Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tour de Emily: Day Five

Day Five: Promenade from San Simeon to San Luis Obispo - 55 miles

Day five started with a hearty banana, blueberry pancake breakfast in the trailer. Overnight, our friend Fred had arrived to ride with us the last day. Firmly in familiar territory, this would be a casual ride to the finish line.

Actual sun and warmth as we rode from Cambria through Harmony to Cayucus with our biggest peloton yet.

Big lunch at Taco Temple in Morro Bay with the whole crew. Seth and Amy peeled off after eating to head back to Sacramento.

The remaining 15 miles to San Luis were a cinch. We ran into another couple on bikes that had done almost the exact same course as us and chatted about how terrible Aptos was (seriously, Aptos...I'm never going back). We hit San Luis Obispo early and had time for a frozen yogurt and haircut before our grand finale.

My mom and Shane had coordinated a big finish for us in Mission Plaza. About 20 people, a yellow finish line, flowers, balloons, a yellow jersey for Rob, crowns...the works!

We followed this celebration with a fun BBQ dinner party at my parent's house. We told all about our adventures over guacamole, chips, cheese, hotdogs, chili and fruit salad. Plus, a big cake for our wedding anniversary!

All in all, a great week and a fine adventure! It was so nice to spend time together with our friends like this. And to be along the beautiful coast for so many days. The physical part of riding 300 miles turned out to be not that big of a deal and the mental side really taught me about my own toughness.

You can see all the photos from Tour de Emily online.

Tour de Emily: Day Four

Day Four: Big Sur to San Simeon - 72 miles

Still feeling pretty sore and bonk-y when we woke up at 5:50 am on Tuesday morning. Our early start was designed to help us avoid traffic on our biggest day of riding. We had four BIG hills (4,000 feet of climbing) to tackle in 70+ miles.

The first climb was straight after our campsite - brutally in the sun. Amazingly, my headache and soreness disappeared as we headed back down into the fog.

And by fog, I mean FOG. This fog was pea-soup thick, with only 50 foot visibility in places. We were quickly soaking wet. It was actually a blessing - fewer tourists swerving in their cars to take photos when you can't see the ocean.

The last big climb of the day ended right at the San Luis Obispo county line, just in time for lunch!

Once in the county, the hills disappeared and the sun came out. I love this stretch of coastline! Jackie proved her "Chizzle" nickname by setting at 18 mph+ pace all the way to the campground in San Simeon.

Thanks to our early start, we had time for hot showers, walks on the beach and a leisurely dinner in Cambria with the team before turning in on our penultimate day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tour de Emily: Day Three

Day Three: Marina to Big Sur - 56 miles

Very weary after the tribulations of day two - we got up early in the heavy fog and had bagels for breakfast in the RV. Showers helped restore our spirits but I'm still amazed that we all climbed on the bikes and hit the road again on Monday.

But fortunately, day three would be nothing like day two. We had 10+ miles of gorgeous dedicated bike trail from Marina to Pacific Grove.

A delight to be away from the cars, pedaling quickly along the coast. We rode around 17 mile drive with big views of the ocean and stopped in Carmel for a quick lunch.

After the previous day's drama, Rob was a task master, asking us to eat faster (like a squirrel!) and worrying about contrasting mileage reports that predicted either 25 or 41 miles to our campsite. Plus, worries about the thin margins on the Big Sur roads. Luckily, everything worked out fine. There were few cars in Big Sur thanks to some road construction and we had great views along the way. One steep hill up in the fog and crossing the famous bridge were the biggest challenges.

Once we hit the town of Big Sur, I was in the thick of the third day "bonk" though. My head hurt, my back hurt, my legs whole body was just out of wack. And we still didn't know if we had a couple miles or 20 more to go. When the girl in the store said our campsite was just a 1/4 mile up the road I almost cried with happiness!

And it was a great campsite too! Right on a pretty creek in the forrest with hot showers. I covered myself in bengay patches and tried to rehydrate but the bonkage was pretty severe. After dinner, we turned in to our tents at 8:00 for much needed sleep.

Tour de Emily: Day Two

Day Two: Pescadero to Marina - 71 miles (was supposed to be 55)

All significant adventures have a point where hope is two was this point in our ride.

Up at the hostel pretty early for pancakes and coffee. We had a bit of a slow start with packing up the trucks and cleaning our accommodations. Not a big deal, this was supposed to be the easy day (famous last words).

