finally able to get an option that looked good.

I found a bike shop called Riley in Panama City's downtown area. The guys at the shop recommended me a cool looking Specialized mountain bike. They even had all the accessories like top of the line tires, helmets, biker shorts...everything. So, about 1 week before I was set to take off on this wild adventure I told the guys at Riley to hold the bike for one day. My pan was to sleep on it for the night and pick it up the next morning.

There were already a few issues. One, I needed to get a set of pannier bags. On top of that I had to get a front and rear rack. I did some research and I found the racks in Santa Barbara and the bags in Canada. So...I was going to pick up the bike at Riley's and have the rest of the gear expressed to Panama. It was turning in a nightmare but by this time there was no going back.

So the night before I was supposed to get the bike from Riley's this guy Jeff, from the East Coast of the US with a set of red dreads down to his butt, walks in with this cool looking green bike. I was obviously anxious to talk to the guy because I wanted to pick his brain about anything and everything bike related. After this point I've never attempted anything like this. So...over a bowl of spaghetti and after a few beers I got the goods on Jeff and his story.

Jeff, an outdoor adventure guy full of life, was riding his bike from Nicaragua to Panama. From there he was set to go to Colombia to do some volunteer work. After telling him my story and after a few of Panamas finest brews we came to the conclusion that we would make a trade. I'd give Jeff my backpack and a bit of money and Jeff would give me his bike in return. But, because this bike was Jeff's baby he wanted it back at some point.

That next morning Jeff was walking out the door of the hostel off on an adventure in Colombia and I was giving my new set of wheels a once over. Before Jeff took off he said, "this bike has good energy, it will get you home." Then he pointed to the Reggae sticker slapped across one of the bars and said, "and oh ya...One Love baby." Seriously with that he was off.

So here I am. Riding BART to my buddie Reggie's house to have dinner and to do a bit of catch up. He lives in Dublin and riding BART to his place has given me a needed second to do a bit of reflecting. I'm thinking a lot about the trip and a lot about Ceasar these days. Seriously that bike was bad ass. It could really take a beating and it got me back home in one piece.

Jumping back on Ceasar was strange because it felt so familiar but the landscape around was so different. On my way to the shop I started to have flashbacks from the trip. I could remember the first time I got ran off the road in Costa Rica, or I could visualize perfectly when I brought the bike to the Plan sponsored community in Guatemala. The kids there loved to play with the bike bell or they were so intrigued by the skinny ties.

The day was a bit depressing. But, I guess its important to realize that this is a time of change and its even more important to look to the next day a to look towards the next adventure.

Peace, Power and Pedal


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