We rode a few miles south to Pie Ranch - the eco farm where my cousin is working for the summer. It felt very old-fashioned to roll in and ask for my cousin (who I had only sent a message we would be dropping by a few days before) Seth was unfortunately already feeling some knee problems at this stage.

Slow going through rolling coastal hills to Santa Cruz. We met up with the crew for a long lunch at Kelly's French Bakery in the north of town.

Seth went by car from here, leaving Jackie, Rob and I to figure out our way to Marina from Santa Cruz. We made it as far as the boardwalk with no problems.

And then fell into a few hours of being extremely lost, hitting numerous dead-ends, carrying our bikes up five flights of stairs, being run off the road by an angry Aptos housewife and ending up in some bizzare, foggy patch of strawberry fields. Eventually, we found our way back to the coast and had one last epic period of lost-ness in an artichoke field in Castroville:

With an 20 extra miles under our belt and dusk quickly approaching, we finally made it to our campground in Marina thanks to some guidance from the support crew. Lesson learned: carry a map. We all drove back up to Santa Cruz for dinner and to drop Margaret off for her bus back home. To bed late, all questioning our sanity for trying this ride and nervously anticipating the next day of riding.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tour de Emily: Day One

Day 1: From San Francisco to Pigeon Point - 57 miles

We started the tour with coffee and cinnamon rolls at 9:30. Packed up the truck, checked that the stove was off and hit the road. The team pedaled through Golden Gate Park to the beach, down to Daly City and up and over to Pacifica.

Lunch at the world's fanciest Taco Bell on the beach in Pacifica. Look at that fog waiting for us over the hill in Half Moon Bay!

From lunch, we rode the trecherous Devil's Slide pass. Luckily we had Rich's RV to drive behind us and keep us safe. Once over the hill, smooth riding past Half Moon Bay and down to Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Rob booked two shared hostel rooms at this nice hostel. Huge spaghetti dinner with the crew. Hot tubbing in the ocean-front spa before turning in our weary muscles.

Team Tour de Emily

Before we get started with the details of Tour de Emily - a few introductions. We had the best team for this adventure - a handful of riders and a support crew to match. From left to right:

Team Tandem - Rob and I rode on our sweet red bike the whole way. Rob - The Captain - did all the hard work of planning and coordinating.
Greenwood Support Crew - Rich and Molly with baby and dog provided crucial RV support at each stage. Rich volunteers often for triathalons and is a real pro.
The Chizzle - Jackie earned this nickname by chipping away at all 300 miles with speed and endurance.
Downhill Demon - Seth rode halfdays with us for each stage. He loves downhill speed and we often lost sight of him speeding at 50 mph down a slope.
Day Trippers - Amy rode two half days and Fred rode one day of the tour. Amy provided support in her big blue truck. Margaret also joined the support crew for the first two days of the ride.

About the Tour - We came up with the idea for the tour earlier in the year. A group of my friends from high school are all turning thirty this year and we each wanted to do something big before the milestone. The concept of "Tour de Awesome" was born: each person puts on a stage (Tour de Emily, Tour de Jackie, etc) with some big adventure to share. I'm the oldest, so my stage was the first.

About the Ride - From San Francisco to San Luis Obispo. Five days, 300 miles. Not a single mile skipped by car.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tour De Emily: Done!

I can't believe we actually did it! The five day bike tour was a true adventure. I feel just like a kid back from a fantastic summer away at camp: loaded with stories, tanned, worn-out and a bit weepie.

I'll have the details and lots of photos for you starting Monday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

And we're off!

Tour de Emily starts tomorrow. A big group of friends up for an adventure arrive at the house at 9:30 am. We'll hit the road shortly after and won't stop until we've biked to San Luis Obispo. I'm looking forward to spending five uninterrupted days along the rocky coast. You can track our progress of Rob's twitter feed.

It is also our first wedding anniversary on Sunday. I can't believe it has already been a full twelve months since that amazing party and honeymoon.

What an incredible year! Thank you for sharing it with me!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bonus: Video of Tweed Ride

Here's what the Tweed Ride looks like from the back of a tandem going through the Mission. The music is provided by local bike-celebrity Deep and his trike-mounted speakers.

To Do: Tweed Ride

Rob and I had a fun little adventure last night. The Tweed Ride hit the streets again! This ride started in Dolores Park for a video shoot with a bike polo dance troupe. It was quite funny to see everyone dressed to the nines (including Gary Fisher, inventor of the mountain bike) acting out crowd reaction shots.

Once the shoot ended, the whole group rode around the mission with lots of bike bells going and "tally-ho"s. Priceless, happy looks from surprised pedestrians as the dapper group rode by.

We eventually landed at the Bicycle Coalition's Bike-in Movie Night across from the Good Hotel on 7th. This event brought together a variety of street food vendors with about 1,000 bikes - all to see Les Triplettes de Belleville. For food, I spotted carts selling lumpia, escargo, adobo, cookies, pies, chai, gumbo, creme brulee, grilled cheese and thai curry at least.

Shortly after eight, the movie started to play to a packed house. Luckily, it was warm evening in the city. We didn't have to even bundle up. Strange, but fun film.

Rob and I rode home on the bike at 10pm. You can see all my photos from the night online.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

He proposes!

He stares!

To Do: Pride & Prejudice

Between working long days and mainlining Pride and Prejudice at night, I find that I don't have anything to say that isn't about electronic medical records or the regiment this week. Instead, let's have a video fix of Mr. Darcy. First, he swims!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coveted: Literary Map

I could stare at the details on this literary map of San Francisco all day long. It was created for the Chronicle's book review section by Ian Huebert back in July.

Click here to see it in full sized glory. A print of it would be perfect for a guest room.

To Do: Gardenias

The ladies at Church Street Flowers always impress me. Not only are they geniuses with arrangements, but they also happily indulge me in gardenias and corsages whenever needed.

And their gardenias have some serious lasting power. For $3, these two survived a night in my hair at the opera and a big weekend with guests around the table. Four days later, they're just starting to fade but still smell wonderful.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Round-Up: Arias and Rains

Opening night at the opera was great fun. Rob and I got dressed to the nines after work and grabbed a slice of pizza (tradition!) on our way to the opera house.

We were a bit late, due to my poor planning, but still enjoyed the opera and all the gowns. Il Trovatore had amazing staging inspired by Goya. In tuxes and tafeta, the hall all poured out into the night after opera. Rob and I had dessert and drinks at Home before turning in. My inexpensive vintage dress worked out perfectly!

Surprising thunder and rainstorm the next morning. A great excuse to have breakfast under quilts and be lazy for a few hours. At 11:00, we braved the weather in sweaters and wellies on the tandem bike. A round of errands including the fabric store and produce market. Back at home, I worked on a cake topper for Jean's wedding

Our friends from Davis, Jackie and Pierre, arrived at 2:30 and we had lunch together at the house. I dropped them off at the park and visited with Meg and David for an hour. The photos from their honeymoon were so cute! At 5, I met with Jackie and Pierre again for coffee at the de Young Museum in the park. After, we walked through the foggy rose garden and smelled every variety to find the best:

Back at the apartment, Margaret came up from the peninsula. We had hot toddies to warm up and then went to Axum for an Ethiopian dinner. It's-its for dessert at home to cap the evening. Jackie and Margaret spent the night.

The next morning, we had tea and oranges for breakfast around the table. And then set out for a little shopping. Buttery pastries from Tartine Bakery and then good finds at Therapy on Valencia and Sunhee Moon on 16th. At 1:30, we went to Golden Gate Park with a picnic to see the free opera show.

It was unusually warm with a little light rain - some sort of tropical storm is passing through. Great opera and lots of cute kids running around the lawn. We walked back home down Haight Street with the girls and watched a little more Pride and Prejudice (it's a serious addiction).

It started to rain hard in the late afternoon. I love it! Our visiting friends went out to a jazz show. Rob and I decided to stay home with the rain and cozy dinner delivery.

You can see all my photos from the weekend online.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Winner: Opera Tickets

The winner of the set of opera dress rehearsal tickets - as chosen by - is...


Lucky girl! She looks like she could use a break from all the construction on her 1920's bungalow in the East Bay.

Stella, please send me your address and I'll put the tickets in the mail today! And for everyone else, don't miss the free opera in Golden Gate Park this Sunday. Happy Opera day!

Things I Love Today: British Style

I've recently fallen in love with the classic BBC show To the Manor Born (so much so, that I've just revealed the affair to all of Arizona)

Set in the English countryside in the early 80's, it's all about high society, hunt parties and butlers who have coffee waiting for you in the drawing room. I looove it.

Between this and the arrival of six hours of Pride and Prejudice in HD (swoon!) I'm finding a dangerous new lust for all things tweedy, velvety, embroidered and wooly for fall. There are some very tempting sales in the city this weekend. If Toast opens a store in the city, I'll be in real trouble. I need at least two of these vintage-inspired blankets.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coveted: Green Velvet Sofa

I have to confess that I'm not much of a redecoration-fiend. Aside from a couple changes here and there, our apartment has been much the same since we first moved in four years ago. But I do have a sudden lust for a new sofa. And not just any sofa...but an elegant green, velvet sofa (a sofabed would be even better). Here are a few inspirations:

I love this cozy UK apartment. Source.

From the amazing Julie Blackmon. Source.

Not exactly the right color, but the right idea.

From Martha Stewart. Source.

Too small, but the color and pillows are nice. Source.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Win! Free Tickets to an Opera Dress Rehearsal

Want to go to the opera too?

I have two free tickets to the dress rehearsal of The Abduction from the Seraglio on September 20th to give away! The show starts at 2:30pm and the doors open at 2:00. They're great seats, dress circle/grand tier.

This is a perfect chance to get a peek at the gorgeous War Memorial Opera House without having to buy an evening gown.

If you're going to be in the Bay Area for the show and are interested in the tickets, enter your name below. I'll pick a winner on Friday this week.

To Do: Opening Night at the Opera

Oh my! Last Saturday, I called to move one of my sets of opera tickets (yes, I bought a five-series of opera tickets for this season...yes, I was technically unemployed when I did this...yes, I'm a loon) on Saturday and got bumped to Opening Night.

Which means scrambling to get decked out for the black-tie opera this Friday night. Rob luckily has a nice black suit he can wear with a bow tie instead of a tux. And thanks to a mad dash shopping trip to Haight Street's best vintage shops, I have a dress!

Vintage formal wear is the best. Not only is it cheaper, but the quality is higher and the pieces are a lot more fun. I tried on so many amazing dresses on Sunday, finally settling on a beaded Grecian gown from the 1970's that is especially nice when sitting (important for a three hour show). All I need is a couple gardenias for my hair and we're set.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Weekend Round-Up: Team Tandem

With the bike tour quickly approaching, Rob and I spent a lot of the weekend getting in some mileage on the tandem. It was a nice chance to relax after last weekend's music festival craziness. And with the Bay Bridge closed all weekend, the city was nicely low-key.

On Friday, Rob and I pedaled over to Matt and Amber's house for dinner with the twins. We stopped at the store on the way over to get dinner supplies. While they gave the kids baths, I roasted two pork loins rubbed with oregano, chili flakes and cinnamon.

The twins slept while we shared a great taco dinner using the pork loin, handmade corn tortillas, mache lettuce, guacamole and cheese. Followed by crème brûlée and figs. Hooray for Trader Joe's!

A lazy morning on Saturday, breakfast of oatmeal and coffee before hopped on the bike around 9:30. Rob wanted to try a new bike route: south to the airport. We pedaled down to Mission Bay and Dogpatch and then into Bayview/Hunters Point, where I'd never been before. From there, we rode through Visitation Valley, Brisbane and South San Francisco. Once we reached the airport, we decided to continue on to see Margaret in Burlingame. Had a nice lunch at a sidewalk cafe and took Caltrain back home. Back in the city, we had a fondue dinner and a quiet night at home.

The next morning, Rob and I had breakfast at our favorite cafe and then did a mad rush of vintage formal wear shopping on Haight street (I'll explain later).

We got back to the apartment just in time to change and drive down to Palo Alto, where my parents were working on a documentary at Stanford. They asked us to come down and pretend to get MRI's as a demonstration for the film:

A fun shoot followed by a huge dinner at a Hong Kongese restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. Stuffed to the gills with calamari, prawns, noodles, pea shoots, black sesame and lotus root, Rob and I drove back to the city late in the evening.

Monday morning! French toast with cherries for breakfast before another training ride; this time around Glenn Park, Twin Peaks and Golden Gate Park.

Back at home, I picked the wild blackberries that grow down by our garage while Rob washed the bike. And we cleaned the house - a little "Indian summer" spruce up. It was nice to just relax and enjoy our sunny apartment for a few hours.

In the afternoon, we went downtown by bike. Our intention was to go to a movie, but it was too nice outside to sit in the dark. Instead, we biked around to do a bunch of errands. On the way home, we stopped at Ike's Place for delicious, drippy sandwiches for dinner. You can see all my photos from the weekend here.